Joan points us at this BBC report about a new book that says Van Gogh didn't cut off his own ear in a fit of crazy after all.
The Beeb says:
"[The writers] looked at witness accounts and letters sent by the two artists, concluding that the row ended with Gauguin - a keen fencer - cutting his friend's ear off.
Van Gogh then apparently wrapped it in cloth and handed it to a prostitute, called Rachel.
Mr Kaufmann said it was not clear whether it was an accident or a deliberate attempt to injure Van Gogh, but afterwards both men agreed to tell the police the self-harm story to protect Gauguin...Gauguin later moved to Tahiti, where he produced some of his most famous works."
VAN GOGH: Rachel, honey, you are both bewitching and awesome at your job. Please accept this gift as a token of my affection for your services.
RACHEL: Well, you didn't have to...I mean, the invoice is in the mail as usual. (opens it) WTF is this?
VAN GOGH: It’s my severed ear wrapped in a hanky. Buddy here just cut it off, but we’re keeping it a secret.
GAUGIN: Last one to Tahiti’s a lemon!
VAN GOGH: This world was never meant for one as beautiful as me.
RACHEL: Dude, y’all are a pair of freaks.