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Author Topic: The Macabre Practice of Binding Books in Human Skin  (Read 806 times)
GCCC
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« on: October 31, 2015, 07:02:16 pm »

I can't even...
http://hyperallergic.com/242677/the-macabre-practice-of-binding-books-in-human-skin/?ref=featured

Excerpted from the article:

"Skin from the thigh of an unfortunate Philadelphia woman felled by a parasitic infection delicately lines the spines of three books in the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Along with two other examples of books bound in human skin, theirs was officially confirmed as the country’s largest collection of anthropodermic bibliopegy, as the macabre practice is known..."


The five books bound in human skin.
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Crescat Scientia
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2015, 07:38:53 pm »

Well, that's a thing.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2015, 03:34:54 am »

I've read of scholars putting in in their wills that copies of their writings would be bound in their skin for special library collections. The practice has not been in fashion in the past century.
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BGHilton
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 01:28:29 am »

The practice wasn't always voluntary.

The murderer William Corder, convicted of the murder of Maria Marten in the infamous 'Red Barn Murder' case of 1827 was sentenced to hang. As was the practice before the passage of the Anatomy Act of 1830, part of his sentence was that his corpse was to be handed over to surgeons for dissection. The surgeon George Creed kept some of Corder's skin and used it to bind a book - "An Authentic and Faithful History of the Mysterious Murder of Maria Marten: With a Full Development of All the Extraordinary Circumstances which Led to the Discovery of Her Body in the Red Barn; to which is Added, the Trial of William Corder, Taken at Large in Short Hand Specially for this Work" by James Curtis.

The book can be seen near the bottom of this page:
http://murderpedia.org/male.C/c/corder-william-photos.htm
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Crescat Scientia
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2015, 11:03:07 am »

The practice wasn't always voluntary.

The murderer William Corder, convicted of the murder of Maria Marten in the infamous 'Red Barn Murder' case of 1827 was sentenced to hang. As was the practice before the passage of the Anatomy Act of 1830, part of his sentence was that his corpse was to be handed over to surgeons for dissection. The surgeon George Creed kept some of Corder's skin and used it to bind a book - "An Authentic and Faithful History of the Mysterious Murder of Maria Marten: With a Full Development of All the Extraordinary Circumstances which Led to the Discovery of Her Body in the Red Barn; to which is Added, the Trial of William Corder, Taken at Large in Short Hand Specially for this Work" by James Curtis.

The book can be seen near the bottom of this page:
http://murderpedia.org/male.C/c/corder-william-photos.htm


That was an interesting batch of documents.

The ballad of the murder read like a generic one with the names slotted in, I noticed, and missed some important particulars of the case, if the published confession is anything to go by.  Even from the incomplete accounts there you can see how the story of the murder got sanitized and standardized.
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Atterton
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2015, 02:30:42 pm »

I wonder if I can ask for this on my organ donor card. As long as I don't end up as the cover of a Dan Brown novel.
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 12:33:55 am »

Crescat - The case just more generic over time. There was a play made of It that was rewritten so often that by the time they filmed it in the 1930s it had practically nothing to do with the case except for the names of the murderer and victim and the location of the barn.
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Alexis Voltaire
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2015, 09:25:39 am »

Wow, and I always thought this was some kind of made-up horror trope.

It's astounding what used to be culturally acceptable in centuries past. I imagine (or at least hope) using human skin as bookbindings was still considered a bit odd back then, but the fact that it happened at all is... disturbing.
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2015, 10:58:23 am »

Should this be Textual or Anatomical? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2015, 03:26:02 pm »

macabre stuff from my side...I don't think I should warn this is a tread about books in human skin.

tattood people would make beautiful books, I think.
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2015, 04:59:17 pm »

Knowing my luck my spotty rump will end up as the well thumbed cover of a copy of Mills and Boon.
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Atterton
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2015, 06:50:54 pm »

You might end up as a pair of necropants.
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2015, 09:10:54 pm »

"The cover was made from human skin, the cleft of the buttock expertly flayed from the dead recipient had been loving crafted into the entry point of the book. So as you read you were in effect viewing the place where the ass hole had been. I didn't know if I should be insulted, honoured or merely desperately uneasy regarding my act of forcing those cheeks apart and partaking of the forbidden knowledge within."

Well that screams innuendo eh?
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chironex
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2015, 08:23:01 am »

Should this be Textual or Anatomical? Roll Eyes

Textual, so long as it pertains solely to books, and more so if someone starts writing at length about fictional examples of such (such as the RPG setting where a certain tribe doesn't go in for books at all, so their men of magic tattoo their spell knowledge on their skin and rivals tend to make spellbooks by killing them and flaying the skin off them to make the pages), or even real ones of which they've heard.

It can be anatomical when we start talking about other historical things we've heard of made of human skin (such as the world's first stereotypical leather doctors' bag, made of the tanned hide of a pirate who had been hanged on the Boston Commons - formerly in the Boston Medical Library, current whereabouts unknown).
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