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Sad Genius Of The Month: Ignaz Semmelweis

Ignaz Semmelweis

Ignaz Semmelweis pioneered antiseptic procedures in the mid 19th century — and it ruined his career. Image Source: Wikipedia

Ignaz Semmelweis just may be one of the smartest guys you never knew existed. A Hungarian medical doctor in the mid-19th century, he was the first known advocate of hand washing among doctors and was subsequently shunned by the entire medical community because of it.

The story begins in 1847 when Semmelweis became head of the maternity ward at the Allgemeine Krankenhaus — the largest hospital in Vienna, Austria. At the time, one in six women at the hospital died after childbirth of what was known as “puerile,” or “childbed fever.” The symptoms were always the same — the new mother developed chills and a fever, her abdomen would become agonizingly painful and bloated, and within a few short days she’d be dead, leaving the child motherless.

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Sliced And Stacked: A Brief History Of The Sandwich

Sandwich History PBJ

Image Source: CNN/Jim Nowak

Despite all of our worldly excesses, the sandwich is proof that at our core, people are pragmatic. Before the term “sandwich” was coined, this portable food was simply called “meat on bread,” which frankly doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Hot or cold, savory or sweet, finger-food or foot-long, this layered culinary staple isn’t leaving the world’s collective menu anytime soon. In honor of National Sandwich day, November 3rd, here’s a look at how the history of the sandwich stacks up:

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The Historical Origins Of The Witch

Witch History Waterhouse

Magic Circle. John William Waterhouse, 1886 Image Source: Wikipedia

A fearsome being of fairytale and myth, the witch has carved out a home in nearly every culture across the world and time. Indeed, the witch represents the dark side of the female presence: she has power that cannot be controlled.

While this time of year brings about depictions of aging, ugly, hook-nosed women surrounding their cauldrons and inflicting toil and trouble on the masses, history tells us that the witch’s origins are far less sinister. In fact, those whom we consider to be witches have often been healers.

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Could You Spend Halloween Night In The Paris Catacombs?

Paris Catacombs Skulls Mountain

Image Source: Flickr

This Halloween, sleeping in the dark and dreary Paris catacombs is a real possibility. Earlier this month, apartment and room rental site Airbnb launched a promotion that would allow two individuals to spend Halloween night among the catacombs’ dead. To win, entrants simply had to write a 100-word max story explaining “why [they thought they] were brave enough to sleep in the Paris Catacombs.”

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