Ummmm, where did these 100 human brains go?
Find out what the town is talking about below...
For the past three decades, the University of Texas at Austin has been the home of around 200 human brain specimens. It was recently discovered about half of the brains are missing.
The brains came from the Austin State Hospital, once known as the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, in 1986. Now stored in a lab belonging to UT Professor Tim Schallert, the brains were collected by asylum doctor Coleman de Chenar from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Each brain is in its own jar, labeled with a case number that corresponded to files at the hospital that were likely destroyed long ago.
But one brain, supposedly among the malformed and discolored specimens in Schallert's collection, was that of Charles Whitman, who shot and killed 16 people from the UT Tower in 1966 before being killed by police. Whitman left a note in which he admitted to violent feelings he knew weren't normal, and asked for his brain to be examined by a pathologist.
Whitman's brain is one of approximately half the collection that has disappeared over the past quarter century.
"We think somebody may have taken the brains, but we don't know at all for sure," Schallert told the Austin American-Statesman.
Schallert discovered that 100 brains had vanished after photographer Adam Voorhies and journalist Alex Hannaford approached him, interested in tracing the history of the collection. Their book, Malformed: Forgotten Brains of the Texas State Mental Hospital, is out this week, and will contain the history -- as best as it can be traced -- and images of the remaining specimens.
With the collection receiving renewed attention, UT said it's investigating how the brains may have disappeared.
"We are committed to treating the brain specimens with respect and are disheartened to learn that some of them may be unaccounted for," the university said in a statement.
"The university plans to investigate the circumstances surrounding this collection since it came here nearly 30 years ago."
Schubert says it's possible the brains had been loaned out over the years, and misplaced, or perhaps stolen by students looking to play pranks.
But for now, the missing brains remain a mystery.