Grave Robbing 101 - Atlas Obscura

Chicago, Illinois

Grave Robbing 101

Tour relics of the old city cemetery and learn all you need to know to launch your career as a 19th-century body snatcher—today!

When the area now known as Lincoln Park was the city cemetery during the 1840s to 1860s, it was a regular smorgasbord for grave robbers. Medical schools tended to have a "no questions asked" policy, and a fresh cadaver could pay as much as a month in the coal mines.

Join Atlas Obscura for one of our most popular regular tours! Author and tour guide Adam Selzer leads "pupils" on a walking tour of Lincoln Park, showing relics of the old cemetery and telling stories from the archives about all the body snatching that took place on the grounds, including enough tricks of the trade to launch your very own career as a 19th century body snatcher—today! Adam has been running Grave Robbing 101 courses in Chicago and New York since 2014, presenting fascinating and gruesome history from a bygone era.

Selzer is the author of Mysterious ChicagoHH Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil, and several other books on Chicago history. He appears regularly on the History Channel and Travel Channel. 


  • This tour is not affiliated with the Chicago History Museum.
  • The event will run rain or shine.
  • The tour is approximately 2 miles and has limited ADA access. A great deal of the tour is on pavement, but parts do go through grass.
  • This tour is family friendly, though we must insist that parents keep a close watch on their children, and it may be too gruesome for young kids. 
  • Wear your walking shoes and bring your cameras!
  • Meet by the "Children's Fountain," outside the Chicago History Museum at the northeast corner of North Avenue and Clark Street. 
  • Street metered parking is available, and paid parking is available at the lot located one block north of the museum. The Red Line Division stop is a few blocks away, and the #22 bus will take you right there.


Email Adam Selzer at

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.