Tag Archives: grave robbing

An interrupted dissection

The increasing interest in teaching anatomy by dissecting the human cadaver had a sordid side—the practice of body snatching, the illegal removal of corpses from graves, often by organized gangs of so-called resurrectionists. Body snatching was first recorded in Italy as early as the fourteenth century and as the centuries went on it became widespread […]

Harvard medical school and the body snatchers

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, USA   Figure 1: Woodcut illustration from Fasciculus medicinae (1491) depicting a Lector, Ostensor, and Sector during a dissection Their silhouettes surely would have been seen against the backdrop of a moonlit night in 1796 as they entered the North Burying Ground in Boston. Their hearts were likely filled with […]