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Harvard University book bound in human skin taken from female mental patient

By Mason White 12:43 PM June 8, 2014
Book bound in human skin 

By: Hydar Tomar
(Scroll down for video) Tests have confirmed that a book at one of the Harvard University libraries is bound in human skin.

Experts from Harvard University have confirmed that the book printed in the 19th century is bound in human skin.

The book Des destinees de l’ame was written by Arsene Houssaye of France, and is currently being held at the Houghton Library. The book is described as a meditation on the soul and life after death.

Dr. Ludovic Bouland bound book with skin taken from the back of a mentally ill woman who died of a stroke, according to researchers. Bouland left a note explaining what he had done.

He wrote: “A book about the human soul deserved to have a human cover.” After testing, Bill Lane, the director of Harvard Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Resource Laboratory, said: “The analytical data, together with the origin of Des destinees de l’ame, makes it highly unlikely that the cover may be other than human.”

Although the binding of a book with the skin of another person may now seem distinctly horrible, it was not an unusual practice in the past. Binding books in human skin has occurred at least since the 16th century, according to the library.

Des destinees de l’ame is the only known Harvard book bound in human skin.