Resurrectionists


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Resurrectionists

A tongue-in-cheek term used in 19th Britain for a person who provided corpses for postmortem examinations by medical students and doctors by robbing graves (”resurrecting the dead”).
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By the start of the 19th century, despite precautions like watchhouses and iron grave covers, there was growing public revulsion at the continuing practices of resurrectionists, including evidence that people were being murdered for their body.
(22) The term "resurrectionists" was used for the sort of
A feature in the Travel Channel explains that to protect their deceased from the resurrectionists, wealthy folk began to inter their loved ones in underground crypts, the coffins lined with lead to protect the living from horrible diseases that killed their kin in those days.
As a medical "resurrectionist," he subverted the "everlasting rest" of burial, in favor of a public afterlife in the museum.
In London and other large cities these "resurrectionists,'' as they called themselves, made a profitable living, illegal and repugnant as it was.
Significantly, the so-called Resurrectionists, who laud the Guardians from whom Lele has escaped, look back on life before the zombie plague with little regret, handing out a pamphlet that reads:
professional resurrectionists vie over plots of earth where the dead
Details from the 18th and early 19th centuries in Britain and North America are well known: using the bodies of executed criminals, body snatching, and even murder.1 The world of the so-called resurrectionists and the plenitude of macabre stories surrounding the rapid transport of the recently buried from graveyard and poorhouse to anatomy dissecting room make for thrilling, if chilling, bedtime reading.
In the middle of the night, men known as "resurrectionists" dug up the recently buried and carried them to medical colleges or middlemen for their payment.
Similar body-snatching capers, carried out by a trio of Resurrectionist Burkers, John Bishop, Thomas Williams, and James May, who killed a little Italian boy, Carlo Ferrari, in London in 1831, are recorded in two rare items, Pierce Egan's Account of the Tried of Bishop, Williams, and May, and The History of the London Burkers; Containing a Faithful and Authentic Account of the Horrid Acts of the Noted Resurrectionists, Bishop, Williams, May, and Their Trial and Condemnation at the Old Bailey, for the Wilful Murder of Carlo Ferrari (1832).
Society deplored and criminalized the practice, but the hypocrisy was, shall we say, fairly pungent: society condemned the resurrectionists (as the corpse thieves were sometimes known), but it also presumably desired that young doctors be as skilled as possible, which meant they required corpses to learn from.
(22) First, however, a summary of why Bradshaw and Disley went dead or missing might be instructive to future resurrectionists.