Unmarked grave of ‘Elephant Man’ found

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Unmarked grave of ‘Elephant Man’ found


Merrick had a skeletal and soft tissue deformity which saw him as a medical curiosity, with his skeleton preserved at the Royal London Hospital (Victoria Jones/PA)
Merrick had a skeletal and soft tissue deformity which saw him as a medical curiosity, with his skeleton preserved at the Royal London Hospital (Victoria Jones/PA)

The unmarked grave of Joseph Merrick – better known as the Elephant Man – has been traced after nearly 130 years, according to his biographer.

Merrick had a skeletal and soft tissue deformity which saw him as a medical curiosity, with his skeleton preserved at the Royal London Hospital.

But author Jo Vigor-Mungovin claimed she has now discovered Merrick’s soft tissue was buried in the City of London Cemetery after he died in 1890 aged 27. After a miserable adolescence in Leicester and time as a travelling exhibit, Merrick ended up at the former London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

Ms Vigor-Mungovin told the BBC that his soft tissue was buried but had not been followed up due to the number of graveyards in use at the time.

She said: “I was asked about this and off-hand I said, ‘It probably went to the same place as the Ripper victims’, as they died in the same locality.

“I decided to search in an eight-week window around the time of his death and there, on page two, was Joseph Merrick.”

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Irish Independent

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