Burke and Hare Murder Dolls
In the late 1820s, two men in Edinburgh, Scotland, began a grisly cottage industry. William Hare (who owned a boarding house), and William Burke were Irishmen who became friends. When a tenant at Hare’s house died, the pair sold his body to Ediburgh University. They quickly realized they could make a pretty penny doing this, but unfortunately bodies were in short supply. So they decided to create some of their own. All told, they killed 16 people, mostly by smothering, and sold their wares to a Dr. Knox at the University. One day, a tenant at Hare’s boarding house found a body and went to the police. They managed to dispatch with the corpse before the police arrived, but Burke & Hare’s crime spree was over.
Hare turned over on his accomplice in exchange for his freedom. Burke’s fate would mirror that of his victims; after his execution, he was dissected in public. Hare vanished, never to be seen again.
But the story doesn’t end there. Shortly after the murder spree, a young boy playing in a cave in Edinburgh came across a collection of carved wooden dolls in a cave. There were 17 in all, about the size of a finger, each secreted in its own tiny coffin. It didn’t take long for people to realize that the dolls greatly resembled the victims of Burke & Hare in both number and appearance. DNA tests on the macabre toys against the remains of Burke yielded no results. Only 8 of the 17 are still known to exist; they can be seen at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Just who created these morbid effigies, and what they were meant to represent, will never be known.
We could discuss a mystery like this one 'till the cows come home, but I doubt we would ever figure it out. Still, nothing like a good old fashioned mystery to get the brain cells working, right?
Coffee in the kitchen this morning...OK?