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Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. Conspiracy theorists have long suggested the missing organ would have proved Kennedy was not shot from the back by Lee Harvey Oswald, but from the front.
Murder on the Einstein Express and Other Stories | Harun Šiljak | Springer
The latest theory puts forward a less juicy cover-up — James Swanson, author of a new book on the assassination of Kennedy, suggests the president's brain was taken by his younger brother Robert, "perhaps to conceal evidence of the true extent of President Kennedy's illnesses, or perhaps to conceal evidence of the number of medications that President Kennedy was taking". Kennedy is just one of a number of famous people whose body parts were taken, either for good or dubious purposes. Brains have long held a fascination, particularly for people wanting to study the secrets of the intelligent, talented and powerful.
After Albert Einstein's death in , his brain was removed and studied by pathologist Thomas Harvey, much of it sliced and mounted on hundreds of slides, many of which have been lost. The Moscow Brain Institute collected and studied the brains of many prominent Russian scientists and thinkers, most famously that of Lenin. Joseph Haydn's head was stolen from his grave by two men, motivated by their interest in phrenology, the belief that insights could be had from feeling the shape and size of the head, the skull eventually finding its way to the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna, more than 80 years after his death.
It was reunited with the rest of his remains in When Beethoven died several years after Haydn, and with the interest in phrenology still booming, there were similar concerns, with one gravedigger claiming he had been offered a thousand florins to "deposit the head of Beethoven in a certain place". However, the composer didn't escape unscathed — during his autopsy, one doctor took his ear bones, locks of hair were clipped, and when his body was exhumed later in the s, fragments of his skull were taken.
What is reputed to be Mozart's skull — tests have been inconclusive — is held at the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg; it is his skeleton that is missing, since he was buried in a grave that was dug up and reused some years after his death in Thomas Paine's remains are also lost. In , 10 years after the pamphleteer's death in New York, the journalist William Cobbett brought his bones back to England, with the idea that he would be interred in an impressive tomb, though this never happened; people all over the world have claimed to own a part of Paine.