Also in this week's column: Does thumb-sucking run in families? Will eating crusts make your hair grow curly? How do I taste things? Was human skin really used in book binding? Asked by Jill Pascoe of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia The use of human skin to bind books would disgust us today, but it was fairly widely practiced …
The comment "Fortunately, our sensitivities are certainly quite different today" reveals nothing but temporal parochialism. Sensitivities have changed from age to age. Parochialism ensures that humans in any given epoch regard the sensitivities then in vogue as being the best of all time. The only thing that we can be sure of is that in the future sensitivities will be different to what they are today, and much that we hold dear will be jettisoned. Conversely, much of what we do today would have incited "decent folk" of years gone by to pursue us with firebrands, pitchforks, and crosses held high; and "decent folk" of future generations to pursue us with blaster set to medium roast.
Personal skin bindings
A poet in Springfield Oregon wanted his works bound in his own skin when he died.
His widow attempted to comply with his wishes, but it never happened:
from News of the weird
"1994 -- Rachel Barton-Russell petitioned a court in Springfield, Ore., in February for a ruling on the meaning of the state's law against corpse abuse. Her deceased husband, Donal Eugene Russell, had declared in his will that he wanted his skin used to make book covers for a collection of his poetry, but the state Mortuary and Cemetery Board claims that carrying out that request would subject a funeral home to liability for corpse abuse."
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