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Author: I Found Joseph Merrick's Grave

Remains of 'Elephant Man' are in City of London Cemetery, says UK writer
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2019 12:46 PM CDT
An image of Joseph Merrick published in the British Medical Journal in 1886.   (Wikimedia Commons/British Medical Journal)

(Newser) – An author in the UK says she has found the gravesite of Joseph Merrick, better known to the world as the Elephant Man. Jo Vigor-Mungovin, who has written a biography of Merrick, tells the BBC that his remains are in City of London Cemetery. She tweeted a photo here. Merrick suffered a genetic abnormality that turned him into a freak show exhibit—billed as "half a man, half an elephant," per the Sun—before he found a refuge of sorts at London Hospital. His skeleton is preserved at the Royal London Hospital, but the location of his soft tissue had been lost to history for nearly 130 years.

Vigor-Mungovin says her sleuthing turned up records of a "Joseph Merrick" buried in April 1890, and they list the same coroner known to have conducted the famous Merrick's inquest that same month. His residence was given as London Hospital. The age is slightly off—28, a year older than Merrick's 27—but the author says those are frequently wrong. "Everything fits, it is too much to be a coincidence," she says. Cemetery officials have yet to comment. (Merrick may have suffered from a rare disorder known as Proteus syndrome.)

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