HAIR APPARENT

BEETHOVEN'S LOCKS COULD REVEAL WHY HE WENT DEAF

Ludwig van Beethoven probably thought he was taking his secrets to the grave when he died in 1827. He thought wrong. While the composer was decorously interred in his beloved Vienna, most of his hair wasn't; souvenir-hunting fans snipped off so much of his silver mane before burial that he went to his tomb almost bald.

What does a posthumous haircut have to do with secrets? Forensic scientists have long known that a body's hair has tales to tell. To begin with, it carries DNA, which can be used to determine family relationships (that's how scientists determined that a woman named...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!