If you, like thousands of people every year, go visit John F. Kennedy’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery, just know that you aren’t standing on top of all of him. Yes, the body in the grave is missing a key bit: the brain. Even worse, no one actually knows where it is.
So how did someone lose the brain of one of the United States’ most famous and revered presidents? Well, after JFK was assassinated in 1963, his body was autopsied, and the brain was placed in a “a stainless-steel container with a screw-top lid” (via Vanity Fair) which was then “stored in a file cabinet in the office of the Secret Service.” From there, it was placed in a “footlocker” and brought to a “secure room” in the National Archives. This must have made sense to someone. But then, according to James Swanson, author of “End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” “In October 1966, it was discovered that the brain, the tissue slides and other autopsy materials were missing—and they have never been seen since.”
This is obviously a conspiracy theorist’s dream, but Swanson’s reasoning on why the brain disappeared might shock even them. “My conclusion is that Robert Kennedy did take his brother’s brain—not to conceal evidence of a conspiracy but perhaps to conceal evidence of the true extent of President Kennedy’s illnesses, or perhaps to conceal evidence of the number of medications that President Kennedy was taking,” he said.