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Burke And Hare: 8 Facts About The Bodysnatchers Who Weren't

The Edinburgh duo who grew to be feared and reviled by both the living and the dead.

BBC

There are many ways that someone's name can live on long after they've passed away. People achieve great things and their memories are preserved by the art they made, the books they wrote, the music they composed or even just the good things they did for others.

Others live on in infamy, committing acts so awful and crimes so terrible that they remain in the public mind long after they've died. William Burke and William Hare definitely fit more into this second category. Operating in Edinburgh in the 1800s, this pair of names is synonymous even today with the crime of body snatching - illegally exhuming bodies, usually for some sort of financial gain.

They caused uproar in the city, fear among the population and widespread disgust with their actions and choices; they lived a collective life so terrible that it outlived them both.

But who were these men? Why did they do what they did? And why can it be argued that the most famous corpse stealers of all time were really nothing of the sort? Here are eight facts about the body snatchers who weren't.

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Contributor
Contributor

Matthew is a Marine Engineer to trade who currently works offshore. In his spare time, he writes sub-standard Scottish crime fiction that can be found here:- https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01MRT69RL Originally brought up in the Western Isles of Scotland, he lived in Edinburgh for 15 years but now stay in Dunbar with his partner, son and dog.