What A Museum Did With This Dead Philosopher’s Body Is Beyond Weird...

What A Museum Did With This Dead Philosopher’s Body Is Beyond Weird And Gross

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Most of us would rather not think about how we”ll be remembered when we die. It”s a scary thought that acknowledges our mortality. Most of us would like to think that we”ll be remembered for the right reasons. However, much of what people remember about us is strange and unexpected.

British philosopher Jeremy Bentham knows this all too well.

During his life, Bentham was a renowned philosopher, jurist, and social reformer.

During his life, Bentham was a renowned philosopher, jurist, and social reformer.

Bentham was ahead of his time in his advocacy of economic freedom, women”s rights, the separation of church and state, and the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Bentham fell ill and died in 1832. During the tragedy surrounding his death, it was discovered that he left some surprising instructions for his body.

Bentham fell ill and died in 1832. During the tragedy surrounding his death, it was discovered that he left some surprising instructions for his body.

The first instruction was for his body to be donated to science and publicly dissected. Three days after his death, his body was dissected for the students at University College London. After the display, Bentham left instructions for his head and skeleton to be preserved and displayed at the university in a wooden cabinet, later dubbed the “Auto-Icon.”

Originally, Bentham wanted the Auto-Icon to feature his actual preserved head, pictured below.

Originally, Bentham wanted the Auto-Icon to feature his actual preserved head, pictured below.

Bentham left the job of preservation to his follower Thomas Southwood Smith. Smith used an experimental Maori technique to mummify the head. However, the result was deemed too morbid for the Auto-Icon, and a wax head was made instead.

Today, Bentham”s Auto-Icon still stands in the halls of the University College London, and it”s as creepy as ever.

(via: Cult Of Weird)

I suppose Bentham had a very good idea about what he would be remembered for when he died. That being said, he probably thought more people would remember him for his philosophies instead of his preserved head.

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