Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans of 18 patients with 20 chronic subdural hematomas were compared. In many ways, MRI was superior to CT for demonstrating the hematomas. In general, chronic subdural hematomas were hyperintense on both T1- and T2-weighted MRI. The T1 values of chronic subdural hematomas were significantly shorter than gray matter values and significantly longer than white matter values. The T2 values were significantly longer than both gray matter and white matter values. These findings were consistent with previous reports. However, six hematomas (30%) were iso- or hypointense on T1-weighted images. Possible mechanisms responsible for the difference in intensity of chronic subdural hematoma on MRI are discussed, and the important role of methemoglobin formation is emphasized.