23/10/2014 08:34 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dead Headmaster Lives On In His Classroom - As A Skeleton


One headmaster was so committed to his work that even after his death he didn't want to leave the school - so his skeleton has hung in his former biology classroom for the past 60 years.

Alexandru Grigore Popescu began teaching biology at the Puchenii Mosneni school in south-eastern Romania over a century ago, in 1908. He remained there for over 50 years, 40 of which were spent as headmaster.

Legend has it that he never missed a class, and after his death in the 1960s, it was revealed that his will had a decidedly unusual stipulation to make sure he kept up his attendance record. Popescu bequeathed his skeleton to the school, to be displayed as a prop in the biology classroom.

And it has been there ever since, preserved in a glass cabinet. To this day, students entering the classroom still offer a friendly greeting to the skeleton, which doubles as a memorial to a teacher who certainly wins some serious points for devotion to his profession.

However, it seemed that Popescu's tenure as Romania's longest-serving teacher might be coming to an end when health and safety officials were tipped off about the macabre classroom prop and hastily removed it for inspection.

They were shocked to discover that the skeleton was the genuine article, but after a thorough inspection, it was decided to send Popescu home to the school where he had spent his working life.


Teachers and pupils at the school acknowledge that the skeleton is a bit left-of-field as far as mascots go, but are nonetheless grateful that it has been restored to its rightful place

Current headteacher Violeta Badea told Romanian media: "The teacher didn't want to go six feet under - it was his wish to stay in the classroom, and this was carried out as he wanted so he could attend all the classes."

And the morbid learning aid doesn't seem to faze the young students, either. "At first I thought it was weird because I had not seen a real skeleton - now I'm used to it," one student was quoted as saying.