Body snachers : The missing body of Spy, Mata Hari
Margaretha Zelle, better known as Mata Hari, is one of the most famous spies of the 20th century. Originally an exotic dancer, Mata Hari was hired by the French to charm information out of German officials. She was accused of working as a double agent and executed by firing squad in 1917. Historians debate whether she was actually guilty, but there’s one fact that no one can dispute her body is missing.
When no one claimed her cadaver, the Museum of Anatomy in Paris swooped in and added her corpse to their collection. What happened next would have made Vincent Price faint in horror. Museum curators chopped off her head, dipped her dome in wax, and mounted the new trophy in their “notorious criminals” wing. In 2000, the French government decided to shut down the anatomy museum, so the director set about cataloging all the valuable attractions the museum had to offer. At the top of the list were the heads of the dead and infamous, but when he started inspecting the skull collection, he realized Mata Hari’s head was gone.
As if that weren’t bad enough, her entire body had disappeared, along with all the paperwork related to her acquisition. Some suspect her body was lost when the museum moved buildings in the ‘50s, while more macabre minds think a creepy fan might have stolen her skull. Either way, the dancer has disappeared for good, and that’s the naked truth.