Brain Drain: Charley Whitman’s brain is missing!

Most of you won’t remember Charley Whitman’s shooting spree off the Texas Tower.  And most of you also won’t remember Kinky Friedman’s song about it.

Hells bells, most of you aren’t going to be impressed the ex-Marine, ex-Eagle Scout’s brain is wandering around somewhere unaccounted for.    We’re not talking about Dr. Wossname, Frankenscense here.  These are the times that clone men’s souls if we don’t keep close track of where they get off to.

Leave it to the University of Texas to lose the only brain with any historical significance ever to set foot on the damned campus:

About 100 brains missing from University of Texas

Associated Press
6 hrs ago
The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde. © Nick Koudis/Getty The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde. The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde.

One of the missing brains is believed to have belonged to clock tower sniper Charles Whitman.

“We think somebody may have taken the brains, but we don’t know at all for sure,” psychology Professor Tim Schallert, co-curator of the collection, told the Austin American-Statesman ( ).

His co-curator, psychology Professor Lawrence Cormack, said, “It’s entirely possible word got around among undergraduates and people started swiping them for living rooms or Halloween pranks.”

The Austin State Hospital had transferred the brains to the university about 28 years ago under a “temporary possession” agreement. Schallert said his psychology lab had room for only 100 brains, so the rest were moved to the basement of the university’s Animal Resources Center.

“They are no longer in the basement,” Cormack said.

The university said in a statement that it will investigate “the circumstances surrounding this collection since it came here nearly 30 years ago” and that it’s “committed to treating the brain specimens with respect.” It says the remaining brain specimens on campus are used “as a teaching tool and carefully curated by faculty.”

The university’s agreement with the hospital required the school to remove any data that might identify the person from whom the brain came. However, Schallert said Whitman’s brain likely was part of the collection.

“It would make sense it would be in this group. We can’t find that brain,” he said.

Whitman’s 1966 rampage at the University of Texas killed 16 people, including his mother and wife.

The 100 remaining brains at the school have been moved to the Norman Hackerman Building, where they are being scanned with high-resolution resonance imaging equipment, Cormack said.

“These MRI images will be both useful teaching and research tools. It keeps the brains intact,” he told the newspaper.

A brain, though, is a terrible thing to waste.  Hopefully someone out there will make better use of this one than the last two owners.

Old Jules



12 responses to “Brain Drain: Charley Whitman’s brain is missing!

  1. I could use a few more brains. Maybe the guy who took them will put a few on the market. . .

  2. Surely if they Google Image search “brain in a jar” they will find most of them. Becuause while I would also love to own a brain in a jar, I’ve got enough in my own head not to steal one. Can’t help but think these folks brag. Be an interesting project to search them out, anyway?

    • Hi heretherebespiders. I’m betting you’re right. EBay might also be a good spot. Imagine, Charlie Whitman’s Brain for $124 plus shipping. I’d chop it up into small pieces and give it a try if I came by it. In small enough pieces a person could make a killing. Gracias, J

  3. I think maybe a few of the professors own brains were amongst that collection.. poor fella.. someone is using his brain as a halloween prank.. Only in America!. c

    • Hi cecilia. Yeah, but on reflection it might make for a nice commercial venture. No way to know without putting a piece of it up on EBay and see how high the bids go. Gracias, J

  4. Hook em Horns! I know the Kinkster’s song. He came to Manchester and asked for requests – we had him sing the Ride em Jewboy song – brilliant in a small room very intimate and moving. I wasn’t there for the Texas Tower shooting or the response to Kinky’s song but as a slightly bolshy Brit it has always amused me and amazed me that a Texan could be so daring.

    • Hi Memoirsofahusk: Yeah, I told him once I believed Ridem Jewboy to be one of the best CW songs of the 20th Century. But I think he was too drunk to understand what I was saying. He did have a lot of good songs. I used to think of him every time I drove by the Take it Easy Trailer Park in Kerrville, Texas. I hope the Kinkster’s found peace with himself. He had a long way to go. Gracias, J

  5. There’s also the Peter Bogdanovich movie about it, the last onscreen appearance by Boris Karloff. Brain drain indeed.

  6. Targets, I think it’s the name. thx

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