Morally wrong, but scientifically fascinating.

Came across this story on

Seems that in the 1920’s, Russian scientist Sergei Brukhonenko created a device called the “autojector” that he was able to use to keep a head alive without the presence of a body. In this case, the head of a dog. Now, I’m not saying this is a morally acceptable thing to do – I disagree with it myself – but from a scientific standpoint the article is fascinating. Remember, this was the 1920’s, and tefal-heads could get away with all kinds of crazy shit.

Whilst it is commonly thought (although still the subject of scientific dispute) that the brain continues to live for at least a couple of minutes after decapitation providing there is no significant violent trauma to the brain case (as there is in hanging or violent decapitation), and that the facial muscles can still operate almost as normal, it’s kind of scary to consider a head (or brain) being kept alive for an indeterminate period once the body is gone.

It has been observed that following death by guillotine, the heads of the victims would often continue to blink or show expression when called by name (as in the execution of Henri Languille in 1905). We all think that decapitation is a quick way to go, but in fact it is pretty nasty – after all, simply cutting all the connections doesn’t always stop the brain working, it may only merely cut off the blood and oxygen supply. In theory, decapitation isn’t death by massive trauma, but death by asphyxiation (although, to be fair, it should be pointed out that it is also thought by many that the sudden loss of cranial blood pressure may render the victim unconscious pretty quickly)

But I digress. To the article at hand: Brukhonenko connected the severed head of a dog to his “autojector”, replacing the blood and oxygen supply, and demonstrated that he was able to keep the head alive. It was able to respond to stimuli, and as the film shows, able to move its eyes, mouth and tongue as normal.

I’m not 100% convinced that this film is real – after all, when the hammer is struck against the table, the dog moves its head as if to get away, but without the relevant neck muscles I’m not sure exactly how it could do that. Also, although the cheesy voice-over sounds convincingly old, the music seems a little too modern. I’m sorely tempted to call fake on this, but at the same time, whether it is real or not, it certainly raises some interesting (and disturbing) questions.

Anyway, enough with the spooky weird stories…back to the normal offbeat shit.


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