Brains Stolen, Sold On eBay: Indianapolis Man Steals Brains From Former Mental Hospital, Sells Online
Maybe someone should pitch this to The Walking Dead? An Indianapolis man broke into a museum, repeatedly, to collect the brains of former mental ward patients... and then sold them on eBay. But how, you ask? Why? How many times did he pull this off? And who bought them? Was it zombies?
Well, let's start at the beginning. It seems that 21-year-old David Charles was a bit strapped on cash. So Charles decided the best place to make his fortune would be — where else? — the Internet. Instead of setting up a standard dot-com business, Charles decided to take matters into his own hands... literally. Authorities say Charles repeatedly broke into the Indiana Medical History Museum and stole numerous preserved materials, including — jackpot! — jars of brain tissue.
Then, Charles had another seller put the goods up for sale on eBay.
Oh, and someone bought them.
Six jars of the brains cost a San Diego man $600, plus $70 in shipping. But when he received his brain jars, the buyer had a sneaking suspicion that not all was completely right. He called police to tip them off, and authorities eventually traced the brain matter back to — you guessed it — Charles.
So when the eBay seller met Charles at a Dairy Queen on Dec. 16, police were waiting. After a scuffle, the cops booked Charles on charges of theft, marijuana possession and paraphernalia possession. He'd stolen 60 jars of human tissue just the previous day, according to court documents.
The museum is part of the former Central State Hospital, a mental institution that closed down in 1994. Museum director Mary Ellen Hennessey Nottage expressed horror that some of the human remains, which date back to the 1890s, may have been compromised:
It's horrid anytime a museum collection is robbed. A museum's mission is to hold these materials as cultural and scientific objects in the public interest. To have that disturbed — to have that broken — is extraordinarily disturbing to those of us in the museum field.
And no, eBay does not normally deal in human remains. Though they do still have brains available: The only brain specimens currently on eBay are that of a sheep and a woodchuck (for only $199 — bargain!).
And as for the San Diego man who bought the human brains in the first place? Well, "h e just said he liked to collect odd things."
Suuuure he does.