38 episodes

Season 4: "Postmortem" is about the stolen bodies of Harvard and the gray market for human remains. Find out what happened at Harvard Medical School: how body parts were stolen and sold across the country. Who did this and why?

Last Seen WBUR

    • True Crime
    • 4.6 • 172 Ratings

Season 4: "Postmortem" is about the stolen bodies of Harvard and the gray market for human remains. Find out what happened at Harvard Medical School: how body parts were stolen and sold across the country. Who did this and why?

    Postmortem Ep. 1: The crime

    Postmortem Ep. 1: The crime

    Hundreds of people have donated their bodies to Harvard Medical School, hoping to advance science and train the next generation of doctors. But in the basement of the nation's most prestigious medical institution, something went terribly wrong in recent years.

    In the five-part series Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, WBUR reporter Ally Jarmanning takes us deep into the macabre story of what happened, and how the elite university became a stop on a nationwide network of human remains trading.

    In Episode 1, police find buckets of body parts in a basement in Pennsylvania.

    We hear from the district attorney there and learn more about how this case connects to Harvard and Cedric Lodge, the morgue manager accused of stealing and selling donor body parts.

    An old classmate of Lodge's reflects on the man at the center of the scandal. And doctors who know Harvard well ponder how this could have happened — here, of all places.

    If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at LastSeen@wbur.org.

    • 25 min
    Postmortem, Ep. 2: The victims

    Postmortem, Ep. 2: The victims

    When news of the Harvard morgue scandal went viral, no one was hit harder than the families of people who had donated their bodies for study at the nation's most prestigious medical school. As if grieving the loss of a loved one wasn't enough, now there was this: the specter of a family member's body dismembered and sold to strangers for profit.

    In Episode 2 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, reporter Ally Jarmanning talks with Amber Haggstrom, whose mother donated her body to Harvard after death. We hear Haggstrom's outrage and raw emotion as she learns the news — and her frustration at Harvard's lack of answers as to how it failed to protect her mother's body.

    We hear, too, from the attorney representing the families, and trying to hold Harvard accountable.

    If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at LastSeen@wbur.org.

    • 29 min
    Postmortem, Ep. 3: The collectors

    Postmortem, Ep. 3: The collectors

    Who are the people buying this stuff anyway? People who collect human remains don’t see it as gross. In fact, these collectors connect and communicate openly on social media. In Episode 3 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, reporter Ally Jarmanning meets Jeremy Pauley, the Pennsylvania man with a tattooed eye whose arrest unravels this whole case.

    Jarmanning dines in the home of a Delaware couple with a house full of skeletons; they call themselves “rescuers” of human remains.

    And she introduces us to Mike Drake, a New York City collector. Through all these conversations, it becomes clear: There's no solid ethical line in this world of remains collectors; everyone is making up their own rules.

    If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you could reach us at LastSeen@wbur.org.

    • 35 min
    Postmortem, Ep. 4: The anatomy lab

    Postmortem, Ep. 4: The anatomy lab

    As haunting as the Harvard morgue scandal is, you don't have to go back very far in history to find practices for sourcing bodies that would be shocking today. Reporter Ally Jarmanning finds that for more than a century, medical schools relied on grave robbing and body snatching to supply anatomical dissection classes.

    In Episode 4 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, she talks to medical school professors and historians about this grim reality, shedding light on how new the notion of ethics in this field is. And we hear from an FBI agent who's investigated the world of body brokers.

    If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at LastSeen@wbur.org.

    • 23 min
    Postmortem, Ep. 5: A reckoning

    Postmortem, Ep. 5: A reckoning

    In Episode 5 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, reporter Ally Jarmanning digs deeper into the "legitimate" realm of body-parts collecting ⁠— museums ⁠— and asks the burning question: How different is this from the world of Jeremy Pauley in his basement or Cedric Lodge seizing a financial opportunity at Harvard's morgue.

    At the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, she takes us through displays of skeletons and sometimes-troubling human specimens. What comes up here and at museums around the country ⁠— did the people who used to belong to these bodies ever imagine themselves in a jar, or on a shelf? Did they give permission for decades of gawking?

    After all this reporting, Jarmanning examines the ethics of it all, probing how we should treat the dead, and who gets to decide. And she returns us to Harvard, where hardly anyone, except Lodge, has been held to account.

    If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at LastSeen@wbur.org.

    • 28 min
    TRAILER: Last Seen S4 'Postmortem': The Stolen Bodies of Harvard

    TRAILER: Last Seen S4 'Postmortem': The Stolen Bodies of Harvard

    Hundreds of people donated their bodies to Harvard Medical School hoping to advance science and train the next generation of doctors. Meanwhile, prosecutors say that for years, the school's morgue manager treated it like a storefront, letting potential customers browse body parts and bringing home skin and brains to be shipped out to people across the country.

    Last year's arrest of the morgue manager, Cedric Lodge, exposed a nationwide network of human remains swapping that ensnared Harvard and lay bare the school’s broken promises to donors.

    In this five-part narrative series, host and reporter Ally Jarmanning explains what happened at Harvard, talks to donor families about their interrupted grief, and meets with human remains collectors to find out why they’re interested in this macabre field. We explore the dark origins of our nation’s medical schools. And we try to answer the haunting questions that drive the series: How should we treat the dead? And who gets to decide?

    All 5 episodes coming soon. Follow Last Seen wherever you get your podcasts.

    Resources:
    Read more about WBUR's reporting on the case here.

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
172 Ratings

172 Ratings

destinysfavouritechild ,

Season 2 is Incredible

The second season of Last Seen is one of the best podcasts I have heard in years!

Samantha-Butler ,

So much fun

The 2018 episodes 1-11 were amazing! This was the most fun I’ve ever had listening to a podcast. The characters are so out of this world and presented so beautifully and lovingly. There is an air of no-judgment, but a curious look into the world of crime and art heists that isn’t patronizing either. I could have done without the “last seen presents” features in 2019/2020 but it’s all good!

elisego ,

absolutely fantastic

this whole podcast is so well researched, written, edited and balanced. it reveals worlds within this world of the big heist. great, great one!

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