The Ohio Medical College had over 300 students in 1884 and a considerable demand for cadavers for its dissecting room. A law passed by the Ohio legislature in 1880 allowed colleges to accept unclaimed bodies of persons dying at public institutions or whose funeral was paid for by the government. The penalty for body snatching was severe, and those who received stolen stiffs were liable for the same charges as someone who accepted stolen goods. Since there were no restrictions on bringing a body to the medical school, the doctors on staff did not dig deeply into the source of cadavers.
The doctors and “resurrectionists” who provided the bodies called them “points”.
The Ohio Medical College charged each student $5 at the beginning of the term for the privilege of dissecting, with one body divided among five students. Paying $15 for a cadaver off the street gave the college a profit of $10 per body, so it was also a source of revenue for the school.
Dr. Jonathan Longfellow Cilley said he did not know the men who brought in the bodies. They always used fake names so he knew them only as “Jack” and “Harrison.”
According to the man he knew as Harrison, Cilley told them, “Get points if you have to hit someone over the head.”
Maybe he was kidding around. “Jack” and “Harrison” thought it was a good idea….