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A few years ago there was a scandal concerning the black market sale of human body parts on Ebay.

Not really shocking when you consider that parts of the human body have always held great value in certain parts of the world.

A human skull, for example, would be very valuable to a voodoo priest, a shrunken one even more so.

One South American witchdoctor was reputed to have had a fence around his house made of human spines.

He accumulated these spines by killing a number of college students by slowly peeling off their skin while they were still alive.

He kept the other body parts in a Naganga, a large metal pot, similar to a witch’s kettle.

The reason he tortured his victims was because their screams of agony somehow increased the power of the kettle.

He would then sell bits of the human or animal bodies in the Naganga to the local drug dealers who believed that the charms made them invincible to the police bullets that were usually flying their way.

In the UK a few centuries ago, unscrupulous doctors and medical students paid grave robbers for human cadavers so they could anatomise them.

The so-called ‘Body Snatchers’ operated under cover of darkness right under the noses of the authorities in order to satisfy the need for cadavers by the Medical Profession.


It was against the law to dissect a human body at the time and this method was the only way that they could learn how the human body worked.

Fresh bodies could command a very good price, so were a very lucrative source of income to those who were prepared to get their hands dirty.

But that practice died out centuries ago right?

You would have thought so, but as almost everything these days is seen as a marketable commodity, you could be forgiven for thinking that anything now has a price.

How about human body fat?

The thing that most people have trying to get rid of for most of their life, has, as a source of income never really waned.

Much like Burke & Hare, the infamous ‘Body Snatchers’ who operated around Edinburgh in the 1800’s, these modern day purveyors of human body parts also murder people just to carve the fat out of them.

So what is the destination of the product obtained from this murderous practice?

It is sold to international cosmetic companies…… Where there is a great demand apparently.

What a nice thought it must be, that the next time you put on an eyeliner, some of it’s ingredients may have been extracted from a corpse.

Oh well, I guess that’s slightly better than using animals, I suppose….


  1. Lanark
    Lanark August 11, 2013

    Burke and Hare were never “infamous body snatchers”. They were murderers. Cold and calculated murderers. They couldn’t be arsed digging up corpses in the middle of the night and wheelbarrowing thema cross town. The pair of killers simply got people drunk, took them back to their place and killed them. And then delivered them still warm to the Anatomy School for a price.
    They never snatched a single body or dug up a single corpse.

    • Outlaw
      Outlaw August 11, 2013

      I referred only to the popularist term used to describe them, the true picture is of course as you say, far less romantic.

      I did say that they were murderers BTW..

      “Much like Burke & Hare, the infamous ‘Body Snatchers’ who operated around Edinburgh in the 1800′s, these modern day purveyors of human body parts also murder people just to carve the fat out of them”.

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