A shipment of 18 human heads bound for research use in the United States has created quite the buzz after it was held up by customs at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the heads were coming from Rome in December and were destined for a research facility in Chicago when that facility was flagged for investigation for an unknown reason, which is not connected to the shipment of heads.
The heads were initially discovered when there was a problem with the accompanying paperwork and employees at the airport used an X-ray to look inside the blue coolers that the embalmed heads were shipped in, says the Chicago Tribune.
The heads appear to be “legitimate medical specimens,” reports NBC Chicago.
While this finding may seem strange, shipments of body parts for medical research aren’t all that uncommon, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told the Sun-Times. “Everybody here is ‘Oh my gosh, you got a box of heads’ and everybody thinks that it’s unheard of,” he said. “It is a potentially legitimate medical shipment. We’ve seen it at various ports in the nation.”