4 Famous People That Were Missing Some Body Parts When Buried

By: Lydia Iseh | Last updated: Oct 05, 2023

If you take a trip through history, you’ll discover that peculiar and bewildering practices have always encompassed death and burial. One bizarre occurrence during this process is some of the most illustrious figures being laid to rest while missing significant parts of their bodies. 

Some of these people had one of their body parts removed or stolen by people or institutions. Others had illnesses and accidents that necessitated the removal of these parts. Let’s have a look at some of these fascinating stories.

The Fearless Stonewall Jackson: Buried Without His Arm

Confederate General Thomas Jackson earned his nickname by exhibiting unwavering bravery atop his horse. During battles, he sat astride his horse like an immovable fortress while bullets whizzed around him. However, this audacious demeanor led to his end. 


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Unfortunately, Jackson sustained a grievous arm injury in a friendly fire incident at the Battle of Chancellorsville. His wounded arm had to be amputated. Sadly, the indomitable Stonewall lost his final battle to pneumonia eight days later. He was laid to rest without his arm in Lexington, Virginia.

Napoleon: Buried Without His Genitals

The morning after the exiled Napoleon died, doctors carried out an autopsy in front of curious onlookers, including a priest named Ange Vignali. The priest allegedly took home a peculiar souvenir. 


Source: Horace Vernet/Wikimedia Commons

Passed down through generations, the artifact claimed to be Napoleon’s genitals was eventually sold in 1916. The authenticity of this artifact remains a mystery. This extraordinary piece is said to presently be in the possession of an American urologist.

The Tale of Oliver Cromwell's Unsettling After-Death Trial

Oliver Cromwell was once a leader of England who contributed to the execution of King Charles I. Cromwell’s demise came in 1658, only to be met with a twisted fate later—the restored English monarchy, seeking vengeance, exhumed his lifeless body.


Source: Robert Walker/Wikimedia Commons

The monarchy ruthlessly hanged his corpse before callously dumping it into an unmarked grave. The body laid to rest in in the grave lacked his head— it was displayed on a pole above Westminster Hall for two unsettling decades.

Galileo Galilei: Buried Without His Bones

Fearless astronomer Galileo Galilei’s proclamation that the planets revolve around the sun rather than the Earth led the Church to try and torture him. To avoid the clutches of torture, he swiftly recanted his revolutionary views.


Source: João/Pinterest

When he passed on, the Church dumped his remains behind the Santa Croce chapel in Florence. However, Galileo was granted a proper resting place within the chapel when the Church decided to bury what was left of him in 1737. However, three workers took some bones away.