Friday, February 24, 2006

The Spirit of Burke and Hare

Burke and Hare. For those unfamiliar with these gentlemen's works, "William Burke and William Hare were a unique pair of criminals who made a profit from providing dead bodies to the anatomy students of 19th century Edinburgh" (you can read more about them here).
Now, I can't really claim to be a fan of the body-theft industry. However, I do understand that, during the 19th century, there was a need for cadavers. Without the work done then, much of what we know about anatomy would have taken much longer to discover.
The body-theft industry pretty much died out in the mid-twentieth century, but apparently, the body-part theft industry is still alive and strong.
Believe it or not, four men have recently been charged with "...illegally harvesting and selling tissue from 1,077 dead people in the past four years". Now, while I find this reprehensible, I can't also help but find it funny. What makes a bizarre case even more interesting is that some of the body parts in question may have come from British broadcaster Alistair Cooke. Yes, that's right. The Masterpiece Theatre guy.
As a kid, I hated Alistair Cooke. Masterpiece Theatre was definitely too high-brow for me at the time, and it always seemed to be on instead of Monty Python (the only reason I ever watched PBS as a child). So, even though I have nothing against the man as an adult, my long-held childish dislike for the man has now, finally, been quenched.


Don Q. said...

Burke is still known today for his method of killing. He would sit on the victim's chest so they would suffocate. This method leaves less telltale marks than other methods of suffocation. The practice continues to be known to this day as "burking".

Anonymous said...

I believe I say it for all...

You are taking too long for your next post, therefore you fucking suck and should be puked on by a Llama!

-The Anti-Smacky

Don Q. said...

Tough crowd!

Asher Hunter said...

Don: Yes, I apparently do attract some impatient people. :)