View Full Version : Dead people

Tricky Woo
29th Nov 2006, 18:20
Just wondering 'cos some french bloke's been arrested for trying to sell some Egyptian mummy's hair (the embalmed and bandaged sort of mummy, silly) on Ebay or something. Think he's been nicked for fraud, not the actual selling of bits.

So, what's the legal on, say, finding some human remains on yer land and ownership? This bloke wot was found in some old bog in Macclesfield for example. Who gets to own him? The police, the government, finders-keepers or what? And what's the date cut-off? Dead people are whisked off to the undertakers, but really really dead people like that bloke they found on the Italian, no wait the Austrian, no wait the Italian side of the Alps ends up in some museum.

So what's the score? What's the legal obstacle to rooting about on some old middle ages battlefield and then flogging femurs and skulls on Ebay?


29th Nov 2006, 18:32
I believe that (under UK law) that cadavers belong to no-one, so offences are calculated according to other activities (such as fraud in this case).
Even removal (and retention) of tissue (or limbs) from living or deceased bodies is not unlawful, although charges of assault or unprofessional conduct (in the case of surgeons) are possible. Witness Alder Hey Hospital which assimilated a collection of 800 children's hearts.

Mac the Knife
29th Nov 2006, 18:36
I dunno

Why don't you plough through the Human Tissue Act (UK) 2004 - http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/20040030.htm - and tell us.

And there's this - http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/0017476B-3B86-46F3-BAB3-11E5A5F7F0A1/0/GuidanceHumanRemains11Oct.pdf - for museums.

Now 'fess up! WHAT have you found in the garden?

29th Nov 2006, 18:42
Human Tissue Act (UK) 2004

Stay tuned, we'll have the Toilet Tissue Act (UK) 2007, in no time at all.


tony draper
29th Nov 2006, 18:56
Didn't some modern art loon get nicked for using body parts in his so called works of art?

Tricky Woo
29th Nov 2006, 19:34
Hmm, could be a nice little earner in all this. Up to Culloden or Bodworth fields to collect a few skulls, then Ebay 'em. Reckon there're plenty of people who'd be willing to punt a few hundred quid on a real human skull. Would make an excellent paper weight or door stop.


29th Nov 2006, 19:37
I think you'd find that trespass (and possible criminal damage to the environment) might be a problem.

tony draper
29th Nov 2006, 19:46
As a business plan it sounds ok Mr Woo,but after a while rather like Mr Burke and Mr Hare one becomes impatient and the danger is one begins to look for one's product closer to hand and without having to do all that tiresome digging.

29th Nov 2006, 19:56
"It is believed that William Burke and William Hare are responsible for the deaths of between 13 –30 people but Burke was the only one prosecuted and then only for the murder of Mrs Docherty. William Hare and Maggie Laird turned King’s evidence against him and Nell Macdougal. Burke was hanged on the 28th January 1829 before a large crowd, which was said to be chanting ‘ Burke him, Burke him’. Nell MacdDougal escaped prosecution, as the case against her was not proven. No charges were ever brought against the Surgeon Dr Knox as being the recipient of the bodies for dissection within the school and William Hare is said to have died a penniless pauper in London in 1858.
In an ironic end to the story Burke’s body was donated to the medical school for what they called "useful dissection". His skeleton is still on display at the University Medical School. A pocket book was also made of his skin and this is on display at the Police Museum on the Royal Mile."

tony draper
29th Nov 2006, 20:07
As I recal snatching bodies was not actually illegal in the UK a cadavar was concidered not to have any rights under the law,and did not actually belong to anybody, the resurection men were done for things like stealing the shroud and such, I believe the law was changed when a few posh folk's late lamented kin finished up on the desection tables.
Watched a thing about body snatching on the history channel (where one seems to get all one's information from these days),supprisingly nicking the recent deceased for medical schools was even more prevelent in the USA than it was here,again someone made the mistake of lifting the Presidents dead nephew or somesuch and the law was changed.

Loose rivets
29th Nov 2006, 20:18
I seem to remember posting something about the need to put the bodies in an iron cage for a while..until it became useless for dissection. Then, and only then, would it be interred.

It seems that in some places, the cages were in full view for thems that wanted to go to that part of the grave yard.

The French bloke that exhibits exploded (in the diagram sense) bodies, also teaches others how to do it. Why would anyone want to make that their living? And that f#^@&!g hat. Must be soaked in the oils of death. Uggggggy!



29th Nov 2006, 20:29
And that f#^@&!g hat. Must be soaked in the oils of death. Uggggggy!

Oh yes. There is definitely something very disturbing about The Hat.


Shaggy Sheep Driver
29th Nov 2006, 21:29
I heard a piece on radio 4 this morning while driving to the office. Some pope of recent times (can't remeber which one) died, and as is vatican tradition, was embalmed for the faithful to file past and pay their respects to their ex-leader.

Unfortunatly, the Vatican must have taken the cheapest quote, and the embalming was not of the requisite standard (or, as the narrator said, this pope didn't respond to certain medicines, and maybe didn't respond to embalming).

Anyway, while on display he turned green. The public were exculuded, which was just as well, because shortly afterwatds the ex-pontiff exploded. Two Swiss guards were overcome by the fumes.

As you'd expect of the catholic church, the whole thing was hushed up and didn't make the papers of the day.

29th Nov 2006, 23:35
Then there was Alistair Cooke (or at least THERE WASN'T Alistair Cooke).