from Plates of the Arteries of the Human Body, after Frederic Tiedemann, engraved by Edward Mitchell, text prepared by Robert Knox and Thomas Wharton Jones. Used with permission of the Trustees of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Credits and Sources
Burke and Hare Game
- Burke and Hare video game
- Edinburgh, A Body-Snatcher's Tale. Created by Michael Marcynuk, Biomedical Illustrator and Animator.
Burke and Hare on YouTube
- From Horrible Histories.
- If a Body Needs a Body, Just Call Burke and Hare. From CBS Crime Classics, aired December 2, 1952, via Night Transmissions.
Scottish Folktales and Oral History, from Tobar an Dualchais/ Kist o Riches
- This project, from the School of Scottish Studies (University of Edinburgh), BBC Scotland, and the National Trust for Scotland's Canna Collection, contains thousands of recently-digitized recordings of folklore, oral history, songs, and stories in English and Gaelic.
- Body-snatching on Oronsay. Told by Bella MacNeill, 1953.
- Biographical details of Jock Higgins and information about burkers. Told by Bella Higgins and Jock Higgins, 1953.
- Travellers took trouble to be safe from burkers, and sometimes fled encampments to escape them. Told by Bella Higgins and Jock Higgins, 1953.
- Burkers caught an old lady, but she got away. Told by Bella Higgins, 1953.
- A girl disappeared on trip to Dundee, and another averted being kidnapped. Told by Bella Higgins, 1953.
- Travellers hunted in the woods. Told by Jeannie Robertson, 1954.
- A picaresque story of encounters with burkers. Told by Jock Higgins, 1956.
- The story of Burke and Hare and one of their victims, Mary Paterson. Told by Lucy Stewart, 1960.
- Conversation about Alec Stewart telling stories to his grandchildren. Told by Alec Stewart, 1969.
- Alec Stewart and his sister are nearly burked. Told by Alec Stewart, 1969.
- Reading, church-going and Sabbath observation in early 20th century Wigtownshire. Told by Helen Galloway, 1972.
- A burker story about a man's ugliness is cast up to his descendant. Told by Stanley Robertson, 1978.
- The start of a burker story and discussion of burkers. Told by Belle Stewart and Alec Stewart, 1978.
- A talk on bodysnatchers and burkers, introduced by a children's song. Told by Stanley Robertson, 1979.
- Two stories about Travellers escaping from burkers. Told by Stanley Robertson, 1979.
- A girl rescues Travellers from cannibals. Told by Stanley Robertson, 1983.
Published Contemporary Sources
- The Trial of William Burke and Helen M’Dougal, before the High Court of Justiciary, at Edinburgh. Edinburgh: Robert Buchanan, 1829. This provides the most accurate transcript of the trial. It was often bound with Supplement to the Trial of William Burke & Helen M’Dougal, dealing with additional legal procedings against William Hare, and Appendix to the Trial of William Burke and Helen M’Dougal, containing William Burke's confessions as well as newspaper articles and pamphlets.
- These three publications were reprinted in William Roughead, ed. Burke and Hare. London: William Hodge and Company, Ltd., 1920. They are now more widely available on Google Books.
- The West Port Murders. Edinburgh: Thomas Ireland, 1828/9. Ireland included articles originally published in newspapers and pamphlets as well as some original material. It is also available on Google Books.
- David Syme, Reports of Proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary, from 1826-1829. Edinburgh: Thomas Clark, 1829.
Archives, Ephemera, and Artifacts
- Burke and Hare Real-Life Remains
- The National Archives of Scotland has manuscript sources relating to the arrest, indictment, and trial of William Burke, Helen M'Dougal, William Hare, and Margaret Hare.
- The Edinburgh Room of the Edinburgh Central Library has collections of ephemera relating to Burke and Hare, including newspaper clippings, pamphlets, broadsheets, caricatures, and illustrations.
- The National Library of Scotland has collections of ephemera as well as contemporary caricatures, including R. Nimmo's Wretches Illustrations of Shakespeare. Edinburgh, 1829.
- The Library of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has collections of ephemera and contemporary caricatures. Its holdings also include anatomical textbooks by Robert Knox.
- Special Collections in the Edinburgh University Library has the collection of ephemera kept by Alexander Monro, Professor of Anatomy, as well as a notebook with anatomical observations kept by Dr. Robert Knox in 1828.
- The Museums of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinbugh have a display of Burke and Hare artifacts, including plaster casts of the William Burke's head and a pocketbook allegedly made from Burke's skin. The Library and Archive holdings include books and pamphlets by and about Robert Knox, his assistants, and his students.
- The Museum of the Department of Anatomy at Edinburgh University has William Burke's skeleton. West Port Tours provides pictures in their gallery.
- The Library of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet has William Roughead's collection of published works relating to Burke and Hare, including a copy of the Trial of Burke and M'Dougal owned by Robert Christison, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence and medical inspector during the trial.
- The Resurrectionists: Burke and Hare in Song and Story, from the New York Academy of Medicine.
- Burke and Hare broadsheets can be found in The Word on the Street, from the National Library of Scotland.
19th Century Retellings
- Murderers of the Close. London: Cowie and Strange, 1829. Includes illustrations by Robert Seymour.
- Alexander Leighton, The Court of Cacus; or, The Story of Burke and Hare. Edinburgh: W.P. Nimmo, 1861.
- Henry Lonsdale, A sketch of the life and writings of Robert Knox the Anatomist. London: Macmillan & Co., 1870. Available on Google Books.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Body Snatcher." Pall Mall Christmas Extra, No. 13. London, 1884. Available as a Gaslight ebook.
Drama and Graphic Novels
- Caroline Dunford, Burke. 8 pm, November 16-20, The GRV, 37 Guthrie St, Edinburgh EH1 1JG. Produced by Siege Perilous and West Port Productions, 2010. Previews and reviews: AE Annals of Edinburgh Stage, Edinburgh Guide, Edinburgh Spotlight
- Dylan Thomas, The Doctor and the Devils and Other Scripts. New York: New Directions, 1970.
- James Bridie [Osborne Henry Mavor], The Anatomist. London: Constable, 1979.
- Martin Conaghan, Will Pickering, Burke and Hare. Insomnia Publications, 2009. View Trailer.
Movies Based on Burke and Hare
- Recently Released:
- Burke and Hare. Directed by John Landis, written by Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis,Tim Curry, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Ronnie Corbett, 2010; Ealing Studios. View Trailer. Read reviews, interviews. Trailer for Ladri di Cadaveri, Italian release.
- Earlier versions:
- The Anatomist. 1939; BBC. Based on the play The Anatomist by James Bridie.
- The Body Snatcher. DVD. Directed by Robert Wise, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. 1945; Turner Home Entertainment, 2005. Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson short story, "The Body Snatcher."
- Horror Maniacs: The Greed of William Hart. DVD. Directed by Oswald Mitchell, starring Tod Slaughter. 1953 (US); Alpha Video, 2003.
- The Flesh and the Fiends. DVD. Directed by John Gilling, starring Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasance. 1960; Image Entertainment, 2001.
- The Anatomist. DVD. Directed by Dennis Vance, starring Alistair Sim. 1961; Televista, 2009. Based on the play The Anatomist by James Bridie.
- Burke and Hare. DVD. Directed by Vernon Sewell. 1972; Sinister Cinema, 2008.
- The Doctor and the Devils. DVD. Directed by Freddie Francis, starring Timothy Dalton, Jonathan Pryce. 1985; 20th Century Fox, 2005. Based on the screenplay The Doctor and the Devils by Dylan Thomas.
Selected Secondary Sources
- Lisa Rosner, The Anatomy Murders. Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).
- Lisa Rosner, A Concise History of Burking, Berfois: Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Letters, http://www.berfrois.com/.
- Andrew Patrizio and Dawn Kemp, eds., Anatomy Acts; How we come to know ourselves. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd, 2006. Digital exhibition, http://www.anatomyacts.co.uk/exhibition/exhibition.htm
- Mary Roach, Stiff. New York: Norton, 2003.
- Ruth Richardson, Death, Dissection, and the Destitute. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
- Owen Dudley Edwards, Burke & Hare. Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1993.
- Evelleen Richards, “The ‘Moral Anatomy’ of Robert Knox: The Interplay between Biological and Social Thought in Victorian Scientific Naturalism.” Journal of the History of Biology 22 (1989): 373-436.
- Isobel Rae, Knox the Anatomist. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1965.
- William Roughead, Classic Crimes. New York: New York Review Books, 2000.
Edinburgh Maps and Images
- The National Library of Scotland has an excellent digital map collection.
- The Royal Mile Gallery and the Carson Clark Gallery in Edinburgh sell both original maps and excellent reproductions.
- West Port Books, Four Hundred Old Edinburgh Illustrations.
- Edinphoto website, http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/index.htm
- Picturesque Views of Edinburgh, J. Ewbank, engraved by W.H. Lizars, Edinburgh, 1825.
- Thomas Shepherd, Modern Athens, displayed in a series of views, or Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century. London: Jones & Co., 1831, reprinted by Arno Press, 1979.
- James Drummond, Old Edinburgh. Edinburgh: G. Waterston Sons and Stewart, 1879.
- Edinburgh in the Olden Time. Edinburgh: Thomas George Stevenson, 1880.
- Daniel Wilson, Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1891. Available on Google Books.
- Bruce Home, Old Houses in Edinburgh. Edinburgh: William J. Hay, 1905.
- Joanna Ebenstein, Anatomical Theatre: Depictions of The Body, Disease, and Death in Medical Museums of The Western World. Her blog Morbid Anatomy includes a very extensive list of links to medical museums and online anatomical illustrations.
- George Viner Ellis, Illustrations of Dissections, 2 vols. (New York: William Wood and Company, 1882).
- Henry Gray, Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical, ed. William Keen (Philadelpha: Lea Brothers and Company, 1887).
- John Lizars, A System of Anatomical Plates of the Human Body (Edinburgh: W.H. Lizars, 1822-6). Illustrations courtesy of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
Additional Website Credits
- Music by the Ebony Hillbillies
- Slideshow from Andres Cayon, http://www.tecnorama.org.
- Historical Studies Program, Stockton College
- Lees Seminar, Department of History, Rutgers University Camden
- History of Medicine Seminar, Johns Hopkins University
- Edinburgh History of Medicine Group
- Centre for the History of Medicine, Glasgow University