Category:
Health

Cho-Cho the Health Clown


Cho-Cho was a "health clown" who toured the USA during the 1920s, visiting classrooms, and trying to encourage kids to eat more vegetables, take baths, and brush their teeth. In a way, he was like the opposite of Ronald McDonald (Ronald being a clown who encourages children to eat junk food).

CHO stood for "Child Health Organization," which was the group that dreamed him up and sent him out. Some more info from the book Children’s Health Issues in Historical Perspective:

The clown Cho-Cho was trained to "teach health, sugar coated with all the nonsense and fun of the sawdust ring." The Health Fairy, a public health nurse, told "delightful stories," and a cartoonist drew "a white loaf of bread into a sour-faced boy,... a brown loaf into a round-faced smiling boy," and "vegetables weeping great tears because children do not eat them."

All three travelled to elementary and secondary schools, as well as exhibitions, fairs, and "any place where children were gathered together. A less traditional figure was CHO's pseudo-professor Happy (played by Clifford Goldsmith), who entertained child and adult audiences with snappy health maxims.

Happy, the Health Fairy, and the cartoonist worked well within the boundaries of CHO's program, but when the clown who played Cho-Cho began to regard himself "as a real authority on diet, hygiene, and even the morals of childhood," and deviated from his "carefully learned lines," the organization had to find a new Cho-Cho.


Popular Science Monthly - Feb 1920

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 22, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Clowns, Health, 1920s

Anti-Puberty Pill

In 1969, British health officer Dr. J.V. Walker proposed the development of a pill "to give young people to delay the onset of sexual maturity until they leave college and could earn their own living." Walker felt certain "it should not be difficult to develop a hormone preparation for the job."

Such a pill would certainly change the college experience for most people.

Akron Beacon Journal - June 1, 1969



A bit of research revealed that this J.V. Walker was Joseph V. Walker, health officer of Darlington. I couldn't find a fuller description of his anti-puberty pill, but I did come across a letter he sent to the Health Education Journal (March 1, 1970) in which he worried that young women would develop into "promiscuous addicts" if they didn't preserve their virginity until marriage. I suppose his pill would help with that goal as well.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 13, 2018 - Comments (10)
Category: Health, 1960s, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

Washroom Infection

In the early 20th century, it was widely believed that dirty bathrooms were a primary cause of the spread of disease, particularly sexual disease. One result of this belief, apparently, was the adoption of U-shaped toilet seats in public bathrooms, since it was thought that these were more hygienic.

Read more about this at The Weeklings.

Life - Sep 20 1937

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 02, 2018 - Comments (7)
Category: Health, Disease, Hygiene, Advertising, 1930s

LadyCare Menopause Magnets

The manufacturers of LadyCare Magnets claim that women can ease the symptoms of menopause by magnetizing their underwear.

I guess it can't hurt, but might look a bit odd if random metallic objects (forks, paperclips, etc.) are attracted to your crotch.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 02, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, Underwear

Showgirls With Hiccups

Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 12, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, 1960s, Screams, Grunts and Other Exclamations

Toilet Tissue Illness

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Scott Tissues ran an advertising campaign that sought to convince the American public that there was such a thing as 'Toilet Tissue Illness,' and that it was one of the great public health crises of the time. Toilet Tissue Illness was caused by using cheap toilet paper. It could lead to serious complications, possibly requiring rectal surgery to fix. So the ads suggested.

The most notorious ad in the campaign was the 'black glove' ad below.



Here's some background info about the Scott Tissue campaign from Richard Smyth's Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper:

The image is stark: a clinically white sheet, an array of gleaming surgical instruments, and a hand, clad in a glove of thick black rubber. 'Often the only relief from toilet tissue illness,' the slogan reads (managing to suggest that 'toilet tissue illness' is a recognised medical condition). Consumers who managed to get past the photo and slogan without dropping everything and running for the high hills were then subjected to another lecture from the haemorrhoid-fixated Scott ad-men. It's the usual litany: 'Astonishing percentage of rectal cases ... traceable to inferior toilet paper ... protect your family's health ... eliminate a needless risk.' The words are so much prattle — but the image of the black rubber glove lingers in the mind. Following criticism from the American Medical Association, Scott eventually back-tracked on its doom-laden claims — but pledged to undertake trials in order to prove beyond dispute that 'improperly made toilet tissue is a menace to health'.

And a few of the other ads featured in the campaign:



Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 20, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, Advertising, 1920s, 1930s

Caffeinism

March 1985: Sgt. Joseph Mitlof of the NYPD realized that the 30 cups of coffee a day he was drinking might have been contributing to his anxiety problems. In fact, he was suffering from "caffeinism."

Tallahassee Democrat - Mar 20, 1985



I had never heard of such a thing as "caffeinism," but it turns out the term is over 100 years old. A 1979 article in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis offered the following definition:

Caffeinism describes a set of behavioral and physiological symptoms caused by the excessive consumption of caffeine-containing substances. The symptoms include nervous irritability, tremulousness, occasional muscle twitchings, insomnia, sensory disturbances, tachypnea (an abnormally rapid rate of breathing), palpitations, flushing, arrhythmias (an alteration or abnormality of normal cardiac rhythm), diureses, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Individuals suffering from caffeinism are sometimes misdiagnosed as anxiety neurotics because of the similarity of the symptoms. The deleterious effects of caffeine on humans also may include increasing the possibility of coronary heart disease in susceptible persons, promoting the progress of atherosclerosis and affecting chromosomal structure or action.


Burlington Daily Times - Mar 5, 1968


I only drink one cup of coffee a day, first thing in the morning. I think I'm good.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 19, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Drugs, Health

Allergic to wife

1966: After suffering from asthma for 15 years, Sigurd Lindh learned that he was allergic to his wife, Greta. He moved into a cabin 600 yards from their home, and his asthma cleared up.

It's pretty rare for spouses to be allergic to each other (as in, actually having a physical reaction to the other's presence, not just hating each other's guts). But it's doubly rare for a husband to be allergic to a wife. So Lindh was pretty unique. For whatever reason, the overwhelming majority of these spousal allergy cases involve wives allergic to their husbands. See here and here.

Detroit Free Press - June 2, 1966



Akron Beacon Journal - Sep 12, 1966

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 18, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Health, Marriage, 1960s

The Hand Drop Test

Emergency medical technicians often have to figure out if a patient is really unconscious, or if they're faking it. One of the techniques they use to do this is the "hand drop" test. Steve Whitehead of theemtspot.com describes it:

Without warning, we gently pick up the patients hand and hold it above their face. Without delay, we drop it. If the patient were truely unconsious, the hand would fall and strike them in the face. Most likely on the mouth or chin. We’re not going to let that happen, but the patient doesn’t know that.

Steve notes that the test is remarkably reliable, and the reason this is so is because:

Patients don’t know what their hands are supposed to do when dropped over their face and the idea of striking themselves is instantly unappealing. But what to do instead? The resulting dilemma is both revealing and, often, hilarious. The amusing nature of watching a conscious patient decide what to do with their falling hand is certainly part of the popularity of this exam. 

However, he warns that there are patients who have "played the game before" and may be able to fake a convincing response even to the hand drop test. In an article on "Faking Unconsciousness" in the journal Anaesthesia (April 2000), the author noted:

During a ‘hand drop’ test, to my astonishment, I have caught the glimmer of a smile and realised that this patient knew too much. She had indeed read the literature.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 14, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Health

Page 1 of 8 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›



Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner




weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •