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As restoration work by Friends of Benjamin Franklin House began on 36 Craven Street, a Grade I listed house rescued from brink of tottering collapse, a small pit was found in basement room. A human thigh bone was found.
The coroner and police were notified. Excavation continued. More human bone surfaced. And more. And more, until more than 1,200 pieces of bone were recovered.
Since bones were too ancient to trouble Scotland Yard, they are now in care of Institute of Archaeology, where experts have already determined that they range from an old man to a human baby. Several skulls have been trepanned, and arm and leg bones chopped through.
The most plausible explanation is not mass murder, but an anatomy school run by Benjamin Franklin's young friend and protégé, William Hewson. He had been a pupil of most brilliant anatomist of day, William Hunter, but two fell out and Hewson started his own anatomy school - at home of his mother-in-law Margaret Stephenson, just off Strand, where Benjamin Franklin was also a lodger for 16 years.
He had a rich source of subjects at hand: resurrection men could deliver bodies stolen from graveyards to Thames wharf at bottom of street, while there was a weekly public execution at gallows on other side of garden wall.
Benjamin Franklin, who was interested in absolutely everything - he was lucky to escape killing himself or his guests at demonstrations of electricity he was wont to give during dinner parties - must have attended public dissections.
Hewson died young of blood poisoning after he cut himself during a dissection.
Franklin eventually returned to United States, but was estranged from his abandoned family, and separated from illegitimate son who shared his London years when Franklin declared for American independence and son was exiled for his loyalty to England.
The house was less than 30 years old when Franklin came to London and rented best first floor rooms, where he was visited by all leading figures in radical politics, science and philosophy.” (2)
Author of Diverse Druids Columnist for The ES Press Magazine Guest 'expert' at World-Mysteries.com