But lecturers at the university hope that Mengele can teach these would-be doctors another valuable lesson: one of ethics. Perhaps by holding the skull of the most evil doctor to have ever lived in their hands, they are reminded how even "physicians, psychiatrists and other leading scientists were in the service of the Reich, lending their knowledge to exclude the ethnic groups classified as belonging to inferior races," said one professor. A noble effort, though probably wasted on a bunch of 22-year-olds on roughly three hours of sleep a day.
Walt Whitman's Brain Was Accidentally Destroyed By Doctors Trying To Study It
Walt Whitman, one of America's greatest poets, has been an inspiration to many authors, artists, and college freshman trying to look smart. Even in death, he inspired one man to record his descent into madness. Why? Because it was Whitman's brain that drove him to it.
At the turn of the previous century, a group of strange individuals calling themselves the American Anthropometric Society, also called the "Brain Club," went around collecting the brains of remarkable people, hoping they might unlock what made these lumps of gray jelly so special. Among the eminent brains were Walt Whitman's, who firmly believed in phrenology and other bumpy pseudo-science. However, in 1907, after being kept in a jar for 15 years at the University of Pennsylvania's Wistar Institute, it was reported that Whitman's brain had been dropped and, according to the five-second rule, rendered unusable. The blame was put on some hapless assistant, and the gray matter remained a stain on the institute's reputation (and its floor).
However, in 2012, it was discovered that it was in truth lead pathologist Dr. Henry Ware Cattell who saw one the greatest minds of his generation destroyed. The confession was found in his diary, which he had kept hidden inside a ledger titled Diseases Of Children (pathologists have a weird sense of normalcy).
While the diary starts out reading like the musings of a particularly boring seven-year-old, in October 1892, two weird entries occur:
Prepare specimens for path. soc. [Pathological Society of Philadelphia]
Followed the day after by:
I am a fool.
It doesn't take the greatest detective to figure out that those two entries may be related. It also happened that Whitman's jellied brain was one of the specimens Cattell was checking up on. From then on, Cattell's entries become increasingly negative, often suicidal, reading like the ramblings of a particularly troubled goth, minus the Evanescence lyrics scrawled on the sides.
Finally, Cattell is finally able to let it all out:
I am a fool, a damnable fool, with no conscious memory, or fitness for any learned position. I left Walt Whitman's brain spoil by not having the jar properly covered.
However, fearing his reputation would be forever ruined, Cattell could do nothing except let Whitman's brain slowly rot for years, hoping no one would find out, until he finally bribed or tricked an assistant into taking the blame.