Hare and Burke, The Grave Robbers


The most famous grave robbers had to be William Hare and William Burke who sold the bodies to Dr. John Knox of Scotland.

Hare is maintaining a lodging house and William makes pottery in a house near Hare.  The two of them will unearth graves on the nearby cemetery and supply it to Dr. John.  The corpses were sold to Dr. John at around 10 pounds which is more than the average salary of a worker.  They thought that the two of them can get rich in a short period of time.  They only chose those corpses that are fresh and with no sign of decomposition since their freshness affect their price in the market.  After a few months in the business of selling cadavers, the two of them were able to buy fine clothing, and live the life of the rich and famous.

On 1828, the demand on the corpses increase but they had to decrease the price of the cadaver and spend some money on the ice to keep it fresh.  None the less they were still making huge profit in the business.

Hare also had an affair with a prostitute named Mary Patterson.  They were caught in the act by Helen and saw that Mary Patterson had fainted after drinking too much.  The next day, the body of Mary Patterson is in the hand of Dr. John Knox.  Helen knew about their business of selling corpses but she decided to keep her mouth shut about the incident.

Their business on the dead bodies was uncovered after a neighbor saw a corpse neatly tuck in one of the closets of Burke and Hare is ready to be transported.  Fortunately, Hare was able to hide the evidence.

Dinally, someone reported the incident about Mary Patterson ending in the dissection table of Dr. Knox.  The students of Dr. Knox solidify the statement by testifying that they too saw the beautiful Mary Patterson. 
The police immediately arrested Burke and Hare and raided the office of Dr. Knox.  They were able to find a body of an old lady who was just recently sold by the two merchant.  The investigation showed that they are not only dealing with the dead bodies.  There came a point that they will lure victims into the inn and they will suffocate them.   They will sell the bodies of their victim to Dr. John Knox after.  Dr. John Knox claimed that he knew nothing about the atrocities that the two guys committed and thought that they were only selling him dead bodies from the cemetery.  But nonetheless the reputation of Dr. John Knox was affected and his identity faded in history.


Only Burke was given a death sentence.  Helen on the other hand was released despite knowing about the crimes.  Hare lived his entire life as a beggar in London.  The skeleton of Burke can be found at Edinburgh anatomy museum.

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