#4. Guy Ben-Ary, Artificial Brain Maker
Guy Ben-Ary is a Los Angeles born scientist-slash-artist now working in Australia. He specializes in microscopy; biological and digital imaging; tissue culture and engineering; and artistic visualization of biological data.
Isn't it interesting how you can strip the horror out of anything with enough technical language?
Let's start with his involvement in the Tissue Sculpture Program, which creates partially organic and partially manufactured objects that blur the boundaries between art and science, not to mention the boundaries between creepy ass horror and a slap to God's bearded face.
We don't know what this is but it's gross.
But that is small stuff as compared to Guy's other projects. He is part of the team developing the so-called Living Screen, a freak show endeavor (hey, their words, not ours) where you can observe "Nano Movies" being projected on living screens made from such lovable materials as mice cornea, blood or skin.
These living screens, which actually have the ability to age and die, react differently to each showing of the movies, which are observed through a projector shaped like a coffin, in case you thought these guys weren't doing this on purpose.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
Guy Ben-Ary is also part of the core group behind the MEART project, which built the first possibly sentient biomechanical entity. By cultivating nerve cells in a laboratory in Atlanta, the MEART team established a connection between their do-it-yourself brain and a mechanical robotic arm in Australia.
The cultivated brain is expanding all the time, learning new things everyday the same as a real brain would. Lately, it actually learned how to draw, and is starting to depict its own unique imagery the artists are calling "art."
Is the MEART entity "alive"? Is it sentient? When will it realize it's just an intelligence using the Internet to occupy a mechanical hardware arm? When will it learn to take over other machines? And most importantly, how in the fuck do we kill it?!
#3. Jose Delgado, Aspiring Supervillian
Dr. Delgado was also a Spanish professor of physiology who actually had to take his MD degree course twice due to the Spanish Civil War, where he served in the medical corps on the Republican side. In 1946, he began a fellowship at Yale University where he joined the department of physiology, studying electrical brain stimulation.
Electrical brain stimulation is just nerd talk for mind control, baby!
Delgado was the man behind the invention of the Stimoceiver, which will be referred to from this point on as the "Brain Fuck Switch." The Brain Fuck Switch was basically a wireless brain stimulator/monitor which worked with a transmitter planted in the head of the "patient." Its job was to send electrical signals to evoke responses in the brain. Dr. Delgado first started with cats, but later moved on to monkeys and even human beings, including mental patients.
The Brain Fuck Switch could basically control behavior and stimulate any emotion the good doctor wanted, be it pleasant sensations, odd feelings or even visions. Yes, he was an aspiring Batman villain.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
To truly prove he was mad scientist material, Delgado went to a Cordoba and stood in front of a charging angry bull. Well, that took care of the madness part, but he was also smart enough to previously install the transmitter in the animal's head. In mid-charge, the Brain Fuck Switch was activated and the ferocious animal simply stopped in its tracks and mellowed out.
You may be asking, why didn't Dr. Delgado retire to a private island, build a fortress shaped like a skull and construct a massive transmitter that would have the whole world doing his bidding? He could put all of our brains under his control and we wouldn't even know it.
The answer to that question is, of course: How do you know he didn't?
#2. Sergei S. Bryukhonenko, Zombie Dog Inventor
Dr. Bryukhonenko was a Soviet scientist during the Stalin era, and is credited as the inventor of the first primitive heart-lung machine called the autojektor. The machine was used to help perform the first Soviet open heart surgery.
He was also one of the heads of the Research Institute of Experimental Surgery. A Soviet experimental surgeon? Why, how could this possibly turn into unthinkable horror?
It is very important to understand what a heart-lung machine is supposed to do: to sustain life through artificial means. So the only logical way to test such a machine would be to transplant some life out of a living creature, which is just our way of saying, "Sergei killed aloooot of dogs."
With time, his research lab was filled with hundreds of dead Lassies, Old Yellers, Rin Tin Tins and... that's all the famous dogs we remember.
In a series of.... no wait, we got one more! Benji! He was kinda famous, right? Anyway, in a series of experiments some would describe as revolutionary and others as "OH MY GOD, NO!" Sergei started to cut out the canine's organs, hook them up to his machine, and keep them alive outside the body.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
Sergei's most famous experiment, however, was the video documented "Dog's Head." In it, a freshly severed dog's head was placed on the table and connected to Sergei's Genesis Machine (fueled by the sorrow of orphans). The machine brought the head back to life. Fully responsive.
For the sake of future audiences, the ghoulish screams of sadness and terror from both the audience and the dog were edited out, or so we assume.
The living head responded fully to various outside stimuli and even accepted a treat from the staff... which in a cartoonish fashion fell out right behind it. Of course creating living heads is pure mad scientist territory, but you know what would make it even better/creepier? If Sergei created zombie dogs. Like he totally did.
#1. Robert J. White, Brain Transplant Specialist
Dr. Robert J. White is an American surgeon famed for his expertise in the field of transplantology. His years of research into the human nervous system and the brain lead to the discovery of a spinal cord cooling process used by almost all medical institutions today.
He is retired now, but for over 40 years he was a neurological surgery professor for Case Western Reserve University medical school where... oh who are we kidding, you don't care about this, right? Let's just get to...
In 1962, Dr. White was the first person to succeed in removing the brain of a dog and keeping it alive outside the body. The canine gray blob was hooked up to a brain wave monitor which proved that, yes, it was still active and full of thoughts. Whether the thoughts were centered around confused panic and pleas to kill it remain unverified though implied.
Then, in 1964, Dr. White further succeeded in freaking out everyone around him by transplanting the brain of one dog into the neck of another. Silly doctor, brains go in the skull, not the neck. He must have been quite embarrassed when that was pointed out to him.
While the experiment proved that an alien brain can be kept alive in a host's body, unfortunately it did not create a dog smart enough to write Internet comedy.
Our retirement plan.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
In the 70s, after a series of experiments, White succeeded in transplanting the head of one monkey onto the body of another one. Take a moment to let that sink in. OK, the monkey only lived for a few days, but since then White has repeated his experiment, proving that his monkey heads could basically survive indefinitely with its new host body. Too bad he had to euthanize them because they were all paralyzed.
Unfortunately, all of you who were just packing to stalk Vin Diesel's apartment in hopes of wearing him like a new suit, please, put the syringes and saws down.
Modern medicine is still unable to repair nerve damage resulting from severing the spinal cord during the transplant, so all of the monkeys from the experiments ended up paralyzed from the neck down. BUT, if you feel the life of a quadriplegic is a small price to pay to have girls all over your (totally unresponsive) Vin Diesel junk, Dr. White was kind enough to provide a step-by-step guide for you.
If you haven't grabbed your torch and pitchforks yet to hunt down some scientists, then read The 5 Scientific Experiments Most Likely to End the World and Science is a Dick: The 5 Most Evil Robots Ever Invented.
And check out Cracked.com's Top Picks to discover how we're working to combine all our columnists into one super dick-joke writing machine.