On Exhibit: Dead Men Do Tell Tales

Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The William R. Maples Collection

Dr. William R. Maples (1937-1997) was a world renowned forensic anthropologist, who oversaw the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The digital collection includes images and documents pertaining to his many high profile cases, including the identification of the real skeleton of Francisco Pizarro, whose bones were thought to be safely tucked away in a crypt for over 80 years. After many months of persistent requests, a Zachary Taylor fanatic, with the blessing of the Taylor family, got Maples to examine the bones of the twelfth president to see if there were signs of arsenic poisoning, pointing to an assassination. Due to his notoriety in the field, Maples was also granted permission to study the skeleton of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, whose body was a scientific anomaly during his life and continues to captivate contemporary audiences. Maples most famous investigations revolves around the murders of the Romanov family, a mass execution in 1918, which was shrouded in mystery until the bodies were found a little over 70 years later. It would be Maples who would finally identify the skeletons and allow them to be put to rest.