Body Snatching In Britain


Body Snatching in Britain

There are some terrific books on body snatching specifically for England and Scotland as well as more general body snatching books and I want to share with you my top picks, my nice to have’s, and those books that live on my desk rather than my bookshelf.

I’ve decided to bundle the best of the best together and let you see just exactly what is out there in relation to the topic.

But before I get down to the more specific books, I want to tell you about the books I simply cannot live without!

Body Santching Gazetteer Geoff Holder

Body Snatchers Gazetteer: G. Holder

Mine is falling to bits, has additional notes glued into pages, and has been annotated that much that I really should get a new copy but it’s now like a walking encyclopedia of all my body snatching knowledge that I’d cry if I lost it.

I should be on commission the number of times I recommend this book to people.

Bodysnatchers Digging up the Untold Stories of Britain's Resurrection Men. Suzie Lennox

Digging Up The Untold Stories: S. Lennox

Yes, yes, I know my own book is listed here but it really doesn’t leave my desk. A lot of research went into it so I tend to use it as a main point of call when I’m writing a post for my blog.

I’ve written a detailed post here specifically for my book where you can read just a few of the reviews given on Amazon, all of which I’m very proud of.

Bodysnatchers Martin Fido

Bodysnatchers: M. Fido

You’ll find some great accounts of body snatchers in here that other books have overlooked and he makes notable space for the Borough Gang.

Although not entirly 100% like for like, the audio CD has three huge body snatching cases on there, worthy for any car stereo I say!

Death Dissection and the Destitute Ruth Richardson

Death Dissection & The Destitute: R. Richardson

Her research is unquestionable and her writing style is one which allows you to get lost in the past and absorb yourself in the wonderful world of body snatching.

It could be a bit deep for those of you starting off in the subject, but I certainly wouldn’t leave it too long before you read it.

Early Authors

If you’re interested in body snatching, it won’t take you long to discover that the sector can easily be split into two.

Those authors writing in the late 19th and early-mid 20th Century and those that turned the subject in late 1990 and after.

The main authors to note for the earlier works are:

  • James Blake Bailey ‘The Diary of A Resurrectionist’ (1896)James Moores Ball ‘The Sack ‘Em ‘Up Men’ (1928)
  • Hubert Cole ‘Things For The Surgeon’ (1964)
  • James Moores Ball ‘The Sack ‘Em ‘Up Men’ (1928)Hubert Cole ‘Things For The Surgeon’ (1964)

These are considered classic works and I would recommend seeking them out if you’re interested in the subject of body snatching.

The Diary of a Resurrectionist: J. Blake Bailey

‘The Diary of A Resurrectionist’ however, never leaves my desk and is probably one of my top choices of books to purchase if you want to know more about the rise of body snatching, particularly in England.

It wouldn’t be fair of me not to share the link for the free online edition from Project Guttenberg which includes the images, something that the printed version of the text is lacking.

Things For The Surgeon Hubert Cole

Things For The Surgeon: H. Cole

There are some favourite cases in there, The story of Charles Byrne, The ‘Irish Giant’ and one of my favourite body snatchers makes an appearance, Andrew Merrilees, or ‘Merry Andrew’.

Cole’s book is getting increasingly harder to buy and I have only seen one copy on Amazon.co.uk so if you see it for a reasonable price, I would recommend that you buy it if you can.

Modern Authors

These are the books that I can pretty much guarantee will answer any niggling body snatching question in a flash. These books are the ones I always turn to first, for quick results on popular cases for dates, names, etc.

I definitely have some favourites in this section and those that follow remain within close reach of my desk whenever I’m researching and writing.

The Resurrection Men Brian Bailey

The Resurrection Men: B. Bailey

This has become one of my ‘go-to’ books for body snatching in England and I’d put it in about the same par as Martin Fido’s.

I find that both Bailey and Fido overlap quite a bit but I still find them equally as useful in their own right. You may find that a little bit of additional information has been included in one, yet missed out from the other.

Scottish Bodysnatchers: N. Adams

This is a cracking little book and is one of two that Adam’s has written on the subject. I tend to favour this more than his other book ‘Dead and Buried’.

‘Merry Andrew’ makes an appearance in here as do Edinburgh’s first ‘body snatchers’ Helen Torrence and Jean Waldie.