I am not a medical student, but I am aware that they use cadavers for their study. I don't know what they actually do with it, well except that they dissect it to have a hand with the human internal organ. I personally experienced dissecting a body, but of a frog not of a human, in my biology class, and it was disgusting. Thus, dissecting human body is 100 times more disgusting than of a frog.
Anyway, seeing a person frightened is sometimes funny. Girls are scared of cockroaches and spiders, or any other insects, and I sometimes enjoy seeing them run away from it. Bullies use phobias to intimidate other people.
I am actually a necrophobic and a claustrophobic. I really really don't like closed places because I feel I can't breathe, and I am very very scared seeing personally and in picture or even by just imagining corpses. I will definitely be driven crazy with those phobias. I'm scared of rat, but its not as extreme as that of my phobias.
I can relate on the legend were about to discuss, because, like the main character in the story, I can be deranged with corpses.
In my estimate, the story circulated in the midst of 1990's. But according to my professor, this legend is actually true. The students in the story studies somewhere in Manila. Obviously, the school must have a hospital and/or medical course. However, as I researched everything about it, I found an article with prank closely similar to the Philippine medical student prank. The only difference is, how the prankster did the prank.
[Taken from Internet:] Philippine Version
A group of medical students decided to play a harmless prank on their easily-frightened classmate. They planned a special study session to be held in the cadaver room with their intended victim. When the girl arrived for the session and found no one in the cadaver room, she thought she was too early and decided to read her notes. The rest of her group mates were actually hiding and they switched the lights off. The girl screamed and screamed to no avail and then she stopped. After a while the pranksters began to wonder what happened. Upon turning the lights on, they were shocked to see their hapless classmate gnawing on a piece of the cadaver.
It was afternoon, when a female nursing student took his lunch out alone. After finishing her meal, she went straight to her next subject in the school laboratory. The laboratory contains five dissecting tables with corpses on it. She arrived there alone. She thought it was too early, so she took her book, seated in one side and read their lesson.
She heard a deep sigh of someone else inside the room. She gave a look on her surrounding to identify if someone's with her, then she realized she was alone. A minute later, she heard the door lock clicked, as if it locked by itself. Then the lights turned on and off. Because of the lights turning on and off, the whole room became dim. She went to the door and forced it open. She saw something moving in her peripheral vision. She took a glance on it, and she saw one of the corpses seating in the dissecting table covered with the blanket. She was screaming very loud.
On the other side of the door, her classmates were laughing. They didn't open the door until the girl stopped screaming. One of her classmates, who was playing as the corpse seating in the table, called the others. They opened the door and they switched the light on. And they found their classmate gnawing herself.
[Baughman, 1945:] Foreign Version
This story took place in a hospital which was quite near Bowell, and concerned a nurse, called Jane in the story. For some reason Jane was unable to get along with the other nurses in the hospital, and was constantly quarreling with people. They purposely did things to annoy her because they felt she deserved it. One night after Jane had been particularly trying, they decided to do something particularly unpleasant. One of the nurses on surgery duty agreed to bring an arm which had been amputated that day to Jane's room and slip it in her bed after she was asleep. They knew this would frighten her, but they thought perhaps it might force her to be more agreeable in the future.
The arm was carefully and quietly put in the bed and Jane did not wake up. The next morning she did not appear, and no sound came from her room. The nurses, thinking she might be sick, went to investigate. They opened the door slowly and saw Jane sitting on the bed. Her hair, which had been black, was now completely white, and she was gnawing on the arm, making low gurgling noises all the while.
Both legends above have almost the same style of story.
In the Philippine version, the classmates of the main character organized a fake group study in the cadaver room. They turned off the light just to scare the student. After a minute of screaming, they switched on the light and they found their classmate chewing a cadaver.
In the second Philippine version, a group of student organized a prank to a lone classmate. In the end, similar to the first one, she was driven crazy and was found gnawing herself instead of a cadaver.
While in the foreign version, they bullied a nursing student by putting a decapitated hand of a cadaver and placed it with the student. It was morning when they found her gnawing the hand and her hair changed its color to white. Actually, I only included here one foreign legend because it was the oldest version of the said prank. The earlier stories have almost the same account compared to the Philippine version, but the difference is they just put a cut hand or leg of a corpse.
The second story is actually my reconstruction based on my interviews and from my friends. My version is completely scary if done in real life because someone played as a fake living/moving corpse.
Anyway, according to Snopes.com, the legend became well known back in 1920's. All of the legends of it have the same element of madness which is reserved to the female medical or nursing student.
However, there is doubt on the origin of the Philippine version because of their difference though both are pranks.
Last Updated: February 20, 2014