The TSA runs a customer service line on Twitter, at @AskTSA. They answer customer questions, though probably got a shock when they received an unusual image and inquiry. A customer politely asked @Ask TSA: “wondering if it’s OK to bring this mummified head of Jeremy Bentham as a carry-on item. Thanks!”.
Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher who died in 1832, but not before requesting that a physician friend publicly dissect him and then preserve him as an “auto-icon.”
This was achieved by clothing his skeleton in one of his suits, sitting it on a chair and displaying it inside a wood cabinet. Originally, Bentham’s preserved head was supposed to be attached to the auto-icon, but it turned out to be pretty gross, so a wax replica was made instead.
Whether or not the question was genuine, TSA replied: yes, you can bring a severed, mummified head through security — as long as it’s properly packaged and declared.