The start of a burker story and discussion of burkers.

Date October 1978
Track ID 55956
Part 1

Track Information

Original Track ID


Original Tape ID



The start of a burker story and discussion of burkers.

Alec Stewart's father warned him to hide in the bottom of the cart when they reached the Bogle Brig [Bridge], for fear of burkers. There were five burkers waiting at the bridge. Belle Stewart comments that they sometimes disguised themselves as women, and explains that burkers were bodysnatchers. They took their name from Burke, of Burke and Hare. Travellers were known to have disappeared. [Break in tape.] Sheila Douglas mentions a story about an old woman disappearing in St Andrews and her mutch [a kind of headgear] being found. Bodies were also bought in Aberdeen.

Item Notes

At one point Alec Stewart uses the third person, but otherwise he tells the story in the first person for dramatic effect, although the story, if true, must have happened to an earlier generation. The term 'burker' comes from William Burke (of Burke and Hare). Burke went beyond bodysnatching and committed murder in order to sell the bodies for dissection; he was hanged in 1829.

Item Location

County - Perthshire

Parish - Dunning

Village/Place - Bogle Bridge





Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality