College Students Used Jeremy Bentham's Head For Pranks
Jeremy Bentham was an Enlightenment philosopher best remembered for the theory of Utilitarianism and naming his cat the Reverend Sir John Langbourne. One of those is obviously far more important than the other, though which that might be is entirely up to you (it's the latter). He was a man of strong convictions and foresight, so when he decided that his taxidermied corpse should be put on display in a wooden box at a local university, his insane wishes were followed to the letter.
But instead of being treated like a dignified decaying statue that would inspire students and teachers alike, Bentham became the world's most morbid college mascot. His remains were preserved and displayed sitting down in a wooden case called an "auto-icon." His head, however, wound up looking too ghoulish to keep atop his body, so it was replaced with a creepy wax replica, while the real head was plopped on the floor.
Michael Reeve/Wikimedia Commons
Which must have put a damper on his active postmortem party lifestyle.
And that wasn't the greatest indignity zombie Bentham had to endure. During his undead tenure at University College London, students began a long and storied tradition of stealing his noggin and taking it on disrespectful adventures. Some used it to play soccer on the quad. Others carried it all the way to a train station in Aberdeen, Scotland, where it was found stuffed in a luggage locker. And like any school pet, Benthy's head was once kidnapped by a rival, King's College London (Go Royals!) and held for ransom.
Ethan Doyle White/Wikimedia Commons
You'd look this bad too if people had played kick-ups with your face.
School administrators eventually had to hide the head in an undisclosed location for fear of theft and possible hackeysacking.
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