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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Fatal mishap of resurrectionist at Black-Friars churchyard

DURING resurrection times, in addition to watchers of graves and churchyards, trap-guns were set to scare the violaters of the so-called last resting-places of the dead; but in spite of all dangers the outrages were numerous. One instance is recorded of a student in Glasgow being killed by stumbling over one of these guns. He and two companions were in search of a body in the Blackfriars churchyard at the time of the fatal mishap. When he dropped dead, his fellow-students were horrified, but the fear of discovery forced them to adopt an extraordinary method of taking away the body of their unfortunate friend.

They carried it to the outside of the churchyard, and placed it on its feet against the wall; then they each tied a leg to one of theirs, and taking the corpse by the arms, they passed slowly along the street towards their lodgings, shouting and singing as if they were three roysterers returning from a carouse. Once safely home, the dead man was put to bed, and next morning the story was circulated that during the night the poor fellow had committed suicide. The fatal adventure was thus kept quiet, and it was not until many years afterwards that the true version of the night’s proceedings was made known.

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