« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Burke and Hare, Who Didn't Steal Corpses

2010-07-19 | 🔗

From 1827 to 1828, Burke and Hare were accused of killing fifteen people and selling their bodies to medical students. But were they really resurrectionists? Tune in to learn the truth about Burke and Hare in this podcast.

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
welcome one welcome all welcome you do yours and marchers to the beat of any drum at starbucks we know wellness has a lot more to do with finding your unique journey then following the latest trends that's why we have something for every taste every craving every mood and every you like our new cocoanut milk latte an almond milk honey white because no to journeys are the same and what makes it right is that it's yours
i love sports and i love my wife i will destroy you we haven't even started you if you're the tape a fan who loved to debate jordan versus the brand lamp oversee soldier field or even the sand lot verses major league you will love listening to our past the greatest we ask some of our favorite comedian friends liberties to come and constructively argue everything within the world of sport with my comedian and sports frenetic life megan gaily and my hilarious writer and comedian husband see j till it on out to listen for the greatest i heard you apple pie curse or wherever you listen to point welcome to stuff you missed in history class has howstuffworks dot com
hello and welcome to the pact cast iron cage lambert and unfair down and this at the summit on burke and hare in which we learned not to die when you oh your landlord rent and that perhaps a wooden coffin is not the best often at least not in the time of his sack among men also known as the resurrection us but to start we are going to speak a little long for you up and down the stair in the house with burke and hare burke's the butcher and here is the thief and knox's the boy who buys the beef i dont think really talking about be fairer now i think this is a sweeney tired kind of situation i subject today the williamson burke and hare were killers and not resurrectionists we want to make that clear from the beginning but they work of a society in which gray robbing had become a common if not a publicly accepted career friendly eight
in an early nineteenth century is the only way medical schools could get bodies for dissection was from fell those who are condemned to death and dissection as their fate wait a minute what yet let's let's back up a little bit and give a history of dissection so we have evidence that dissecting humans goes back as far as four thousand bc then it was that your innerds could tell the future although i much prefer the harry potter approach i don't have the names isn t really innerds yeah i agree with that of our early notable defectors was lena then she of course who believed careful observation so when he drew the body he wanted to actually understand it to understand the structure of must the nerves and what was inside but the time you had to dissect your cadavers in secrecy it was not something that was
looked upon kindly and most people weren't even interested they relied on gallons texts which were completely inaccurate and at the time this is how medical students learn about the human body they were to assemble and an anatomy theatre which was so crowded they couldn't even see the body being dissected and while they try to over each other's heads they listened as an anatomy text was read to them whether the text step to the body simply wasn't a matter of concern to needs nerves anyway you could just for them because no one can see and divinity hoping that if you actually investigated the body you wouldn't just learn about how everything worked but maybe you'd find the soul which we ve talked about that earlier podcast and he did but what he did do was author the first real anatomy textbook even though it wasn't considered important until late in the eighteenth century but his text finally widely published because this idea
of empirical observation suddenly seemed essential to science when more people who go into hospitals are ending up sicker or even dead than cured perhaps we figure out why but how did that section go so awry and lead to grave robbing so in this package work enough guess on the grave robbing situation in the united kingdom and the whole thing probably started with james the fourth in scotland and in the sixteenth century he gave his patronage to the edinburgh college of surgeons and barbers barbers doesn't really seem to fit in their right but barbers were surgeons and dentists to back in the day and it wasn't later that surgeons with actual metal training and academic knowledge were separated from barber so thank you can going anywhere haircut get your teeth cleaned maybe a little light surgery though it be a time favor
if you didn't i remember my burial terms however but genes with the one who decided that felons who had been executed could also make good lessons from medical man and they couldn't be buried after that so this is a pretty heavy punishment but the of was that once medical students started dissecting they all realised how important it was for medical knowledge to really know the body that their work any body is so few criminals were executed and then donated and they all went bad since refrigeration wasn't exactly all figured out at that they need these bodies but they can't get them this demand but there's no supply or is there well there is the supply and that's fresh graves of course and at first the medical staff actually do this themselves they go out and dig up the grades that its syn bitten by many schools and it's really weird
to imagine these young doctors going and hunting for bodies it's very doktor frankenstein someone's their forbidden someone else had to steal the he's a resurrectionist so we ve got some entrepreneurship and flesh but there action is with cell the bodies to the doctors or the mad student so everybody's what they want except perhaps the famine of the deceased you're end we should talk about bit about how they would actually get these bombs he's too how resurrectionists would work and it was easier to do this in paris obviously we're talking about a possibly adult body dead weight that your loving and one per would be to look out while the other one dog and then according to an article in three magazine by filled challenge there was a pretty efficient way carrying out the exclamation and here's what you do you dig a hole one under the grave and then you would
bar the part of the coffin that you and covered so certain popping it back against the sword break it yeah and you would cover that was sacking so that it wouldn't make a really loud noise and alert authorities are angry family members and then you would put ropes around the court and he's up through that whole that you ve made but there's weird legal loophole here and to get around it these people had to further death create the body that you had to take all of their clothing and belongings and then put that back into coffin sotherton stripping these corpses and returning everything to the grave and that was begun it was a crime to steal property but there wasn't anything specifically mentioned about taking bodies so if you just took the corpse you were fine but if you took a corpse who as you know fast and perhaps wearing jewelry health that was just
criminals to fire yeah so this obviously sit well with families and soon we have armed guard that cemeteries and war built with steel housings called more faith put over grave think more actually like you're modern cemetery with that concrete casing around a grave and wealthier p even were buried in metal coffin so family for really trying to protect their dad our grave round are very resourceful however they started buying bodies directly from the undertakers or pretend they were the relative of a dead person and claiming the bodies that are either outright stealing the bodies before their buried or they're getting them from an undertaker in having him fill the coffins with something else in any case you're wondering why people want to go through the trouble of digging up probably
growth all bodies and selling them it's because it was very very lucrative and it turns out to be pretty lucrative for burke and hare too in eighteen twenty seven in eighteen twenty eight when they start their plan burke and william hair were both irishman who ended up in scotland and to give you a little physical corruption burke was about five five and considered attractive while hair was hideous and stupid looking and this is not my assessment i would never be so mean it's a contemporaries and were drinking bodies jerks tend to find each other and he ended up in the same boarding house together burke was living with a woman named helen macdougall and hair with margaret laird who ran the place after her husband died and an opera a t arises a man who was boring there died and he owed margaret money and so hair suggest that maybe together
back and maybe even make a little extra we should sell the body oh yeah why didn't i think of a better only now cynical move your guests dies fill it was the private the easy i'm a mad student told them to go see doktor robert knots who is in charge of this prize anatomy school and must have had a little reputation for buying bodies and he pays them what was then at several more wages and promises more if they can find him a fresh court that is too scoundrel each type of guys suddenly have a really good prospect in front of them because how do you get the freshest of the fresh and corpses by killing some and then delivering the corpse immediate and that they do their emma was to give the person plenty of alcohol and then here she was drunk or passed out one of them would and mobilise the body while the other suffocated the person
at his hand over his or her mouth and nose and they killed perhaps few people older women younger women prostitutes beggars in general the down and out or people who were not likely to be messed their cockiness eventually caught up with them however they murdered mentally retarded boy that everyone around town knew he was brought into the anatomy lab some of the students told doktor knox that they recognized him they knew who he was so knox took off his face first but even then they weren't caught quite yet there last victim was an older woman named margaret darker tee and this and out in a very poor way of running their hotel business so there's another couple state the lodging house at the time the grave and there asked leave one night leave the room and that's kind of weird they think and so when they come back the next day of mrs graze try
get back into the room to look at some of her belongings and she's not allowed in this is just raising theirs fishing for she something's going on so they way in when the coast is finally where they go back into the room and when she's looking belongings instead she finds the body of an old woman under her bed and it is the darker tee and burke and hare try to i've done china split the money with them but they refuse and they go to the authorities so by the time the police get there the body had been smuggled out that it was soon found in doktor knox's school and they trunk they always used to transport their bodies and so neither caught but it turns out that there wasn't much hard evidence against any of them not against burke not against hair not against their common law wives so to get ten any sort of crime on them hair was offered a deal here
grit laird could have immunity if he would testify against burke and he took it the trial started on december twenty fourth eighteen fifty eight and the very next day work was found guilty of dockers murder everywhere scott off completely scot free no one knows for sure if the women knew about the murders or even had a hand in them but public suspicion leaned toward the us have to think of the poor jury and court on psmith day listening to this grisly trial i went to get out there pretty quickly so after the conviction burke in an interview says not herr nor myself ever got a body from the churchyard always were murdered save the first line if he thought that was better or if he would to make more of a name for he said you know i mean clearly he's gotta podcast about him i guess it worked he was sentenced be hanged and publicly dissected fittingly and
carried out january twenty eighth eighteen twenty nine and twenty thousand showed up to see his hanging and forty thousand people came to see the dissected body i testified that knox didn't know where the bodies came from but no one really believed him public sentiment toward knox wasn't positive and his students of they went away but the public right he came after the women and also hair burke being hanged wasn't enough they they ran them out of town and we don't know what happened hair he may have become a beggar he may have left for the united states for third we did not want you hair and plaster were made of both of them perhaps pretty edification of for knowledge is trying to figure out what bumps exactly turn you into a criminal in february thousand nine two of them were found at a former prison in scotland and you can see burke skeleton at edinburgh university and supposedly
skin was used to cover books and a snuff box like the the skin bucket eugene exactly so what happens after that obviously this doesn't and this are you shortage in england we have copycats the london burgers who are three guys who try to sell a tina boys body in he had clear aiden murdered two or hanged one is sent to australia and people start right something has to be to imagine how scary this is it's not just your friends and relatives bodies beings and from their graves anymore you could just get bombed i had one day and sold yourself no one is resting in peace and eighty thirty two parliament took action they passed the anatomy act which detailed that appointed a inspectors spectres would supervise the teaching of anatomy and also the getting of the bodies that
more to the legal procurement of bodies the law meant that people in a hospital who applied for treatment basically the poor and died were giving up their bodies for anatomical examination whether they like it or not and the same went for the work houses if you were too poor to afford burial which you probably were or you wouldn't have been there your body could be done against your well between team thirty nine in eighteen forty one three hundred poppers had been dissected under the act which of course was perfectly legal so it takes several decades for this unfair treatment of the port but we are talking about how it's interesting are more willing to donate their bodies to science now mean us up lay how we get medical exam nation by understood coins enough there aren't enough but its perhaps because bodies are eventually returned to the families you know that you're gonna be treated with a certain amount of respect people are more willing to do
them although i don't know about the respect part will do you think of that fact that twenty heads that was just founded airport i mean i think i'd really miss that story a box of had filled the other was a box of about twenty had they think found in an airport they stopped it because it was that do you think of that fact that twenty heads that was just founded and airport i mean i think i'd really miss that story a box it had filled the other the remains were being shipped in the third of haphazard
manner i would love to see that paperwork and how you fill out if they see that those who now take care of the blacks but a little side now only legacy of burke and hare the word burking is in the oxford english dictionary which we english major snugly refer to as the oecd and working means that one person and mobilise as a body while the other covers the nose and mouth of a person to suffocate them so sign here this is why i gave that little clue gets here in the dictionary don't like that we ve gotten lots of emails asking for this money so if you have another not entirely to grisly please topic to suggest for us email i said history have cast it how stuff like stuck on the other a twitter feed at missed in history and if they expand page which you should join
because he put latin interesting historic treaty on it and if you'd like to read a pretty cool article about snake oil radioactive water and implants of goat testicles that i added you can search for ten instances of medical quackery throughout history on our homepage at w w w that how stuff works dot com for more on this and thousands of other topics because it has
for that calm and be sure to check out this deputy mr history glass blood on the house to force that country we are going to italy after the success of last year's trips of paris we are planning another similar trips still with defined destinations this time to rome and florence year we are going to spend a week exploring some amazing things we're gonna have city tours of both roman florence we're gonna see the roman colosseum the vatican museum in the sistine chapel see peters basilica vatican city this is just a tiny fraction of all the stuff we're gonna get to do get its may fourteen to twenty first twenty twenty and to get more information go to define them
the nations dot com and scroll down to the roman foreign strip with stuff you missed in history glass carry on rockers upon cast coming of age story about finding a home in rock music and learning the flourishing your own weird way also said letters of nice to my young herself ass she navigates ashes adolescence seals or socially eighty body issues and relationships and discovers a transformative power during i'm sure from double elvis productions is created and hosted by mutual citizen and executive produced by jake brennan of disgrace land listen to dear young rocker on the i hurt radio app apple pod costs or wherever you get your podcast
Transcript generated on 2020-02-06.