History of the World: Roaming Body Parts


As we approach the release date of The Mental Floss History of the World—our first hardcover book—we'll be highlighting some of our favorite stories here on the blog. Today's post is not for the squeamish. If you prefer body parts to stay in the body proper, well, you might want to skip this one.

Louis XVII's heart

heart /

Napoleon's penis

Urban legend? Nope, it's probably true. According to Napoleon's servant Ali, he and a priest named Vignali removed certain bits and pieces of the Little Corporal during his 1821 autopsy. Vignali's descendants sold all of the "souvenirs" he look from Napoleon, including his little corporal which was described as "one inch long and resembling a grape". Fittingly, a urologist bought it in 1977, for the bargain-basement price of $3,000. You would think that a urologist might want to put it on display, but Dr. Lattimer's intent was really quite the opposite: he felt like Napoleon's penis was being ridiculed and he wanted to put a stop to it. Once the penis came into his possession, he refused to let anyone see it.

It's the greatest deal in the history of history books! Our first hardback, The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through History's Best Bits, hits stores later this month, and we're so excited that we've teamed up with the fine folks at Amazon.com to give you a special deal. Pre-order the book before October 27th and we'll throw in 6 FREE MONTHS of mental_floss magazine! Just click here to get the deal now. For more about the book, check out our FAQ.