18 Heads Found At Airport: Why Were The Heads At Chicago's O'Hare?

By iScienceTimes Staff on January 15, 2013 10:44 AM EST

18 human heads found at chicago o'hare airport
Authorities are tracking the owner of 18 human heads found at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. The heads (not the skulls pictured) are used for medical research, and still had skin attached. (Photo: Reuters)

Everyone wants to get "a-head" at work. Customs agents at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport got 18 heads.

Authorities told The Chicago Sun-Times that the 18 heads found at the airport were legitimate medical specimens, and not part of some psychopath's misplaced duffel bag. The 18 heads found at the airport originated from outside the U.S. but were sent here, likely for research purposes. They were still covered in skin, but authorities would not say how they were preserved or how they were packaged for shipping.

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"There's nothing against the law that says you cannot ship them, provided you have the right documentation," Brian Bell, a Chicago-based spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The 18 heads found at the airport are reminiscent of an incident at an Arkansas airport in 2010 where a shipment of 60 human heads was found in a plastic container. Once again, authorities believed the heads to be for medical research, but may have been part of an underground market that traffics in human remains for medical researchers.

In the Arkansas incident, the heads were being shipped by JLS Consulting LLC, a medical research company in Conway, Ark., to Medtronic, a company that produces medical devices, based in Fort Worth, Texas. The origin and destination for the 18 heads found at the airport have not been released, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are still investigating the incident. Bell said that the story isn't as macabre as people want it to be.

"Everybody here is 'Oh my gosh, you got a box of heads' and everybody thinks that it's unheard of," Bell said. "It is a potentially legitimate medical shipment. We've seen it at various ports in the nation."

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, no foul play is suspected.

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