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.
February 22
1987—Andy Warhol Dies
American pop artist Andy Warhol, whose creations have sold for as much as 100 million dollars, dies of cardiac arrhythmia following gallbladder surgery in New York City. Warhol, who already suffered lingering physical problems from a 1968 shooting, requested in his will for all but a tiny fraction of his considerable estate to go toward the creation of a foundation dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts.
February 21
1947—Edwin Land Unveils His New Camera
In New York City, scientist and inventor Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The camera, which contains a special film that self-develops prints in a minute, goes on sale the next year to the public and is an immediate sensation.
1965—Malcolm X Is Assassinated
American minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam, who shotgun him in the chest and then shoot him sixteen additional times with handguns. Though three men are eventually convicted of the killing, two have always maintained their innocence, and all have since been paroled.
February 20
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
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