October 3, 2012 — Anytime I hear phrases like "brain trust" or "think tank" or "meeting of the minds," I automatically think of disembodied brains in jars. That’s just what my own brain likes to do. And now, after visiting the Wilder Brain Collection at Cornell University in Ithaca, I have the perfect mental image to go along with that. There, in Uris Hall, you’ll find eight whole-specimen brains in a glass display case that represent a portion of the 120-year-old Wilder Brain Collection. It was started by a Civil War doctor and it numbered some 600 brains at its height. Each brain on display is from a man or woman preeminent in their fields, including Dr. Wilder himself. Oh, and one murderer.
So eight brains. And one of them is from the skull of a murderer. It's like an Agatha Christie plot, except there are no bodies...
|The brain of the murderer...|
|...and the name of the restaurant downtown |
that's named after him
Read all about my visit to the Wilder Brain Collection in The New York Grimpendium, which is on sale now: