A French physician, Dr. Laborde, startles his colleagues by his decidedly novel way of treating cases of suffocation, insisting that the most effective and, as far as he has found, successful way of resuscitation is obtained by the rhythmical pulling of the tongue of the person suffocated.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and as I am nothing if not topical, today we look at a a strange case of spiritual motherhood: the mother-daughter duo–or perhaps trio: Pearl Curran, her daughter Patience, and the “ghostly mother,” Patience Worth.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you may have read about the grim German waiting mortuaries, the dark side of those popular Fisk cast-iron burial caskets, people who asked to be stabbed to the heart after death to make sure they were really most sincerely dead, and about the Victorian fear—obsession, really—with being buried alive. It was difficult enough for 19th-century physicians to tell when someone was a lifeless corpse, given diseases like cholera that mimicked death and an apparent epidemic of catalepsy. Yet beyond doubtful diagnoses of death, there was another, lesser-known mortuary danger: the undertaker’s ice-box.