Saturday, June 24, 2023



"Set the Wayback Machine to 1828, Sherman."

The Burke and Hare murders were a series of sixteen killings committed over a period of about ten months in 1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland. They were undertaken by William Burke and William Hare, who sold the corpses to Robert Knox for dissection at his anatomy lectures.



Edinburgh was a leading European centre of anatomical study in the early 19th century, in a time when the demand for cadavers led to a shortfall in legal supply. Scottish law required that corpses used for medical research should only come from those who had died in prison, suicide victims, or from foundlings and orphans. The shortage of corpses led to an increase in body snatching by what were known as "resurrection men". Measures to ensure graves were left undisturbed exacerbated the shortage. When a lodger in Hare's house died, he turned to his friend Burke for advice and they decided to sell the body to Knox. They received what was, for them, the generous sum of £7 10s. A little over two months later, when Hare was concerned that a lodger with a fever would deter others from staying in the house, he and Burke murdered her and sold the body to Knox. The men continued their murder spree, probably with the knowledge of their wives. Burke and Hare's actions were uncovered after other lodgers discovered their last victim, Margaret Docherty, and contacted the police.

A forensic examination of Docherty's body indicated she had probably been suffocated, but this could not be proven. Although the police suspected Burke and Hare of other murders, there was no evidence on which they could take action. An offer was put to Hare granting immunity from prosecution if he turned king's evidence. He provided the details of Docherty's murder and confessed to all sixteen deaths; formal charges were made against Burke and his wife for three murders. At the subsequent trial Burke was found guilty of one murder and sentenced to death. The case against his wife was found not proven—a Scottish legal verdict to acquit an individual but not declare them innocent. Burke was hanged shortly afterwards; his corpse was dissected and his skeleton displayed at the Anatomical Museum of Edinburgh Medical School where, as at 2022, it remains.

The murders raised public awareness of the need for bodies for medical research and contributed to the passing of the Anatomy Act 1832.


I was put in mind of the above by son Thomas sending me a copy of a modern day US Pennsylvania indictment and charges against various defendants – Cedric Lodge, age 55, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, Katrina Maclean, age 44, of Salem, Massachusetts, Joshua Taylor, age 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, Denise Lodge, age 63, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, Mathew Lampi, age 52, of East Bethel, Minnesota, Jeremy Pauley, age 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and Candace Chapman Scott, of Little Rock, Arkansas.

The indictments and information allege that a nationwide network of individuals bought and sold human remains stolen from Harvard Medical School and an Arkansas mortuary.

The following report is from:

According to the criminal complaint, the object of the conspiracy was "to profit from the interstate shipment, purchase, and sale of stolen human remains."

Prosecutors say Cedric Lodge stole "heads, brains, skin, bones, and other human remains, without the knowledge or permission of HMS, and removed those remains from the morgue in Massachusetts and transported them to his residence in New Hampshire." Lodge and his wife allegedly sold the stolen body parts to MacLean, Taylor and others "and sometimes shipped those remains through the United States Postal Service to Pennsylvania and elsewhere."

Sometimes Lodge let MacLean, Taylor and others into the morgue to choose what body parts to buy, prosecutors said.

MacLean is also accused of selling the human remains and storing them at her Peabody shop.

In one instance, prosecutors said MacLean "agreed to purchase two dissected faces for $600" from Cedric Lodge in October 2020. In another, investigators claimed MacLean shipped human skin to Pauley in Pennsylvania in mid-2021 and "engaged his services to tan the skin to create leather."

Taylor allegedly sent more than $37,000 to Denise Lodge to pay for body parts stolen from the morgue by her husband, according to the criminal complaint.

Former Harvard Medical School morgue manager Cedric Lodge leaves federal court in New Hampshire, June 14, 2023.

Denise Lodge leaves federal court in Concord, NH, June 14, 2023.


Those who wish to read the indictment can do so by clicking on:

Those who can’t be bothered can skip to paragraph 29, as Thomas suggested to me.

For the benefit of those who don’t want to do that, it reads:

29. Between on or about September 3, 2018, through July 12, 2021, JOSHUA TAYLOR transferred 39 electronic payments to PayPal account, operated by DENISE LODGE, totaling $37,355.56 in payment for human remains stolen by CEDRIC LODGE from Harvard Medical School. For example. On May 19, 2019, Taylor sent DENISE LODGE $1,000 with a memo that read, “head number 7.” On November 20, 2020, Taylors sent DENISE LODGE $200 with a memo that read “braiiiiiins.”


Unlike Burke and Hare, however, they didn’t kill the sources of the body parts.

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