Fascination with the dead stems from all cultures and walks of life. Some past cultures revered and honored their dead with elaborate burials or grand ceremonies. Modern cultures have adapted to much more somber rites of passing.

The most common form of ceremony for the dead is a burial, one that has been done since the dawn of human history, to keep the deceased’s bodies out of sight and away from the harmful elements while returning them to the Earth where new life can begin.

But there are always stranger practices involving the dead. Some far more profane than even anything in history could conceive of.

One such man, for reasons undetermined, was reported to have stolen human remains from a burial site and made a broth with them to drink.

Out of the many disturbing rituals to commend the dead to nature, this one was unique and reviled.


10 /10 Old Death In Newfoundland

Lucas Dawe found an open mausoleum entrance in an old cemetery one night and decided to peek inside. There he found a skull.

He was witnessed retrieving the skull and other bones from the burial site and took them to his home. He even claimed as much to one of his friends who corroborated the story when an investigation was underway.

Some of the bones he took wound up falling from his hands, which began the investigation into the missing skeleton’s plot.

9 /10 Strange Brew

When Dawe was caught, the reports suggested he put the bones in boiling water and drank the resulting soup.

When pressed, he gave no answer, and the evidence presented in court was inconclusive and labeled as hearsay.

No toxicology report was conducted to prove whether or not the incident occurred or what the after-effects could have been.

What was certain, and admitted by Dawe under a guilty plea, was that he did take the skull as an item of simple curiosity.

8 /10 Clear Soup

In all actuality, the report of him drinking the broth was inconclusive. And possibly fake. It wasn’t dramatic enough that he took the errant skull from its resting place.

According to Dawe and a friend of his who he talked to in the years before his eventual arrest, he got drunk and saw the crypt was partially open, so he took something out of it.

His friend then suggested that he boil the bones to preserve them better, and he kept the skull up until his arrest a year and a half later. He was charged with possession of stolen items.

7 /10 Grateful Dead

The remains were returned, and the grave was resealed. The investigation revealed that the missing bones were not part of any particular pre-existing case in legal records, nor did they belong to any one of extreme cultural importance.

The grave belonged to John and Mary Butler, who died in the 1800s.

The All Saints Church took responsibility for the re-interment of the bones and the repair of the crypts they came from so no one would be tempted to snatch them again.


6 /10 Sorry, No Excuse

Lucas Dawe was given a four-month sentence for the charge of tampering with human remains, of which most of it had been served before the sentencing during his arrest.

He also had long probation and was given a lifetime ban from the church itself, who otherwise acknowledged his apology and gave forgiveness.

Even so, it was such a strange case that no one knew what to make of it at first.

The idea of him drinking the resulting water from cleaning the skull was started as a rumor at the time of his arrest, as the initial witness who saw him exit the cemetery was convinced he was licking the skull as he stole it.

5 /10 Grave Mistake

The grave was found to be eroded and weathered to the point where a hold small enough to reach in had formed.

That was just enough incentive for Dawe, who was inebriated at the time, to reach in and see what he could get out of the ground.

It was nothing more than a passing fancy that ended up costing him months’ worth of his time years later, and one critical detail ended up poisoning the well of information for the story across the internet.

4 /10 Blanched To Serve

Dawe’s advice to boil the skull to preserve it is a standard technique for modern bone preservation, primarily for animal bones.

Boiling loosens the remaining meat and skin on a stripped skull, allowing for easier removal of the remaining flesh so that the skull can be fully exposed beneath.

The rest of the process involves much more cleaning and prepping, but those are for fresher skulls. Dawe was lucky the old, weathered skull didn’t break apart in the water when he cleaned it.

3 /10 Cross-Cultural Taboo

Some may attribute his drunken actions to a victimless crime. Even if the law is against them, there are deeper reasons why meddling with the dead is such a global taboo.

Our bodies naturally fight off diseases every day, but when we die, those processes stop, and the bacteria that hang out in and around us all day every day take over and grow stronger.

Certain diseases are easily contagious from corpses, and some viruses can remain in hibernation for many, many years in ideal conditions. Just touching a skull could make a person sick.

2 /10 Under The Eyes Of God

It’s not just for health and safety. The cultural connotations of messing with the dead are quite extreme. Death is seen as the eternal rest, where the body is removed from suffering.

Desecrating a dead body is an extreme act of disrespect, of removing someone from their eternal rest while they can not resist in any way because, well, they’re dead. It’s seen as cowardly or stupid at best and downright evil at worst.

Labate / Shutterstock.com

1 /10 Which Witch

Although the rumors died down and the proper story was reported not too soon after the wilder headlines made circulation, some cultures used to practice heretical uses of human remains.

The old world witches and the Salem varieties of the American northeast were known to use human bones to make potions that granted extreme power.

It’s possible that, while still drunk, Dawe heard such legends and wanted to test if they were true. Whether it worked, no one but he might ever know…

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