How scientists preserved the SEVERED HEAD of one of Europe's worst serial killers in jar after he butchered 70 people | The Sun

LOOKING as fresh as he did the day he was executed, the staring eyes of one of Europe's worst ever serial killers are a horrifying sight to behold.

Diogo Alves' head sits perfectly preserved in a jar more than 180 years after he was hanged and beheaded after slaughtering more than 70 people in a crime spree across Portugal.

Alves earned nickname “The Aqueduct Murderer” – as he was known for standing on a 200-foot-tall aqueduct and waiting for farmers to pass through at night, before robbing them.

He then pushed the victims to their deaths, staging them to look like suicides – a ploy which initially succeeded.

With at least 70 victims – he is one of the worst serial killers ever to have roamed Europe.

And now the cold-blooded murderer's pickled, yellow head sits on a shelf – spookily staring out of a jar through his still open eyes. 

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The perfectly preserved head remains in the anatomical theatre at the University of Lisbon's Faculty of Medicine.

Alves eventually moved on from his aqueduct killings – instead robbing homes and murdering their inhabitants.

But he was eventually court – and sentenced to death for crimes including the gruesome murder of four members from a doctors family. 

Following his trial, he became one of the last criminals to be hanged in Portugal.

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And his barbaric twisted actions intrigued scientists from the then Medical-Surgical School of Lisbon.

The curious boffins decided to preserve his brain.

After he was hanged, his head was severed and preserved in a jar of formaldehyde, an embalming agent.

However – no studies seem to have taken place at the university as the head shows no signs of being examined.

Instead it has become a gruesome and curious souvenir held in the university's lab.

In 1841, scientists were exploring a theory that the brain housed all aspects of an individual's personality in physically distinct areas and the shape of the skull showed this internal structure.

They also believed that personality traits, including criminal tendencies could be felt and measured through the skull, leaving scientists desperately wanting to examine the head of the notorious killer.

Diogo was known to have fallen from a horse and hit his head at a young age – earning the nickname Pancada, which means "hit" in Portuguese.

Scientists however never discovered what led him on his murderous rampage – or why he decided to buy a false key for the aqueducts.

And the exact number of how many people he had robbed and killed in total may never be known.

Preserved alongside the killer is also the skull of Francisco Mattos Lobo.

He was a peer of Alves who butchered a family of four and threw their dog out of a window in 1841.

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His skull can be found just two doors down from Diogo.

The part of the university which houses the grisly remains is only open to students of the University of Lisbon and is not typically accessible for public viewing.

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