Brains Missing From University of Texas

Brains
100 brains have gone missing from the University of Texas, Austin Campus. CNN reports that the school is unaware whether or not they have been stolen or if the incident is just some kind of prank being played on the school. There were more than 200 of the organs stored in glass jars of formaldehyde across campus. Approximately half of them were stored in the psychology department and the other half were kept in storage in the basement of the school.

The organs were transferred to the Texas College 28 years ago from the Texas State Hospital, formerly known as the Texas State Lunatic Asylum. The brains were lent to the college under a temporary possession agreement; therefore, making the college responsible for the safety and accountability for them. Before the organs were transferred, there was a “battle of the brains,” a fight over which college would get to temporarily hold the organs. Among those colleges were Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Texas fighting for the rights to house the brains on a temporary basis.

Since the brains have arrived at the Texas University, they have been used as tools in research and teaching students. There were specific guidelines that were pre-determined by the state hospital and the college in order for the college to use the brains as tools in their teachings. One of these guidelines included that all labeling materials that could identify the patient or owner of the organ to be removed. This has made it very difficult to determine exactly which brains have gone missing from the collection.

One of the brains that is thought to have went missing from the Texas University was that of a well-known criminal, Charles Whitman. Whitman was a 25-year-old ex-marine who went on a killing spree in 1966. Whitman, after having continuous fits of anger, went on a killing rampage. First, he went to his estranged mother’s home, not far from his own home, and shot and stabbed her. He left a note explaining his reasons, stating that he was truly sorry for his act but that he could see no other way to end her sufferings.

Whitman then went to his home that he shared with his wife and stabbed her multiple times, leaving her for dead. As with his mother, he left a note attempting to explain himself. That note stated that he was sorry for his actions, that he loved her dearly, and that he could not explain any reasons for his actions. Whitman would then go to the Texas University, climb up into the clock tower while shooting two guards along the way. He then began a random shooting spree among the students and teachers below. By the end of his rampage, 14 people would be pronounced dead and 30 more wounded.

Whitman was shot and killed by police a little less than two hours after the shooting spree had begun. Later, authorities would come to find written requests in Whitman’s belongings stating that he wanted to have his brain researched and studied by pathologists. After careful determination, Whitman’s brain would be determined by the University to be one of the brains that has gone missing. The Texas University is very saddened at the realization of the missing brains and says that they are dedicated to doing all that they can to be sure that they are able to recover the missing brains.

By Kelli Patterson

Sources:
The Atlantic
My San Antonio
Chron
CBS News
USA Today
Biography
Photo courtesy of GreenFlames09’s Flickr Page- Flickr License

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