medical oddities

Freakonomics: A Dime Museum Man Speaks Candidly

Freakonomics. “Yes,” said the dime museum man “I’ve had a liberal education in freaks. I’ve been right here in Fourteenth street for fifteen years and, take it all together, I’ve associated with a greater galaxy of weird wonders than any other man alive.” He goes on to describe Freaks He Has Known, what they earned, and fashions in Dime Museum attractions.

“A purple flame which rose from the casket:” Spontaneous Human Combustion in Brooklyn

A case of spontaneous human combustion hushed up in Brooklyn, plus two other historic cases, including one where the victim survived a few days to tell his story.

Encore: The Shocking History of Electric Practical Jokes

The first commercial electric lights were installed in the United States in the 1870s. But before you could say fiat lux, pranksters were generating their own mischievous uses for electricity. There was a lighthearted attitude about giving severe shocks to the unsuspecting. Let us see if we can illuminate the shocking history of electrical practical jokes.

Encore: Elbows on the Table: Professor Segato’s Petrified Corpse Furniture

In an obscure museum in Florence, Italy, there is an object–a table top–which looks like it is inlaid with polished semi-precious stones. In fact, it is made of pieces of petrified human corpses.

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