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Why Did Benjamin Franklin Have 16 Skeletons In His Basement?

OCTOBER 17, 2015  —  By Tim Unkenholz  
Tim Unkenholz

Tim Unkenholz

Writer and stand up comedian in NY. Check out my monthly comedy show Roomie Raiders at the Creek and The Cave! @timunken

Benjamin Franklin is arguably America's most famous Founding Father. Diplomat, inventor, and noted international stud, his contributions to this country are innumerable.

But a fairly recent discovery at his home in London has many people questioning if this famously smart man also dabbled in the dark arts. A total of 16 skeletons were found in the basement of his home on Craven Street in London...all of which date back to the period when Franklin was its sole occupant.

Until 1776, when he returned to America to sign the Declaration of Independence, Franklin lived at this house in London, England.

In 1998, people found 1,200 bones on the property while the house was being renovated.

In 1998, people found 1,200 bones on the property while the house was being renovated.


In total, 16 bodies were found, and six of them belonged to children. All of them have been dated back to the two-decade period when Franklin lived in London.

Some speculate that this had something to do with Franklin's ties to the Freemason Society, of which he was once a Grand Master.

I assumed that he was into freaky sex stuff, but murder? That's a bit much.

But this discovery is most likely linked to an illegal anatomy lab that was set up in Franklin's basement, which was run by his friend William Hewson.

Bodies were essentially robbed from graves and brought there for students to examine.

As creepy as this is, this unsanctioned research actually did a world of good for surgical sciences, since Hewson is considered one of the most influential surgeons in history.

Did Franklin ever get his hands dirty with these corpses? Probably not, but as a lover of science himself, he surely wasn't about to stand in his friend's way.