Weird History

22 Historical Figures With Preserved Body Parts You Can Still Visit Today  

Erin McCann
250k views 22 items

Important people from history left behind art, innovative ideas, political change - and, on occasion, body parts. Placed for all to see in museums and mausoleums, historical figures' remains provide strange yet intriguing forms of remembrance.

Body preservation isn't a new concept; ancient Egyptians and Peruvian natives, for example, practiced mummification. During the Crusades from the 11th-13th centuries, people carefully preserved the bones of late members of the nobility. Embalming practices even allowed several world leaders to have open-casket funerals

Body parts displayed in museums might seem creepy, but they also offer a glimpse into the past.

Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 22 Historical Figures With Preserved Body Parts You Can Still Visit Today
Photo:  Mütter Museum/Fair Use

After famous physicist Albert Einstein passed in 1955, researchers dissected his brain, eventually donating a few slices to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA, where it now remains on display.

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Grigori Rasputin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 22 Historical Figures With Preserved Body Parts You Can Still Visit Today
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Russian mystic and healer Grigori Rasputin famously passed in 1916. Someone supposedly either grabbed Rasputin's severed male member after his autopsy or fished it out of the river. Visitors can now view the 13-inch-long appendage believed to be Rasputin's member at the MusEros Museum of Eroticism in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Grover Cleveland is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 22 Historical Figures With Preserved Body Parts You Can Still Visit Today
Photo:  Mütter Museum/Fair Use

Former US President Grover Cleveland passed in 1908. In 1893, during his second term in office, he had a secret operation to remove an oral tumor. A team of surgeons performed the surgery on a yacht and pretended it was a fishing trip. 

The tumor found a new home in a glass tube at Philadelphia's College of Physicians' Mütter Museum.

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Jeremy Bentham is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 22 Historical Figures With Preserved Body Parts You Can Still Visit Today
Photo:  Matt Brown/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

While most people want to be buried or cremated after they pass, philosopher Jeremy Bentham wanted his skeleton dressed up, his head preserved, and the whole thing put on display with a sign reading "Auto Icon." But when Bentham passed in 1832, the embalmers accidentally disfigured his head. They replaced it with a wax version that's on display in a specially made cabinet at the University College London, England.

The museum also owns Bentham's real head, but they no longer display it for the public.

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