The creepiest finds in the National Archives
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Historians at the National Archives have come across a number of items that don't quite fit with the house's normal collection, including the prized will of William Shakespeare and military records - but other far more fascinating and eccentric finds have also been dug up... One crazy (and illegal) find included small amounts of heroin. Yep, one of the world's most dangerous drugs was on display for the public after having been used in a Cairo narcotics court case in 1928. No blame has been placed on those at the National Archives, though – as soon as the heroin's existence was realised (less than a gram was found in 19 small sachets), it was taken away. An even more bizarre (and gross) discovery was that of a mummified rat. Henry Cole, the organiser of the Great Exhibition, began working at the Public Record office when he came across the rat. Cole was so horrified at the poor conditions of the office that he decided to keep a memento of the experience: the rat and, in particular, its stomach, which was full of chewed documents. Historians also stumbled across the eerie but fascinating death mask of Dr John Yonge. Dr Yonge was the Master of the Rolls for King Henry VII and special ambassador to France for King Henry VIII. The National Archives is now home to a 19th century copy of the mask, which is a glazed model of his face made at the time of his death. There's a full statue of Dr Yonge at the Maughan Library of King's College London, but the death mask offers an interesting look at him in a quite different state.
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