A woman hawker taken by burkers; bodysnatchers given a frigh...

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Title - A woman hawker taken by burkers; bodysnatchers given a frigh...
Contributors - Davy Hutchison
Reporters - Hamish Henderson

Summary - A woman hawker taken by burkers; bodysnatchers given a fright.

It is true that there used to be burkers, who supplied doctors with fresh bodies for study. A widow used to go out from Aberdeen to the countryside, hawking with a pack. One Saturday she took her young son with her on the horse bus to Whitecairns. She left him playing with sweetie bools [marbles] in front of the grocer's. She didn't turn up in time for the bus, so the grocer put the boy on it. When he came home alone, a neighbour called the police. The last time the woman had been seen, she was going into the hotel. The police broke in and found her lying in a box with her throat cut, ready for the doctors in Aberdeen. The contributor heard the story from his mother. Travellers used to be afraid to pass Marischal College or King's College at night in case the students pulled them inside. The contributor mentions Burke and Hare and the high prices that were paid in Edinburgh for bodies.

The college in Aberdeen sent two men with a gig to snatch the body of a man who was buried near Echt. Some farm servants saw them going into the graveyard, then into the bar. The farm servants decided to give them a scare and one of them took the place of the body. When they were driving back, he seized the reins, and the men jumped off. One of them broke his neck and the other never stole bodies again.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:10:27
Date Recorded - 1955.09
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Story, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 74614
Original Tape ID - SA1955.155
Original Track ID - SA1955.155.A6; SA1955.155.B1
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R

Item Notes - The term 'burker' comes from William Burke, of Burke and Hare, who was hanged in 1929.

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