Who Says History Is Boring?

Once one gets the major names and dates of history down, one can proceed to the more interesting details of the story, wherein lies the real fun.  Exhibit A:

The school used human cadavers for dissection in such record numbers that supplying new ones became a problem.  That led two enterprising Irish scoundrels, William Burke and William Hare, to offer a steady supply of dead bodies to anatomy professor Robert Knox with no questions asked–steady because they began murdering the victims themselves.  When their hideous enterprise was revealed in 1829, the trial of Burke and Hare caused a major scandal.  The grisly story inspired, among others, Robert Louis Stevenson’s short story, “The Body Snatcher.”  Knox himself was never charged, while Hare turned king’s evidence.  William Burke went to the gallows–and ended up a cadaver for dissection at the medical school.  His skeleton is still there, preserved in its museum. 

–Arthur Herman, How The Scots Invented The Modern World, page 325

Now why wasn’t that story in my high school history textbook?  You’ll notice that I’m filing this under “humor.”  That’s right.  Sick, maybe, but hilarious, nonetheless.


2 comments on “Who Says History Is Boring?

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