Everyone likes an old leather bound book. It’s dignified, classy, and has an aura of sage wisdom.
If your book is old enough, however, it might be bound in a slightly different kind of leather: yes, you guessed it, human skin.
The practice ceased centuries ago, but recently the University of Notre Dame has added a particular book to its “Special Collection” due to long time rumors that it’s made from the flesh of a Moorish chieftain. Notre Dame is currently running studies on the protein chains in the binding to confirm the authenticity of the claim. You can follow their progress on their Tumblr page. This book in particular is also rumored to have been owned by Christopher Columbus, the famous genocidal warlord that terrorized the Bahamas in the 1600’s.
The practice of binding books in human flesh isn’t limited to that book, however. In fact, it’s not even that old. Even as late as the 1800’s, volunteers, criminals and cadavers would make their own special contributions to world literacy. The practice was especially common in the medical field– a doctor would study a cadaver, then use the skin to bind the book written about the study. Think of it as recycling.
Largely, though, your favorite literary classics were bound with convicts and various other executed criminals. This practice wasn’t uncommon, either.
Just something to keep in mind the next time you’re taking time off to relax and enjoy your favorite book.