Chris Curran joins Emily to discuss the practice of binding books in human skin: anthropodermic bibliopegy. Get ready for a whole lot of Yikes.
The Necronomicon, tomes from the shelves of serial killers and war criminals—these are a few things that come to mind when we talk about books bound in human skin. Anthropodermic bibliopegy, as it is called, is actually quite a bit different than these sensationalist examples. In reality, the people whose libraries included these books were well-to-do doctors and other privileged members of society. In part one of this two part series, we explore the science of identifying these books, as well as how people came into possession of them.
Heed the content warnings and strap in! This one is more than a little gross.
Content Warnings for:
- Corpse violation
- Medical ethics violations
- Abuse of power
- Objectifying the human body
There are so many points of failure in this progression.
—Chris, regarding Dr. John Stockton Hough’s use of Mary Lynch’s skin in his personal library
Mentioned in this Episode
- Our main source for the day: Dark Archives by Megan Rosenbloom
- Website for the Anthropodermic Book Project
- Atlas Obscura article: The True Practice of Binding Books in Human Skin by Rob Velella
- Anthropodermic Biocodicology episode of the podcast Ologies by Alie Ward
- Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians by Richard Sugg