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Weird Nebraska

Every Body Is Welcome!


In early January 1885 teenage prostitute Pearl Forcade was killed by a drunken man at "Mollie's Hall" in Lincoln. When her brothers arrived at Wyuka cemetery to claim Pearl's body, it was gone. Professors at the University of Nebraska medical school, then in Lincoln, were accused of stealing the corpse because the school had a well-known shortage of cadavers. Although Pearl's body mysteriously reappeared after a few days, this incident, and other similarly gruesome ones, caused the legislature to cut funding for the medical school, which closed for good in 1887. When the Omaha Medical School aligned itself with the university the state approved money to build an Omaha campus in 1909.

Newspaper item, Pearl Forcade body snatching article
Source: Nebraska State Journal, 1-11-1885 p.1

Newspaper item, Pearl Forcade body snatching article
Source: Nebraska State Journal, 1-11-1885 p.8


This sketch by author and folklorist Louise Pound was done between 1889 and 1892, when she was a student at the university, and probably represents the theft of Pearl Forcade's body.
Source: Nebraska State Histsorical Society RG0912AM

Newspaper item, "Stole a nice Stiff" Cotner College body snatching
Source: Nebraska State Journal, 11-22-1894

Newspaper item, "Cotner students on trial," Cotner College body snatching
Source: Nebraska State Journal, 12-1-1894

 

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Last updated 9 February 2006  

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