The news about the University of Harvard these days is doing around the world, for once, does not affect the rankings of the best universities or prestigious scientific discoveries. Indeed, it is quite gruesome in the library Harvard university was found a book bound in human skin.

The official confirmation comes by the university itself: the volume is almost certainly made ​​of human skin. The suspects who were already circulating at the end of last year, therefore, are confirmed. The handwritten note in the book, a copy of Des ( Of the destinies of the soul ) of the nineteenth-century writer Arsenal Houssaye and donated to the Houghton Library at Harvard in 1934, it is therefore true.


“The volume is bound in parchment made ​​from human skin, unadorned to maintain its elegance. A careful observation, one can distinguish the pores of the skin. A book on the human soul deserved a binding human. I kept this piece of human skin taken from the back of a woman. It is interesting to see the changes that the skin undergoes according to the method of preparation which is under “reads as follows, in the first pages of the book, a record of the original owner. The legend now very close to being confirmed want to be identified in both Ludovic Bouland, doctor and avid collector of books, as well as friend of the author.

The mystery still surrounds the identity of the woman with whose skin was bound book. Still anonymous, it would be a patient of Bouland suffering from psychiatric problems and died of “apoplexy” (most likely a heart attack). But the specimen found at Harvard is not the only one of its kind: another volume bound in human skin – also belonged to Dr. Bouland is preserved in the Welcome Library, London.

If the practice of obtaining scrolls from human skin today might appear somewhat macabre, it should be considered, however, that in the nineteenth century donate the bodies of criminals to doctors and skins to tanners and binders for their activities was not a little diffuse . The passion of Dr. Bouland for this particular type of book, then, at that time probably was not any fuss.