An immense plug of wood

 Sometimes a headline says it all. In June 1842 the London Medical Gazette printed a letter under this memorable title: The case report that followed was submitted by a retired naval surgeon called Archibald Blacklock (previously featured on this blog, and best known as the man who crept into Robert Burns’s tomb one night in … Continue reading An immense plug of wood

Occupational hazard

Here’s a striking report from The London Medical and Surgical Journal, originally published in March 1837. The headline is straightforward enough: Two remarkable cases of this kind I have had an opportunity of seeing weekly, for twelve months. The first occurred at Manchester; the second was in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, under the auspices of Mr. … Continue reading Occupational hazard

Born under a manger

In 1863 a surgeon from the small German town of Gräfenhainichen, Herr Geissler, wrote to one of the Berlin journals to share an extraordinary tale he had encountered in his practice. The publication to which he submitted the case  Monatsschrift für Geburtskunde und Frauenkrankheiten, was devoted to gynaecology and obstetrics and indeed this story is about childbirth … Continue reading Born under a manger

A practical joke

Some of the greatest advances in nineteenth-century surgery were made by military surgeons. British surgeons were not exactly short of opportunities: the country’s military forces began the century at war with France, and ended it fighting the Boers, with barely a peaceful year in between. While battlefield injuries provided horribly frequent opportunities for improving surgical … Continue reading A practical joke

Irritating the genitals by various means

One of the most popular stories on this blog is that of the nineteenth-century Frenchman who cut his own penis in two for sexual gratification. If you type the keywords ‘man cut penis two’ into pretty much any search engine, it’s the top hit – on the entire internet.  If that’s not success, I don’t … Continue reading Irritating the genitals by various means