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The inscription found in one of the books attributing its binding material to Mary L___

The inscription found in one of the books attributing its binding material to Mary L___

The Strange Case Of The Woman Whose Skin Was Turned Into Books

No one knows much about Mary Lynch apart from the fact that her thighs are wrapped around three medical books in The College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Historical Medical Library.

Preserving your tattooed skin might be the next big thing in tattoos but that wasn’t quite the deal almost 150 years ago. As if flesh bound books don’t sound too macabre enough, how about dying in a hospital far from home, not knowing that the skin from your corpse will soon be used to bind three books?

On Wednesday, July 15, 1868, a 28 year old woman named Mary Lynch was admitted to Old Blockley, Philadelphia’s almshouse, officially known as Philadelphia General Hospital (PGH). Old Blockley was located at what is now the intersection of 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard, on the southeast corner of the University of Pennsylvania. Blockley was where you went when you could not afford care in a private hospital.

The Women’s Receiving Register from PGH lists a small amount of information for each patient: name, birthplace (a country, if other than the United States. Mary was born in Ireland.), age, temperate or intemperate habits (Were you a drunk, or not?), date of admission, ward, color and diagnosis.

Mary suffered from phthitis, an archaic term for tuberculosis of the lungs. She was listed as being of temperate habits.

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Only in America


This is the new Doctor [NSFW]

Peter Capaldi has been selected as the new Doctor Who.

Let’s hope he unleashes this sort of shock and awe onto the Daleks and Cybermen.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.