If - God forbid - you died unexpectedly, your loved ones might want a certain possession to remember you by, perhaps a piece of jewellery, your huge TV, or your collection of true crime books.
Jeffrey Dahmer's mother wanted his BRAIN.
Joyce Flint insisted that her eldest son's brain be donated to science in the hope that there would be some clues as to why he ended up a serial killer/cannibal/necrophile. He was bludgeoned to death by fellow prison inmate Christopher Scarver on 28 November 1994, but before his body was incinerated as per his final wishes, doctors opened his skull and took out his brain.
It was then kept 'under lock and key' in a jar of formaldehyde at Wisconsin State University, under the charge of Dr. Robert Huntington III, the forensic pathologist who carried out the grisly post mortem. Ironically, the man who yearned to make sex zombies from his victims was now brainless.
Viewers of Netflix series Monster will be familiar with Joyce and Lionel Dahmer's fraught relationship, and things didn't thaw after the death of their firstborn. They continued to argue, and now their murderous son's brain was in the middle of the rows. Almost a year after he was killed a court transcript reveals how the pair were at loggerheads over the future of Jeffrey's brain, with Lionel clashing with Joyce's lawyer about what to do with the final piece of their son. He had been cremated on September 17, almost a year after he had his skull crushed with a piece of gym equipment. His family had to wait until Scarver's sentencing for his murder until they could dispose of his body.
But, not all of Jeff ended up in the incinerator that day, and on October 3, 1995, the warring parents - who had each received half of their son's ashes - took their dispute to a judge.
Joyce said: “I want something useful to come from the nightmare. Jeff always said that if he could be of any help, he wanted to do whatever he could.”
The court heard from two scientists who were eager to study the tissue. Jonathan Pincus wrote in a letter: "I am grateful for this opportunity to study the brain of Jeffrey Daumer (sic). It represents an unparalleled chance to possibly determine what neurological factors could have contributed to his bizarre criminal behaviour.
"We will be glad to examine the brain tissue microscopically at Georgetown University. My grant will guarantee payment for the safe transportation of the brain in formaldehyde to my office at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington D.C."
However, Lionel was passionate in his argument that it went against Jeffrey's wishes, who had requested a cremation and no headstone.
He said: "I probably summarised the main point of disregarding Jeff's instructions in his last testament, and I feel that that should take precedent. It's not a matter, I feel, of whether I do or don't want scientific study. I personally have strong feelings regarding the non-efficacious character of that proposal. But that's neither here nor there. I feel -- I feel that the main point is what his last wishes were, and to violate that would be legally wrong."
It was not decided until December of that year that Jeffrey Dahmer's brain was also to be cremated, and before any scientists were able to get access to it.
In a closing statement, Judge Daniel S. George said: "I am very fearful over the type of inquiry that's going to be made into this analysis. What sort of comparisons are going to be made? What sort of samples of population we are dealing with in terms of comparing the tissue from Mr. Dahmer's brain to other types of brains, brains from other individuals. I don't know what is contemplated, and I am extremely concerned about the propriety of the handling of this issue and the avoidance of exploitation from the standpoint of any kind of pop research, pop psychology, that kind of thing."