Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Victim

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 30 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3038
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}

The gothic horror story “The Victim” was published in the New Monthly Magazine in December 1831 with immaculate timing. The story tells the tale of a London medical student who orders a body from the so called resurrection men, or body snatchers, only to discover that the corpse is that of his own murdered fiancée.

The story was authored anonymously, but subtitled “A TRUE STORY, BY A MEDICAL STUDENT.” Whether or not the story was really true and its author truly a medical student mattered little for the tale, which not only fed the 19th century lust for the macabre but also tapped into a real and …

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