Bodysnatchers are back...
December 22, 2005 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Alistair Cooke's bones have been stolen by a modern day gang of bodysnatchers. A sad and gruesome posthumous news appearance for the ever-dignified Letter from America presenter.
posted by penguin pie (37 comments total)

 
If that is true, then it is also true that nothing is sacred.
posted by Cranberry at 11:26 AM on December 22, 2005


Man, this is some strange shit. Episode 3,675 of "Upstairs, Downstairs".
posted by Eekacat at 11:26 AM on December 22, 2005


The US attorney general's office in Brooklyn is investigating an elaborate ring involving funeral directors, surgeons and entrepreneurs.

This is a grim and ghoulish tale which has understandably appalled everyone who knew Cooke, says the BBC's Guto Harri in New York.


Its an odd angle on what sounds like a wider story. I mean, you dont have to have known Cooke to be appalled by this.
posted by vacapinta at 11:33 AM on December 22, 2005


Um.... So just how common is this sort of thing?
posted by maryh at 11:35 AM on December 22, 2005


you dont have to have known Cooke to be appalled by this.

But it helps.
posted by foozleface at 11:35 AM on December 22, 2005


Cripes. Th' wife was watching a Law and Order the other day that was about pacemakers obtained under similar circumstances. And I thought that was grotesque and unbelievable...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:41 AM on December 22, 2005


I think that a suitable punishment for stealing the corpse of Alistair Cooke should be to having to handle the corpse of Alistair Cooke.
posted by argybarg at 11:48 AM on December 22, 2005


body snatchers allegedly surgically removed his bones [...]to a company supplying parts for use in dental implants and various orthopaedic procedures.

I am indeed Horrified and Upset by such an Act, especially to such a Dignified and Wonderful Gentleman. Nonetheless, I am a Firm Believer that he will not have Noticed in his Present State. And I must Admit to a Certain Devilish Amusement at the thought that his Bones and Teeth might well be Chattering and Creaking away in the Elder Person standing next to me on the Bus.

It reminds one of the Artifacts of Ancient Magi in the old AD&D books, possessed of Great Power and Strange Effects - the Teeth of Vecna, the Fingerbones of Tensor, and now the Tibia and Molars of Cooke.
posted by freebird at 11:51 AM on December 22, 2005


This is indeed Categorically Bizarre and Most Distressing, and represents a call for Greater Security Measures in the event of the Untimely Demise of Diana Rigg.

Cooke was the man. From his obit:
The Queen awarded him an honorary knighthood in 1973 and the following year, for a journalist, he received the ultimate recognition - he was asked to address the United States Congress on its 200th anniversary.

He told his audience he felt as if he was in a dream, standing naked before them and there was only one thing he could find to say.

Teasing, he exclaimed to the assembled legislators, "I gratefully accept your nomination for President of the United States!"
posted by gramschmidt at 12:00 PM on December 22, 2005


I saw the BBC headline this morning and dismissed it as crap. Then I saw it again, and I thought it was in the vein of the Charlie Chaplin corpse ransom. Then I thought this through and thought: 'hmm... who in their right mind would hold Alastair Cooke's mortal remains to ransom?' Finally, I gave in and read the article, and it's remarkably odder than anything I previously imagined.
posted by ob at 12:00 PM on December 22, 2005


The use of cancerous bone for transplant is a violation of the US Food and Drug Administration's rules.

The nanny state rears its oppressive head once again. If people want have cancerous bones implanted into their mouths, what business is it of the FDA?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:03 PM on December 22, 2005


Damn, freebird, that was pretty good. I could practically hear him reading it.
posted by lodurr at 12:12 PM on December 22, 2005


I suspect that guy from Mystery.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:34 PM on December 22, 2005


Related?
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:35 PM on December 22, 2005


Cooke's last Letter from America, it would seem, is somewhat less than complimentary.
posted by darkstar at 1:16 PM on December 22, 2005


I suspect that guy from Monsterpiece Theater.
posted by Guy Smiley at 1:17 PM on December 22, 2005


Spelling note: Alistair.

More details here in the Daily News piece.

Cooke's remains were sold by Mastromarino to processing companies Regeneration Technologies Inc., of Alachua, Fla., and Tutogen Medical Inc., of Paterson, N.J., both of which appear to be reputable operations, or at least, not exactly body snatchers. Tutogen has posted a recall notice (PDF) explaining that it has been unable to "verify donor consent for certain tissue" it got hold of through BioMedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee NJ, which is the subject on an FDA recall of human tissue back in October.
posted by beagle at 1:19 PM on December 22, 2005


The nanny state rears its oppressive head once again. If people want have cancerous bones implanted into their mouths, what business is it of the FDA?

Indeed! Let the market decide!
posted by R. Mutt at 1:19 PM on December 22, 2005


More tidbits on this tale here, (memo from the American Association of Tissue Banks) showing an investigation under way since September.

In case you'd like to sue anybody about this, these guys are available and are posting helpful info from the FDA on their site.

Indeed, one guy, who may be walking around with bits of old Alistair in him, has already filed. His lawyer says he's got 15 or 20 more cases in the works.

A guy in Texas is shocked. This material has potentially been turned into 300 different products, distributed around the country and implanted into thousands of people.
posted by beagle at 1:42 PM on December 22, 2005


I suspect the corpse of Edward Gorey.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:42 PM on December 22, 2005


Never fear. Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Inspector Dalgleish, and Sherlock Holmes are investigating. Did I forget anyone?
posted by spock at 2:12 PM on December 22, 2005


It's money money money by the pound!
posted by washburn at 2:41 PM on December 22, 2005


Holy crap! Am saddened by this - think he was one of the best broadcasters the Beeb ever had...

...but this does explain the strange emails and searches I've been getting today, (my podcast is called Letter to America...
posted by jettloe at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2005


In other news, I stole Mr. Cooke's dry, sexy smile.
posted by maxsparber at 3:44 PM on December 22, 2005


First the Henry Moore sculpture, then Togo the penguin, and now Alistair Cooke's bones. I wonder if Michael Jackson is doing some last-minute gift shopping.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:45 PM on December 22, 2005


spock: Lord Peter Wimsey?
posted by small_ruminant at 3:45 PM on December 22, 2005


ROFLMAO, fandango!
posted by darkstar at 4:06 PM on December 22, 2005


Other than this being an old, famous guy....this kind of thing is what happens when you check 'I wish to be a tissue donor'.

$1600 for a bit of bone, $800 per square inch of skin where 2 quoted prices when I looked into what my corpse, pieced out, was worth.

I decided if my estate could get none of it, then damnit, the vultures could look elsewhere.

Now I hope to leave such a old, withered and disease-ridden corpse it will be of no use for parts....but either way, I opted to say 'no' to 'donation'. Screw the body part vultures.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:46 PM on December 22, 2005


First the Henry Moore sculpture, then Togo the penguin, and now Alistair Cooke's bones. I wonder if Michael Jackson is doing some last-minute gift shopping. -- fandango_matt

Hee!
posted by dejah420 at 7:19 PM on December 22, 2005


I wonder if they're upstairs, or downstairs.
posted by prodigalsun at 12:09 AM on December 23, 2005


Ah, but rough ashlar, these parts were not taken from donor bodies. The Cooke family is just one of the aggrieved set of relatives--others apparently had loved ones taken out of the grave and flensed, or put into their graves with PVC pipe where legbones used to be. And as mortifying as it may be for the families of the dead, the real horror is that there are perhaps 10,000+ people walking around with implants that they were told were from relatively healthy cadavers, but actually came from the very old and sick. Cooke died of bone cancer, and his bones were taken for implantation. {Shudder}
posted by Scram at 12:13 AM on December 23, 2005


{Shudder}^2
posted by darkstar at 5:02 AM on December 23, 2005


Episode 3,675 of "Upstairs, Downstairs".

As an "Upstairs, Downstairs" geek, I must point out that there were only 68 episodes.
posted by grumblebee at 8:28 AM on December 23, 2005


Body parts are the next drugs, in re: smuggling. Just wait 10 years till the elderly population explodes.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:49 AM on December 23, 2005


This is disgusting--and it happened to the body of John Scott Harrison, who was the son of one president and father of another, although this was 127 years ago.
posted by brujita at 12:05 PM on December 23, 2005


Recently dead white guy bones stolen: SCANDAL!
Anciently dead nonwhite guy bones stolen: SCIENCE!
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:48 PM on December 23, 2005


Hooray! Ogre Lawless found the racism here! Three cheers for paranoid sociological excavation! Hip hip --
posted by gramschmidt at 9:22 PM on December 23, 2005


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