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Old 10-05-2007, 04:22 PM   #1
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Present but not voting

Talk about doing something weird with your corpse.

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Jeremy Bentham is frequently associated with the foundation of the University of London, specifically University College London (UCL), though in fact he was 78 years old when UCL opened in 1826, and played no active part in its establishment. However, it is likely that without his inspiration, UCL would not have been created when it was. Bentham strongly believed that education should be more widely available, particularly to those who were not wealthy or who did not belong to the established church, both of which were required of students by Oxford and Cambridge. As UCL was the first English university to admit all, regardless of race, creed, or political belief, it was largely consistent with Bentham's vision, and he oversaw the appointment of one of his pupils, John Austin, as the first Professor of Jurisprudence in 1829.

As requested in his will, his body was preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet, termed his "Auto-icon". Originally kept by his disciple Dr. Southwood Smith,[7] it was acquired by University College London in 1850. The Auto-Icon is kept on public display at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building of the College. For the 100th and 150th anniversaries of the college, the Auto-Icon was brought to the meeting of the College Council, where he was listed as "present but not voting"[8]. Tradition holds that if the council's vote on any motion is tied, the auto-icon always breaks the tie by voting in favor of the motion.

The Auto-Icon has always had a wax head, as Bentham's head was badly damaged in the preservation process. The real head was displayed in the same case for many years, but became the target of repeated student pranks including being stolen on more than one occasion. It is now locked away securely.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:27 PM   #2
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That is just plain creepy.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:54 PM   #3
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How is that any creepier than letting someone rot away inside an underground box?
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by joepole View Post
How is that any creepier than letting someone rot away inside an underground box?
LOL, because you don't have to see them rot and decay when they are underground in a box But other than that, I guess it's the same thing.
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Old 10-06-2007, 11:13 AM   #5
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I'd have a hard time going anywhere near that macabre creature! It's creepy enough just looking at the photo!
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Old 10-06-2007, 04:06 PM   #6
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I'm trying to figure out what kind of freak would steal the head off of it.
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:47 PM   #7
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Why, an Englishman, of course!
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