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Brain examination

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Brain examination
Isaac Mendez is found with his brain removed.

Several of Sylar's victims, as well the victims of others whom have "the hunger" induced by intuitive aptitude, have had their brains examined.


Sylar aggressively pursues evolved humans and removes their brains. Sylar then studies the victim's brains using his intuitive aptitude, and is able to deduce what their power is and how to use it.

When Mohinder and Eden explored Sylar's apartment in Queens, New York, one of the items they came across was a medical text expounding upon the process of brain removal.

As seen during Jackie's murder, Sylar uses his powers to split Jackie's head open.

List of Victims with Brains Removed

Sylar prepares a victim.

List of Attempted Brain Removal Victims

List of Future Brain Removal Victims


  • When Mohinder and Eden examined Sylar's apartment, they found (among other things) a medical text that seemingly describes the process of dissecting faces and performing encephalectomies. (One Giant Leap)
  • According to Chandra Suresh, if there is a soul, it's in the brain. (Six Months Ago)
  • Chandra tells Sylar that the brain controls every action. (Six Months Ago)
  • Claire was unable to regenerate until the branch was pulled from her brain. (One Giant Leap, Collision) Peter was similarly unable to regenerate until the shard of glass was removed from his brain. (.07%)
  • It is unclear whether or not Brian Davis had his brain removed. Sylar (as Gabriel Gray/Gabriel Sylar) hit him from behind with a large quartz crystal, and shortly thereafter acquired the same powers as Brian. We presently do not know exactly how this was accomplished. (Six Months Ago)
  • In an interview, Zachary Quinto said, concerning how Sylar absorbs the powers of others, "They haven't told me. The impression I was operating under was he actually ingested them, but I don't know."
  • In The Second Coming, while examining Claire's brain, Sylar said, "Eat your brain? Claire, that's disgusting."
  • Eden kills herself by shooting herself in the brain, intending to prevent Sylar from gaining her power of persuasion. (Fallout) Indeed, Mr. Bennet confirms that she prevented Sylar from taking her "gift". (Fathers & Daughters) Apparently, the brain must be intact for Sylar to gain the power. James Walker was frozen in mid-bite, which shows that the victim may not have to be alive for Sylar to take their power. (Don't Look Back)
  • Molly Walker, while talking to Mohinder, refers to Sylar as the boogeyman, who will "eat your brain." (The Hard Part)
  • D.L. Hawkins killed Mr. Linderman by reaching through his head and removing a large chunk of brain matter. This marks the first time a character besides Sylar has removed a brain. However, D.L. did not gain Linderman's ability. (Landslide)
  • In the "untold stories" on the Season Two DVD, Sylar removes the brains of two evolved humans: Robert Keep, who appears to have impenetrable skin, and a woman known simply as "chameleon girl" who is able to blend in with her surroundings.
  • In The Second Coming, Sylar acquires Claire's power without (permanently) removing her brain at all. This could indicate that he only removes the other victims' brains due to a combination of either lack of time to study them at the scene and/or because their survival (unlike Claire's) is already impossible. In any case, he indicates disgust at the idea of ingesting someone's brain when asked by Claire.
  • Saving Charlie refers to Sylar's process of removing the top few inches of his victims' heads as "hemicapitation" (Chapter 34). The book also notes that a painting of Saint Nicasius shows that the top of his head had been removed, "his soul sparkling up to heaven" (Chapter 42). When Hiro researches this, he finds that this was done to "let out the evil spirits". He also reads about the process of "trepanning", an actual process of opening the skull, usually by boring holes in it. Hiro finds that the "primitive form of brain surgery" is performed as far back as 10,000 BC in Egypt, Rome, India, Africa, and Central America. He also learns that the Zapotecs and other Native American tribes would grind up skulls and make medicines from the bones, "as a way of stealing their enemies' power". Hiro then teleports to an ancient setting and witnesses a Zapotec shaman about to perform a trepanning ritual (Chapter 43).


See Also

  • For a complete gallery of examples of brains being removed, see the gallery.
  • For more information on the brain, see brain.
  • For more information on why Sylar may remove brains, see ability theft.

External Links

Evolved Human Abilities edit

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See Also: Ability developmentAbility extensionAbility heredityAbility immunityAbility lossAbility theftBrain penetrationUnnamed abilitiesExamples of simultaneous ability useEye alterationList of abilitiesList of abilities with multiple usersParadoxProphecyRiftPower