Benjamin Franklin Had 1,200 Human Bones Buried In His Basement


Benjamin Franklin Had 1,200 Human Bones Buried In His Basement

Benjamin Franklin Had 1,200 Human Bones Buried In His Basement
Benjamin Franklin Had 1,200 Human Bones Buried In His Basement – image via

Benjamin Franklin had a huge secret hidden in his basement, as one construction worker who was working on his house’s renovations in 1998 found out. Well, yeah, everyone has secrets, but not as big Benjamin Franklin’s. When he was alive Franklin owned a house in London, England, on Craven Street, and lived there for almost two decades while he was the ambassador for the American colonies.

But in 1998, people decided to renovate the four-story townhouse and turn it into a museum. But one month into the work, they reached the basement, and inside there was human thigh bone sticking out from the ground. Jm Field, the construction worker who discovered it, immediately called the police. As the investigation went on, the excavation of the basement revealed a staggering number of human remains. There were over 1,200 human bones and skeletal remains found there. After a thorough analysis of the bones, it was revealed that they belonged to 10 people, six of which were children.



Benjamin Franklin House Craven Street, London, England – image via

DNA testing had shown that the remains were around 200 years old, around the time Benjamin Franklin was living there. Now, this information should paint one of the Founding Fathers in a new light, right?

Well, not exactly. In the examination of the remains, it was also revealed that some of the bones were sawed through, others had scalpel marks and some of the skulls presented drill holes. All of these point to one of Franklin’s best friends, William Hewson, a surgeon and anatomist. It is speculated that Hewson was working in secret inside Benjamin Franklin’s basement.

William Hewson

Hewson was studying anatomy under the Scottish scientists called the Hunter brothers. And Benjamin Franklin being attracted to science himself, allowed Hewson to perform his research and experiments in his basement, in a time when anatomy was seen with a high degree of scepticism. Practising on dead bodies was illegal up until the 1600s.

In the 1700s, this new practice caught on, but it was only allowed on executed murderers. This meant that there weren’t enough dead bodies to go around. Body snatching then became a business, with people stealing corpses either from the cemetery or directly from the gallows.

The most probable reason for why Hewson chose Franklin’s basement to perform his research was because this way he wouldn’t draw any attention. As it turns out, he was married to the landlady’s daughter.


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