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Burke and Hare

William Burke and William Hare were body-snatchers and serial killers in Edinburgh in 1828. Edinburgh's medical schools, and Dr. Robert Knox in particular, needed cadavers and apparently were willing to pay for them without asking too many questions. Burke and Hare began by robbing bodies from graves, but soon turned to murder to meet the demand. They perfected a method of strangulation that left little evidence. Burke was executed in 1829 on the basis of evidence provided by Hare. Hare was released and sent to England by the authorities, where he vanished.

Burke and Hare were immortalized in a British children's folk rhyme:

Up the close and down the stair,
In the house with Burke and Hare.
Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief,
Knox, the boy who buys the beef."

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