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Bang! You’re (Robbing The) Dead!

Bad things are often done for good reasons. And “bad” is relative, anyway, when we’re talking about cases of “necessary” evil. Back in the days before people donated their bodies to Science after death, medical schools had a helluva time getting hold of bodies to practice on. They’d frequently be forced to resort to “Resurrection Men,” or graverobbers, enterprising folks of malleable morality who’d earn their livings by sneaking into graveyards at night and exhuming fresh bodies, which they’d then peddle to the universities. Inevitably, some figured out it was simpler to just murder people than to do all that digging, and unscrupulous medicos tended not to ask too many questions as to where their cadavers came from. Even the Resurrectionists who weren’t resorting to homicide, though, were reviled and feared. Nobody wanted their dead grandpa to end up on some sawbones’ autopsy table.

How could this be prevented? Guards could be stationed, but this required paying somebody to sit up at night keeping the deceased company. A cheaper method was to erect a sort of cage around the grave, or to otherwise make it more difficult to dig up the remains. An even cheaper and perhaps more effective solution was to booby trap the gravesite, and this allowed folks to get creative. Exhibit A, the Cemetery Gun. Let someone come ‘round, messin’ where they oughtn’t to be messin’, then, when they trip a wire, BANG! Now there’s a body for the medical schools to claim, all legal-like, since dead criminals were typically sent to the doctors to practice on!


TheCheezman • April 5, 2016

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