A talk on bodysnatchers and burkers, introduced by a childre...

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Title - A talk on bodysnatchers and burkers, introduced by a childre...
Contributors - Stanley Robertson
Reporters - Barbara McDermitt

Summary - A talk on bodysnatchers and burkers, introduced by a children's song.

Ding dong the Catholic bells,
Mary is my mother.
Carry me over to the old churchyard
Beside my elder brother.
My coffin shall be black,
Six angels aroon ma back:
Two tae watch and two tae pray
And two for tae carry my soul away.

The Resurrection came prematurely when bodies were taken up by resurrectionists or noddies. Body-snatching was big business, especially in Edinburgh, where Dr Knox bought bodies for dissection. In contrast to bodysnatchers, burkers murdered the living, and Travellers were a great target for them, as their births were not registered, and they would not be missed as they moved around. On many occasions, Travellers' camps were found with all the people's belongings, but the people were never found again. The Travellers preserved stories about the burkers and retained a fear of them even into modern times.

The burkers were proficient at their trade, for instance keeping bodies fresh, and muffling the noises of wheels and horses' hoofs.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:03:50
Date Recorded - 1979.03.17
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Song, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 65215
Original Tape ID - SA1979.030
Original Track ID - SA1979.30.A1
Audio Quality - Fair
Audio Format - R2R

Classification - R12943;

Recording Location:
  County - Aberdeenshire
  Parish - Aberdeen
  Village - Aberdeen

Item Notes - For 'Ding Dong, The Catholic Bells' (Roud 12943), see:
'Games a Bogie' (M. Sinclair, 1989) p. 16
'Golden City' (J. T. Ritchie, 1965) pp. 117, 124-125, 173
'Scottish Studies' 6 (H. Henderson, 1962) pp. 223-228
'Children's Games with Things' (P. & I. Opie, 1997) pp. 268-288
'Doh Ray Me, When Ah Wis Wee' (E. McVicar, 2007) pp. 215-216
'Alias MacAlias' (H. Henderson, A. Finlay, 2004 reprint) pp. 110-114
'The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (P. & I. Opie, 1959) p. 54

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