Juniata College’s Ancient Book is (Sadly) Not Made of Human Skin

Instead, "Biblioteca Politica" is written upon good old-fashioned sheep skin.

The New York Times reports that Juniata College in Huntingdon has dispelled a myth about one of the more treasured books in its collection, the Biblioteca Politica. The book is made of sheep skin — not human skin.

Juniata College, a liberal arts school in Huntingdon, Pa., has announced that its copy of “Biblioteca Politica,” a 17th-century book containing Latin essays on the divine right of kings, is bound in sheepskin, not human skin, as a handwritten inscription on the inside cover states.

The result may count as bad news at Juniata, where the book has something of a cult status, according to Jacob Gordon, the college’s reference librarian. “The book has sort of taken on the status of an urban legend,” he said in a statement. “Every semester, students come in and want to see it.”

Well, the good news is that the school seems less Hannibal Lecter-y now. The bad news? Sheep are horrified.