From dead dogs, we move right along to dead people. Getting a very Halloween-esque vibe around the Editors’ Blog this week. The top story on the front (web) page of the New York Times today really should have been saved for October 31. It describes a factory in China where workers are “cleaning, cutting, dissecting, preserving and re-engineering human corpses, preparing them for the international museum exhibition market.”
Wow. And you thought that trading in prisoners’ organs was bad. But guess what? Unlike selling death-row kidneys, this practice, so far, is completely legal. And what sinister force is behind this mummy factory phenomenon? From the Times:
“The mastermind behind this operation is Gunther von Hagens, a 61-year-old German scientist whose show, ‘Body Worlds,’ has attracted 20 million people worldwide over the past decade and has taken in over $200 million by displaying preserved, skinless human corpses with their well-defined muscles and sinewy tissues.”
The trade in corpses is apparently pretty brisk, with one American company paying US$25 million to keep a fresh supply of bodies coming from China.
The only question is, when is von Hagens bringing his show to Shanghai Circus World?