Lifestyle

Harvard Confirms Their Book is, in Fact, Made From Human Skin

There are definitely scores of disturbing books buried in the stacks of Harvard, but researchers at the Houghton Library have finally confirmed that one of those creepy books trumps them all. Why? Because it's bound in human skin, that's why. Ludovic Bouland (a medical doctor and reported bibliophile) apparently lifted the skin off an unclaimed deceased mental patient and bound his copy of French author Arsene Houssaye's "Des destinées de l'ame." Translation: "Destinies of the Soul."

"A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering," scribbled the shifty doctor in a note tucked within the pages of the book. "By looking carefully you easily distinguish the pores of the skin." Fortunately for Mark Zuckerberg, the skin was taken from a woman's back, thereby side-stepping scores of "Harvard's Real Facebook" headlines.

The note continues: "It is interesting to see the different aspects that change this skin according to the method of preparation to which it is subjected. Compare for example with the small volume I have in my library, Sever. Pinaeus de Virginitatis notis which is also bound in human skin but tanned with sumac.”

Fortunately for Mark Zuckerberg, the skin was taken from a woman's back, thereby side-stepping scores of "Harvard's Real Facebook" headlines.

A brief look at the Latin dictionary says the book title is actually "De integritatis & corruptionis virginum notis," translating to—and we're not making this up—"The Characteristics of Integrity and Corruption of Maidens."

According to the Boston Athenaeum, skin-bound books have a "slightly bumpy texture, like soft sandpaper." B.A. has a book of the memoirs and debauchery of a highwayman named James Allen, and it's bound with...James Allen. This apparently was not an infrequent occurrence for executed criminals, though in this case he specifically requested this binding of his posthumous publication.

Perhaps someone bound Dr. Bouland's memoirs? We wouldn't be surprised. 


Ethan Wolff-Mann is an editor at Supercompressor. He is currently feeling unsettled. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.