In 1971, it was widely reported that a girls' high school in Johannesburg, South Africa had banned peanut butter due to a concern that peanuts were a sexual stimulant.
This news, of course, was met with incredulity by the American press, but given the lack of details in the story (the school, for instance, was never named) I suspected it might be an urban legend reported as news. However, in a New Scientist article published two years later (Nov 1, 1973) I was able to find some more information which suggests that the story apparently was true, and that the ban was inspired by local African folk belief about peanuts:
"This command has been traced by local health officials to a traditional taboo among the native tribal population which regarded both peanuts and eggs as sex stimulants and therefore forbade their consumption by the young and unmarried."
In the 1920s, Doctor Serge Voronoff famously decided that grafting monkey glands onto the testicles of human males would rejuvenate the recipients. His ludicrous failed experiments provided the punchlines for innumerable jokes thereafter.
But what I did not realize was that twenty years later, Voronoff was still at it. Now he claimed, in his book FROM CRETIN TO GENIUS, that transplanting monkey glands would alter the intelligence of the subjects. Below is the start of a review from 1943.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
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