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    No Necronomicon? Harvard Claims A Surprising Number Of Books Bound In Human Flesh
    By Hank Campbell | April 6th 2014 05:30 PM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    When you have been around as long as Harvard, and your library contains 15 million books, you are bound to have a few that are bound in human flesh.

    Wait, what?

    Yes, an interesting article by Samuel Jacobs in The Crimson from 2006 got resurrected recently. It detailed what librarians would rather not become an object of morbid fascination - that some of their books are bound in human skin. Odd, right? 

    I imagine using skin is no different than any other hide, if you get by the cultural creepiness. When I was a kid living in the country I wanted to learn old-timey techniques so I would tan deer hide and it mostly taught me that I wanted to buy leather in a store, but if you have some deer brains and some salt and a knife, you can do it easily enough. Knowing what I know about how much work it is, I imagine using human skin must have been a labor of...love? 


    Credit and link: Greg Newkirk at Roadtrippers.

    Example from their “Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias”:
    “the bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace.”
    But is it? DNA tests say it's sheepskin, or at least "cattle and pig collagen" and Harvard experts say it was likely rebound. The others in their collection may also not be what they seem, especially based on ancient claims.

    But if authentic bizarre anthropodermic bindings are really your thing, go over the bridge to the Boston Athenaeum. “The Highwayman: Narrative of the Life of James Allen alias George Walton,” is the autobiography of a man who asked it be bound in his own skin and given to a man he once attacked. 

    Please make your "Evil Dead" and/or "Army Of Darkness" quotes in the comments.

    Comments

    logicman
    I thought it was only those crazy Australians who went in for that sort of thing.

    There's an old Australian stockman, lying, dying,
      and he gets himself up on one elbow,
    and he turns to his mates,
      who are gathered 'round him and he says…
    "Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred - tan me hide when I'm dead ..."
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    There's an old Australian stockman, lying, dying,
      and he gets himself up on one elbow,
    and he turns to his mates,
      who are gathered 'round him and he says… 
    "Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred - tan me hide when I'm dead ..."
    Patrick, I think the correct wording should have been  "Tan me hide when I'm dead Dan - tan me hide when I'm dead ..."




    Hearing Hank's story of him trying to tan deer hide as a kid reminded me of all the 'perfume' I used to make as a child from beautiful scented flower petals that then turned into amazingly smelly compost water.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    logicman
    all the 'perfume' I used to make as a child from beautiful scented flower petals that then turned into amazingly smelly compost water.
    I remember my dad trying that when I was little.  He was always dabbling with experiments.