Head surviving after decapitation (Briefly)

Dear Cecil,

I have heard tell of a French scientist involved in the Revolution who was later decapitated himself on the guillotine (sp?) who told a friend that he would try to blink his eyes open and closed for as long as he remained conscious after his head was cut off, and supposedly he was reported as doing so for several seconds. I can’t recall where I read this…it might have been at the Einstein’s Refrigerator site. Obviously I can’t be certain of it’s veracity…although having personally seen how quickly unconsciousness ensues after only a few seconds pause in the heartbeat, let alone decapitation, I have to admit it’s a bit hard to swallow. Still, no sense mucking up a good story with the facts.