Wednesday, June 9
The Straight Dope: Does the head remain briefly conscious after decapitation?: "In one early series of experiments, an anatomist claimed that decapitated heads reacted to stimuli, with one victim turning his eyes toward a speaker 15 minutes after having been beheaded. (Today we know brain death would have occurred long before.) In 1836 the murderer Lacenaire agreed to wink after execution. He didn't. Attempts to elicit a reaction from the head of the murderer Prunier in 1879 were also fruitless. The following year a doctor pumped blood from a living dog into the head of the murderer and rapist Menesclou three hours after execution. The lips trembled, the eyelids twitched, and the head seemed about to speak, although no words emerged. In 1905 another doctor claimed that when he called the name of the murderer Languille just after decapitation, the head opened its eyes and focused on him."