Thursday, July 10, 2008

Historical Cases of Live Burial

“A woman had been buried in the morning. In the following morning whining was heard in her grave. It was opened and the woman was found still alive, but she mutilated half of her right arm and the whole hand. She was finally restored.”

From: Premature burial and how it may be prevented: with special reference to trance, catalepsy, and other forms of suspended animation, by William Tebb and Edward Perry Vollum. Second edition by Walter R. Hadwen. London, Swan Sonnenschein, 1905 p. 254.

A useful tool...

From time immemorial it has been the custom in the East, and even in some parts of the Continent to place women around a dead man’s bed to cry and howl for the purpose of awaking him should be only apparently dead…Pricking the skin with sharp instruments has also been adopted, and one savant, Josat by name, obtained first prize at the Academy of France for the invention of a pair of clawed forceps for pinching the nipples of the supposed dead, and this method held premier place as a means of distinguishing real from apparent death until it was demonstrated that subjects under profound hysteria were as indifferent to this painfully acute process as the dead.

From: Premature burial and how it may be prevented: with special reference to trance, catalepsy, and other forms of suspended animation, by William Tebb and Edward Perry Vollum. Second edition by Walter R. Hadwen. London, Swan Sonnenschein, 1905. p. 305)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Inside(s), ca 1390

From Mansūr ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad's Tashrīh-i badan-i insān [The Anatomy of the Body].

Skeleton hanging out

Here is a funny picture from William Cheselden: Osteographia, or The anatomy of the bones posted on the NLM's Historical Anatomies exhibition.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Strawberries bgock...

Hemangioma, Cavernous

A vascular anomaly that is a collection of tortuous BLOOD VESSELS and connective tissue. This tumor-like mass with the large vascular space is filled with blood and usually appears as a strawberry-like lesion in the subcutaneous areas of the face, extremities, or other regions of the body including the central nervous system.

Entry terms:
· Cavernous Hemangiomas
· Hemangiomas, Cavernous
· Cavernous Hemangioma
· Strawberry Hemangiomas
· Hemangioma, Strawberry
· Hemangiomas, Strawberry
· Strawberry Hemangioma
· Angioma, Cavernous
· Cavernous Angioma

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Here is one option for dealing with “lively emotions”…

From Practical Instruction in Animal Magnetism by J.P.F. Deleuze [translated from the 1825 Paris edition by Thomas C. Hartshorn.]
Appendix p. 29,

“After the dressing had been put on, M. Chapelain awoke the patient, whose somnambulic sleep had lasted ever since one hour before the operation, that is to say, for two days. This woman did not appear to have any idea or any impression of what had passed but on learning that she had been operated on and seeing her children around her, she experience a very lively emotion, which the magnetizer put an end to by putting her asleep immediately.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Diary of Mrs. Bird, the Arsenic Prophetess.

From The Lancet (New York ed., April 1847).

Mrs. Bird, a self proclaimed clairvoyant, describes her paranormal experiences to the “mesmeric attendant”, Mr. Luxmore. Here is a taste…

“Jan. 5th, 1846 – During sleep walking Mrs. Bird said, ‘The first thing that injured me was being salivated. I ought not to have had any mercury. My then medical attendant also gave me a solution of arsenic, which I took until my mouth was all over black spots. It created inflammation in the stomach which has never subsided….’
9th – ‘How beautiful! I see all my inside.’
12th – In her sleep to-day, she described a sort of coating over the inside of her stomach.

Feb. 5th – Bled and put to sleep. Said, ‘The coating in my stomach, which I mentioned in January, is rather loosened. My food should be nourishing.’
27th – She still vomits her food and says she shall continue to do so until the coating is removed from the stomach.

Mar. 6th – Vomited nearly two quarts of water. Says, ‘the day before on the same morning I vomit the coating from my stomach, I shall eject a little blood.’
Apr. 22nd – ‘On the 1st of May I shall throw a little blood from my stomach. On the 2nd I shall be very ill. On the 3rd I shall throw up something gritty. It will contain part of the coating of my stomach I have before spoken of. After I have thrown up the gritty substance, I must have a does of medicine….’

Perhaps she should have thought twice about ingesting arsenic.

Maternal Impressions

But are more curiosities courtesy of Gould...

-- Another curious fact associated with pregnancy is the apparent influence of the emotions of the mother on the child in utero...

Parvin also pictures the ``turtle-man,'' an individual with deformed extremities, who might be classed as an ectromelus, perhaps as a phocomelus, or seal-like monster. According to the story, when the mother was a few weeks pregnant her husband, a coarse, rough fisherman, fond of rude jokes, put a large live turtle in the cupboard. In the twilight the wife went to the cupboard and the huge turtle fell out, greatly startling her by its hideous appearance as it fell suddenly to the floor and began to move vigorously.

From Gould and Pyle's Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

The perverted appetites and peculiar longings of pregnant women furnish curious matter for discussion. From the earliest times there are many such records. Borellus cites an instance, and there are many others, of pregnant women eating excrement with apparent relish. Tulpius, Sennert, Langius, van Swieten, à Castro, and several others report depraved appetites. Several writers have seen avidity for human flesh in such females. Fournier knew a woman with an appetite for the blood of her husband. She gently cut him while he lay asleep by her side and sucked blood from the wounds -- a modern ``Succubus.'' Paré mentions the perverted appetites of pregnant women, and says that they have been known to eat plaster, ashes, dirt, charcoal, flour, salt, spices, to drink pure vinegar, and to indulge in all forms of debauchery. Plot *[637] gives the case of a woman who would gnaw and eat all the linen off her bed. Hufeland's Journal *[452] records the history of a case of a woman of thirty-two, who had been married ten years, who acquired a strong taste for charcoal, and was ravenous for it. It seemed to cheer her and to cure a supposed dyspepsia. She devoured enormous quantities, preferring hard-wood charcoal. Bruyesinus *[228] speaks of a woman who had a most perverted appetite for her own milk, and constantly drained her breasts; Krafft-Ebing cites a similar case. Another case *[280] is that of a pregnant woman who had a desire for hot and pungent articles of food, and who in a short time devoured a pound of pepper. Scheidemantel cites a
-81-case in which the perverted appetite, originating in pregnancy, became permanent, but this is not the experience of most observers. The pregnant wife of a farmer in Hassfort-on-the-Main ate the excrement of her husband.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Maple Syrup Urine Disease

From the National Library of Medicine's online thesaurus.

Maple Syrup Urine Disease:
An autosomal recessive inherited disorder with multiple forms of phenotypic expression, caused by a defect in the oxidative decarboxylation of branched-chain amino acids (AMINO ACIDS, BRANCHED-CHAIN). These metabolites accumulate in body fluids and render a "maple syrup" odor. The disease is divided into classic, intermediate, intermittent, and thiamine responsive subtypes. The classic form presents in the first week of life with ketoacidosis, hypoglycemia, emesis, neonatal seizures, and hypertonia. The intermediate and intermittent forms present in childhood or later with acute episodes of ataxia and vomiting. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p936

When S's where F's...

From 1709.

The action therefore of the intenfines if to be fupported or renewed af foon af poffible af the reforing and fupporting the action of fuch a confiderable portion of moving fibres, as thofe of the intefines muft contribute greatly to reftore the activity of the whole fyftem.

Blowing smoke in 1770...

On July 8 1770 in Amsterdam the following occurred:

The child of William Sybrens fell into the canal. His mother first discovered it, perceiving its hat float upon the water. She acquainted her husband who leaped into the water and took the child out. They rolled it upon a barrel and blew into its bowels. After they had employed the proper methods for an hour and a half, the child recovered and the next day was lively and active.