I wish to preface this by stating that a lot of what I’ve discovered relies on legends which can or is probably not true. Nonetheless, it seems there may be on the very least some twisted fact within the telling of the Missouri physician who allegedly stole corpses and at one time owned Mark Twain Collapse Hannibal.
That is the story of Joseph Nash McDowell. As Wikipedia states, he was one of the crucial well-known and revered medical doctors west of the Mississippi within the mid-1800’s. There’s one vital facet of Dr. McDowell’s life which is the place the legend begins and fact is difficult to verify. Dr. McDowell was alleged to steal corpses.
I’ve tried to corroborate this legend and decide fact from delusion from a number of sources. Here is a snippet of what Dr. McDowell is alleged to have finished with regard to snatching corpses:
Dr. McDowell believed the apply to be needed in an effort to advance drugs and his personal private understanding of the human physique. Throughout his time instructing on the medical college, he not solely inspired but additionally required that his college students carry out not less than one human dissection earlier than their commencement. This unlawful apply served as a type of bonding for the scholars; with the apply being strictly taboo to most of society that they had solely one another with which to debate what that they had finished and the way it impacted their schooling.
Consider it or not, the physician’s story will get stranger. It is vital to notice that this comes underneath the heading of “Rumors and Folklore”. Dr. McDowell’s daughter Amanda sadly handed away at a younger age and the legend mentioned the physician interred her in Mark Twain Collapse Hannibal in a copper canister. Here is what Wikipedia says about what occurred:
McDowell believed that conventional burial “stifled the soul”…this was his goal when interring his daughter in a container of preserving alcohol, stored secured in his cave workspace in Hannibal, Missouri. Nonetheless, when McDowell discovered that some locals had been daring one another to interrupt into the cave, and disrespecting his kid’s stays by opening the copper coffin to scare themselves with ghost tales, the Dr. had the physique eliminated
The rumors/legend is that this was finished by a younger Samuel Clemens and led to the telling of Injun Joe and the hidden “treasure” in Mark Twain Cave.
I’ve confirmed these tales by way of a number of totally different sources together with a e book referred to as Missouri’s Mad Doctor McDowell: Confederates, Cadavers and Macabre Medicine by Victoria Cosner and Lorelei Shannon. Lindenwood School additionally had an article together with these allegations in opposition to Dr. McDowell written by Luke Ritter referred to as Anatomy, Grave Robbing and Spiritualism in Antebellum St. Louis.
I extremely advocate studying the backstory of Dr. McDowell on the Mark Twain Cave website. Their story confirms he owned Mark Twain Cave for a time frame and that he “was an excellent surgeon, who wanted the temperate quiet solitude of such a spot for experimentation of lifeless our bodies.”
Someplace in the course of all of the tales and legends is a few fact. It is apparent that on the very least Joseph Nash McDowell was one of the crucial intriguing characters within the early 1800’s Missouri.
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