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

Updated August 9, 2019 830.6k views22 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.

  • Galileo Galilei's many accomplishments in physics, philosophy, math, and astronomy earned him a place in the History of Science Museum in Florence, Italy. He passed in 1642, but someone dug him up 95 years later and removed several body parts. 

    More of Galileo's fingers and teeth eventually turned up in an auction and became part of the museum's collection.

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  • The creator of the first mechanical computer, Charles Babbage inspired many devices people continue to use today. When he passed in 1871, Babbage donated his brain to science, giving half to the Royal College of Surgeons in London, England.

    The other half went to the Science Museum in London to be displayed.

  • Vladimir Lenin, leader of Russia's Bolshevik Party and famous Communist revolutionary, passed in 1924, and his body underwent experimental preservation methods. His body rests in a glass case in the Lenin Mausoleum, located in Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

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  • The Napoleon Complex theory apparently holds some weight if the late dictator's shorter-than-two-inch member, currently kept by private owner Evan Lattimer, is proof. Lattimer inherited Napoleon Bonaparte's private part from her urologist father, who won it in an auction 156 years after the French emperor passed in 1821. It sold for $3,000.

    Since the member is off limits for public viewing, Napoleon fans must settle for visiting his casket, which is located in a crypt under Les Invalides in Paris, France.

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