Keara Murphy explores the strange afterlife of Robert Burns.
Keara Murphy explores the strange afterlife of Robert Burns who was not allowed to rest peacefully in his grave for long and whose afterlife was more eventful than you might think. Phrenologists, spiritualists and worthy admirers all wanted a piece of the post-mortem Burns – sometimes literally. He was disinterred twice, including his skull being taken for a midnight walk to a plasterer’s workshop in the cause of phrenology. Dr Megan Coyer of Glasgow University explains all, Professor David Price of Edinburgh University examines the plaster cast of the skull with us and poet Stuart Paterson contemplates the afterlife of Scotland’s bard with some verse of his own. Investigating Burn’s alleged afterlife in 1850s Yorkshire, People’s Historian Dan Gray introduces us to the Keighley Spiritualists and the terrible poems they claimed they’d channelled from Rabbie himself. Had he really taken up temperance and lost his Scots tongue in Yorkshire? Clearly you can’t keep a good poet down – because as a séance favourite he pops up all over the place. Join Keara to find out more about Burns beyond the grave.