Ahh Benjamin Franklin. Founding Father. Inventor. Philosopher and possible murderer?
Despite his reputation as a wholesome old dude perpetually scowling at our questionable uses of $100 bills since 1914, Franklin quite literally had several skeletons in his closet, a sentiment Reddit discovered earlier this week as a decade-old Smithsonian article began making the rounds on r/todayilearned.
Nearly 16 years before he headed to the United States in 1776, Franklin famously resided in a Georgian-style home at 36 Craven Street in central London, a site that was ultimately turned into a museum honoring the history-maker's life more than two centuries later in 1998.
@tb4ypodcast BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WAS A SERIAL KILLER?!… #xzybca #podcast #tb4ypodcast #conspiracy #theory #mystery #horror #unexplained #crime ♬ original sound - TB4YPODCAST
Yet, as conservationists began the process of transforming the property into what would eventually become Benjamin Franklin House, they landed across a haunting discovery in Franklin’s basement – a “windowless room” containing the bones of 16 people, all of which were later revealed to date back to his era.
Now, before you true crime girlies start a podcast about this bone-chilling discovery, historians have deemed it unlikely that Franklin had adopted axe murder as a late-in-life hobby. Instead, the general consensus is that the bodies belonged to William Hewson, the founding father’s protege who ran an anatomy school on Craven Street.
@day.paveddaway Ben did what ???? #theory #benjaminfranklin #murder #mystery #joerogan #podcast ♬ original sound - day
Yet, this relatively reasonable explanation isn’t entirely above ground. As the Benjamin Franklin House noted, sourcing bodies for anatomy studies in the late 1700s and early 1800s could be seriously shady.
"It's likely that some of Hewson's cadavers came from the so-called 'resurrectionists' – bodysnatchers who shipped their wares along the Thames under cover of night,” they wrote.
To quote Redditor u/Pkactus’s comment on the viral post, “Note to self, get an anatomy school going to cover my tracks.”