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The Body Snatcher
Robert Louis Stevenson
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The Body Snatcher

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  1,387 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Scotland, 1815: Fettes, a promising young medical student, comes to realize that the corpses he and his fellow students examine in anatomy class are stolen from graves. When it's his turn to procure a new subject for the table, Fettes believes he is up to the task. But he can't anticipate what will happen that night--or the body that will haunt him . . . for the rest of hi ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published December 1884)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 17, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
”To bodies that had been laid in earth, in joyful expectation of a far different awakening, there came that hasty, lamplit, terror-haunted resurrection of the spade and mattock.”

 photo Grave_zpsngnpucez.jpg

A group of friends have a habit of getting together in a hotel tavern to drink and tell tall tales, but sometimes the true stories are the ones that are more frightening than those spawned from the most vivid imaginations. The curiosity of one of the friends, a writer, is roused when he sees his friend Fettes brace an e
Robert Louis Stevenson, most well know for the famous Jekyll & Hide, has crafted a creepy, atmospheric, and elegantly written short story about grave robbery. This entertaining story contains only one real flaw which is that it leads to a rather disappointing ending.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I read this story out of a Classic Ghost Stories collection. This is one of those horror stories that is supposedly a supernatural tale, but really it's psychological, dealing with the depths that humans will sink to out of greed and desperation. It's pretty bleak and ugly, but it had a good message and a few good scares. RLS is an author I want to read more of. He has the writing style I enjoy!
Mar 22, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great end, short & to the point - several good ones, actually. The need for corpses for the burgeoning medical field in the early 19th century coupled with the laws & customs against using them led to some horrific lapses in ethics & the law. They led to this, a classic horror story that was loosely based on the Burke & Hare murders.
Jess Zahra
This is essentially a tale based loosely on the escapades of Burke and Hare who worked for the infamous anatomist Robert Knox, supplying his private medical school in Edinburgh with dead bodies for dissection. It was common that bodies for medical research were dug up from recent burials, but Burke and Hare's corpses were uncannily fresh - and that's because they weren't grave robbers - in fact they created their own corpses by murdering people.

It was too much of a temptation for Edinburgh-born
Nadosia Grey
It was ok but I felt, such as with Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, that there was something missing. I liked the characters but I wished that it was longer so I could get to know them better. The ending in my opinion was really pointless. I'm not sure what genre this short story fits into but surely it does not horrify, shock, or disturb me. This may have to do with the way in which is was written. I'm half convinced that if it was written by someone else with a different prose, it would have made a bet ...more
Althea Ann
(1884) Great set-up, excellent writing... but the 'scary' ending didn't work for me at all. I felt like it was on the level of spooky stories kids tell each other during sleepover parties (do kids still do that?)
It's about some young medical students whose duty to procure dead bodies for their eminent professor leads them down a spiral of moral depravity and blackmail. A nice exploration of guilt and complicity.
Oziel Bispo
Jan 28, 2017 Oziel Bispo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Conto horripilante e macabro onde um jovem estudante de medicina descobre que os corpos que eles usam nas aulas de anatomia não são doados, mas sim roubados dos cemitérios momentos depois de serem enterrados!
David Sarkies
Feb 04, 2014 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like horror
Recommended to David by: My book club
Shelves: horror
Medical Science in 19th Century England
5 February 2014

As I was reading this book the thought that was going through my mind was how doctors in the 19th Century would, during the middle of the night, raid graveyards for freshly buried corpses, exhume them, and take them back to their laboratories to dissect them. This story however goes a little further because it is suggested that the main character goes beyond exhuming freshly buried corpses to creating his own corpses.
However, as I thought a
Apr 22, 2014 Onysha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I'm not really into horror stories because I have enough trouble sleeping already. I gave "The Flayed Hand" by Guy de Maupassant only a quick flip at the bookstore a long time ago because I found it pretty scary. The only horror story I'd properly read before RLS' "The Body Snatcher" was W.W. Jacob's "The Monkey's Paw", which I read for my English Lit class.

So, I don't have much experience with horror stories, and the best I can do is compare "The Body Snatcher" with "The Monkey's Paw."

The ver
Inspired by a real murder case, where Burke and Hare murdered fifteen people and sold the bodies to a private anatomy school. Not really scary per se (more like a tale of conscience and principles), but pleasantly moody in a traditional ghost story way. The ending reminded me of a particularly unpleasant one, that I had already forgotten. Crap. The whole body snatching thing is a really interesting topic, which shows the wonderful weirdness of people back then.
This story is great on so many levels! First it works as a scary story, the charaters are easy to imagine and the settings are brittiant. But there is also the whole dilemma of man vs. nature that so many gothic stories debate. For what is sociaty to do, when the hunger for knowledge about human anatomy needs more bodies to stod then can leagally be provided?
This did not "slip through the cracks" as I believed. I had read tthis, though back in the just century. A familiar story based on real body snatchers. A short thriller for a fast read. Victorian lit staple from Stevenson.
Andrew Ives
On the plus side, this is well-written, atmospheric, mysterious and moves along at a pace. On the other hand, it is rather grisly and the 'big surprise' at the end was frankly disappointing. Quite fun for a short bus journey or the like, but it's no Dr J & Mr H. I'd give it 3.25/5 stars
Nov 18, 2011 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, own, digital
This is published separately, but it has more the feel of a short story than even a novella. It seemed very much to me like a Poe story, starting with an event in the present that prompts a character to tell the tale of something horrific that had happened in his past.
Sep 24, 2012 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni-books, victorian
Stevenson never disappoints! This was a creepy story, despite it not being a supernatural tale (which I thought it would be).
Corto pero un tanto oscuro. No profundiza mucho en la historia, pero es buena igualmente.

"You can't begin and then stop. If you begin, you must keep on beginning; that's the truth.”
Sep 27, 2014 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ultimately this was less 'creepy--even coincidental--but possible' and more 'inexplicable/unlikely mini-horror', but either way, a fun short.
Aug 25, 2008 Themistocles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
Not Stevenson's best, but still a collection of three short stories that are very much in his style and therefore really enjoyable.
Marts  (Thinker)
Classic horror short story by Stevenson, highlighting the consequences of greed...
Nov 15, 2016 Thabata rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
It makes one wonder if wrong doings could ever torment the perpetrator. In this narrative, Robert Louis Stevenson bases his characters and consequent events on real-life life surgeon Robert Knox, the Burke and Hare murders and the criminals who ensured a fresh and constant supply of bodies that were sold to be studied by medical students. Stevenson portrays two men who are responsible for the correct proceedings of receiving bodies, cataloguing and directing said corpses to anatomical studies. T ...more
Nov 27, 2016 Natalya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kratka horror novela Roberta Louisa Stevensona po kojoj je snimljen i odličan horrorac.
Ako ima takvih koji se ne sjećaju ovog pisca (a trebali bi!), podsjetit ću vas na njegovo maestralno djelo koje svi znaju: "Čudni slučaj Dr. Jekylla i Mr. Hidea" vam ne moram (nadam se) više naglašavati koliko je važno da pročitate i ostala njegova djela jer zaslužuje vašu potpunu pozornost. Jedno od njih je i ovo, "Kradljivac mrtvaca"...kratka, ali slatka horror priča. Kratka, no napeta do boli.
Ja sam
Windi Astuti
A creepy one-sitting read. It gets creepier when I know it is based on true story. Just google "Burke and Hare Murders" or "Robert Knox" if you want to get the story without reading it.

Why I gave it 2/5 rating:
It's too short. The pace is too fast and I feel like there was something missing. And I don't catch the ending. How can 'it' be there? It remains unanswered and I hate unsolvable mystery. Maybe it's supposed to be horror and it's just there. The end.

But as I stated at first, it's creepy to
Dec 12, 2016 Kishor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun read.

Brooding horror grips you as the story progresses, but the end is rather anticlimactic.
Wayne Barrett


Just okay. Well written but a little boring.

Giving my stars for the medical history and general interesting-ness of body snatching. The story itself, however, was rather bland - although moral corruption is always a plus.
Carole Rae
Oct 02, 2016 Carole Rae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition this was creepy and horrifying! At first I was okay with the story. Kinda grossed out with these fellas and then it quickly and suddenly turned scary! I wanted more...I wanted to story to continue. I really feel that the author could have done more with the story. Maybe I am just being spoiled? But the story was good and the concept was intriguing.

There is for sure a lesson to be learned with this story....leave dead bodies alone dammit. Bad things happen

This was very good and I recom
Andy Hickman
'The Body-Snatcher' is a short story by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894). It's a dark English gothic story in the tradition of Frankenstein but with an unexpected enigmatic paranormal ending. 'Fettes' has an encounter which makes the traumatized middle-aged Scotsman detail a flashback recollection of his time as a student anatomist in “unhallowed labor”.

“We called him the Doctor, for he was supposed to have some special knowledge of medicine, and had been known, upon a pinc
Benjamin Stahl
Apr 23, 2016 Benjamin Stahl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is also quite a well-known story, and while it serves here only as an inferior but readable addition, part of me wants to say that it was better. Or perhaps "better" is the wrong word; maybe I'll just say I liked it more. It was intriguing right from the start, where as 'Jekyll & Hyde' started as one of those slower tales, which has its characters talking amongst each other in an absurdly dated dialect, making your brain wallow slightly as you think, Oh God, not one of these stories ...more
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History in Vogue: The Body Snatcher 10 5 Oct 21, 2016 01:00PM  
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Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of English literature. He was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling and Vladimir Nabokov.

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