Getting Your Research Wrong

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Victorian Grave

I have come across this meme  in several places: Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter for starters. I had a little giggle at it, at first. But every time it popped up, I could not help but wonder how many people believed the caption was correct, rather than realising it was a joke. After all, it seems quite a valid reason for the cage.

However, the cage is meant to protect the deceased and not the living. Grave robbing and body snatching were big business in the Victorian era. Grave robbing is the theft of personal items from the corpse, such as valuable jewellery. Body snatching is the theft of the actual corpse, for use in dissection and anatomy study.  Those who practised body snatching were often called resurrectionists. Supplying cadavers for dissection was such a lucrative venture that William Burke and William Hare actually started killing people to keep the supply of bodies coming for…

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