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LONDON (Reuters) – Want to find your nearest rotting human carcass, strung up for public display?
Academics from Bristol in southwest England have developed a mobile phone app that alerts walkers when they pass some of the goriest sites from the region’s history.
As part of a project called “Romancing the Gibbet”, the University of the West of England has funded a series of audioguides that play excerpts of 250-year-old ballads and court proceedings as listeners pass the scenes of notorious crimes.
“The extraordinary 18th century practice of hanging and sometimes gibbeting selected felons – exhibiting their bodies to public view in iron cages – at the scene of their crime was intended to leave an indelible and exemplary impression on disorderly villages and small towns,” the university said.
Four murders ranging from 1741 to 1813 feature in the walking tours, which will be launched via a smartphone app on July 20. These include an aristocrat who was strangled by two sailors on his brother’s orders over an inheritance dispute, and a woman killed by her cheating husband.
After being hanged, the body of one of the sailors convicted of murder was put on display in a gibbet on an island at the mouth of the river Avon, which flows through Bristol.
The body of the murderous husband “was tarred, placed in the iron cage and hung on a 30-ft (9-metre) pole on a hill overlooking his childhood haunts, his parent’s cottage … and the actual crime scene”, the university said.
Britain abolished the death penalty in 1965.
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Gareth Jones)
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