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Isaac Mendez is found with his brain removed.
As seen during Jackie's murder, Sylar uses his powers to split Jackie's head open.
List of Victims with Brains Removed
- Charlie Andrews -- In the original timeline the waitress's brain is removed in a sneak attack at Burnt Toast Diner, coincidentally while aggressively removing the top off a can of food. Charlie had an enhanced memory.(Seven Minutes to Midnight)
- Bridget Bailey -- Angela "feeds" her to Sylar. She had the power of clairsentience.
- Bob Bishop -- Sylar makes his way into Primatech Research. His first victim is Bob, whose brain he studies to gain the power of alchemy. (The Butterfly Effect)
- David -- Sylar's Chicago victim had serious head injuries. (Turning Point)
- Brian Davis -- After asking if he could "fix" him, Sylar hits his first victim over the head and steals his power (see Notes). Brian had telekinetic abilities. (Six Months Ago)
- Sue Landers -- On her birthday, Sylar kills Sue by telekinetically opening her head and taking her ability to detect lies.
- Joe Macon -- Sylar removes his brain after questioning him about the insurance records of the Gray family. Joe had the power of imprinting. (Out of Town... On Business)
- Isaac Mendez -- Sylar kills Isaac after seeing his picture on the back page of a 9th Wonders! comic book. Isaac had the power of precognition. (.07%)
- Tom Miller -- Sylar finds Miller with the help of Danko, slices open Tom's head, and takes his ability, but not before writing "I AM SYLAR" in blood on the wall. (I Am Sylar)
- Jesse Murphy -- Sylar takes Jesse's power at a bank he was helping rob. (One of Us, One of Them)
- Dale Smither -- Sylar comes at night to Dale's mechanic shop without making any footsteps for her to hear. Mohinder finds her dead the next day, her brain removed. (Unexpected)
- Theodore Sprague -- Sylar telekinetically flips the van carrying Ted, and proceeds to take his power. (Landslide)
- Zane Taylor -- Sylar enters his home and steals his power and identity, his corpse still lying on a tarp in the kitchen. Zane had the power of melting. (Run!)
- An unidentified man and an unidentified woman -- Mr. Bennet shows Eden photos of some of Sylar's victims. Their powers are unknown. (Homecoming)
- James Walker -- Mr. Walker is found frozen mid-bite while eating breakfast. James was on Chandra Suresh's list, and he had the power of freezing. (Don't Look Back, Fallout)
- Candice Willmer -- Sylar smashes a cup at the side of Candice's head, and manages to break into her skull, but is unable to use her ability of illusion. (Kindred)
- Trevor Zeitlan -- Giving in to his hunger after Elle's repeated comments on Trevor, he steals his power, using for the first time telekinesis to slice the victim's skull open. (Villains)
List of Attempted Brain Removal Victims
- Charlie Andrews -- In the new timeline caused by Hiro traveling back in time three years, Sylar is prevented from removing Charlie's brain and later even helps save her life. (Once Upon a Time in Texas)
- Eden McCain -- Eden tries to use her power of persuasion to convince Sylar to commit suicide with a gun that she will give him, but he manages to stop her. When he threatens to steal her power, she shoots herself in the head, thereby preventing him from doing so. (Fallout)
- Peter Petrelli -- Sylar pins Peter against a wall in Mohinder's apartment, and begins slicing his forehead. He pauses when he sees Peter begin to regenerate, allowing Peter to throw him across the room. After a brief fight, Sylar kills Peter, but Mohinder comes to his rescue and gets Peter's body to safety, allowing it to regenerate. (Parasite, .07%)
- Jackie Wilcox -- In the locker room of Union Wells High School her skull is cut, but her brain is not actually removed. Jackie had no powers. (Homecoming)
- Gael Cruz -- Sylar begins to take Gael's brain, but soon realizes Gael isn't special. (Dreams Until Death)
- Elle Bishop -- Sylar, after breaking into the Company and murdering Bob, attempts to remove Elle's brain as well, but is stopped by a surge of electricity emitted from her body (The Butterfly Effect). At a later date, after being teleported to a deserted beach by Hiro, Sylar realizes that neither he nor Elle will ever change, and he relents to "the hunger." He telekinetically cuts open Elle's skull, killing her. However, he does not remove her brain (The Eclipse, Part 2).
- Claire Bennet -- Sylar removes the top of her skull, and examines her brain while she is still conscious. She asks if he will eat her brain, to which he replies: "that's disgusting." After gaining her power, he says she can't die, and replaces her skull, which then heals. (The Butterfly Effect)
- Nathan Petrelli -- Peter, while visiting four years into the future and driven by his new hunger, starts to open Nathan's skull, killing him in the process. (I Am Become Death)
- Angela Petrelli -- Peter, still driven by the hunger, begins to cut Angela's head, but is stopped by Sylar. (Angels and Monsters)
- Sylar -- After Samson pins him to a wall and sedates him, he attempts to take his son's abilities, only to later be overpowered. (Shades of Gray)
List of Future Brain Removal Victims
- Claire Bennet -- In an alternate timeline, Sylar takes Claire's brain at Homecoming and gains the power of rapid cell regeneration. (String Theory)
- Future Claire -- In another alternate timeline Sylar kills Claire in 2011. (Five Years Gone)
- Candice Willmer -- By 2011, Sylar had taken Candice's brain (unaired removal) resulting in the ability of illusion. (Five Years Gone)
- Nathan Petrelli -- By 2011, Sylar had taken Nathan's brain (unaired removal) resulting in the ability of flight. (Five Years Gone)
- D.L. Hawkins -- By 2011, Sylar had taken the brain (unaired removal) of someone capable of phasing (most likely the late D.L. Hawkins). (Five Years Gone)
- 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).
- 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.