Burke the Skeleton

GuesS

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Just wanted to share a time in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1828, when this skeleton still had life in its bones!

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During this time, more people wanted to become doctors than there were cadavers legally available to dissect. This shortage was made worse by the Scottish law determining that the only bodies that could be used for this purpose were those of deceased prisoners and those with unknown or unclaimed identities.

Out of desperation, some doctors began paying a reward of £7 per corpse to any unscrupulous individual who would dig up a freshly-buried body and bring it to their anatomy lab. Two men, William Burke and William Hare, began working as bodysnatchers for a while before deciding they simply couldn’t wait for bodies to become “available” before collecting their reward. Instead of waiting for graves to have freshly deceased bodies in them, Burke and Hare began creating their own resources. The duo killed at least 16 people in 1828 for this reason.

Hare testified against his partner, leaving Burke to be the sole bearer of responsibility. Burke was hanged for his crimes and was given an ironic post-mortem punishment. His body was taken to the Edinburgh Surgeons’ Hall where it was dissected by medical students. Burke's skeleton was given to the Anatomical Museum of the Edinburgh Medical School, where it has remained on display to this day.
 
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GuesS

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Ope, forgot to mention SIP [Stand in Peace]
 
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*LG*

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I saw the documentary by biographics. It made me really upset that Hare was released. He testified to Burke and was granted prosecution immunity? Just wow.
 
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GuesS

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I saw the documentary by biographics. It made me really upset that Hare was released. He testified to Burke and was granted prosecution immunity? Just wow.
I found this infuriating too. At the time there was (perhaps still is, in another form) a law stating if a criminal confesses his crime and acts as a witness AGAINST his partners/other criminals, he receives leniency in punishment including partial or full immunity. There's no reason as to if and why Hare was granted immunity. If he was, that is completely unfair but that's how law works sometimes. Perhaps he had some connections at the time. Y'never know.
 
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GuesS

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I felt a little bit of shivering in my spine while posting this. In no way am I trying to humiliate the dead- as he has reached the outcome of his deeds. May Allah have mercy upon him.

I intend to post this as a lesson on swift justice for all of us (primarily myself).
Medical schools typically use cadavers for up to a year and then bury them. What's sadder than being denied a grave for 200 years, despite being of no real use to medical schools anymore? Besides Karma, this is an example of what we refer to as Poetic Justice in literature: you die doing what you love.

Our Rab is Al-Hakaam. He holds the power to punish us in the most discrete, subtle and swiftest of ways. May Allah grant us dignity without and within life. Ameen.
 

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