A woman walked into a room in the state of Maryland. She discovered that bits and pieces of her dead mother were packed in a freezer inside that room. After regaining her composure, she was notified by other people in the room that people legally bought pieces of her mother online for $1000. All of which happened without her or her mother's knowledge. Who is she?

Some hints:

The riddle was inspired after listening to an episode of Radiolab.


She is the daughter of Henrietta Lacks. Her family lived in Maryland. According to the article, her

cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research.
As a result,
HeLa cells were in high demand and put into mass production.
In the early 1970s, a large portion of other cell cultures became contaminated by HeLa cells. As a result, members of Henrietta Lacks's family received solicitations for blood samples from researchers hoping to learn about the family's genetics in order to differentiate between HeLa cells and other cell lines.
Alarmed and confused, several family members began questioning why they were receiving so many telephone calls requesting blood samples. In 1975, the family also learned through a chance dinner-party conversation that material originating in Henrietta Lacks was continuing to be used for medical research. The family had never discussed Henrietta's illness and death among themselves in the intervening years but with the increased curiosity about their mother and her genetics, they now began to ask questions.
You can learn more about her at Radiolab.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you want to further clarify your answer before I mark this solved? :) $\endgroup$ – Minh Tran May 30 '18 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ @MinhTran Sorry, I was going to, but did not have the time at the moment. $\endgroup$ – noedne May 31 '18 at 2:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Might be worth mentioning rot13(Gur uvag va gur gvgyr pbeeryngrf gb ure orvat obea Yberggn Cyrnfnag) $\endgroup$ – Scoots May 31 '18 at 11:40


Her mother made ice sculptures, and "pieces of" her mother refers to pieces of art made by her mother when she was alive.


This is

the "mother" from a sourdough bread.


Edit: after OP's clarification that "All of [it] happened without her or her mother's knowledge," this answer as it's written doesn't fit.

Perhaps the woman's mother:

was an egg donor, and her eggs were preserved in the freezer even past her death.

In which case, the hint would refer to

this story from Radiolab.

In addition,

eggs can easily sell for $1000 - or more - legally online. And egg donation (according to a quick Google search) is legal in Maryland.



This woman was a Red King Crab and her mother was also one. Crabs are popular in Maryland, and 10 pounds can be sold for $309.99(found with a quick Google search).

New Answer


Her mother was mummified or frozen in the side of a mountain and now museums want her?

  • $\begingroup$ The woman was a human :) $\endgroup$ – Minh Tran May 30 '18 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, well then I guess other types of crab go out the window :D $\endgroup$ – QuantumTwinkie May 30 '18 at 19:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.