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Body snatching became popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the United Kingdom following the emergence of private anatomical schools. Through my research, I will provide evidence that shows the only documented body snatchers who were women all resorted to murder for their cadavers. In a poster presentation, I will illustrate why these women did what they did, what they sought to gain, how they were caught, and how their nefarious deeds changed the course of medical history. From Helen Torrence and Jean Waldie who worked together to kill children and sell the bodies to Scotland medical schools, leading to Eliza Ross who murdered in her own home with the guidance of her husband and young son. I will show how these murders brought about the execution of the Anatomy Act of 1832, giving license to the donation bodies to science and ending the resurrection business. Finally, I conclude with how these villainous women were overshadowed by the men who followed in their footsteps and why they were ultimately erased from history.


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  • Subject
    • History, Anthropology, & Philosophy

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Floor

  • Event date
    • 22 March 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Phillip Guerty