"Very well-researched and delivered in an engaging, breezy, wink-wink tone similar to that of Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg's Why Do Men Have Nipples?, this will likely be enjoyed equally by science buffs and casual aficionados of the curious. One of the finest science/history bathroom books of all time."
-Kirkus Reviews

Web Hoax Museum

#5: The Isolated Head of a Dog
imageWhat could be more horrific than creating a two-headed dog? What about keeping the severed head of a dog alive apart from its body!

Ever since the carnage of the French Revolution, when the guillotine sent thousands of severed heads tumbling into baskets, scientists had wondered whether it would be possible to keep a head alive apart from its body, but it wasn't until the late 1920s that someone managed to pull off this feat.

Soviet physician Sergei Brukhonenko developed a primitive heart-lung machine he called an "autojector," and with this device he succeeded in keeping the severed head of a dog alive. He displayed one of his living dog heads in 1928 before an international audience of scientists at the Third Congress of Physiologists of the USSR. To prove that the head lying on the table really was alive, he showed that it reacted to stimuli. Brukhonenko banged a hammer on the table, and the head flinched. He shone light in its eyes, and the eyes blinked. He even fed the head a piece of cheese, which promptly popped out the esophageal tube on the other end.

Brukhonenko's severed dog head became the talk of Europe and inspired the playwright George Bernard Shaw to muse, "I am even tempted to have my own head cut off so that I can continue to dictate plays and books without being bothered by illness, without having to dress and undress, without having to eat, without having anything else to do other than to produce masterpieces of dramatic art and literature."

[On YouTube: See Experiments in the revival of organisms.]

Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 
Ah! :(
Posted by Jackie  on  Wed Aug 29, 2007  at  03:01 PM
how long did it live for?
Posted by TJ  on  Wed Aug 29, 2007  at  11:04 PM
He should have tried with his own head.
Posted by follower  on  Thu Aug 30, 2007  at  04:56 AM
I think Ill Take The Rest Of The Day Off,If They Really Did That In The 1920s,It Scares Me What They Get Up To These Days,Mabe They Could Make It A Requirement For The Heads Of Some States.
Posted by LEE  on  Thu Aug 30, 2007  at  07:27 AM
As fake as it gets... Dogs neck wasn't shown, small body and right angle. Funniest thing is that DOG RAISED ITS HEAD, zero gravity too?
Posted by asd  on  Thu Aug 30, 2007  at  07:33 AM
Can't believe how crazy scientists can be.

Posted by Mike  on  Sat Sep 01, 2007  at  10:57 PM
HOLY CRAP thats mad
Posted by Allen  on  Mon Sep 10, 2007  at  12:29 AM
This experiment was a fraud. Period.
Posted by J  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  11:52 AM
Not fake. Check out this documentary. The dog head part starts around 4:30.
Posted by Nob Ody  on  Sun Sep 16, 2007  at  10:13 AM
Mr Shaw certainly overrated his literary ability, didn't he?
Posted by Bob  on  Mon Sep 17, 2007  at  03:35 PM
Hah! The technology to keep heads alive without bodies was invented by Ron Popeil, not Brukhonenko.

This is clearly a fake, as the head is not suspended in a jar full of fluid.
Posted by Sam  on  Thu Sep 20, 2007  at  02:18 AM
Sam's right, it was Ron Popeil. We saw it on Futurama, so we know it's true!
Posted by Algolei  on  Sun Oct 07, 2007  at  02:09 AM
George A. Romero referenced this experiment in his film 'Day of the Dead'. A mad scientist-type keeps the severed head of a recently deceased and zombified victim alive using electrodes.

Sick...but awesome.
Posted by Hugo  on  Wed Oct 10, 2007  at  07:06 PM
Wow, I wouldve figured you did a bit of research past watching videos on youtube if you were going to put it in a book. Try moving your head without the use of your neck muscles which attach to your body. The bodyless dog seemed to be able to do so.

How can he lick his face if his toungue muscle extends deep into the throat, where it has been severed?
Posted by Alexander Sun  on  Mon Nov 05, 2007  at  04:59 PM
i think that i stupid and crewl and and even though im 14 i think its ridiculous and you need to get a new set of brains.....
Posted by Losa  on  Sun Nov 11, 2007  at  06:11 PM
Here you can see the whole 20min movie:
I never did wach the whole thing, but I am sure it is real.
Posted by Da Comrad  on  Thu Dec 06, 2007  at  02:41 AM
I am ashamed to call myself human when I see things like this
Posted by S  on  Fri Dec 28, 2007  at  01:52 PM
OK, S, we won't call you a human. Just the filthy dog (b1tch) that you are.
Posted by S's master  on  Tue Jan 22, 2008  at  07:55 AM
That's so ridiculously awesome.
Posted by Sebor  on  Fri Feb 01, 2008  at  07:59 PM
i agree with alexander, it would be impossible to actually keep a dogs head alive. First there is the problem of circulation. blood needs oxygen and after a certain period there is no way to restore it once it was lost. 2nd the dog could not perform the simply task of licking if it had no oxygen going to the brain. It looks like a hoax. im pretty sure that it is.
Posted by beatrix  on  Fri Mar 14, 2008  at  08:15 AM
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