The mystery of the missing brains at the University of Texas has been solved — sort of.
The Inquisitr brought you the news Wednesday morning of 100 brains missing from the University of Texas at Austin lab, where they had been shipped from the Austin State Mental Hospital for storage and research three decades ago.
The brains have been found — but there is a bit of a twist to the story. They aren’t where anyone thought they might be, and the brain that generated so much attention isn’t among them.
Thirty years ago 200 brains, many of which had physical deformities or had been removed from deceased mental patients, had reportedly had been stored in the basement of the school’s Animal Resource Center.
Faculty at the university noticed in the 1990s that about half the brains were missing and nobody knew what had happened to them. But the story didn’t receive any media attention, according to the Age, until a book titled Malformed: Forgotten Brains of the Texas State Mental Hospital was published earlier this week.
When it was revealed that the brain of the infamous Austin bell tower sniper Charles Whitman was among those missing, the media jumped on the story. All of that attention helped locate the brains, though in a roundabout way.
After the news of the missing brains broke on Wednesday morning, a professor at the Austin school told the Los Angeles Times that the brains had been mistakenly shipped to the University of Texas at San Antonio.
However, a few hours later, school officials there denied ever receiving the brains, saying that perhaps they went to a separate facility at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. A spokesman at the health center said they were investigating to see if they brains where there. Soon after, the investigation came full circle, and the Austin school issued a statement finally solving the decades old mystery of the missing brains.
“A preliminary university investigation has revealed that UT environmental health and safety officials disposed of multiple brain specimens in approximately 2002 in accordance with protocols concerning biological waste.”
“This occurred prior to the renovation of the Animal Resources Center, where the specimens had been stored in a secure location. We believe the workers disposed of between 40 and 60 jars, some of which contained multiple human brains, and worked with a biological waste contractor to do so safely.”
In other words, the brains had been destroyed because they weren’t considered usable for research.
Now for the big question. Was Charles Whitman’s brain among the ones destroyed then?
“There is no evidence we ever received Whitman’s brain,” UT spokesman Gary Susswein said.
So the mystery still remains — did the school lose Whitman’s brain, or did they ever have it?
[Image via Grimm-Life Collective]