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The grave of 'Elephant Man' Joseph Merrick has been found nearly 130 years after he died, his biographer has claimed.

Merrick’s skeleton has been preserved in the Royal London Hospital since his death but Jo Vigor-Mungovin says she has tracked down where his soft tissue is buried to a cemetery in the capital.


GRAVE DISCOVERY ‘Elephant man’ Joseph Merrick’s unmarked grave ‘found after 130 years’

His skeleton is preserved but his biographer claims she's found where the rest of his remains are buried

By Tariq Tahir
5th May 2019
The Sun On Sunday

THE grave of 'Elephant Man' Joseph Merrick has been found nearly 130 years after he died, his biographer has claimed.

Merrick’s skeleton has been preserved in the Royal London Hospital since his death but Jo Vigor-Mungovin says she has tracked down where his soft tissue is buried to a cemetery in the capital.


Joseph Merrick died after becoming asphyxiated by the weight of his own head


Jo Vigor-Mungovin at the grave she says is that of Merrick

In the first few years of life Merrick developed severe face and body deformities which saw him become a freak show attraction, then a curiosity for doctors.

Though the exact cause of his condition is not known, it is believed to be the result of a rare genetic disorder known as Proteus syndrome.

He died aged 27 after being asphyxiated by the weight of his own head, which measured 36in in diameter, apparently after trying to lie down.

Mrs Vigor-Mungovin told the BBC, a story about his soft tissue being buried separately had not been followed up due to the number of graveyards in use at the time.

"I was asked about this and off-hand I said 'It probably went to the same place as the Ripper victims', as they died in the same locality,” she said.

"Then I went home and really thought about it and started looking at the records of the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium near Epping Forest, where two Ripper victims are buried.

"I decided to search in an eight-week window around the time of his death and there, on page two, was Joseph Merrick."

FREAK SHOW

She claims the detail contained in the Victorian burial records make it “99 per cent” the grave is that of Merrick and that it’s “too much to be a coincidence".

"The burial is dated 24 April 1890, and Joseph died on 11 April,” she said.

"It gives his residence as London Hospital, his age as 28 - Joseph was actually 27 but his date of birth was often given wrong - and the coroner as Wynne Baxter, who we know conducted Joseph's inquest.”

Merrick’s skin appeared to be thick and lumpy and there was a large protrusion on his forehead.

He also developed enlarged lips, an enlarged hand and enlarged feet.

At the age of nine his mother died and his father soon remarried, but after he left school at 13, he struggled to find work.

After being rejected by his father and stepmother, Merrick entered a workhouse when he was 17.

He remained there for four years before contacting showman Sam Torr and proposed he exhibit him in a freak show in 1884.

Merrick became known as the 'Elephant Man' as a result of his appearance and was billed as 'Half-a-Man and Half-an-Elephant' on touring show.

He then moved to London where he was exhibited at a shop on Whitechapel Road which was rented by showman Tom Norman.

The shop was located across the road from the London Hospital and visited by surgeon Frederick Treves who invited Merrick to be examined and photographed.

Soon after Merrick's visits to the hospital, the shop was closed by the police, and Merrick was sent on tour in Europe.

But in Belgium, Merrick was robbed by his road manager and abandoned in Brussels.

He made his way back to London, but unable to communicate, police found Dr Treves' card on him and he took Merrick back to the hospital with him, where Merrick would stay for the rest of his life.


The writer said the records were 'too much to be a coincidence'



Merrick's skull - his head measured 36in in diameter


The City of London Cemetery and Crematorium - the largest cemetery in Europe - was one of several that was in use at the time of Merrick's death

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/900795...s-grave-found/