One of the most wonderful things of the internet is that you can use it (the wiki pages) to zap from one interesting subject to another interesting subject. You start at an interesting page and within no-time via all kinds of sublinks you’ll see a totally different subject. I just love bizarre information or subjects that involve the madness or the inabilities of the human race. Some of the stories are so strange they just cannot be made-up.

This time I’d like to talk about the human obsession for brains. How did I come up with this subject ?

RAFBrains of the R.A.F.

A long time ago I had a book called ‘het aanzien van 1975’ (translated from Dutch: ‘ regarding 1975’ ). This book was a collection of all kinds of press photos and short stories of stuff that happened in 1975. At that time there were a lot of leftwing terror groups still active. Groups like the ‘ Rote Armee Fraktion (the Red Army Faction). In ‘het aanzien van 1975’  were scattered through the book some pictures of R.A.F. sympathizers and  photographs of the hijacking of the German embassy in Stockholm. The whole R.A.F. commotion was something far away for me personally. I think it is something the Netherlands have more or less forgotten. Forgotten until the film  ‘der Baader-Meinhof Komplex’ premiered in 2008. In november of that year there was a special public interview with one of the original members of the group, Dellwo, in the LUX theater in Nijmegen.Opponents of the R.A.F. were furious, because this interview would surely be glorifying terrorism. A co-worker of my father once told him that his brother was killed by members of the R.A.F. This fact and the commotion because of the interview made me search for more information about the R.A.F.  What were these people up to and what did they really want ? I got more than I bargained for.

This text is not specifically about the workings and doings of the R.A.F. (Please see the film of see the wiki-page). In short; the R.A.F. was a sort of leftish guerilla/terrorist group against the establishment. The were supported by the enemies of the West (i.e. Eastern Germany, Cuba and the palestinians). It was a very painful situation for Germany because it was very difficult to get a hold on this group (it was fighting a guerilla war and there were some supporters among the German people). In the end four of the most important heads of the group were arrested; Matthias Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, Jan Carl Raspe and Gudrun Ensslin. At the 9th of may 1976 Ulrike Meinhof supposedly committed suicide. If she really did remains a mystery.

The first autopsy report stated it was supposedly a case of suicide. At a second autopsy lots of evidence was suddenly missing. Bizarrely also the brains of the deceased were missing. After the three other members of the R.A.F. committed ‘suicide’, their brains were also removed from the corpses. Perhaps they wanted to find out what was wrong with these people ? When the daughter of Ulrike Meinhof found out that the brains of her mother were kept in a jar in some closet she had to fight the government fiercely to get them back. The brains were buried with the rest of the remains in 2002. The location of the three other brains are unknown. Even more bizarre is the fact that three sets of death masks were made of the three other members by a former SS doctor. These were souvenirs(!) for the police officer whom pursued the group at the time.

Removing brains…Death Masks…We are talking about the late 70’s!


Brains for science.

Another set of brains that have been removed from the corpse were Einsteins brains. After his death in 1955 his brains were removed. The doctor who did this supposedly would have had permission from Einsteins son (on behalf of scientific purposes). Before his death Einstein had stated that he wished to be cremated after Einsteindeath including the brains! The doctors hoped to find the secret of his genius inside his brains. The autopsy would reveal that specific areas in the brain were missing. If this really is the secret to Einsteins genius is questionable. Today we know that research at time was performed poorly. During research parts of the brain were missing or destroyed. Pieces of the brain are now being displayed at the Mütter-museum in Philadelphia. Strangely enough I couldn’t find any information if the relatives would want the brains back.

Brains as an omelet.

A small piece of text about other lovers of brains. No not zombies yet. I am talking about the old Egyptians. When they embalmed a corpse, pieces of the body like entrails and lungs were removed. The method of removing the brains from the body was especially disgusting. They shoved a special hook through the nose. This hook looked like a skewer used for making kebab with a small hook at the end.

By means of beating up the brains with the hook pieces of brains were removed via the nose. Resin and wine was poured in the nose to remove the last remnants of brain tissue. The resin sealed off the skull from the inside. That’s a way of using wine I didn’t know before! Specific parts of the body (stomach, lungs) were kept in special containers. I was not able to find out if they also kept the brains. Because of the hard-handed method of removing the brains my guess is they didn’t. When embalming the old Egyptians were not very subtle. When X-raying mummies, scientists fund out that the enbalmers sometimes broke the legs of a corpse just to make the body fit in in the coffin (!).

Brains for diner.

Now I am going to tell you about zombies. In some zombie films zombies ars, in spite of being dead, able to speak. The most well-known phrase is ‘brains!!!’ . Zombies calling for brains seems to be a quite recent development. The film ‘ return of the Living  Dead’  premiered in 1985. This film has absolutely nothing to do with the famous zombie films of George A. Romero but is worth watching anyway.

I’ll summarize the meager storyline of this film: A few amateurish employees work at a firm that deals in biological specimens for school, universities etc. During mucking about in the cellar they are able to open up a metal container which -of course- contains 1) a zombie 2) a gas that makes dead stuff alive again. All kinds of stuff in the storage room is alive again and moves. To hide their mistake the employees burn the stuff in a oven of a near-by crematory (next to the crematory is a graveyard). Smoke from the oven sets on the graves of the cemetery. Now the shit really hits the fan. The employees and some local punk kids (who were having a party at the cemetery) find themselves in the crematory while besieged by hordes of zombies who scream for ‘brains’. Police officers and ambulance employees who come to the rescue are relieved of their juicy brains. The funniest moment in the film is when we find out that the zombies are able to say much more than just ‘ brains’ . A zombie simply orders more food by using a police radio as he asks ‘ sent more cops!’  From that moment on you know that mankind must be doomed…



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