Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Weirdest Wills
Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham
Born in 1748, Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher, jurist and social reformer. An early exponent of utilitarianism and the benefits of public education, Bentham's ideas and writings were seminal in the establishment in 1826 of London University, today University College London, the first English university to admit students without regard to race, sex or religion. Upon Bentham's death in June 1832, his body was preserved as requested in his will. Bentham wished to be embalmed, dressed, and placed in his chair "in the attitude in which I am sitting when engaged in thought." The body remains on display in a glass case at the University College London. Because Bentham's head was damaged during preservation, it is stored separately, and the body was fitted with a wax replica. For the college's 100th and 150th anniversaries, Bentham's remains were brought to sit at the meeting of the College Council. He was listed as "present but not voting."
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