Weird Universe


New Use for Baboon Urine

According to, baboon urine is "selling like hot cakes" in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The place to go to get it is the Bulawayo City Council run toilets at Egodini commuter omnibus terminus.

The source of its appeal is the belief that "a baboon by its nature urinates only on one spot. Even if it travels from Matopo to Bulawayo, when it gets pressed, it will travel all the way to Matopo before it relieves itself."

Therefore, by extension (and because the ancient medical 'principle of similitude' dictates this must be so), if the stuff is applied to a man it will "start regulating his bedding tendencies." That is, it will make him faithful to one woman.

The article goes into details about how this is done. However, one husband found his wife's vial of baboon urine, got mad, and domestic violence ensued.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Mar 28, 2014 | Comments (8)
Category: Medicine, Foreign Customs

Raincoat Respirator

Another example of an attractive woman (Gail Andrews) modeling a strange piece of equipment.

In this case, the equipment was a "raincoat respirator" invented by John Emerson of Cambridge, Mass. and displayed at a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in October 1960. It was an oversive plastic bag "much like a huge raincoat" attached to a modified vacuum cleaner motor. It helped patients breathe.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Dec 31, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Medicine, 1960's



As you might suspect, these pills eventually met with Federal displeasure.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Dec 23, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Bathrooms, Body, Medicine, Advertising, Body Fluids, 1950's

Ambition Pills for Weak and Nervous Men

Ads for these pills ran in many papers in the late 19th century. What was it in the pills that provided the ambition? If these pills were the same as 'Wendell's Ambition Pills,' which came on the market slightly later, then it was strychnine:

"Louisiana chemists reported that each pill was found to contain a little over one-thirtieth of a grain of strychnin and about one-fifth of a grain of iron in the form of the sesquioxid (ferric oxid). Pepper, cinnamon and ginger were also found and what was probably aloes in very small amounts. These pills are sold at 50 cents a box, each box containing forty-two pills. Under our present lax methods of permitting almost any dangerous drug to be sold indiscriminately, provided it is in the form of a 'patent medicine,' it seems, from the Louisiana findings, that it is possible for any one to purchase enough strychnin in a single box of Wendell's Ambition Pills to kill an adult."
The Journal A.M.A., Apr 6, 1918.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Dec 15, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Health, Medicine, Nineteenth Century

The Odon Device

Jorge Odon was an Argentinian car mechanic who, one day, watched a video on YouTube that showed a trick for removing a cork that's stuck inside a wine bottle. Even though he had no medical training at all, the video inspired him to create a device to help deliver babies who are stuck inside the birth canal. And apparently the device (he's called it the Odon Device) actually works — enough so that an American medical technology firm has agreed to manufacture it. [Yahoo!]

I can't seem to remember the last brilliant idea I had while watching YouTube videos.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Nov 27, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Inventions, Medicine

Singing Pills

If your drugs are singing to you, you've probably already overdosed.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Nov 23, 2013 | Comments (2)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Delusions, Fantasies and Other Tricks of the Imagination, Medicine, PSA's, 1980's

Magneto-Conservative Garments

Advertised in the Los Angeles Herald and elsewhere, late 19th and early 20th centuries:

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Nov 22, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Fashion, Underwear, Medicine, Nineteenth Century

Mummies, Cannibals, and Vampires

Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: the History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians. Based on the opening paragraphs, it sounds like this book covers material sure to appeal to those who enjoy weird history:

For well over 200 years in early modern Europe, the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate all participated in cannibalism on a more or less routine basis. Drugs were made from Egyptian mummies and from the dried bodies of those drowned in North African desert sandstorms. Later in the era the corpses of hanged criminals offered a new and less exotic source of human flesh. Human blood was also swallowed: sometimes fresh and hot, direct from a donor's body, sometimes dried, powdered, or distilled with alchemical precision. Human fat was one of the most enduring substances of all: it was usually applied externally in the form of ointments or plasters. Certain parts of the bone of the skull were swallowed as powder or in liquid distillations. In London chemists' shops one could see entire human skulls for sale. Some had a growth of botanical moss, which could be powdered and used to treat nosebleeds and other forms of haemorrhaging. Both skull bone and the moss of the skull should — most authorities agreed — be derived from a man who had met a violent death, preferably by hanging or drowning.

These were the most common drugs derived from the human body. But, as we will see, for certain practitioners and patients, there was almost nothing between the head and the feet which could not be used in some way: hair, brain, heart, skin, liver, urine, menstrual blood, placenta, earwax, saliva and faeces. Medicinal cannibalism was practised to some extent in the Middle Ages. But, with nice irony, it became most popular and pervasive in the era when reports of New World cannibals were circulating amidst the outraged Christians of Rome, Madrid, London and Wittenberg.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Nov 07, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Medicine

Worm Cakes

Exploring 20th Century London offers this explanation of these worm cakes:

In the early 20th century, children were regularly fed 'worm cakes' to keep tapeworms at bay. Such 'medicine' was unpopular and often tasted revolting. The cakes in this tin have been made more palatable through the addition of chocolate flavouring.

I wish they provided more information, since I'm not sure whether these cakes actually consisted of ground-up worms or whether they were some kind of anti-worm medication, such as pomegranate extract (which has been known for centuries to be effective against tapeworms).
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Sep 20, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Medicine

Left behind in the acupuncture clinic

Acupuncturist Dr. Jeff Tsing says he's "baffled" at how he could have closed up his business for the day and gone home, failing to remember that a patient was still lying on his table, needles in.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Aug 27, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Medicine
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.