In the 1800s, medical schools relied on the bodies of people who had committed suicide or who were punished with death to use for dissection. They were not allowed to take bodies of those who’d died in any other way. But during this time, there was a shortage of people who got the death sentence, so there weren’t enough bodies to go around. As a result, the schools began to offer up money to anyone who brought in bodies they could use. After realizing they could make a fortune doing this, William Burke and William Hare began murdering people and selling their corpses for money.