friendly reminder that my university uses the taxidermied body of its founder as the chief librarian so every time i swipe my card to sit in the library and study he’s just sat in his glass cabinet following me w his sunken glass eyes like he knows i still have fines overdue

incase anyone thot i was kidding….like i know it was his own dying wish but someone shoulda said no….

he also attends meetings 

oh it’s okay; that’s not his real head. it’s wax. you’re not actually seeing any of his body

Oh man, so, this is Jeremy Bentham. Jeremy sodding Bentham, architect of my earliest night frights. This bastard, this walnut-headed corpse, made me afraid to turn my night-light off for months. And I don’t even go here.

Things you need to know about this whole bloody farce:

  • firstly, as some people have pointed out, he’s not exactly in the library, which is probably for the best, because that honestly just hands students an excuse not to go to the library on a plate. “Sorry I didn’t do the reading, but Jeremy fucking Bentham was staring into my frightened soul again.” Universities rely on students not dropping out because they’re too afraid to study under the watchful eye of an eldritch abomination, so he’s in the cloister, apparently. Not that that’s much better.
  • secondly, no, that is not his real head. Don’t panic. You aren’t staring into the sunken eyes of a corpse. Instead, you’re staring into the sunken eyes of an eerily lifelike wax head, deliberately coloured so as to give the pallor of death and mummification which, as I’m sure we can all agree, is just fine. Why mummification, you ask?
  • well, because Jeremy Bentham was a bit weird, all things considered. From the age of 21, Bentham had bequeathed his body to be dissected by a family friend, which honestly is not what I’d personally use my illustrious family connections for, but that’s fine. This pal ultimately died before Bentham did, so Bentham’s dissection was carried out by his philosophical disciple, Thomas Southwood Smith. Bentham also instructed Smith to create an ‘auto icon’ of his body, which is a fancy way of saying ‘put me in a goddamn glass box and make me look as not-dead as possible’. This was to consist of his skeleton, padded out with hay and dressed in his favourite gladrags, and his actual mummified head, which was to be mummified so as to resemble Bentham as he was when he lived. However:
  • Bentham, although probably not ever in line to become the 6th member of One Direction, did not look like a raisin. His mummified head, though? Oh boy. Oh boy, did Smith fuck that up. He was something of a maverick, and decided to mummify Bentham’s head based on practices perfected by indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Those practitioners had had centuries to perfect their art. Smith did not. The end result is honestly too creepy for me to post here, but needless to say, it did not look like Bentham did in life. Unless Bentham looked like a shrunken prune with wispy white hair, anyway.
  • for a long time, Bentham’s body was displayed with the skeleton and wax head making up his ‘auto icon’, with his real head in a box by his feet. A side note here: I once saw a photo of this as a kid and it gave me nightmares for about 6 months. Howevs, Bentham is on display at a university, so you know what that means. Yes, it means that students kept stealing the head as a fun prank. Let me repeat that: for a jovial funtime goof, teens stole the disembodied, shrivelled skull of the father of modern utilitarianism. Which is fine.
  • the only real parts of Bentham in that figure now are his hair, which they took from the skull, and his skeleton. Not that that makes it any less creepy, but this is essentially a headless classroom skeleton in a fancy padded outfit with a wax head. Writing it out, that kind of makes it worse.
  • the real head is now locked away, ostensibly so that students can’t keep terrifying their flatmates with it by using it as the world’s most haunting Scream mask, but probably in reality just to stop the fucking nightmares.
  • except it’s about to go on display again, so run for the hills, I guess.

@peachdoxie @kingofthewilderwest

Hey quick question but why did you tag me in this? Not because I have a problem with that, but how did you know that I would find such a thing fascinating that I was already planning to reblog it even BEFORE seeing the tag?

Because who wouldn’t find this fascinating? Also academic wax librarian!

True true

Hey quick question but what the FUCK

Um wait guys you missed the part about how some wannabe prankster students in 1975 stole his head and actually held it for ransom, in the name of utilitarianism. They said they wouldn’t give it back until the university gave £100 to charity, because that would benefit the many.

(The University counter-offered £10, which the thieves caved into, presumably because the shrunken head was fucking weird)

🎵Bentham’s head🎵

Thank god someone linked to Caitlin’s video. 

I will embed it here:

The “Bentham’s Head!” sound effect is available as a download in the Youtube comments for your text messaging delight.



anyone else that grew up with abusive parents now have the bizarre experience of them acting like they never pulled half the shit they did? The few times I’ve tried to tell my mom why I need distance from her, and why things were so hard for me as a kid was because of some of the awful shit she said to me (actually shit she said to me as a young adult too, but nonetheless, anything that happened 5+ years ago) and she just replied “I would NEVER say that to you!!” and then I wanted to bring up the times she was physically abusive but its seems obvious where that conversation would go as well.

In her mind she was nothing but a perfect well meaning mom that had to deal with an unruly teenage daughter and I really don’t expect to ever get that validation from her that she hurt me like that or whatever…

But I’m wondering how common this is? Anyone else have this experience?

Absolutely. I started trying to have conversations with my parents in the 7th grade about their abuse. I didn’t consider it abuse at the time and never called it that to their face, but I would ask them to talk to me differently, making a point to explain how their treatment made me feel depressed and lowered my self esteem. I would give examples of how they contradicted themselves, treated me as if I couldn’t be trusted, or punished me for minor things I often couldn’t control.

They even expressed remorse at the time (usually in the vein of “I’m sorry you feel that way,” not real apologies), but whenever I would bring it up again (because the abuse never actually stopped), they would act like it was the first time they’d heard of it. The most recent big argument we had was after I graduated from college. I was telling them how much I struggled with my mental health and described how I was attempting to find another psych since I couldn’t be covered by school insurance anymore. They acted as though they were flabbergasted I had been this miserable throughout school, despite having demanded Skype calls with me all through my college career where almost every single call I told them how awful I felt.

They’ve continued this pattern for almost eleven years now, claiming every time I bring up their bad behavior that they had “No clue you felt this way!” Even now they think they were good parents who did the best they could with what they had, and any evidence to the contrary ends in them telling me how selfish and ungrateful I am for the sacrifices they had to make.