— Harvard Library (@HarvardLibrary) June 4, 2014
A book bound in human skin sits in one of Harvard University’s libraries, experts at the school said this week. Scientists tested the 19th-century book Des destineés de l’ame and concluded that they were “99.9% confident” that the binding comes from a person’s epidermis.
The library says that Dr. Ludovic Bouland bound the book in the mid-1880s after receiving it as a gift from the author, Arene Houssaye. He wrapped it using skin from the unclaimed body of a female mental patient who died of a stroke. He left a now-missing note in the book to shed some light on his decision, albeit : “A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering.”
The tests of the binding ruled out other animal sources, including sheep, cattle, goats and primates closely related to humans like apes and gibbons.
- How to Help Victims of the Texas School Shooting
- TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2022
- What the Buffalo Tragedy Has to Do With the Effort to Overturn Roe
- Column: The U.S. Failed Miserably on COVID-19. Canada Shows It Didn't Have to Be That Way
- N.Y. Will Soon Require Businesses to Post Salaries in Job Listings. Here's What Happened When Colorado Did It
- The 46 Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2022
- ‘We Are in a Moment of Reckoning.’ Amanda Nguyen on Taking the Fight for Sexual Violence Survivors to the U.N.