posted by James Reel
There's a grave-robber on the loose, raiding tombs and stealing the teeth of famous composers, apparently in preparation for opening some sort of dental museum, according to this report from an Austrian newspaper. This sort of thing is not new (aside from the perpetrator's boasting online); the body parts of historical celebrities often have an afterlife of their own. In the 1980s I saw in an English museum what looked like a little scrap of black leather that purported to be Napoleon's penis; this could not have been true, for the emperor's pride is apparently held elsewhere. More reliable are the storied adventures of certain composers' partial remains, including Chopin's heart and Haydn's head. One composer himself was notoriously fond of fondling relics of great men; Anton Bruckner, a very strange man to begin with, had tendencies that stopped a few steps short of necrophilia.