It's Fun Fact Friday!
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the law forbade medical schools from buying cadavers for teaching or research purposes. The only way that surgeons and their students could get co**ses were from executed criminals and from those donated by families of the deceased. This scarcity of cadavers spurred robbers to raid graves to sell co**ses to medical schools.
“Cemetery guns” were created to stop co**se theft. Strategically placed inside a grave, the gun was mounted on a surface that allowed it to turn toward the robber when the unlucky thief stepped on one of the tripwires surrounding the gun. In response, grave robbers often sent women disguised as widows to scope out the graves during the day and inform them of the position of the cemetery guns. Once the cemetery keepers realized this, they removed the guns during the day and set them up at night.
Grave guns were soon banned, and this led to the emergence of “coffin torpedoes,” deadly land mines that exploded whenever a would-be thief opened a grave. However, even when cemetery guns were legal, they were in limited use because they were expensive to rent or own. This meant that only families of the rich could afford the guns, so the grave robbers usually stole the bodies of poor people. -