“Killing for Corpses“ William Burke and William Hare Pt. 1Medical Murders
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- 17 Feb 2021
In 19th-century Edinburgh, two men on the hunt for money found a lucrative industry: grave robbing. But the infamous Burke and Hare didn’t want to dig up corpses. Instead, they delivered death to the gullible, and brought the bodies to one high-paying professor.
Listener discretion is advised, this episode features discussions of murder, medical malpractice and violence that may be upsetting. We advise extreme caution for listeners under 13. Medical professionals are supposed to serve the public good, but not everything they do is so stilted in broad humanitarianism. In the early 19th century, cadavers weren't so readily available for a doctor's education like they are now creating a demand for dead bodies. The result? Well, let's just say grave robbing was an industry for those willing to forge it.
And when stealing corpses became too grueling, some even turned to cold blooded murder. This is Medical Murders, a Spotify original from podcast. For decades, thousands of medical students have taken the Hippocratic Oath. It boils down to do no harm. But a closer look reveals a phrase much more interesting. I must not play at God. However, some doctors break that oath, choosing to play God with their patients, deciding who lives and who dies each week on medical murders.
We'll investigate those who decided to kill. We'll explore the specifics of how they operate not just on their patients, but within their own minds, examining the psychology and neurology behind heartless medical killers. I'm Alistair Madden and I'm joined by Dr. David Kipa, M.D.. Hi, everyone. I'm Dr. Kipper, and I'm delighted to assist Alastair with some medical insight into the medical issues we'll explore in our newest medical murder story of Berk and hair.
You can find episodes of medical murders and all other Spotify originals from podcast for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream medical murders for free on Spotify. Just open the app and type medical murders in the search bar. This is our first episode on William Burke and William Hare, a daunting duo whose greed led them to cash in on 16 corpses they professionally snatched and murdered in the early 19th century. In this episode, we'll explore how the medical industry gave rise to a culture of grave robbers and how Berk and Hair found their place within it by killing.
Next week, we'll cover Burke and his increasingly sloppy murder methods, their sudden demise and the red handed buyer who got away scot free.
All this and more coming up. Stay with us. This episode is brought to you by Honey Nut Cheerios with a happy heart powered by Honey Nut Cheerios.
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Greece is the personal untold story of FBI agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field in 1993, one year after the events of the Silence of the Lambs. She tracked down monsters and madmen while working in a man's world. Now it's her time to speak. The silence is over. New episodes of the CBS original Clarice Thursday. A nice intro or stream any time on CBS.
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Great Britain's early 19th century was marked by new trends in architecture, literature, politics and science. But with rapid societal change came technological progress and economic expansion to.
Factors that forever reshaped the nation. However, the surge of wealth didn't stimulate everyone's finances equally, the rich became richer and the poor got poorer. Scores of the island's citizens lived in crushing poverty, making disease, pollution and crime endemic in Edinburgh, Scotland, the wealthy and fashionable north half of the city was praised as a new Athens. Meanwhile, the South was denigrated as one of the most overcrowded and putrid parts of Europe. Many who lived there worked in factories which sustained dangerous conditions.
Work related accidents were common. And unfortunately, since Labour was so plentiful and protections for workers so lacking, it was more lucrative for employers to replace injured workers than invest in safety practices. Even worse, sick people greatly outnumbered medical practitioners making access to health care nearly impossible for members of the working class. Diseases like tuberculosis, smallpox and typhus claimed untold lives every year.
The steady rise in urbanization led to a simultaneous rise in the demand for doctors, especially among the urban poor, as the UK's industrial revolution boomed in the eighteen hundreds. Urban landscapes became increasingly overcrowded as work was plentiful. However, these factory riddled cities had improper infrastructure to support such a huge influx of people. And this led to bad health from air pollution, poor sanitation and living and working in such close quarters. Because of this, tightly packed tenements and factories turned into super spreader locations for diseases like tuberculosis and smallpox, which spread through infected droplets.
There were far too few doctors available, and their scarcity was a huge detriment to a massive population in desperate need of care. Additionally, the nature of bacterial and viral illnesses and their treatments weren't fully understood. At this point in history, doctors in urban environments were overwhelmed and themselves vulnerable to the same health problems. These variables only further contributed to the prevalence of disease.
Due to demand, an enterprising young men flocked to medical schools and the University of Edinburgh happened to be one of the finest in Europe, if not the world.
It trained some of the best doctors in the United Kingdom. But like all facilities teaching aspiring physicians about anatomy, it required cadavers and lots of them.
The study of anatomy using fresh corpses was considered a vital part of an aspiring doctor's medical training. Some teachers insisted that before a surgeon could start practicing, he needed to have dissected at least three human bodies. The problem was, for all the death and misery in big cities, there were never enough cadavers to satisfy demand.
Medical students were often forced to share the same corpse, which may not have been ideal for a complete anatomical education.
Medical students can't learn their trade on a corpse, they're more likely to make mistakes when they attempt to perform surgery on the living. Examining cadavers give students knowledge of the body's internal systems. For example, it offers direct visualization of what nerves and blood vessels look like and how they travel together along the same highways throughout the body, branching off to connect with different organs. Dissected cadavers allow for a perspective on how large arteries like the aorta taper down and divide to supply both sides of the body with blood.
Students also learn how to identify the body's organs by size, shape, location and relative positioning. One example would be where the heart is located and how its positioning between the lungs is necessary for the circulation of oxygenated and oxygenated blood flow.
In essence, this relational examination teaches students how and why different bodily structures communicate and depend on each other to help understand how organs do their job. Medical students benefit from dissecting them for the visualization of their inner workings. If cadavers weren't incorporated into training med students, prospective doctors would lose all of these advantages when it comes to understanding how the body works as a complete organism. Today, medical students don't do the dirty work themselves. Instead, they examine pre dissected cadavers, which saves time and money.
The premade dissections are more precise than what a medical student would be capable of, and this ensures that they don't damage the architecture of the structures they're trying to examine. However, cadavers will always be involved in medical training and some fashion as they guide surgeons in their knowledge and skills and are optimal training resources for most, if not all, branches of medicine.
Despite the importance of learning anatomy on a real human body, the practice drew scrutiny. Back then, the general public found the practice of carving up the dead. Morally detestable, long established tradition held that only the bodies of executed criminals could be used for study. Scotland was especially leery of dissection, and those who made a career of cutting up bodies were viewed with suspicion. According to author Brian Bailey, anatomists were perceived as men who were depriving the poor of their chance of an afterlife.
For it, it was always the poor who were laid out on their cold tables to meet the demand for bodies. British medical teachers and students found a creative solution body snatching. Called resurrection men, these surgeons and teachers took the corpses they required right out of the grave, but the act did come with some legal risks.
Initially, swiping a corpse from its grave was only a misdemeanor, since dead bodies were not considered to be anyone's property. Stealing clothes from the body or the coffin it resided in, on the other hand, was a felony. In order to evade costly charges, Bodysnatchers would pop the corpse out of its coffin, strip it naked and haul it off in their tracks.
They'd often leave an open coffin and a pile of clothes to be discovered in the morning.
The practice became so prevalent and detested that surgeons and anatomy instructors were occasionally assaulted by angry mobs. It was not unheard of for surgeons homes to be burned down by an outraged crowd.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh had to put a clause into student contracts, specifically forbidding them from grave robbing. Nevertheless, the demand remained high. So the students and teaching surgeons of Edinburgh turned to the small burial plot next to Surgeons Square, which sat just outside the school's medical building story, has it that they'd watch from the classroom windows eagerly awaiting a burial. Then as soon as it was dark enough, they'd rush down to swipe the body.
When two competing scholars laid claim to the same body, fist fights often ensued. Eventually, the task of retrieving the corpse themselves became so taxing they paid professionals to do their dirty work. But while Early Body Snatchers tended to dig up the recently deceased, some resorted to murder, a task that became an industry of its own. And the mothers of this invention were Helen Torrance and Jean Waldy to Edinburgh, women who kidnapped and murdered a child in the early 1756.
Afterwards, they sold the body to a local surgeon's apprentices for a little over two shillings. However, the two wooden pioneer of the field for long because they were caught shortly after their lucrative sale and promptly executed.
But that wasn't the end of the business they started and unfortunately, their successes were far more diligent. According to Bailey, a core of specialists in body snatching grew and turned the robbing of graves into a profession encouraged and sometimes actually employed by the leading teachers of anatomy who were out of business themselves if they had no corpses.
Thus, the professional body snatcher was born, unlike the medical students and surgeons who would simply grab the body and leave the clothes and coffin behind as evidence, the new cadaver removal specialists were a bit more sophisticated. They usually worked in pairs, one keeping watch while the other dug. Once the body was out and tucked into a sack, the coffin was reburied and the soil carefully tamped down, covering all traces of the snatching. The public, meanwhile, struggled to find ways to protect the corpses of their deceased loved ones.
Occasionally, guards were hired to watch graves for the first night or two.
After a burial, one grieving Edinborough father placed a landmine in his daughter's grave.
With the increased vigilance from locals, grave robbers sought bodies elsewhere, turning to foreign markets, bodies were shipped in from Ireland, France and even English cities like London. The trade became so complex that resurrection men kept detailed ledgers documenting imports. Hundreds of bodies were shipped, sometimes in barrels labeled fish or salt. The tops snatchers amassed impressive reputations for their stealth. But somehow the two most infamous body snatchers in British history were not professionals at all. William Burke and William Hare was simply too oafs seeking a quick buck.
Greed led them to become ruthless killers, supplying bodies for one of the foremost anatomy professors of the 19th century.
Coming up, William Burke and William Howard try their luck in a gruesome industry. Hi, it's Vanessa from Parks Network, and I'm thrilled to tell you that this month marks a huge milestone for us.
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They were required to study cadavers, an asset that wasn't so readily available. However, the University of Edinburgh was about to gain an influx of corpses from two men called Burke and Hare.
Around 18, 25 Irishman William Hare arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, thought to be in his early 30s at the time, Hare was one of many immigrants in search of a better life, but his hope did little for his general demeanor.
He was described as a thin, violent, brutal man with dead black eyes, sunken cheeks and multiple scars on his head.
Luckily, his line of work didn't require cordiality or good looks. Hair came to Scotland to work on the union canal when that was finished, he continued to work as a labourer while living at a cheap, filthy lodging house near a cluster of foul smelling animal tanneries, though his interest during this time remain unclear. He did have his eye on one woman, his landlord's wife, Margaret, led by a stroke of misfortune. Margaret's husband died here, successfully seduced her.
It's not clear if her actually married Margaret, but they lived together as man and wife, and by eighteen twenty seven, hair had done the logical thing. Taking over the lodging house that Margaret's dead husband had run. The modest building consisted of a few rooms with eight beds all together and a tiny, stable and pigsty. It wasn't much, but it sure beats manual labor. And it was while her worked there that he made a friend who would change his life forever.
William Burke. Like hair, much of Burke's early life remains a mystery. It's believed he served in the Donegal militia and married an Irish woman with whom he had two children, evidently Burke wasn't much of a family man.
And after an alleged dispute with his father in law, he headed to Scotland, never to be seen by his wife and kids again.
Once he moved, Burke's old life was a distant memory of what once was, and he readily took on a new romantic partner. Helen, also known as Nellie. He worked odd jobs as a farm laborer, street peddler and shoe mender, and Nellie may have been a sex worker, but the cost of living was high. So the pair packed their bags and headed to Edinburgh around 1827 to make ends meet. It didn't take long before Burke and Nellie met William Hare and Margaret Ladd and the two couples became friends.
Berk and Hair in particular, developed a strong camaraderie.
It may have been their laborious jobs that brought them together or their bitterness at the hand life has dealt them. Perhaps they bonded over whiskey or whatever the case. Less than a year into their friendship, a lucrative opportunity fell into their laps, at least, according to Burke.
The following story and much of what we know about the duo comes from his account alone, which we have to take with a grain of salt. In November of 1827, an old pensioner that had been staying has lodging house passed away, likely from DropZone, a disease that results in swelling due to fluid retention in the body's tissues. Unfortunately for her, the deceased still owed four pounds in rent when he passed. So according to Burke's account of events, his partner here conceived of a way to recover his debt.
He'd sell the corpse. Hair then allegedly enlisted Burke's help to transport the body, promising him they'd split profits eager for a buck, Burke agreed the two men swiftly popped open the soldier's coffin and replaced the body with Tanner's barg or essentially mulch. The coffin was subsequently buried with no one the wiser, since the first part of their plan was completed and hair carried the body to Surgeons Square, where they tried to sell the corpse. From there, they were directed toward the nearby lecture hall of Dr.
Robert Knox. So on they went in search of a lucrative sale. And soon they found it because Knox was a man in need of cadaver's.
Known for his infamously gory medical lectures, Knox was an exceptionally popular teacher at the University of Edinburgh at his height. Knox presided over the largest anatomy class in Britain. He sometimes taught the same lesson three times in a day. Advertisements for Doctor Knox courses promised a full demonstration on fresh anatomical subjects, and arrangements have been made to secure, as usual, an ample supply. And Knox always delivered, demonstrating his lessons on real corpses. But while his students revered him, not everyone in the medical world felt the same.
An arrogant man, Knox was known to slander fellow anatomy professors with outright lies, often during his lectures.
While this behavior may have been unfounded, it wasn't necessarily unusual at the time medical professionals occupied the highest rung on the social ladder and many of them acted like it.
Doctors who are traditionally of a higher social class and many other workers, since they more or less avoided physical labor, doctors are seen as gentlemen at the time. Although there are plenty of arrogant doctors today, there are a few possibilities for why 19th century doctors may have gotten this general reputation in order to become a doctor. Back then, you had to come from a family of considerable wealth, which often goes hand in hand with a sense of entitlement. Doctors also attended prestigious schools in a time when most of the population had limited access to education.
In comparison to today, 19th century doctors were probably more revered. This is partly because there were fewer in number and the numerous contemporary subspecialties didn't exist as such. They were all more tied to that fight for life over death, which emphasized their importance. Dr Knox's lofty social status and the high demand for his services likely fed into an inflated sense of self-worth. This high opinion of himself, perhaps made Knoxfield is so he could do no wrong.
But Dr. Knox also upheld a good reputation among Bodysnatchers for paying well and promptly, and he'd amassed his own network of illicit workers. It gave him no pause that those bringing in bodies may have obtained them in unsavory ways. He barely batted an eye at the likes of Burke and Hare when they brought in their first body on that fateful November day in 1827. Upon examining the body, Dr. Knox offered to pay the two men seven pounds, ten shillings, or more than 500 pounds today, thrilled Burkean had accepted the offer as they were let out.
One of the students informed them that Dr. Knox would be happy to purchase any other bodies. The two came across. It seemed he was pleased with the specimen the two had brought in because it still appeared to be freshly dead in the days before industrial refrigeration, human remains would naturally decompose quickly.
So it was necessary for anatomy teachers to get their hands on recently deceased bodies. Corpses start decomposing pretty quickly after death and can physically change very significantly after a few days to a week. As a corpse decays, it releases enzymes that break down tissue. These enzymes then cause tissue and flesh to become discolored, gelatinous and different in size and shape. This is why refrigeration is so key in preserving the dead or rotting body is unsuitable for teaching purposes when it comes to dissection and examination for a number of reasons.
One is that tissues, organs and blood vessels change so drastically in their composition. After a certain amount of decay, they become very fragile, making them difficult to handle and dissect appropriately. Organs and blood vessels also shrink, making them harder to identify, locate and dissect with precision. And let's not forget, rotting bodies are hard to be around and examine because of their terrible odour, which comes from gases created by microorganisms and bacteria involved in this process of decomposition.
Rotting corpses just don't adequately replicate, live or recently dead tissue, which definitely contributed to the urgency with which professors like Dr. Knox purchased their subjects.
But demand for fresh corpses also means that grave robbers had to work quickly now that the students had tipped them off. Burke and Hare understood this, and it seemed they were happy to deliver. Of course, we cannot know for sure that they were so eager to kill again, as we mentioned, this comes solely from Berk's confession. The exact truth of how Burkean has started their career and many details of subsequent events will likely never be known. Nevertheless, the ease with which Burke and Hare had made over seven pounds in a single night seemed to prove inspirational as they mulled over their dirty deal.
The temptation to make fast cash again likely grew.
Dr. Knox had unknowingly planted a seed that would lead Birkenhead to claim at least another 15 victims.
Coming up, Burke and Hare embark on a killing spree. This is a PSA, black storytelling is getting its own platform on Facebook, and they're calling it We the culture, expect to see black excellence, vibrant, dynamic, taking up space, unapologetically black from entertainment, lifestyle, outdoors, comedy, you name it. This is a new home for black content. Let's celebrate and share black creativity, join the community, follow we the culture on all social media platforms.
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Now back to the story in late 1827, working class Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare discovered they can make some serious cash by selling recently deceased bodies to Edinburgh's famed anatomy professor, Dr. Robert Knox.
While the first cadavers they sold probably died of natural causes, the temptation of easy money was too great for Burke and Hare in no time at all. They were on the hunt for their first victim. Several months later, around early February 1828, a Miller named Joseph became ill while lodging at his property. Hair and his wife were concerned that if news of the illness became known, it would drive away customers. More than that, Joseph was likely an elderly widower, meaning no one would ask questions once he passed as far as Burke and Hare were concerned.
Joseph wasn't going to recover from his illness anyway, so they decided to help him along.
On the night of their attack, Burke and Hare plied Joseph with drinks until he was blackout drunk and then smothered him with a pillow. Then before the body was even cold, they carried it over to Surján Square and met with Dr. Knox's students. This time they were paid 10 pounds for the body. No questions asked, according to Professor Lisa Rozner. Ten pounds was equal to three years worth of hard agricultural labor. If we think of it as 200 shillings and assume Burke made two shillings per day on the union canal, then the single murder was the equivalent of 100 days spent hacking the tunnel out of Prospect Hill.
Burke and Hare had gotten away with murder and were paid handsomely for it by a doctor, no less. They were greedy for another sale, so they waited for another opportunity to present itself and just days later it did. On February 11th, 1828, an older woman by the name of Abigail Simpson traipsed through the town of Edinburgh to collect her pension. Afterwards, she decided to stop at the local lodging house where William Hare offered her several drinks too intoxicated to return home.
Abigail decided to sleep at the boarding house the next morning. She felt so ill she started vomiting for whatever reason, potentially at the prodding of Burke and Hare, Abigail continued drinking, getting drunker and sicker. According to Burke's account has suggested that they smother the drunken woman and Burke did not protest, he pinned the woman down while hair put his hand over her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They likely murdered her this way because it was cleanest and fastest.
Abigail would have died within minutes. Suffocation Allaster could certainly be a clean killing method. Importantly, it would have left their victim's body intact. When someone is suffocated, air can't enter their lungs, making respiration impossible. Respiration is crucial to survival because it allows cells in the body to reproduce and function. A lack of oxygen intake kills brain cells, causing permanent damage and death in a matter of minutes. This method of killing was clearly more suited for subsequent anatomical study, as opposed to a more gruesome murder.
Suffocation left Abigail's body true to how it appeared in life without visible trauma to the tissues, organs or blood vessels. If there had been physical mutilation or disfigurement, Dr. Knox may not have wanted to make a purchase or may have tried to negotiate their fees. Someone close to these transactions also may have alerted the police. Any violent trauma to Abigail's body would have raised eyebrows. So suffocating their victims was just as much a matter of practicality and function as it was a way for Hare and Burke to avoid suspicion of murder.
Abigail's untimely death happened quickly and likely with little pain. Overall, it ensured that Burke and Hare obtained a clean and viable specimen to sell to Dr. Knox.
Today, because of Burke and Hare, the practice of suffocating someone in this manner is known as Borking.
It became their favorite method after the murder. They locked Abigail's body in a chest, then brought it to Dr. Knox's premises, where it was sold for another 10 pounds for Burke. And her murder was no longer a side hustle. It was their main source of income.
The exact order of the attacks that followed is not entirely clear, but the next victim was probably a middle aged mazzella from Cheshire, whose identity has never been determined. After he became ill with jaundice while staying at the lodging house, Berghain had gotten drunk, suffocated him and sold his body, as they had done to Abigael that same spring. On the morning of Wednesday, April 9th, 1828, Burke was drinking rum in a shop when he met two women who were thought to be part time sex workers.
Janice Brown was in her late 20s and Mary Patterson was about 18 years old, where others might see young adolescents on the precipice of their whole lives.
Burke saw bags of money, so he got to work with a scheme he apparently never cleared with hair. He bought the young women drinks to weaken their judgment, then invited them over to his place for breakfast.
The girls agreed, but rather than take them to his lodging house, Burke led them to his brother's place. Burke's sister in law cooked breakfast for Burke and the two women. Eggs, bread and smoked haddock washed down with whiskey.
After breakfast, Mary passed out drunk. Meanwhile, Burke took Janet to a tavern and bought her beer and pies, only to return to Burke's brother's house once more, to drink even more.
It was shortly after they'd had another round of drinks that Burke's wife, Nellie, arrived to find Burke entertaining. The young woman, Nellie launched a verbal assault on Janet. Then she turned on Burke, yelling at him. Burke is said to have responded by throwing a glass tumbler at her, cutting Nellie's forehead. Scared by the violence, Janet left and returned to the boarding house where she lived.
Meanwhile, Burke's sister in law retrieved her and his wife, Margaret Ladd, perhaps because Mary Patterson was still passed out and Burke thought she would make a good korps for Dr. Knox. While Burke and his wives waited with Burke's sister in law, Burke and Hare suffocated the drunken teen.
The extent Margaret's and Nellie were aware of or even participated in the murders remains uncertain. However, it seems likely that the women knew what was going on at this point and were glad for the extra cash. When the murder was done, Burke went to Surján Square to arrange the sale. As far as he was concerned, murder was a formality for his business, and he was content to leave the corpse at his brother's house while he negotiated the deal. But Burke hadn't anticipated that Mary's friend Janet would return looking for Mary.
Since Burke wasn't around to make up a lie, here did the talking, according to author Brian Bailey, he explained that Mary had merely gone for a walk with Burke and that they would return soon. In the meantime, he offered Janet a drink. Janet obliged and accepted a whisky. Little did she know she was in a lion's den, likely sitting mere feet from her friend Mary's corpse if her intended to kill Janet, too. He didn't get the chance.
After her libation, Janet returned home hoping she'd see her friend in town. The next day. When Burke returned, he and her put Mary's body into a tea chest and brought the tea just over to Cerrejón Square in broad daylight, apparently at one point during the delivery. They were trailed by some schoolboys who repeatedly shouted are carrying a corpse. While this wasn't outright incriminating, it certainly evoked glares from the townspeople. And for the first time when Birkenhead dropped off a body at Dr.
Knox's, they were confronted with questions. One of the doctor's assistants may have recognized Mary. So he asked where they had gotten her without a second thought.
Burke explained that Mary had drunk herself to death. They had subsequently brought her corpse off an old woman in the neighborhood. It was a believable story, especially since Mary's body reeked of whiskey.
The stench of alcohol can waft up through the breath or be secreted through the pores when people drink, some alcohol gets absorbed by the mouth, mucosal lining and the tongue before being swallowed. It then goes to the stomach where the stomach lining absorbs it, sending it into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, the alcohol then travels through all of the body's tissues and organs, except for the fat and bones. When some remnants of alcohol remain present in the stomach, the mouse, mucous membranes and lung tissue.
This can create a very noticeable stench on the breath of someone who's recently been drinking. Alcohol can also speed the heart rate, which increases blood flow. This causes blood vessels in the skin to dilate or widen a reaction known as phase of dilation. This increased blood flow to the skin and cause makes people feel warm and to cool down the body will start to perspire. If someone has a lot of alcohol in their system, a small amount of it gets released through the sweat, which can create a slight odor.
If a person drank excessively immediately before dying like Mary, they might still have a residual smell of alcohol coming from their body. This happens because the stomach stops digesting after death. So much of the consumed alcohol remains in the stomach. On top of this, residue in the mouth and other bodily tissues remain sun absorbed. We do know that Mary had been drunk leading up to her death, but not all on her own accord.
Burke encouraged her. Thanks to Mary, stench of alcohol and his story was accepted and the murderers were paid for their services, Burke confessed that they received eight pounds for the still warm body. But one of Knox's employees later said that it was 10 pounds. The higher price seems more likely because Mary was regarded as a fine specimen.
Knox's students and the doctor himself, or rather creepily remarked on the beauty of Mary's body. Several students went out of their way to sketch her, while Dr. Knox himself invited a painter over to have a look. Allegedly, Knox even put Mary's body in whiskey in order to preserve it longer. While Knox was pleased, the attention likely exacerbated the fact that the murder had been sloppy, Burke and Hare had killed someone who was relatively well known around town. Burke had also imbibed with her publicly in the hours that preceded her murder, and several witnesses saw them together.
To make matters worse, Mary's friend Janet was still around asking questions, but they remained unanswered as Burke and Hare returned to the streets with a newfound arrogance.
According to author Brian Bailey, the two fiends took to lurking in the dark and dingy streets and whines of the old town like predatory animals ready to pounce on and devour the weakest and most vulnerable prey. So far, no one in Edinburgh suspected that their lives were in danger. For a while, it seemed as if nothing and no one would ever stop the pair. But Burke and Hare strategic attacks couldn't go unnoticed forever.
Next time on medical murders, Burkean has a grisly spate of murders, reaches its gruesome conclusion on Halloween night, leaving a gripping trial in its wake. Thanks for listening to medical matters and thanks again to Dr. Kipa for joining me today. Thank you, Alistar.
For more information on Berk and hair, among the many sources we used, we found Burke and Hare, The Year of the Ghouls by Brian Bailey. Extremely helpful to our research.
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Medical Murders is a Spotify original from podcast. It is executive produced by Max Cutler, Sound Design by Trent Williamson with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden, Kristen Acevedo, Jonathan Cohen, Alexandra Kirk, the daughter, and Bruce Kaktovik. This episode of Medical Murders was written by Devin Hughes with writing assistants by Lauren Dalil and Maggie Admire fact checking by Bennett Logan and research by Chelsea Wood. Medical Murders stars Dr. David Kepa and Alistaire Martin.
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