Edinburgh: Body Snatchers
Below Edinburgh’s Calton Hill you can see Old Calton Graveyard featuring a stone watchtower that dates back to the 17th century. It was from that tower that Irish grave robbers William Burke and William Hare watched for funerals. Upon a funeral’s end, they took out their spades and dug up bodies to supply the Royal College of Surgeons with fresh cadavers for research. The inspiration? Money and a fateful meeting with Dr. Robert Knox in a pub. During this chance encounter, Knox complained that he could get only one body a year from authorities, only one pair of lungs and one heart to do his research. The lads, Burke and Hare, told their newfound friend they might be able to get him more bodies to assist with his research. Soon they were regularly delivering cadavers.
As time went by, there were fewer funerals in the city, so the grave robbers became murderers, killing people to stay in business. Another doctor noticed that the bodies seemed too fresh and notified the authorities … the body snatchers-turned-murderers were discovered. Burke’s sentence was death and then fittingly, dissection at the Royal College of Surgeons. If you go there now, you can see a nice journal on display that looks leather bound … The “leather” is, in fact, Burke’s skin. When you book a vacation with Globus, you’re not just seeing the world, you’re getting a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s most interesting places. Discover the stories of Scotland with Globus and Goodrich Travel today.