The Naked City Feb 7 2010
THE KILLING KIND
Historian claims two of history’s most respected medical researchers were serial killers.
British historian Don Shelton, in research just published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, suggests that the acclaimed fathers of obstetrics, William Hunter and William Smellie, were also serial killers. Shelton’s report makes a convincing case that the two renowned anatomists contracted henchmen to abduct and deliver women who were in advanced stages of pregnancy, with the purpose of generating a steady supply of medical specimens for their studies. The two men worked separately, and were driven by ambition and rivalry. The women they obtained were experimented upon while either freshly dead, or while unconscious, with fatal results. The killings allegedly occurred in London in two stages, the first lasting from 1749 until 1755, and the second from 1764 to 1774. In total, Shelton estimates there were thirty-five to forty victims, plus their unborn fetuses.

Despite Shelton's takedown of two highly respected medical figures, there has been surprisingly little resistance to his assertions so far. Researchers of the 1700s usually obtained medical specimens from hospitals or morgues, and were known to employ graverobbers as well. But such specimens would have been diseased, aged, or physically damaged, whereas Hunter and Smellie would have needed young, physically fit subjects. According to Shelton, this prompted them to employ henchmen who most likely supplied bodies via “burking,” a technique named after serial killer William Burke, in which a person is slowly suffocated, thus leaving no damage to the cadaver and no detectable signs of foul play to alert police. Shelton's exhaustively researched study allegedly proves that no other method could have produced the steady stream of healthy mothers-to-be Hunter and Smellie desired. When interviewed about his claims by England’s Guardian newspaper, Shelton admitted they were shocking, but quoted Sherlock Holmes: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.”     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 30
1918—Lenin Shot
Russian political revolutionary Fanny Kaplan shoots Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, wounding him in the shoulder and jaw. Lenin survives, she doesn't—she's executed three days later.
1963—Washington-Moscow Hotline Established
A hotline between U.S. and Soviet leaders, known as the Washington-Moscow hotline or Red Telephone, goes into operation. It linked the White House to the Kremlin at the height of the Cold War, and presumably still does today.
2006—Glenn Ford Dies
Canadian actor Glenn Ford, who starred in some of the best films ever made, including Gilda, The Big Heat, and the original 3:10 to Yuma, dies in his home in Beverly Hills, USA. He was still in love with Rita Hayworth, his one-time co-star who had died years earlier. Reputedly, his last words were, "You don't keep Rita Hayworth waiting."
August 29
1949—Soviet Union Joins Nuclear Club
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear weapon at a test site in Kazakhstan. American experts are shocked and dismayed because they had thought the Soviets were still years away from having a workable bomb. The resultant fear helps trigger an arms race that would see the Americans and Soviets stockpile approximately 32,000 and 45,000 nuclear devices.
August 28
1963—King Gives Famous Speech
In the U.S., Martin Luther King, Jr., at the culmination of his march on Washington for jobs and freedom, gives his famous "I Have a Dream Speech," advocating racial harmony and equality.
1981—Scientists Announce Existence of New Disease
The National Centers for Disease Control announce a high incidence of pneumocystis and Kaposi's sarcoma in gay men. These illnesses are later recognized as symptoms of a blood-borne immune disorder, which they name AIDS. The disease is initially thought to have developed in the late 1970s among gay populations, but scientists now know it developed in the late 1800s or early 1900s in Africa during the height of European conquest of the continent.

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