Medicine: Alton Giant

One of the oddest episodes in all medical history was the effort of an 8 ft. 4 in. Irishman named Charles Byrne to escape the dissecting knives of John Hunter, great 18th Century anatomist. Hunter wanted the giant's bones for his medical museum. Byrne opposed the idea and, anticipating an early death as all giants do, planned cunningly to outwit the scientist. When he drank himself to death in London in 1783, aged 22, a London newspaper reported that "the whole tribe of surgeons put in a claim for the poor departed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!