Saturday, December 16, 2023

Kentucky Meat Rain

 For years, people in Kentucky have been talking about the peculiar and eccentric weather phenomenon known as the "Kentucky Meat Rain." Locals are left scratching their heads in astonishment and awe at this strange phenomenon where chunks of raw flesh fall from the sky. The Kentucky Meat Rain is still a mysterious and intriguing natural phenomenon, despite a plethora of theories and ideas regarding its cause.

The first Kentucky Meat Rain was observed by the nice people of Olympia Springs, Kentucky, in 1876. This is where our voyage into the world of meaty precipitation began. People were in complete disbelief as various types of meat, including venison and steak, appeared to fall from the sky. The tale quickly became viral, igniting a flurry of interest and ideas about the meaty downpour.

 Meat showers persisted in appearing in different locations around Kentucky in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Even more, a report from the 1876 incident said that the meat parts were "large irregularly shaped flakes, one of which was 6 by 8 inches in size."

Numerous theories, ranging from the serious to the absurd, have been proposed on the Kentucky Meat Rain:

  • Vultures and other scavengers dumping meat: A few scientists hypothesized that meat was being dropped by vultures and other birds while they were in the air. This theory, however, isn't entirely credible because it seems improbable that birds could carry about such large amounts of meat.
  • Prank or hoaxes: A few doubters speculated that these instances may have been the work of neighborhood jesters or pranksters. Despite the possibilities of pranks and hoaxes, numerous reliable witnesses attest that these incidents actually happened.
  • Some scientists believe that meat from farms or slaughterhouses may have been picked up by tornadoes or waterspouts, which then dropped the meat into the air.

Scientists are still puzzled by the Kentucky Meat Rain, which also manages to enchant the general public. Although many theories have been proposed, none of them have really solved the mystery. It's critical to keep in mind that most weather events are well-researched and understood and that these meaty showers are incredibly uncommon. The field of meteorology is made more whimsical by the Kentucky Meat Rain. Even though the mystery is still unsolved, it serves as a reminder of how delightfully strange our natural world can be. Who knows as science moves forward? Perhaps one day we'll figure out what causes the Kentucky Meat Rain. Up until that point, it remains a distinctive and peculiar aspect of American folklore that keeps us all in the dark.

Works Cited
Duckworth, Matthew, “‘Kentucky Shower of Flesh’: The ‘Great Kentucky Meat Shower’ fell 147 years ago” Fox56News. Mar. 2023 Accessed Oct. 2023.

McManus, Melanie, “10 Times It Has Rained Something Other Than Water” HowStuffWorks. Accessed Oct. 2023.

“Kentucky meat shower”,, Wikipedia. Nov. 2023.

The Downfall of Phineas Gage

 Kierstin Harmon

On October 8th, 2021 an author named Katie Serena posted “THE SHOCKING STORY OF PHINEAS GAGE, The Railroad Worker Who Survived A Spike Through His Skull” this article talks about how Phineas Gage was just a young man who was very good at his job and always knew what to do and how to do it. Phineas was born in New Hampshire, and he was also raised there. By the time Gage was 25 he had become an incredibly talented blasting foreman that worked for railroad companies. Gage had been doing his job for years, so he was familiar with what he was doing, and he felt confident about it. Blasting rocks back in 1848 was risky, but Gage took the risk every day because he was experienced and skilled at the task. Gage was using his Iron tamping rod to pack the explosives powder into the hole and as he was packing it, the powder detonated sending the rod flying upward. When the rod came down it penetrated right through his left cheek and tore through his brain and exited through his skull before sending him 80 feet away. After all of this, Gage still lived, he laid there for a while, but he was conscious. Eventually he got up and started walking, everyone was helping him and making sur he was okay, they could not believe that he was even conscious. Phineas of course had to be seen by doctors so they could treat him.

This picture shows how the iron rod was positioned in Phineas Gage head. Gage was paralyzed on the left side of his face. He suffered a lot of different injuries from the iron rod going through his skull, most of his brain was destroyed. Gage was not able to return to his old position due to his personality changed, he was basically half brain dead. He had no personality and forgot a lot of things; he didn’t really talk much and did not really think much. Gage was now broken, disconnected, and impatient, said Mr. Harlow. Mr. Gage could not use the right side of his face, and he was blind in his right eye. Mr. Gage was going through a lot, but he was able to live his life and he kept going. 

  In this video the youtuber SciShow Psych basically speaks about all the different stories people write about Phineas Gage. He says that most people where making things up because there was not a lot of information about how long gage lived and that his symptoms were not that terrible. You really must read the articles and stories because a lot of them aren’t true. He talks about how people put made up things onto their stories just to catch the reader’s attention.

Work Cited:

Damasio, Hanna, et al. "The return of Phineas Gage: clues about the brain from the skull of a famous patient." Science, vol. 264, no. 5162, 20 May 1994, pp. 1102+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

Phineas Gage, The Man Behind History's Most Famous Brain Injury (

Further Research:

Shelley, Bhaskara. "Footprints of phineas gage: Historical beginnings on the origins of brain and behavior and the birth of cerebral localizationism." Archives of Medicine and Health Sciences, vol. 4, no. 2, July-Dec. 2016, p. 280. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

Van Horn, John Darrell, et al. "Mapping Connectivity Damage in the Case of Phineas Gage." PLoS ONE, vol. 7, no. 5, 16 May 2012, p. e37454. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

Hodges, John. "An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, vol. 71, no. 1, July 2001, p. 136. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

How The Crichton Leprechaun no longer benefits the African American community of Mobile Alabama

 Courtney Wright

The famous story of the Crichton Leprechaun originated from a news story that was aired on March 14th, 2006, which covered the sighting of what the people in the city of Crichton, Alabama thought to be a Leprechaun. The story of the "Crichton Leprechaun" quickly became famous world wide, and is considered to be one of the worlds first viral videos (Toole, Connor. “Why the ‘Alabama Leprechaun’ Is Still the Best Video in Internet History 15 Years after It Came Out.” BroBible, 17 Mar. 2021). The people of Alabama recognized the fame that the news story brought to their state, in fact, the business owners of Alabama immediately understood how the story of the Crichton Leprechaun could be used for the benefit of their business.

Every year on around St. Patrick's day, statues of the Crichton Leprechaun are placed outside of these businesses, and merchandise featuring the amateur sketch of the leprechaun are sold. The success that businesses see from the use of the Crichton Leprechaun have been prevalent for years, but more recently the question of whether or not those business owners should continue to profit from the use of the Crichton Leprechaun has been asked among the individuals of Alabama more and more. People have discovered that a majority of the business owners that have profited from poking fun at the story of the Crichton Leprechaun are white, and many African American's residing in Alabama aren't too comfortable with the idea of white business owners gaining benefits by joking about a story that originated in an African American community. Crichton, Alabama is a city that is made up mostly of individuals that are African American, and most of these business owners do not live anywhere near Crichton so to many individuals who do live in Crichton, it appears strange that they are the main ones benefiting from it's success instead of the people who actually do live in Crichton (Harris-Marshall, Sharonda. “It’s Time to Retire the Crichton Leprechaun.” Medium, 4 June 2021).

It is evident that the Crichton Leprechaun has benefited the people of Alabama, but whether or not it has benefited the right group of people is still a question that people are trying to answer. Many people worry if the Crichton Leprechaun's lingering impact has negatively impacted the way that people view the African American individuals of Alabama to this day, as many people have concerns regarding the old, and harmful stereotypes about the education of African Americans and whether or not it is as good as their white peers (Brantley, Mike. “TV’s Bill O’Reilly Asks: Is Crichton Leprechaun News Story Racist?” Al, 30 July 2009). While the Crichton Leprechaun is a funny story and should be recognized as such, it is important to consider the individuals who really deserve this recognition, as well as the individuals who actually should be benefiting from the fame the news segment has in the long run. 

Work Cited:

Brantley, Mike. “TV’s Bill O’Reilly Asks: Is Crichton Leprechaun News Story Racist?” Al, 30 July 2009

Harris-Marshall, Sharonda. “It’s Time to Retire the Crichton Leprechaun.” Medium, 4 June 2021

Team, WDSU Digital. “‘where Da Gold at?’ Viral Mobile Leprechaun Video Turns 15 Years Old.” WDSU, 24 June 2021 (Image)

Toole, Connor. “Why the ‘alabama Leprechaun’ Is Still the Best Video in Internet History 15 Years after It Came Out.” BroBible, 17 Mar. 2021

Dancing Mania or Dancing Plague

 Author: Glenn Tafe

The “Dancing Plague of 1518” was an event in which hundreds of citizens of Strasbourg, France danced uncontrollably and apparently unwillingly for days on end. The mania was said to have lasted for two months. The plague started when a women by the name Frou Troffea walked into the street and began dancing erratically, and seemed unable to stop. She kept dancing and soon collapsed from exhaustion. After taking a break she began dancing again and continued this way for days. The number of dancers began to increase, and the civic and religious leaders theorized that more dancing was the solution. They arranged for spaces for dancers to dance in, musicians, and professional dancers to help the afflicted continue dancing. It only worsened the contagion, and more than 400 people died because of the compulsion. Theories of the plague were that the afflicted may have eaten bread made from rye flour which contained a very dangerous fungal disease called ergot. Other theories include demonic possession, overheated blood, etc.

In this video posted by HistoryPod, he describes the history of the mania, and how it spread in the German city of Aachen. The people of the city began suddenly dancing in the streets and didn’t stop for weeks on end. Other names for the mysterious dancing include St John’s Dance, St Vitus’ Dance, or the ‘dancing plague’. Many of the victims danced until exhaustion, and foamed at the mouth and twitched their limbs until they recovered only to begin dancing again. Some died of injuries sustained from the dance, others died of cardiac arrest. Some speculated the cause of the ‘dancing plague’ was religion or punishment from Saints John or Vitus who were closely associated with both the cause and the cure. People also thought that the dancers were members of cults performing rituals. Its been noted that the disappearance of the outbreaks curiously coincided with the spread of Protestantism and its rejection of the veneration of saints.

In Aachen, Germany, in 1374, the worst outbreak of dancing mania was recorded. It was said to have spread to towns in Belgium and the Netherlands along the Rhine River. Many villagers danced in the streets to music nobody else could hear. The dancers seemed as if they were stuck in a trance, unable to control themselves. Some dancers screamed, and cried out in pain, but couldn’t stop. The dancing mania went on for weeks, affecting thousands of people. One theory of what caused the plague was the ergot fungus which grows on rye and grains. One of the key chemical components of ergot is lysergic acid, which is the ‘LS’ in LSD. This has been known to cause delusion, and hallucinations. Another theory was psychogenic illness or mass hysteria, which is a contagion of an idea or belief can spread through a population, usually during times of stress. Although many scientists, and psychologist have expressed their theories on the cause of the plague, “The Mystery of the Medieval Dancing Plague”  is still unsolved to this day.

Works cited:

Atwal, Sanj. “The unsolved mystery of the medieval dancing plague”. Guiness World Records, 5 Dec. 2022.

 Bauer, Pat. “dancing plague of 1518”. Britannica, 7 Sep. 2023.

 “24th June 1374: Dancing Plague breaks out in the German city of Aachen and continues for many weeks.” YouTube, uploaded by HistoryPod, 23rd June 2022,

 Jana, Rosalind. “The people who ‘danced themselves to death”. BBC Culture, 12 May. 2022.

 Fessenden, Maris. “A Strange Case of Dancing Mania Struck Germany Six Centuries Ago Today”. Smithsonian Magazine, 24 June. 2016.

Links for Further Research:

“The Strasbourg Dancing Plague | A Short Documentary | Fascinating Horror.” YouTube, uploaded by Fascinating Horror, 24th April 2020, This video uploaded by Fascinating Horror, goes into further detail about the Strasbourg dancing plague. He explains how a Catholic saint by the name St Vitus was believed to be able to curse the sinful to dance themselves to death.

 “What caused the deadly ‘dancing plague’ of 1518?” History Skills, This article posted by History Skills goes into the probable causes/theories of the plague, such as a mass ritual or protest carried out by Catholics and Protestants since the city of Strasbourg was a religiously diverse city. Some historians believe that the dancing may have been a form of ecstatic religious experience or a protest against social and religious hierarchies.

 “A forgotten plague: making sense of dancing mania” The Lancet, This article published by John Waller on February 21st, 2009, tells us of another incident of the ‘dancing plague’ outside a church in the German town of Kölbigk. The priest of the church was unable to perform mass due to the constant clapping, leaping, and chanting of the dancers. Due to this the priest cursed them to dance for their failure to listen, and the dancers began to regain control of their limbs

The Twins from Siam

 Hugo Garcia 

The term “Siamese twins” is often used to describe a pair of twins that have been physically connected to each other since birth. But where did this term “Siamese twins” come from? Conjoined twin bothers Chang and Eng were born on May 11 th, 1811, in Meklong, Siam, better known as present-day Thailand. They were connected by the sternum by a short, flexible band of flesh. In the past conjoined twins were rare, most conjoined twins at the time wouldn’t survive past birth, making the pair of brothers a rare occurrence. Their mother would encourage the brothers to exercise in their youth, this led to the brothers stretching the piece of flesh connecting to two of them enough to walk side by side, swim, and even operate a boat together. In 1824 the boys were spotted by British merchant Robert Hunter, who at first thought the boys were some sort of wild creature but as he got closer, he realized what he was see was not some creature but conjoined twins. Immediately he realized he could use the boys’ unnatural looks to make a profit by exhibiting the brothers like zoo animals.

Chang and Eng would start their first tour on April 1st, 1829, aboard a trade vessel on its way to Boston, Massachusetts. Chang and Eng were popular among doctors and scientists, who would want to perform various experiments on the twins. With one doctor getting permission from Hunter to run simple experiments, it was discovered that if one felt pain the other would feel it, along with having similar habits and taste, all while having distinct personalities. They would later be experimented on by a physician named George Bolton, he noted that the band connecting he brothers, when extended wouldn’t cause pain to the brothers. During their travels, because Chang and Eng were from Siam, they would often be remarked as Siamese Twins.

Chang and Eng would soon gain their independence from Hunter and run their own tours. During his time, they would work with Phineas Barnum a showman and circus manger. After some time of touring Chang and Eng would later decide to settle down in North Carolina, where they got their citizenship, and purchase a farm in Wilkesboro, along with thirty slaves to help operate the farm with most of them being under the age of seven. After establishing their farm, Chang and Eng would meet the Yates family and consequently meet their future spouses Adelaide and Sarah Yates. They would later on go on to have 21 children in between them along with two separate houses, where they would rotate houses each three days.

Work cited:

Atwal, Sanj. “The dark history of the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker.”  Dec. 22

Bahjat, Mudhaffar. “Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874)”. Jan. 1st Embryo Project Encyclopedia. (2018-01-22). ISSN: 1940-5030

The Granger Collection, New York “Chang and Eng”

National Library of Medicine “the World Renowned United Siamese Twins” 

Links for Further Research:

Settling Down in North Carolina. This web source provides more in-depth detail about Chang and Engs more personal lives in North Carolina

Morbid Monday: The Death of Chang and Eng, Conjoined twins until the Last. This web source goes over the moments leading up to Chang and Engs deaths, along with information of their conjoined limb.

How the original Siamese twins had 21 children by two sisters… while sharing one (reinforced) bed.  This web article goes over the more intimate relationship the twins would have with their wives and how it resulted in them have 21 kids.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

 Huda Raeisi

Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) is a Phenomenon that occurs when a person is supposed to burst into flames and burn frequently with no or little external source of ignition. It is commonly used to describe incidents in which a person's body is found with ashes and burned remains. It's a controversial and rare incident, and there's a lot of discussion concerning its reliability and its root causes.

Rolli developed the term in Philosophical Transactions, which was published in 1744 by the London Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific academy. Rolli described it as "a process in which a human body allegedly catches "fire”as a result of heat generated by internal chemical activity, but without evidence of an external source of ignition.” During the Victorian era, spontaneous human combustion became associated with alcoholism. Since the late 1400s, spontaneous combustion has been reported numerous times in Milan. 

Although this is the case, it is important to keep in mind that SHC is a complicated and unclear concept and that many scientists and professionals have doubts about its existence. In spite of the fact that there are only a few documented cases of spontaneous human combustion worldwide, there have been numerous recorded instances over the course of history. In the 19th and 20th centuries, reports of suspected cases of SHC continued to surface, mainly in Western countries. It was common for medical journals and newspapers to report these cases. 

The cases mainly involve elderly individuals, and the majority of documented cases date from the 17th to 19th centuries. The earliest reported cases of spontaneous human combustion date back to the 18th century, and most reported cases can be explained by known mechanisms of fire. However, there may have been earlier undocumented cases. Cases apparently have highly individual features. Typically, victims are elderly, overweight Caucasian women who are isolated from society and have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol.

Additionally, on the website, “Is Spontaneous Combustion Real?” It details everything about the SHC and anything else that was necessary to know. It discusses what happened during the fire and whether it was based on spontaneous human combustion (SHC) or not. Nowadays, spontaneous combustion incidents are rare, and scientific tests have not been able to provide conclusive evidence of their occurrence. Due to these circumstances, SHC has become more of a historical curiosity, a subject of debate and skepticism, than a well-established scientific fact.

Therefore, spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is an unclear phenomenon that occurs when people appear to burst into flames without any apparent external source of ignition. Several recorded incidents can most likely be attributed to traditional sources of ignition as a result of the lack of consistent evidence and confusion within the scientific and medical communities. There is currently less acknowledgement of SHC as a scientific phenomenon and more of a historical curiosity. In addition, it is necessary to conduct thorough research in order to determine the exact nature of these events.

Works Cited:

Halperin, Jonathan. Image from Spontaneous Human Combustion. 2005, IMDB,

Harris, Tom. “How Fire Works” HowStuffWorks, Updated, 2023,

STAFF, HISTORY. “Is spontaneous human combustion real?” History, February 6, 2013.

Links for Further Research:

STAFF, HISTORY. “Is spontaneous human combustion real?” History, February 6, 2013. This website was published by HISTORY STUFF and provides background information on spontaneous human combustion. It determines whether it is real or not, and it shows every aspect about it, as well as the aim of it, which may be read from it. Furthermore, the website's most recent change was on August 9, 2023. It contains up-to-date information on how spontaneous human combustion has evolved over time.

Watson, Stephanie & Mancini, Mark. “How spontaneous human combustion works” HowStuffWorks, September 21, 2023. This website was created by Stephanie Watson and Mark Mancini to provide information about spontaneous human combustion. It explains how and why spontaneous human combustion began. It is detailed in every aspect and aids knowledge. Furthermore, the website's most recent update was on September 21, 2023.

Byard, Roger W. "The mythology of 'spontaneous' human combustion." Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, vol. 12, no. 3, Sept. 2016, pp. 350+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 29 Oct. 2023. Roger W. Byard wrote this article, which discusses the methology scientists of spontaneous human combustion. It reveals how scientists understand spontaneous human combustion and how they uncover it over time when human bodies are burned and destroyed. It is thorough with every detail and aids in understanding.

Tollund Man


This article/website is about the Tollund Man. The Tollund man is a mummified corpse. It was a man who lived in the 5th century BC. The Tollund man was discovered May 5,1950 in a peat bog near Tollund, Denmark. What makes this case so interesting is how well his body is preserved after all these years. His preservation was so good you could see the wrinkles in his face down to the stubble on his chin. He is one of the most famous bog bodies in the world. The purpose of the article is to educate and help people understand more about bog bodies. The circumstances of the Tollund Man's death are the subject of much speculation. Some researchers believe that he was a sacrificial victim, possibly as an offering to the gods or as a punishment for a crime. The man's last meal, which was found in his stomach, consisted of a porridge made from various seeds, suggesting that he may have eaten a ceremonial last meal before his death. For archaeologists and historians, bog bodies like as the Tollund Man present a rare chance to gain insight into the customs, beliefs, and knowledge of past societies. These remains' preservation in peat bogs offers a glimpse into life in the Iron Age and even previous eras. Researchers investigating a section of Tollund Man's colon discovered that he also had multiple parasite diseases from whipworms and mawworms, as well as the first documented case of tapeworm ever discovered in an ancient body preserved in a swamp.

Tollund Man

Links for Further Research: 

Smithsonian Magazine The Tollund Man body appeared rubbery and deflated .

Live Science the Tollund Man had several parasitic infections .

National Geographic The Tollund Man was discovered in North-Central Denmark.

The Soap Lady

 Author: Nyree Hardwick

Imagine you are invited to a popular older woman’s house. Say you have been looking for a job or love and she says she found you someone, but you must go quite a distance away just to meet them. Here’s the kicker, she tells you to promise her not to tell a living soul about where you’re going or what she has told you. All of a sudden… you pass out and then? You’re dead. This was how it was for the victims of “The Soap Lady”

According to many sources and records, Leonarda was both a mother and a wife to 18 children. She had become very superstitious over the years, having believed her mother cursed her and her marriage out of spite since she refused to marry the man who her parents wanted her to. She also believed this due to them not giving her marriage their blessing. After this, she had gotten arrested for fraud and her home was destroyed by one of today’s deadliest earthquakes. 

Now, it wasn’t as bad at first but due to her getting pregnant 17 times, having 3 miscarriages, and losing 10 of her children from a young age. Due to this she went and spoke to a fortune teller in hopes that everything would turn up but instead was told that in her right hand they saw prison and in her left they saw an insane asylum. That didn’t drive her off the edge though, what drove her off the edge was when her eldest and favorite son came to her and told her that he was going to join the war. All her effort to protect her children was going to fail if he went to war so she did one thing in hopes to protect him. Blood sacrifices. 

This was how “The Soap Lady” came to be, she went and collected three women. Managed to trick them and turned two of them into tea cakes while she turned the last one into tea cakes and soap before going on about how sweet they each were. She even went as far as to demonstrate how she did it seeing as the police had begun to assume her son, who she had been trying to protect, was the one who murdered those woman. Just like the fortune teller told her, she was arrested and sent to prison as well a insane asylum for her crimes and died there as well.

Works cited:

Serena, Katie “Serial Killer Leaonarda Cianciulli: Turning People Into Soap” Topic. August 2022. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

M, Pilar. “Serial Killer Leonarda Cianciulli: Turning People into Soap” The Crime Wire. August 12, 2022. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

The Infographics Show. “Leonarda Cianciulli AKA The Human Flesh Soap Maker” Youtube. May 4, 2018. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

Eniqma. “Leonarda Cianciulli | True Crime Story of the Soapmaker of Correggio” Youtube. July 30, 2022. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

Rowlatt, Justin. “Sodium: Getting Rid of Dirt – and Murder Victims.” BBC. May 3, 2014.  Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

Links for Further Research:

1.      The Crime Wire,, A clear view of ‘The Soap Lady’ and how she killed and used her victims as well as her reason for doing such things.

1.      Museo Criminologico, The Correggio soap-maker - Mucri - Criminology Museum (, It gives you the quotes of what Leonarda said about each of her victims when she was on trial.

1.      All That’s Interesting,  Meet Leonarda Cianciulli, Italy's Infamous Female Serial Killer (, It gives more of an insight on her backstory.

Mortsafes: Why they existed…

Author: Tiffany Marsh

Have you ever thought of a grave being locked up in a cage like a wild animal?  A Mortsafe allowed this to be accomplished very easily. Around 1816, the Mortsafe was created. These were heavy iron or iron-and-stone devices with a variety of designs. Frequently, these were intricate, heavy iron devices consisting of rods and plates that were padlocked together; remnants of them may be discovered near every medical school in Scotland. Rods with heads were inserted through holes in a plate that covered the coffin. By placing a second plate over the first to create incredibly thick protection, these rods were held in place. Two people with keys would remove it, after covering the coffins for roughly six weeks, after the corpse had properly decomposed, and use them again.

“A Cage for The Dead- The Mortsafe”( video published by Phoenix History)

The question is, why were Mortsafes used in the first place? Mortsafes have only ever been used to keep the dead safe from the living. They were intended to serve as a deterrent against body snatchers, often referred to as Resurrection Men, who preyed on graveyards in the early 1800s, removing fresh corpses from their tombs and selling them to nearby anatomy schools so that they could be dissected in anatomy classes. According to an article published by Virginia Department of Historical Resources, “Before modern laws were set in place to give medical schools access to human remains, anatomy professors struggled to acquire bodies. Those of prisoners condemned to death would end up on their tables, but there were nowhere near enough bodies to meet demand. This led to a black market in the remains of the recently deceased.” (DHR)

The progress made in the study of anatomy and medicine is closely linked to the illicit activity of body snatching. The practice of taking bodies from cemeteries for sale…mainly to medical colleges where they were utilized for anatomy and dissection classes. According to the PBS article titled “ Body snatching around the World”, “In fact, the first known case of body snatching was committed by four medical students in Bologna in 1319. Several years earlier the famed professor at Bologna, Mundinus, had revived the study and teaching of anatomy. He conducted public dissections of bodies, usually those of condemned criminals.” (Body Snatching Around the World | History Detectives | PBS) Although, many of the bodies stolen were those of condemned criminals, some people went out of their way to make bodies available quicker.

A great example of this are the crimes that were committed by William Burke and William Hare. As said before, there was a great need for bodies in anatomy classes. According to the “Burke and Hare” article written by The University of Edinburgh, “During  the 19th century, there was a chronic shortage of cadavers for anatomy classes in Edinburgh. This gave rise to a new industry in the city: grave robbing. The best-known of the 'Resurrection Men' were William Burke and William Hare, who took the grisly practice one step further. The pair murdered at least 16 people during the period 1827-1828, selling the cadavers to Dr Robert Knox's anatomy school.” (“Burke and Hare”) This continuous stealing of bodies, along with the added practice of murdering individuals to provide to medical schools; caused a very large concern to families.

Many people no longer felt safe and did everything they could to protect their loved ones. Even putting them in cages… 

Works cited:

 “Body Snatching around the World | History Detectives.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 26 Oct. 2023.

“Burke and Hare.”
 The University of Edinburgh, 22 Sept. 2021,


DHR. “Mortsafes.” DHR, 25 May 2023,


“Mortsafe.” Thevintagenews,


Phoenix History. “A Cage for the Dead - the Mortsafe.” YouTube, 8 July 2023,

Links for Further Research:

“Archaeologists in West Bromwich Find Grave Robbing Evidence.” BBC News, 17 Jan. 2013. This short article published by BBC News discusses the evidence of grave robbing in West Bromwich which led to the use of Mortsafes to lower the risk of bodies being stolen. For the grave robbers who supplied the anatomy and medical schools being established in Birmingham in the late eighteenth century, West Bromwich would have been a prime target. The purpose of this article is to explain how important it was to have protection over graves in the 19th century, even though many families were still afraid that body snatchers would be able to take their loved one’s body.

Brian Ferguson. "Biggest ever exhibition examining crimes of Burke and Hare set to open in Edinburgh". Edinburgh Evening News, 27 Jun. 2022. This newspaper article written by Brian Ferguson focuses on the true crime stories of William Burke and William Hare. These two men were known as “Resurrection Men”, which sparked a large public outcry in Edinburgh. Burke and Hare would set out to kill the most “valuable” people, which were usually considered to be those which would most likely have a Mortsafe.

“WHITFIELD J. BELL, Body-Snatching in Philadelphia, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Volume XXIII, Issue 1, January 1968, Pages 108–b   109, This text written by J. Bell Whitfield discusses the events of body snatching within Philadelphia. The purpose of this article is to give some information on other places body snatching has occurred other than the UK.

Friday, December 15, 2023



Author: Dallas Hitt

When you think of fairies , you probably think of this nice and sweet little creatures with wings and an little wand, that has glitter on it. You probably don’t think of little thieves that still children. That is not the case with the Folklore creatures, Changelings. Changelings are fairies that were left in the place of the child that the fairies stole from the humans.

Children would be taken and replaced with a change for one of several reasons. The first reason is that it would be taken is for the child to act as a servant to the fairies. Another reason the fairies would take the child was so that the change could get the love from the humans like a human child, and the last reason would be so that the fairies could get revenge on the humans for something. Sometimes the fairies would replace the child with an elderly fairy so that it could live out the rest of its life in the care of the humans. People would notice their baby become ill or become not bale to properly function and they would assume it had been “fairy struck.” The people would say the children had been replaced by a changeling and they abandoned them or sometimes even killed them.

There were a few ways to identify if your child was a changeling. Irish legends say that changelings might look sick and not grow to full size like normal humans. Changelings also had a very large apatite and would eat a lot more food than a normal human child.

One theory that folklorist and historians studied was that people would substitute their children for changelings during raids and attacks on their villages in thoughts that they might be saving their children by doing this. Another theory about the origin of the changeling was a lot different than the other. Some people believe that changelings came from a very dark part of the mind from pre-industrial Europe. If a family felt that they wouldn’t be able to care for their child, especially if the child that had a disability or had an illness or deformity, it was easier for them to lose their child thinking it had just been talking by fairies, rather than believing they were just letting their child die. Some physical characteristics that a changeling had that you might be able to notice was they had long teeth and scraggly hair.

Changelings would continue to appear again and again in folklore in Europe. Doctors say this list of diseases from today’s time such as: cystic fibrosis, Down Syndrome, spina bifida, PKU, Williams syndrome, Hunter syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, progeria, Hurler syndrome, and Prader-Willi Syndrome, match the description of what changelings might have been like. Now adays in the modern world no one would really believe in changelings, but doctors say that a lot of autistic children might have been labeled as changelings in that time.

Works cited:

Https://Static.Wikia.Nocookie.Net/Mythology/Images/2/29/Changeling2-800x0-c-Default.Jpg/Revision/Latest?Cb=20180713191804. Accessed 1 Nov. 2023. 

Dimri , Bipin. “Your Child Is Not Your Own? The Horrific Tales of Medieval Changelings.” Historic Mysteries , 6 Oct. 2021, 

 Post, Irish. “Exploring Irish Mythology: Changelings.” The Irish Post, The Irish Post, 22 Dec. 2021,

Links for Further Research:

1.     Encyclopedia Mythologica
This website will tell you about different myths from other parts of the world about changelings.

2.      Wikipedia
This website will just give you a very good overview of changelings if you just really want to find out more about them.

3.     BMJ Journals
This website will tell you more about how diseases were in involved in changelings like autism.