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Harvard Library Confirms That Book is Bound With Human Skin

| by Dominic Kelly

Back in April, Opposing Views told you about the discovery that Harvard University’s library featured three books bound in human skin. After the report spread on the Internet, experts said that one of the most talked about books was actually covered in sheepskin, but now, the school is confirming that it is in fact bound by human skin.

Harvard University researchers found that other books reported to be covered by human skin actually were covered by sheepskin, but after much speculation and extensive investigation, the Ivy League school is confirming that one book is in fact covered by human skin.

Researchers carried out numerous tests on the library’s copy of Arsene Houssaye’s “Des destinees de l'ame” and have determined that the cover is undoubtedly covered with human skin. The book, which is about the soul and the afterlife, was apparently presented to Dr. Ludovic Bouland by the author in the mid-1880s, and inside the book, Bouland left a note explaining why it is covered in human flesh.

“This book is bound in human skin parchment on which no ornament has been stamped to preserve its elegance,” wrote Bouland. “By looking carefully you easily distinguish the pores of the skin. A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering: I had kept this piece of human skin taken from the back of a woman. It is interesting to see the different aspects that change this skin according to the method of preparation to which it is subjected.”

Harvard researchers used a method called peptide mass fingerprinting to come to their conclusion, and they now say that they are 99.9% certain that the binding is made from human skin.

Sources: USA Today, Reuters, CNN

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