Happy Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos!
Something you will read about: anatomy: the science of the structure of animals and plants The dead weren't always allowed to rest in peace.
To many people, death has an unknown, sacred quality that fills them with awe. When they speak of death, they do so in soft voices. They use hushed tones at funerals and cemeteries. In today's world, the dead are usually treated with respect.
In the past, there have been periods when the dead were not always treated with respect. There was a time, early in the nineteenth century in Scotland and England, when the dead were important because their bodies were sources of profit - money for some, education for others.
The practice of stealing newly buried bodies from their graves was an occupation known as "body snatching." During the first thirty years of the nineteenth century, those who followed that occupation were the cause of much unhappiness and distress.
Anatomical Wax Models
In the early 1800's, large numbers of students entered medical schools. As the number of students grew, the need for bodies grew. But the supply could not meet the demand. Body snatching seemed to be the one method that teachers and students could use to provide classrooms with specimens. The services of those who would steal bodies and supply the medical schools with them appeared to be the solution to a serious problem.
The professionals and the medical students were in competition with each other to be the first to locate a newly buried body. Only the recently dead were sought, as long-buried bodies are not suitable for medical studies. The first person to hear of a recent burial was usually the one to profit from the remains.
Competition between rival groups was so fierce that more than one method was used to learn of new burials. One procedure was to bribe a gravedigger to identify the exact location of a new grave. Another trick was for a body snatcher, who had heard of a funeral, to follow the mourners to the cemetery. After noting the burial site, the thief would leave and return at night with assistants to open the coffin and claim the prize.
Body snatchers chose to work at night when their actions would be difficult to detect. Sometimes one group of body snatchers might be hiding behind trees, watching while another group dug up a recent grave. The watchers waited for the diggers to be interrupted in their labors by angry relatives or friends of the dead. After allowing enough time for a furious mob to chase the diggers from the area, the watchers would rush to the burial site and make off with their plunder.
Today, while living, many people arrange for their bodies to be given to medical science after their deaths. They sign papers that promise their eyes, hearts, or other organs to those who can use them. Because of this, the living are still profiting from the dead. But now, the living repay the profit with their gratitude and respect.
1. The practice of stealing newly buried bodies from their graves was called ____.
2. The attitudes of people about death and the dead _______.
3. The service of supplying bodies to medical schools was performed by _____.
4. People used to believe that a cut-up body _________ .
5. Obtaining bodies for medical science ________ .
6. Fear and anger mounted as _________ .
7. Body snatching would most likely be mentioned in the following book: "____"
8. Body snatching came to an end ________________ .
9. Another name for this selection could be "________________________."
10. This selection is mainly about ___________________________ .
Link to Edcon Publishing.