Eyes, fingers, genitals: why the collectors body parts of famous people

In various religions from ancient times made a special attitude to the relics of their saints. But the edition of the BBC have collected a list of the most extraordinary secular relics: from the eyes of Einstein to the penis of Napoleon.

Глаза, пальцы, половые органы: зачем коллекционерам части тел известных людей

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Whatever you thought about the afterlife, it is unlikely that you would think that it somehow goes well with the sale of parts of your body with the online auction site eBay.

As shown by a complaint filed recently by one user of this site, stumbled on the list of lots on a bone fragment allegedly belonging to the Catholic Saint, the question of the sanctity of the material remains of man after his death remains open.

Of course, in a dark business associated with the trade remains the most revered persons, is nothing new. For centuries, believers have made pilgrimages to venerate the relics of prophets and martyrs.

The tooth relic, supposedly located in the temple in Kandy in Sri Lanka, the beard of prophet Mohammed, exhibited in one of Istanbul’s palaces and sacred umbilical cord of Jesus Christ, according to legend, stored in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, and still attract crowds of pilgrims.

But what about all the other mere mortals? What happens to parts and elements that make up our physical shell, after tens and hundreds of years after we are gone from this sinful earth?

Without a doubt, the body most of us will lie in graves, while maintaining its integrity as much as allow worms.

However, such is the fate not of all. In world history many examples of the remains of the dead — eyes, fingers, brains and heart removed from his last orphanage and put up for public display.

This article discusses five of the most notable anatomical relics, unrelated to religion.

The Finger Of Galileo

In June 2010, in Italy, hosted one of the most extraordinary events in the history of culture: the big and average fingers of the astronomer and pioneer of the Renaissance, Galileo Galilei, recently acquired at auction the Florentine Museum of the history of science, is reunited with the tooth and another finger of the scientist, already ranked among the exhibits of this Museum.

Fingers brilliant scientist who is separated from his body along with a tooth and a vertebra in 1737 during the reburial, was abducted by his fans as talismans.

Now these remains are exhibited next to a pair of telescopes invented by Galileo, they give quite ordinary exposure dark realism and transform the Museum into a kind of Mecca for modern admirers of the great mind who was able to comprehend the mysteries of heaven as no one before.

The Penis Of Napoleon

Some of the secular relics exhibited in museums open to the public, but something kept in private collections. Take, for example, the penis of Napoleon Bonaparte.

According to legend, this body was separated from the body of the great Corsican English surgeon during the procedure opening, is made on the island of St. Helena in 1821.

The French Emperor was exiled to this island in the Atlantic ocean six years earlier after the defeat inflicted by the British army in the battle of Waterloo, and eventually the island became his last refuge.

Since the penis allegedly cut from the body of the commander was transferred as a cultural heirloom from generation to generation: from Italian priest who lived in nineteenth — century London bookseller in the twentieth century, and then in the private collection of an American urologist, who paid for it in 1969, $2 900 and up until his death in 2007, kept this wrinkled piece of flesh in the suitcase under the bed.

In June 2016, his extensive collection of historical treasures, including a vial from under the cyanide with which he committed suicide Hermann Goering, was auctioned and went to one of the Argentine collector.

It is possible that, among other curious objects were there and the penis of Napoleon.

Eye Of Einstein

The reproductive organ of Napoleon is not the only relic in the form of the remains of a celebrity, hidden from the public.

The eyes of albert Einstein, several decades contemplate the miraculous stars and the immense Universe and separated from the body of a scientist after his death in 1955, is now rumored to be looking at far less exciting black hole — the bowels of a private Deposit box in new York.

When the eminent physicist’s brain was removed from the skull for a thorough examination (decades of), his eyes, preserved in a special solution, was transferred to the permanent memory of Einstein ophthalmologist Henry Abrams.

Physician scientist lived until 2009 and died at the age of 97. It is believed that the eyes of Einstein that have yet to be put up for auction, still peering into the lonely darkness of storage.

“Last breath” Thomas Edison

Mankind always seeks to save what cannot be saved, what visual proof is one of the exhibits of the Henry Ford Museum, located in the American city of Dearborn, Michigan.

Plugged with a stopper in the test tube is set at an angle on a thin microphone stand like a pop star, is a transparent glass bulb, which supposedly contains the air exhaled by legendary American inventor Thomas Edison at the time of death.

In 1931, the famous Creator of the phonograph, movie camera and light bulb died at his home in new Jersey, and when he breathed it’s last, sitting beside the doctor held his mouth open vial, which is then sealed.

Edison’s son Charles probably believed (as the Greeks) that the person’s breath or “pneuma”, is his soul, gave the vial to the storage business partner of his father — the automobile magnate Henry Ford.

The index finger of Pancho Villa

Of course, the craze for the mortal remains of celebrities opens up a wide scope for fraud and trafficking in counterfeit.

In 2011, one of these dubious relics attracted the attention of the public in El Paso, Texas.

Lombard Dave’s put up for sale object, which allegedly was the index finger of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.

During the life of this freedom fighter was known as elusive, and after his death his body continued this proud tradition.

Several people claim that they have kept a bullet through the skull of a folk hero, separated from his body the cemetery thieves in 1926, three years after his death.

Pancho Villa was killed in a shootout during the attack a group of armed men on his car. One local reporter, describing a sale item, gave vent to the imagination, saying that “corrugated and lightly folded” finger visible “strange jagged wound, like he was digging his way out of the grave”.

The owner had not provided any guarantees of the authenticity of the relic, accompanied by her the same tale that she told him seven years before, offering the item as collateral. Since then it’s been five years, but Lombard is still looking for buyers on a dubious finger whose picture is posted on the page in social network Facebook next to the statement that “this pawn shop did not find.”

What causes people to acquire ownership of the mortal remains, reminiscent of the physical existence of other people is a mystery.

Perhaps someone believes that the fragments of another body are the conduits through which there can pass the vital energy.

Perhaps people cling to grim totems in the hope to overcome the finality of death.

As recognized by the optometrist Einstein one journalist in 1994, “while the eyes of a Professor I have kept, his life is not over. Part of him is always with me.”