Stephane Gabet, a TV production company journalist, went fishing around the attic of retired tax collector Jacques Bellanger and pulled out the 400-year-old head of a French monarch. That's right: Where us common folk might stash the occasional broken vacuum cleaner or embarrassing Beanie Baby collection up our house's shame-hole, Jacques haphazardly stowed and then promptly forgot about the head of King Henry IV, who ruled France until his death in 1610.
As unbelievable as that sounds, scientists were able to verify that the skull belonged to King Henry IV based on a dark lesion above the right nostril, a healed bone fracture above the jaw that matched a stab wound he received during an assassination attempt in 1594, and the fact that the entire skull was wrapped in a breakfast croissant and an indefinable air of haughtiness.
"Why did I eat the croissant?"
The entire timeline of how the head wound up in Bellanger's attic is still a partial mystery. However, we do know that 183 years after the king's assassination, royalist-hating revolutionaries (or perhaps just thorough, if not very punctual, zombie hunters) ransacked Henry's grave and lopped his head clean off. Then, in the early 1900s, a French couple purchased the head from an auction house. Finally, in 1955, Bellanger bought it from the couple for 5,000 francs ... aaand proceeded to chuck it into his attic behind a broken chair and a box of old electric bills.