A special old book has been discovered in Leeds, a city in the north of England: its sleek brown-yellow leather cover looks the same as a regular book, but it is creepy that the cover is made of human skin. According to the British police, this ancient book is handwritten in black ink. Most of the contents of the book are written in French, which infers that the book was from the French Revolution.
In fact, this kind of humanoid ancient book is not the first time. Many famous libraries in the United States and the world have such books with human skin cover. For example, the Sea John Library at Brown University in the United States has three such “human books.” One of them is an anatomy, published in 1568 by the Belgian anatomist Andreas Visa. The other two books, titled “Dance of Death,” were published in the 19th century. It is worth mentioning that it was not uncommon to use human skin as a book cover centuries ago, mostly in private collections.
Today, these books have been donated and purchased into some famous libraries as rare books. These books are usually not borrowed, only experts and scholars have the opportunity to see. With the emergence of human skins, the emergence of human skin books and historical background have aroused people’s attention.
There is a shocking story behind every man’s book.
The background of the human skin is very complicated and often has a profound historical meaning. It mainly appears in the medieval period when humanity’s overall cultural quality is not high, ethical concepts are weak, and ideas are conservative and primitive. In most cases, as a means of strengthening memory, human skin books have two functions: disciplinary and commemorative. There is a special story behind each book.
In the human skin, many of them are preserved as disciplinary and warning actions. Inside the Moses Hall Museum in St. Bartholomew, England, there is a cover book for people. The cover of the human skin was a British murderer in the 19th century. The content is a murder case that occurred in 1827.
At the time, a 25-year-old wealthy peasant named William Geda was sentenced to death for killing a mistress who was one year older than him. This incident caused a lot of sensation. There was a practice in the UK at the time, and the murderer was dissected after being executed to see how different he was from other people. The use of the dissected skin to make a variety of objects, especially human skin books, represents the most severe punishment.
So, after William Geda was hanged, the local surgeon, George Currit, immediately dissected his body and intended to use his skin to make a book describing the case. A year later, this book was published, and part of his skin was made into the cover of the book. The face after his death was made into a human face mold, which is still preserved in the museum. Even the rope that hanged Geda at that time was cut into small one-inch pieces for sale.
What is even more creepy is that after the book is done, the hair on the cover is still growing. Although the growth has stopped now, if you touch the cover with your hands, you can still feel the protruding hair. The deputy director of the museum, Galev Zeng Jianshi, said: “There was such a habit at the time. After the murder was executed, the body was dissected to see how he differed from others.” The text on this book, later learned the most informative record of the murder.
Similarly, there is a 1837 version of the human book biography in the Boston Library. The protagonist of this biography was the famous thief George Walton at the time. He was also cut off from the skin after being arrested and used to make a book cover. Afterwards, the local government gave the book to a victim who had been robbed by him to show compensation for the victim.
In addition to disciplinary action, the human skin is also a special item used to commemorate. The producers of human skin books can be roughly divided into three types: one is a doctor, the human skin they use is derived from the patient’s cut-legged limbs and unclaimed bodies; the other is a rich collection of booksellers, who use them. The skin comes from the death penalty and the poor; the other comes from the author himself, who asks in the will to intercept the skin on his body to make a book cover.
There is a book in the temple of Athena, and its story background is very interesting. It tells the story of a burglar named James Allen and a road robber in the 19th century. In 1883, James Allen tried to rob a businessman named John Finno on the Seren Road. Finno struggled to resist, but in desperation, Allen shot him. However, Finno did not die, because the bullet hit the button on the sling of his trousers and deviated from the direction, not hitting the key. Allen was eventually captured and imprisoned. In prison he wrote a biography about his life and named the biography “Bound Robber.” Alan Zanfenfeno was able to bravely resist his robbery and decided that after his death, Finno could get a part of his skin for the book.
When Allen died in 1887, his body was sent to Massachusetts General Hospital. The doctor cut a skin that was enough to make a book cover and gave it to a binder. The binder dyed it gray and gold-plated. Finally, Bind to Fenno. Later, the descendants of Finno donated the book to the Temple of Athena.
A few decades ago, the Harvard Law School Library purchased a 1605 version of the Spanish Lawyer’s Handbook from a New Orleans heritage trader for $42.5. Since then, the book has been placed on the library’s bookshelf and is not eye-catching.
It wasn’t until the early 1990s that librarian David Ferris discovered it inadvertently. There is an annotation in the book’s catalogue that says the cover of the book is made of human skin. It can be seen that the outer packaging of the human skin book is no different from the ordinary book. Since then, the library has put this personal book into a box and displayed it on a special shelf as a key collection.
In the library of a medical school in Philadelphia, USA, there are also some human skin books that are personally bound by medical scientist John Stockton Hoff. It is said that Hoff diagnosed the first case of Trichinosis in Philadelphia, and before the patient died, he obtained his consent. After the patient died, he bound three books with his skin. In this regard, the library librarian Laura Hartman believes that these doctors use this special way to commemorate those who contribute to medical research.
At present, the most famous book in the world should be the poetry collection “The Land of the Air” by the French astronomer and poet Dr. Camille Framalion. It is said that at the time, a countess liked the poem of the doctor very much during her lifetime. Before she died, she made a will and proposed to bind the book with the leather on her shoulder after death. Now, the book’s cover is hot with a few French gold characters: “By a woman’s wish, bound with her skin.” This book has been collected for Dr. Camille’s life, after his death, was An American collector bought it. In addition, a similar human book is also available in the library of Dresden, France. In the Vienna Museum, there is also a Mexican manuscript of the same material and painted in color.
Contemporary society no longer tolerates human skin books
The particularity of the human book has caused some controversy in contemporary society. This is because the people who use these human skins are not sure whether the provider knows how his body will be dealt with during his lifetime. In most cases, these human skins were derived from unclaimed dead bodies, and there was no system of donation. But in a civilized contemporary society, making a book cover with human skin will undoubtedly be disgusted.
However, this phenomenon occurred during the Nazi Germany period of Hitler’s rule. During the Second World War, the wife of a captive shelter in Nazi Germany was very interested in human skin, especially the human skin with tattoos. She took advantage of her husband’s position and brutally killed some of the captives with tattoos on their bodies, making the covers of some of them, including Hitler’s album, My Struggle, and her own diary. In the human civilization of the 20th century, this is a very horrible and abnormal behavior.
Ethicists believe that if these human skin books are only used for academic research and are not used as exhibitions for exotic items, then the library’s collection of these books is acceptable. Moreover, there is only one copy of each person’s book, and there is no such thing as a backup. Therefore, its cultural value is self-evident. Volkswagen, an ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that in different historical periods, people will leave some artifacts, just as the museum also displays archaeological excavations of human remains, so there is no need to make a fuss about these books.
There are more than one hundred books in the human book.
Some European historians believe that in the early days of human life, because book printing materials, including paper, were not popular, there were relatively many books on animal skin and plant fibers, and human skin was naturally an option. In modern times and even in modern times, there is often a phenomenon of human skin books. At this time, its meaning and social background have changed a lot. In most cases, as a means of strengthening memory, a special history is recorded in a special way (including in a horrible and bloody way).
From the area recorded in the human book, it is mostly distributed in some countries and regions in Europe, but in fact, its coverage may not be limited to this. According to statistics, the human skin book currently has at least 100 volumes in the world, mainly distributed in museums and libraries in some developed countries in Europe and America.
All in all, we may be very scared when it comes to human skin books, but for the early humans, their understanding of the human body is different from the present, and many times it is left as a souvenir, in Africa and the West. The “mummy” culture that was once very popular in ancient countries is similar. However, more American and European history and archaeologists believe that it is difficult to summarize and categorize the background of human skins. Therefore, it can only be said that the human book is also a book. One of the functions it carries is to record history and directly and indirectly reflect the source of the cover and content of the human book.