- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2014

Among Harvard University’s stacks upon stacks of books in one of its library is a 19th century edition of the French writer Arsene Houssaye’s “Des destinies de lame,” which experts just confirmed is bound in human skin.

The book, ironically, is a reflection of life, death and the human soul.

The author gave the book to one of his doctor friends — Ludovic Bouland — in the mid-1880s, CNN reported. Bouland’s view was that “a book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering,” he wrote in a note found by researchers that explained his reasons for covering the book in human skin.

The library said in a statement that Bouland bound the book “with skin from the unclaimed body of a female mental patient who had died of a stroke,” CNN reported.

Scientists confirmed with a 99.9 percent confidence level that the book’s cover was human skin, CNN reported. Moreover, binding books in skin was fairly common in older times, the library said.

“Termed anthropodermic bibliopegy, the binding of books in human skin has occurred at least since the 16th century,” the library said, CNN reported. “The confessions of criminals were occasionally bound in the skin of the convicted, or an individual might request to be memorialized for family or lovers in the form of a book.”

The library made its finding known in a tweet from its official account, The Harvard Library: “Caveat Lecter — tests prove book is definitely bound in human skin.”



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