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coffins

Grave Robber Foiler

on October 3, 2012 - 10:07am

While scrolling through my reader, I came across an image of The Baker Burglar-Proof Metallic Grave Vault which promised protection for those who couldn't afford a mausoleum but still want to be buried like a king (a king safe from grave robbers). 

It caught my interest because - besides the obvious reasons - I've been reading Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine 1880-1930, a book described by Publisher's Weekly as "a startling window into the education of American doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries-on both a visceral level and for its revealing cultural record. Cringe-worthy shots of medical students-bare-handed gentlemen and a few ladies in street clothes show off their scalpels, saws and textbooks-while their cadavers, mostly poor and black, are awkwardly posed, and exposed."

The book's beginning talks of how early North American medical schools acquired their first subjects for dissection during a time when the concept was taboo to say the least (while in Europe the practice was more accepted).

We've all seen movies with Igor helping his master to gather fresh corpses for his Frankenstein Monster, or grave robbers digging up the dead for valuables, or mad doctors paying for corpses. For some reason, I had believed it was only in these rare situations that someone would steal a body.