Weird / Funny

100 Human Brains Missing From University Of Texas

Around 100 human brains, including the brain believed to be that of clock tower sniper Charles Whitman, have gone missing from the collection at the University of Texas at Austin.

It is unknown who took the preserved brains and whether this is a prank or theft. The collection contains complete and sometimes partial human brains submerged in formalin. Each jar contained a faded label with a reference number, the condition of the patient and the date of death.

The specimens, which date back to the 1950s, belonged to patients at the Austin State Hospital, formerly the Texas State Lunatic Asylum. Between the 1950s and the mid-1980s, the resident pathologist at the hospital was Dr. Coleman de Chenar, who began the collection of brains collected during autopsies on mental patients, the Atlantic reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Tim Schallert” author_title=”Psychology Professor and co-curator of the collection”]

We think somebody may have taken the brains, but we don’t know at all for sure.


Co-curator of the collection, psychology Professor Lawrence Cormack, said it is possible that undergraduates and others began stealing the brains for pranks, CBS reported.

The Austin State Hospital began transferring the human brains to the University of Texas about 28 years ago under a “temporary possession” agreement. The agreement with the hospital requires the university to remove any information that may identify the person from whom the brain came, although Schallert said Whitman’s brain was likely in the collection.

Whitman’s 1966 attack at the University of Texas left 16 people dead, including his wife and mother. Whitman had requested his brain be studied for mental illness, TIME reported.

The university said it will investigate the situation and that the specimens on the campus are used as a teaching tool.

The remaining 100 brains in the collection have been moved to the Norman Hackerman Building, where they will be scanned with MRI equipment to create teaching tools.

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