Grave Robbing 101 - Atlas Obscura

New York, New York

Grave Robbing 101

Tour relics of the Financial District's cemeteries and learn everything you needed to know as an 18th-century body snatcher.

Walk the streets of lower Manhattan as you never have before—through the eyes of a 18th-century grave-robber.

Adam Selzer, host of the Cemetery Mixtape podcast and author of more than a dozen books on strange and dark history, is bringing his long-running “Grave Robbing 101” tours to New York and is prepared to share the secrets of the city with you. 

Trinity and St. Paul’s churchyards still stand in the Financial District, but you may not have known that two centuries ago there was a graveyard on nearly every block in the area—and that they were a hotbed for grave robbers.

In this tour, you’ll wander the district and hear the stories of these lost cemeteries and the body snatchers who haunted them, including tales of anti-grave robbing riots (featuring many of our founding fathers), skull thieves, mummy unwrappers, phrenologists, murderers, unsolved mysteries, and a whole lot more. And although we can't recommend it, you'll walk away with enough tricks of the trade to launch your own career as an 18th-century body snatcher.


Meet at 7:30 p.m. at 2 Rector Street (across from George’s at Greenwich and Rector, which is right at the Rector stop on the 1, R and W trains, and very near the 4 and 5 Wall Street stop). We will end at St. Paul's Church, a couple of blocks north on Broadway. 


  • The event will run rain or shine.
  • The event has limited ADA access. Pavement will be available, but it can be a tight fit down some narrow sidewalks.
  • Wear your walking shoes and bring your cameras.


Email Adam Selzer at

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