The doctors started with [Amelia Maggia’s] upper jawbones, which were removed in several pieces; they had no need to do the same with her lower jaw, for it was no longer present, having been lifted out in life. They sawed through her spine, her head, her ribs. They scraped her bones with a knife to prepare them for the next steps…When they checked the x-ray film, days, later, there was Mollie’s message from beyond the grave. She had been trying to speak for so long – now, at last there was someone listening. Her bones had made white pictures on the ebony film. Her vertebrae glowed in vertical white lights, like a regiment of matches slowly burning into black. They looked like rows of shining dial-painters, walking home from work. The pictures of her skull, meanwhile, with her jawbone missing, made her mouth stretch unnaturally wide, as though she was screaming – screaming for justice through all these years….”Each and every portion of tissue tested,” the doctors concluded, “gave evidence of radioactivity”.

Kate Moore, The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women (2017)


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