medical oddities

A (Tale) Flap of Mermaids

We are coming to the end of the traditional Silly Season. Last year I did a post on popular images of sea serpents from vintage newspapers. This year, we move on to an equally popular Silly Season topic: mermaids, as seen in newspapers and book illustrations.

Encore: The Bird-Woman Horror

“It was rather dark, for the lower half of the windows were boarded up; but in one corner, on the floor, was plainly distinguishable what looked like a heap of clothes flung together in disorder. It appeared to be in motion, however, and the mistress of the house once more turning to her follower had just time to utter the mysterious words—”Don’t be frightened. If she likes you, she’ll hoot; if she doesn’t, she’ll scream…”

The Wizard of Graphology: Rafael Schermann

An unassuming little man who worked for an insurance company found that he had a strange gift. He had only to touch a writing sample for it to conjure up accurate visions of the person who had written it. Sometimes those visions solved crimes.

Encore: Bring me the Head of Charles Julius Guiteau

When Charles Julius Guiteau was hung for the assassination of President James A. Garfield, it was just the beginning of a macabre, post-mortem career for his head–or rather his deboned face embalmed and preserved in a vat of alcohol….

Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow: Death by Hair

A shocking catalog of deaths by hair: mustache murder, dis-tress-ing suicides, hair-ball fatalities, cats and rats and poisonous hair dyes.

Double-Headed Monsters in Fiction

A look at some little-known characters in fortean fiction: female two-headed monsters.

The French Tongue: A Method for Raising the Dead

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.

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