Today’s Chopped-Up Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
After suffering an aortic aneurysm on April 13, 1955, Einstein found himself the subject of an international death watch. He finally succumbed to internal hemorrhaging at 1:15 a.m. on April 18. His body arrived shortly thereafter at a local hospital in Princeton, New Jersey, for a routine autopsy. At this point the pathologist on duty, Thomas Harvey, faced a stark choice.
Any one of us might have been tempted the same way – who wouldn’t want to know what made Einstein Einstein? Einstein himself expressed interest in having his brain studied after he died, and even sat for brain scans. He decided against preserving the best part of himself only because he loathed the thought of people venerating it, the twentieth-century equivalent of a medieval Catholic relic. But as Harvey arranged the scalpels in his autopsy room that night, he knew human kind had just one chance to salvage the gray matter of the greatest scientific thinker in centuries. And while it may be too strong to say stole, by 8 a.m. the next morning – without next-of-kin permission, and against Einstein’s notarized wish for cremation – Harvey had shall we say liberated the physicist’s brain and released the body to the family without it.
The disappointment started immediately. Einstein’s brain weighed forty-three ounces, at the low end of normal. And before Harvey could measure anything more, word of the relic spread, just as Einstein had feared. During a discussion in school the next day about the loss of Einstein, Harvey’s son, normally a laconic lad, blurted out, “My dad’s got his brain!” A day later, newspapers across the country mentioned Harvey’s plans in their front -page obits. Harvey did eventually convince the remaining Einsteins, who were sure peeved, to grant permission for further study. So after measuring its dimensions with calipers and photographing it for posterity with his 35 mm black-and-white camera, Harvey sawed the brain into 240 taffy-sized hunks and laquered each one in celloidin. Harvey was soon mailing the blobs in many jars to neurologists, confident that the forthcoming scientific insights would justify his peccadillo.
Perhaps the most disheartening thing about the whole Einstein fiasco is the paltry knowledge scientists gained. Neurologists ended up publishing only three papers on Einstein’s brain in forty years, because most found nothing extraordinary there. Harvey kept soliciting scientists to take another look, but after the initial null results came back, the brain chunks mostly just sat around. Harvey kept each section wrapped in cheesecloth and piled them into two wide-mouthed glass cookie jars full of formaldehyde broth.
Culled from: The Violinist’s Thumb
Morbid Trinket Du Jour!
I know how you are: always seeking attention; disappointed that you’re wee paper cut doesn’t look ominous enough to garner sympathy from your co-workers and friends. How on earth can you get out of doing things you don’t want to do if nobody thinks you’re badly injured?
Well, here’s your solution: Boo-Boos!
“Boo-Boos are adhesive bandages that make your small cuts and scrapes look so much worse than they really are. If they don’t, get yourself to the hospital, stat!”
See all the horrific designs at Boo-Boos Adhesive Bandages.
Thanks to Kim for the link!