Planking, Hospitals For The Dead, And The Creepy Origins Of “Saved By The Bell”

Standing Man

Source: Wikimedia

Thanks to modern medical technology and the pervading cultural ideal that doctors should be formally educated and trained, we no longer have to worry about being buried alive. For much of history, however, it was actually a legitimate concern for a person to have, particularly if they suffered from episodes or “attacks” of a condition called catalepsy.

Continue Reading

Bedlam: The Real Horror Story Asylum

If you were to visit the Bethlem Royal Hospital circa the 15th Century, it would look like a scene out of American Horror Story. Bethlem was the only institution in Europe that handled society’s “rejects”–namely the mentally or criminally ill–for the vast majority of European history.

It did not, however, treat patients with a kind and affirming hand. Quite the opposite happened: patients were subjected to horrendous cruelty, experimentation, neglect and humiliation — all of which was entirely socially acceptable up until the 20th century.

Continue Reading

The Complicated Birth Of Midwifery

Around 353,000 babies are born every day. Some of them will be born in hospitals, others at home with the assistance of a midwife or doula, while others will make their grand entrance in the back of a car or ambulance somewhere in between home and hospital.

The history of childbirth, and in particular of midwifery, is a complicated and often cyclical one. For many decades, midwifery was the only acceptable practice. It then became highly discouraged, only to come around again when the natural birth movement was born in the 1960s. The natural act of childbirth reflected the technological, social and medical beliefs and practices of the time. In truth, you can learn a lot about what life was like in a particular time period by examining societal attitudes toward childbirth.

Continue Reading

Why The History of Measles (And Vaccines) Matters Today

Measles Crochet

Source: Etsy

Though the history of measles stretches across centuries, a recent measles outbreak at Disneyland has re-ignited interest in the illness. This brief history of measles (and vaccines) will give you a little perspective on just how far we’ve come, and what’s at stake as pseudoscientific arguments gain traction.

Physicians learned how to identify and diagnose measles between the third and ninth centuries. In the years that followed, measles would continue to spread around the world, aided by well-traveled explorers. Christopher Columbus and his comrades introduced many diseases to indigenous populations who lacked a natural immunity to them. In fact, measles (along with other illnesses like smallpox, whooping cough, and typhus) was responsible for wiping out as much as 95 percent of the Native American population.

Christopher Columbus Reaches America

Christopher Columbus lands in the Americas. Source: Wikipedia

Continue Reading

Close Pop-in
Like All That Is Interesting

Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook & Twitter Feeds