In The Sack-'Em-Up Men: An Account Of The Rise And Fall Of The Modern Ressurectionists by Dr. James Moores Ball M.D., L.L.D., the following event is claimed to have taken place:
Did this happen?! :eek:
Dr Ball continues:
Dr. Ball’s book came out in 1928.
What happened? Who did this? Was it simply body-snatching for anastomical purposes? Political revenge? Ghoulish student pranks? Or something worse? Who was the “friend” Benjamin Harrison was searching for? What gave him the notion that his friend was there, alive or dead? Was he really looking for his father? What involvement did the College really have, if any?
What is the “true story” of this bizarre affair?
BTW–Senator Harrison was the son of President William Henry Harrison, and the father of President Benjamin Harrison. I point this out for clarity.
I too suspected this was a legend when I first read about it, but I looked into it and it’s legit, as the link above attests. One correction though: It wasn’t future president Benjamin Harrison who present when the body was discovered, but his brother John Harrison Jr.
From the articles I’ve read on this, it certainly did happen, and was done simply for anatomical research purposes. Medical schools of the 19th century were apparently willing to pay a good amount for corpses for study and for students to dissect with little question asked; read over a contemporary account of Burke and Hare for two Britons who decided to murder people specifically for the moneys made by selling them to medical schools.
I’m not sure who the “friend” was, but the articles seem to agree that John Harrison Jr. went to the cemetary to oversee the interment of his father; at the cemetary, John noticed that another grave had recently been dug up, and fearing grave robbers, he jumped through hoops to provide security for his father’s grave. John then scoured the nearby medical colleges, looking for the man whose grave had been dug up, only to find the body of his father, whom he had buried the previous day.
A quick web search turns up the name “Augustus Devin” as the name of the friend, but I don’t know how trustworthy that is.
From a newspaper article about two weeks after the incident:
Augustus Devin was the original deceased in the graveyard at North Bend. His grave was robbed, and his relative Joseph Devin along with John Scott Harrison Jr. went looking for Devin’s body at the Ohio and Miami Medical Colleges. They instead found the body of Scott’s father.
Another contemporary article said the janitor’s name was E. Q. Marshall. The same article said the friend was George C. Eaton. This particular article read like a Fox News story.
(The body of young Devin was found by detectives in the Ann Arbor Med school.)