Episode 305 LIVE: Burke and Hare

In Edinburgh, Scotland, in the first half of the 19th century, great progress was being made in the field of anatomy. Only problem was, medical researchers needed cadavers for their studies, and since the law was very strict about which corpses could legally be dissected, there was something of a shortage of materials for doctors and surgeons to use. Thus, the practice of grave robbing began to increase, as people looking for ready cash would dig up fresh bodies and sell them on to medical schools. William Burke and William Hare, though, decided grave robbing was a mug’s game, and figured they’d be able to make much more money if, instead of procuring victims who were already dead, they would simply make their own dead bodies, and cut out the middle man, as it were. Ultimately, Burke and Hare are believed to be responsible for the murders of sixteen people, and their notoriety was so profound that they eventually became the subject of numerous books, plays, and movies, and their practice even led to the coining of a new English word, “burking,” referring to the crime of murdering a person for the purpose of selling the corpse. Join Tom and Jenny as we dig into the cadaverous past on this grave and gruesome episode 305.

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Episode One-Hundred-Seven: Premature Burial and Body Snatchers

On this grave (heh) installment of 13 O’Clock, Tom and Jenny are delving into some grim territory, exploring incidents where people were buried alive, as well as the strange and wonderful methods invented for preventing such a thing from happening. We’ll also be discussing the common 19th-century practice of body snatching, citing some examples and getting into the case of the famous British body snatchers and murderers, Burke and Hare. All this, plus a couple of cemetery-related news stories on our opening segment, and it adds up to a deep and deathly episode 107 that’s sure to fog your mirror and liven up your tomb.

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Clip at the beginning taken from the trailer of the 1962 film The Premature Burial.

Song at the end: “Burke and Hare,” sung by Robin Laing.

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Jason, Scarlett, Nathalie, Jake, Jen, Victoria, Lana, Duncan, Thomm, Matthew, John, Joseph, Dan, Eric, Brandon, Valtrina, Tara, Sandra, Paul, Weaponsandstuff93, Michael, Ben, Anthony, Ima Shrew, James, Matt, Mary Ellen, Jamin, Joanie, Arif, Natalia, Samantha, Ashley, Kieron, Sophie, Tara, Jana & Scott, creepy crepes, Christopher, Elizabeth, Tina, Lars, Veronica, Corinthian, Daniel, Dean, Greg, Lindsey, Richard & Sheena.

13 O’Clock is hosted by Jenny Ashford & Tom Ross. Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.