Among the macabre, gory and inexplicable details surrounding the assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas nearly fifty years ago, the mystery of his missing brain has been regular hook on which conspiracy theorists can hang their hats.
Now, a startling theory contained in a new book by author James Swanson, claims the younger brother of John F Kennedy may have stolen the late president's brain from the National Archives.
When the assassinated president was buried on November 25th 1963 at Arlington National Cemetery not all of his body parts went in the ground. JFK's brain had been removed during an autopsy after his shooting on November 22nd.
Swanson writes in "End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy", that during the autopsy, which was carried out at Bethesda Naval Hospital, the brain was placed in a metal container with a screw top lid.
It was later moved to a footlocker before being taken to the National Archives, where it was "placed in a secure room designated for the use of JFK’s devoted former secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, while she organized his presidential papers", Swanson writes.
However according to the author, in October 1966 staff at the National Archives discovered that the brain, along with tissue slides and other autopsy materials had been removed. They haven't been seen since.
According to the New York Post, an investigation was launched in an attempt to find the missing items - but was unsuccessful.
In the past conspiracy theorists have pointed to the missing brain as evidence of a cover-up, suggesting that the disappearance of the brain and the other items was an attempt to conceal evidence that may have shed light on the killing of the president.
The theory being that the brain would show that the JFK was shot from the front, rather than behind by Lee Harvey Oswald perched in the book depository window.
James Swanson, however, dismisses this theory suggesting instead that Robert Kennedy, who himself was assassinated in June 1968, took the brain to conceal evidence of the extent of his brother's illnesses and the number of medications he was taking.
“My conclusion is that Robert Kennedy did take his brother’s brain — not to conceal evidence of a conspiracy but perhaps to conceal evidence of the true extent of President Kennedy’s illnesses, or perhaps to conceal evidence of the number of medications that President Kennedy was taking,” Swanson writes.