53 Responses

  1. Liz
    Liz at |

    Great list! I really enjoyed this one.

    Reply
  2. mgr
    mgr at |

    What about Ted William's frozen head?

    Reply
  3. zantimisfit
    zantimisfit at |

    The fused livers of Chang and Eng Bunker (Siamese Twins)resides at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA.

    Reply
  4. Aaron
    Aaron at |

    Okay…there are a BUNCH more preserved body parts…besides, one of the items on the list wasn't even really preserved! What about Buddha's tooth, the French nun who has never decomposed, the Mexican General's missing leg…I wish to heck I could remember details. It's been a long week.

    Reply
  5. the mon
    the mon at |

    What about Lenin?

    Reply
  6. Meghan
    Meghan at |

    Yeah, as Aaron mentioned, what about St. Bernadette?

    As per Wiki:

    Saint Bernadette (born Marie-Bernarde Soubirous; January 7, 1844 – April 16, 1879), was a miller's daughter from the town of Lourdes in southern France. From February 11 to July 16, 1858, she reported eighteen apparitions of "a Lady." Despite initial skepticism from the Catholic Church, these claims were eventually declared to be worthy of belief after a canonical investigation, and the apparition is known as Our Lady of Lourdes. After her death, Bernadette's body remained incorrupt, and the shrine at Lourdes went on to become a major site for pilgrimage, attracting millions of Catholics each year.

    I'd say that was a heck of a lot of preserved body parts. I believe she at least deserves 1st runner up status.

    Reply
  7. Sarah
    Sarah at |

    St. Bernadette's face and hands are made of wax. They did that because her real face has started to turn black and they don't think it will look good to the public.

    In my father's province in the Philippines, there is a mummified lady that is on display. Their place is by the sea so I think the soil there will be "damp" like what they say regarding Bernadette's burial ground. The mummified lady is sort of blackish/grayish/brownish in areas and hair is still seen and teeth and nails.

    So see, Bernadette's case isn't so surprising. It just looks so because people will initially think that what they see on display is really her face, but in reality, it's a wax and she probably looks like every other naturally mummified body.

    ps. I'm Catholic but don't approve of everything the Catholics teach and do.

    Reply
    1. gary
      gary at |

      Sarah, before you post why don’t you do your research? Bernadette’s face and hands have a thin coat of wax due to the exhumations which made her skin darken, that is her real face taken from photos. Her body is intact, her skeleton, muscles, ligaments, etc are all Incorrupt. The Doctor’s reports who examined her after each exhumation are all on-line, so before you talk about something, please research it.

      Reply
      1. FMH
        FMH at |

        You are right – if you define “incorrupt” as mummified (which the catholic church sometimes does, sometimes doesn’t) and “thin layer of way” as a waxen mask- and glove-like structure placed on the actual bodypart.

        Reply
        1. gary
          gary at |

          Incorrupt is defined as a body that has not decomposed or has partially decomposed, a thin layer of wax on the face and hands has no bearing on the body being incorrupt, Bernadette was never embalmed nor preserved in any way. Her body remains as it was since 1879, other than some relics that were taken and autopsies performed, it has not been disturbed.

        2. FMH
          FMH at |

          But all those bodies _are_ partially decomposed. If you call a mummy “incorrupt” it would start to get a bit silly – especially since there are so many churches and crypts where the bodies naturally mummify. A waxen mask on a mummy doesnt make it any more “incorrupt”.

        3. FMH
          FMH at |

          The wax has a bearing because it is a mask. The corpse under it looks dessicated like any other mummy.

        4. gary
          gary at |

          Obviously from your comments you are not aware of her entire story; where did you ever see a mummy with a supple liver, intact skeleton, ligaments, noticable veins? A light coat of wax was placed on her face due to the exhumations and when the nuns washed her body red spots appeared, her vault was very humid and damp, her body was ravaged with disease at time of death, she should have been but dust. Have you read the autopsy reports, have you spoken to the nuns at Nevers? A body decomposes from the inside, do you really believe the nuns would allow her to rest in public view since 1925 if she were indeed dessicated? I’ll tell you what FMH, please go do your research about this inspiring person, come back and we can have an intelligent conversation about her; I should realize that for non-believers no explanation will ever suffice.

        5. FMH
          FMH at |

          Obviously, you are not very aware of the processes of mummification possible.
          The report reads that the body was slightly damp, but dessicated and hard with a hollow feel like cardboard. The coffin was lined with lead, which is poisonous and keeps bacteria away.
          The doctors in the report note that the body was mummyfied, showed some spots of mold and a slight layer of salt crystals (lead salt?).
          The report a year later says that some pieces of skin began to fall off because the decomposition was speeding up after the exhumation.
          Did you read a different report?

          The waxen face mask was made by a company that produced mannequins in Paris, Pierre Imas, because they did not want to show the mummified face. The hands are completely made from wax (not gloves as I stated earlier)

          She was only buried for 38 years.
          Take a look at Chinese wet mummies. They are completely intact after hundreds of years, without any preservative measures taken, just because the construction of their graves accidently produced perfect conditions

        6. gary
          gary at |

          Her vault was hardly bacteria proof, it was humid and damp, her habit was wet, her crucifix turned green as did her rosary, the salts were calcium, again from the nuns washing her body which also created mildew, parts of her skin were absent as there was also carbon found in the vault, or did you read a different report? I’m aware of the company that made the mask, this is not unusual for Catholics to do to their incorrupt Saints. Bernadette’s eyes had sunk and again the washing made red blotches on her skin. Once again her liver and other internal organs, etc were preserved, the doctors called this unnatural. She was never embalmed or preserved, al la Lenin, etc. I’ve spoken to the nuns @ Nevers, they do not touch her chapel for any reason, if she were decomposing they would extricate her immediately. FMH if you don’t believe that is your business, perhaps you know what scientists don’t, one day we will all find out.

        7. FMH
          FMH at |

          Sorry, 46 years.
          However, to sum it up, it’s a completely normal damp preservation, which is a major problem on graveyards all over Europe. When the soil is just wet enough, corpses only rot to a certain degree and then stay in a somewhat pickled-dried state. I don’t know the English word for the term, the German one would be Faulleichenknoservierung.

        8. FMH
          FMH at |

          One doctor in 1925 called in unnatural. The scientist and coroner Walter Marty however confirms that this doctors report is completely in line with normal perservation of a dead body that can happen under partly damp conditions. A cardboard-like exterior with partly supple internal organs are completely possible. I never said anything about “bacteria proof”. Lead kills bacteria, and a closed metal box like her lead-lined body can almost halt decay. And it did.
          What does the carbon matter?
          Why do you compare her to Lenin? It’s a completely different way of perservation – for example Lenin doesn’t need a wax mask. Nice that you finally agree that it’s not a “thin layer” but a completely artificial mask.
          Now she’s lying in a cool and dry place – she won’t decay that easily anymore and it’s quite possible that she was enmbalmed while being made ready for display (the chruch doesn’t deny doing things like that) Lenin on the other hand needs permanent care, simply because they want to keep his face and hands in a way that they look life-like.
          Finally, have a look at other Saints the Catholic Church calls “incorrupt”. Virginia Bracelli for example. That’s the look of a classic dry mummy – because she doesn’t have a fake face and hands. Moste likely Bernadette looks similar under her mask today, too, since she’s stored under dry conditions.

          It might also interest you that an incorrupt body isn’t seen as an official miracle anymore by the Church.

          And then take a look at Chinese wet mummies.

          Just claiming that science can’t explain something, won’t make it a miracle. The Church has allready realized that it’s silly to see completely normal but rate events as a miracle.

        9. FMH
          FMH at |

          Note also that the first report mentions an open mouth, decayed eyes and a sunken nose. She looked like a classic mummy.

        10. FMH
          FMH at |

          I think it’s also very funny that the report of 1909 mentions a lot more decay than this of 1925. The doctor in the second report obviously had not much experience with the decay of corpses since he was astonished that the skeleton was intact. That would be the last thing to take any damage.

        11. FMH
          FMH at |

          If you read all three documents it’s like this:
          First report: the body is somewhat well preserved, not too badly decayed
          Second report: The body is throughly mummyfied.
          Third report: She’s incorrupt and completely and unnaturally preserved.

          So two out of three doctors agreed that she was a mummy. Or do you think she somehow “got better” between 1909 and 1925?

      2. mikehenry
        mikehenry at |

        I also dont agree to worship dead bodies. I have seen personally the bodies of Mao Tse Tung in China, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, and a saint in Vatican (which is said to be covered with “thin” wax as well). They’re all covered with wax and they all look the same

        Reply
        1. gary
          gary at |

          To compare Bernadette’s incorrupt body with the one’s you named is ridiculous; first of all her body is not preserved al la Lenin, Marcos or Tse Tung, in fact her body is never touched in any way; her internal organs, skeleton, liver, etc are all intact, read the autopsy reports on-line, do your research before you post, if science cannot explain it, how can you? Have you been to Nevers, have you spoken to the Sisters, have you read Bernadette’s entire story? If you don’t believe that is your business, but don’t disparage something you obviously know nothing about.

  8. amanda
    amanda at |

    what about napoleon's penis?! how can you forget that.

    Reply
    1. Susan
      Susan at |

      It isn’t preserved anymore, somebody ate it..

      Reply
  9. Full Cup Balcony
    Full Cup Balcony at |

    What about Rasputin's penis? It was ding-a-ling humdinger.

    Reply
    1. Raven
      Raven at |

      I refuse to believe that thing came off a human being. It’s gotta be a geoduck or off a horse or something.

      Reply
  10. sarah
    sarah at |

    Jeremy Bentham stipulated in his will that he wished to be stuffed and displayed to bring comfort to his friends after his death. To this day, he can be found in sitting the University of London in a glass cabinet where disrespectful frat boys occasionally steal his head as a prank (his old head has been replaced for a wax one like the nun.)

    I kind of feel like a great philosopher trumps french nun… no?

    Reply
  11. art
    art at |

    What about Jenkin's ear????

    Reply
  12. Gwen
    Gwen at |

    It is pretty common to preserve the body parts of important people or of people that are abnormal. People used to make death masks before photography became the norm. Then people used to take photographs of the dead people lying in their coffins. Especially of children. It was very common for them to display these pictures in their foyers and bedrooms. Macabre of course! There is a death mask of the Elephant Man. There is an entire body cast of the first Siamese Twins as well. This is just a small list of the most famous. There are entire museums dedicated to the unusual and the macabre as well. Such as the Mutter Museum in Philidelphia Pennsylvania. If you are interested search out the plasticine models that a german man I believe has made. Very interesting. He is touring with them now.

    Reply
  13. Louis
    Louis at |

    Hey great list, may i suggest as a new one Rasputins penis

    follow this link for the picture
    http://bitsandpieces.us/wp-content/uploads/2008/0

    Reply
  14. ron
    ron at |

    Rasputin's penis in Russian museum picture
    http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com/download/nlink

    Reply
  15. RoboChef
    RoboChef at |

    How does a cremated skull become a “preserved body part”? According to the entry, only the thought of using Del Close’s skull for Yorick went through, as the skull actually used is a stand-in…

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth
      Elizabeth at |

      Exactly my thought. The entry doesn’t belong here.

      And why did anyone choose to perserve no. 8’s brain?

      By the way, author, what are your sources ?

      Reply
  16. Liz
    Liz at |

    “This Major is the second American Civil War soldier on this list, though he only lost an arm in the war.” What do you mean by stating it thusly??

    Reply
    1. ParusMajor
      ParusMajor at |

      I was wondering about that, too, “only ” losing an arm. The other soldier lost a leg, but surely losing an arm is just as incapacitating, especially if it came off with his writing hand.

      Reply
  17. Stick
    Stick at |

    The Elephant Man’s skeleton?

    Reply
  18. Barry Brien
    Barry Brien at |

    For those interested in this kind of thing, we have this in one of our churches. I was always fascinated with it as a kid.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Plunkett#Persecution

    Reply
  19. Dennis
    Dennis at |

    Didn’t they preserve some..uh..part of Napolean’s body or is that a myth?

    Reply
  20. FMH
    FMH at |

    Wow, so you can actually see Broca’s Broca’s area today.

    Reply
  21. FMH
    FMH at |

    But let me ask you, why did you exactly include that saint? He doesn’t have that special a story and you could build an army of patchwork undead out of the preserved body parts of catholic saints. I mean, where I live, they have two hands, one arm, one finger and a tounge from different saints, and a town nearby has twelve whole gold-encrusted skeletons.

    Reply
    1. Barry Brien
      Barry Brien at |

      I exactly included this saint as it is the only famous body part that I’ve seen preserved in the flesh, so to speak.
      Sure there are plenty of other bits of saints around the world, but this is the only one that I have first hand experience of, and so I thought I’d add to the discussion. I’m sorry if I disappointed you, who are so lucky to live in a place where such things as saintly ‘tounges’ and gilded skeletons are commonplace, but unfortunately a lot of us have to make do with what we’re given.

      Reply
      1. Barry Brien
        Barry Brien at |

        Sorry, this is in reference to my previous post about Olly Plunkett. Whether or not St. Bonaventure’s Arm is more famous than St. Roger’s Nostril, or the Holy Kneecaps of St. Sharon is pretty subjective I suppose. As a matter of interest, where are you from?

        Reply
        1. FMH
          FMH at |

          Yes, I get your arguments, but if you really wanted to include the most famous body part of a saint, it surely would have been the head of emperor Charlemagne. I’m from southern Germany.

  22. MSAB
    MSAB at |

    I would if thought Rasputins penis would of been on here.

    Reply
  23. Jeffery Roberts
    Jeffery Roberts at |

    what about the whole Body of King Pharaoh of Egypt

    Reply
    1. Barry Brien
      Barry Brien at |

      King Pharaoh of Egypt? I presume you mean Tutankhamun?

      Reply
      1. FMH
        FMH at |

        No I think he meant Ahmose I.^^

        Reply
  24. John
    John at |

    The Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons also has a lock of George Washington’s hair, it’s held in a golden urn made by Paul Revere. They also have a lock of William McKinley’s hair.

    Reply
  25. Dennis S
    Dennis S at |

    Hitler’s right eyeball is in a jar of formaldehyde in Hoboken, New Jersey at Bud’s Café.

    Reply
    1. FMH
      FMH at |

      They fooled you. Hitler’s body was burnt and the remains were collected by Russian soldiers. Some bones and dental plates still are in an archive in Russia. There’s no way someone could have gotten hold of an eyeball and preserved it.

      Reply
      1. Dennis S
        Dennis S at |

        Boy, they sure fooled me, didn’t they? Maybe it was Tojo’s eyeball.

        Reply
      2. Kevin John Braid
        Kevin John Braid at |

        DNA tests confirmed it was actually a woman.

        Reply
  26. RyanTee82
    RyanTee82 at |

    The Rasputin story has been debunked as false.

    Reply

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