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Scientists confirm: Harvard book about the ‘destinies of the soul’ bound in human skin

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Experts have confirmed that a 19th-century book about the destiny of the soul in the afterlife “is without a doubt bound in human skin.”

The book was donated to Harvard’s Houghton Library by Dr. Ludovic Bouland in the 1930s, and contained a note from the Bouland in which he claimed that “a book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering.”

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Arsène Houssaye had presented his friend Bouland a copy of Des destinées de l’ame (Destinies of the Soul), and according to his note, Bouland then used “this piece of human skin taken from the back of a woman,” a mental patient who had died of “apoplexy,” to bind the book.

“It is interesting to see the different aspects that change this skin according to the method of preparation to which it is subjected,” Bouland wrote in his handwritten note. “Compare for example with the small volume I have in my library, Sever. Pinaeus de Virginitatis notis which is also bound in human skin but tanned with sumac.”

Grotesque as it sounds, the practice of binding books in human skin — or anthropodermic bibliopegy — was once more common. The confessions of executed criminals were occasionally bound in the skin of the convicted, and some families bound the favorite books of recently deceased family members in their skin as a kind of memorial to them.

Harvard scientists tested Des destinées de l’ame using several different methods, including peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF). According to Bill Lane, the director of the Harvard Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Resource Laboratory, “[t]he PMF from Des destinées de l’ame matched the human reference, and clearly eliminated other common parchment sources, such as sheep, cattle and goat. However, although the PMF was consistent with human, other closely related primates, such as the great apes and gibbons, could not be eliminated because of the lack of necessary references.”

Portions of the binding were then subjected to a Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LCMSMS), which determined the order of the amino acids within each peptide — an order that is unique to each species of primate.

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The result, Lane said, was “[t]he analytical data, taken together with the provenance of Des destinées de l’ame, make it very unlikely that the source could be other than human.”

[“Man Looking Shocked At The Light Coming Out Of A Book” on Shutterstock]

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Republican staffer caught spying on Democrats during Judiciary Committee meetings

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A Republican staffer from the Ways and Means committee was caught spying on Democrats during their work over the weekend.

According to a Judiciary Committee source, the female staffer was ultimately discovered and ran out of the committee room once it was discovered she was there, tweeted Olivia Beavers, a writer at "The Hill."

"A Judiciary source says the committee, which has been practicing for their Monday impeachment hearing this whole weekend, came across a female GOP Ways and Means staffer in the hearing room today, but that she ran out once discovered," she tweeted.

https://twitter.com/Olivia_Beavers/status/1203784487559213056

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New York Times editorial board asks Trump if he didn’t do anything wrong — why he won’t let witnesses testify

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The New York Times editorial board issued a scathing op-ed Sunday detailing the ways in which President Donald Trump is destroying one of the key branches of the United States government.

While many presidents battle with Congress, Trump has taken his "obvious contempt" to a whole new level. But if he was truly innocent of the accusations he's facing, then why is he hiding so much.

"If Mr. Trump is so clear in his own mind that he didn’t try to pressure the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2020 election, why won’t he send the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to testify under oath that there was no quid pro quo?" asked The Times. "Instead, he has issued a blanket refusal to allow officials of his administration to testify or submit documents demanded by Congress. His approach is pitting Republican House members’ fealty to him against their respect for their own institution. They are making a fateful choice to diminish the House."

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Trump busted for acting like the Saudi’s ‘press secretary’ after Florida naval yard shooting

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Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot blasted President Donald Trump for essentially becoming a "press secretary" for the Saudi Arabian government in wake of the Pensacola, Florida mass shooting.

In his column Sunday, Boot noted that the typical mass shooting sentiments like "thoughts and prayers" were absent Friday when Trump discovered that the shooting was done by a Muslim.

"It turns out that Trump actually has a triple standard, because he treats attacks by Saudis differently than those from other Muslim nations," Boot observed. "On Friday, a Saudi air force officer studying at the Naval Air Station Pensacola shot dead three Americans and wounded eight others. Instead of expressing outrage or vowing vengeance, or even waiting for all the facts to come in, Trump sounded as if he were auditioning for the job of press secretary at the Saudi Embassy."

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