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Of Matters Criminous

“Before me as I write lies an inch-square bit of brown leather --- not, you would think, an inspiring subject for a tale. But perpend. This fragment of human skin, for such it is, has been since 1829 in the possession of three persons only: The original owner, my grandfather, and myself. Inconsiderable in size and unimpressive of aspect, it was nevertheless potent to influence the direction of my future studies… While yet a small boy, my grandfather would often show me by request this singular relic and I never wearied of hearing how he came by it. As a matter of history, its first proprietor, the late Mr. William Burke of Edinburgh, in the circumstances hereafter to be related, was publicly anatomized, his carcass thereafter flayed, his hide tanned, and his skeleton by order of Court preserved in the Anatomical Museum of Edinburgh University, where it remains as a memorial of his infamy even unto this day. Mr. Burke’s integument being cut up into sortable parcels to suit buyer’s tastes and exposed for sale by private bargain, my grandfather, who was then but a young man, invested a modest shilling’s worth. Wealthier purchasers bought larger lots --- I have heard that the late Professor Chiene had a tobacco pouch made of this unique material. Personally, despite my predilection for crime, I prefer India-rubber.” --- "The Wolves of the West Port" [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Aug 24, 2011 - 12 comments

 

Murther Most Foul Mapped

The London Murder Map. A project-in-progress to map the variety (by gun, by knife, by bomb, by blunt object) of homicides that committed in London from the 19th century to now. Populated so far with only the last few years, Murder Map will eventually incorporate data from the oft-linked The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913. impressions so far? "Richmond, The City and Hampstead stand out as murderless pockets in an otherwise homogeneously dense circle of homicide."* (Somewhat Previously)
posted by grabbingsand on Oct 14, 2010 - 16 comments

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