Monsieur Mangetout

Account of a man who eats large quantities of raw fleshMedical journals usually pride themselves on presenting cutting-edge research, but in 1851 The Medical Examiner reported a case which was already half a century old.  It’s not clear what they thought it added to contemporary scholarship, but it’s certainly a good story.

Charles Demery, a native of Benche, on the frontiers of Poland, aged 21, was brought to the prison Read more

Centipedes in your bacon

Millipedes discharged from the human stomachSome truly bizarre goings-on were reported at the Exeter meeting of the Provincial Surgical and Medical Association in 1842.  A Dr Davis, of Presteign, made this report:

A boy, fifteen years of age, the son of a labourer named Griffiths, living in the village of Bucknill, near Knighton, had for some months complained of pain in his stomach, which did Read more

Half man, half snake

Until the late nineteenth century, many people remained convinced that emotional experiences during pregnancy could have major psychological or even physical effects on the unborn child.  An 1839 edition of an American periodical, The Family Magazine, contains an extreme example, a young man called Robert H. Copeland who exhibited himself at freak-shows and county fairs:

This most singular being, Read more

The worm: a horror story

Sometimes in early medical journals a case history begins conventionally enough, before turning into something startlingly unexpected.  This is from Medical Essays and Observations, 1782:

In February last a young Man was wounded in a Duel with a small Sword, which entred about four Inches below the right Nipple, and a little towards the Back; by probing the Wound, Read more

The child that cried in the womb

Remarkable news reaches The Medico-Chirurgical Review (June 1822) from Prussia: 

Crying of the Foetus in Utero.  A lady, during pregnancy, had experienced some distresses of mind, and had had several discharges of the liquor amnii.  In the eighth month of pregnancy while in bed, and while several of her friends and relations were supping in her bed-room, the cries of Read more