"Disco felon"... was reported to NEJM by Frederick W. Walker and other doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in July 1979. "A 17-year-old girl came to the emergency room complaining of an infected finger," they wrote. "Physical examination showed... a classic felon [a painful inflammation of the finger, usually near the fingernail] of the left middle finger... the patient had noticed a small crack on her finger... She thought that the crack might have resulted from snapping her fingers while she was disco dancing..."
The doctors treated the girl by draining and bandaging the inflammation. She recovered, but Walker and his associates sounded a dire warning to other disco dancers and their doctors. "Disco dancing may eventually be shown to damage a variety of body systems: namely visual, auditory, orthopedic, and nutritional. [Nutritional] damage might result from self-imposed starvation in an attempt... to wear the latest outfits."
In 1979, officials in Winooski, Vermont applied for a $55,000 federal grant to study the possibility of building a dome over the entire city. They explained that a dome might slash the cost of heating Winooski's buildings by up to 90 percent.
They didn't actually have a plan for how the dome would be built, but they eventually enlisted the help of architect John Anderson who came up some ideas. Details from UnofficialNetworks.com:
Thinking ahead, he envisioned a vinyl-like material attached over a network of metal cables, ranging from transparent (on the southern side, to allow in sunlight) to opaque on the northern side. Air would be brought inside by large fans and heated or cooled as necessary. The Dome would be held up by air pressure just slightly above atmospheric pressure. Entrances and exits would consist of double doors, akin to an airlock. The homes inside would require no individual heating or cooling — “you could grow tomatoes all year-round” he said. If the Dome were punctured it would come down slowly, allowing for ample warning.
Back in the late 1970s, Dr. Lowell Somers, chief of staff at Redbud Community Hospital, made headlines by claiming to have discovered that cocaine could cure arthritis. Somers explained that he discovered this by observing his identical twin cousins, Chuck and Rick. Chuck had arthritis, but Rick didn't. And Rick was a cocaine user, while Chuck wasn't.
Somers said he had successfully treated a dozen rheumatoid patients with cocaine. His procedure:
Somers' patients take the powder by sniffing it through a straw or chewing it on a piece of cotton. They take about four doses of 100 milligrams each day, but the frequency is later reduced.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Apr 13, 1979
It didn't take long for authorities to shut him down, which they did by charging that he was addicted to demerol and cocaine, and revoking his medical license. I guess he was taking the cure himself. Some info from The Oklahoman:
The California licensing board told The Oklahoman... that Somers was placed on probation in 1980 for addiction to demerol and cocaine; that he later was paroled but was placed on probation again in 1984 for 10 years for violating terms of that probation. A complaint signed by the California agency chairman states that Somers was examined by psychiatrists and found to be suffering from a psychosis; that he treated patients with a mixture of cocaine and hydrochloride and that he "manifested a sincere belief in the value of his treatments with cocaine."
This sidestepped the issue of whether he may actually have been right about the medical benefit of cocaine for people with arthritis. It doesn't seem entirely implausible to me.
On the other hand, there's quite a bit of literature about the potential medical benefits of coca leaves, which people have been consuming in South America for thousands of years. Although coca leaves are a far cry from the pure cocaine Somers was using.
When 80-year-old Gladys Rogers died of flu in 1978, her evangelist son decided that he would freeze her body and then bring her back to life with prayer. Her resurrection, he believed, would turn people to Christianity. She lay in an upright freezer as he prayed.
St. Joseph Gazette - Mar 13, 1978
He prayed for two months before conceding that he had failed. He attributed his failure to a lack of faith. "It had nothing to do with the power of the Lord," he said. "The main thing was I can't bring mama back, but I'll meet her again in Heaven."
1978: The Taiei Company of Japan contacted the U.S. State Department seeking an American company willing to provide it with frozen sparrows "at regular intervals". The company was ready to "give guidance on how to catch small birds and how to process them".
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.