How to Catch a Cold

Disney and Kleenex: a match made in...Madison Avenue?

Plus: excess square-dancing opens you up to germs.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 26, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Body, Business, Advertising, Health, Disease, PSA’s, 1950s

Pre-Infected Tissues

The company Vaev claims to be selling tissues that have already been sneezed into. For about $80 it seems that you get a box containing one infected tissue. The idea apparently is that you can infect yourself with a cold, and this will somehow strengthen your immune system, thereby protecting you from further colds or the flu. Although the company's website is very vague on details, offering only this:

We believe that when flu season comes around, you should be able to get sick on your terms. We’re not about chemicals or prescription drugs here at Væv. We believe using a tissue that carries a human sneeze is safer than needles or pills. This isn’t like any tissue you’ve used before, but we love using them, and you will too.

The idea is so odd that I wonder if it isn't some kind of hoax. Note that it isn't actually possible to buy these things because the company's online store claims to be sold out.

More details at Yahoo News!.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 24, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, Disease, Overpriced Merchandise

Inductive Nasal Device

Norman Lake's cure for the common cold. Otherwise known as the "IND".

the temperature in the nose normally is around 91 degrees, making it an ideal breeding ground for the rhinoviruses, he said. Lake contends that this is where his idea has merit. By clamping the nose for up to an hour, the temperature inside rises to around 98 degrees and the cold never gets a chance to take root.

More info: Chicago Tribune - Nov 20, 1985

Chambersburg Public Opinion - Apr 23, 1982

Arizona Republic - May 8, 1982

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 10, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Health, Inventions, 1980s

Eye worm art

Artist Ben Taylor drew a painting that featured “psychedelic colors and wormlike patterns inside a perfectly round circle.” Only later did he realize that he had parasitic worms in his eye, and he thinks they might have subconsciously inspired him. From The Durango Herald:

"I definitely believe that the worms had a hand in that painting,” he said, adding later: “When you kind of look into the nitty-gritty of how much of the human body actually contains your DNA versus the billions of different bacteria that live within us, you start realizing that you’re an ecology of beings that live within us.

He later adapted his painting to make it more obviously an eye infected by parasitic worms, and as a result it’s been chosen as the cover art for this month’s issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 13, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Health, Disease, Eyes and Vision

Motion-Sickness Glasses

They're called SEETROËN glasses. They were designed by the French car company Citroën, which claims that they're the first glasses that eliminate motion sickness. Apparently the blue liquid in the glasses simulates level ground, which helps stop the vertigo feeling that some people get while traveling.

Interesting concept, but they look a lot like "crazy straw" glasses.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 17, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Fashion, Health, Inventions

Dung Lung

Death by breathing in dung fumes. It doesn't sound like a pleasant way to go, though perhaps not the worst since apparently before it kills you it paralyzes your sense of smell. But it's definitely a weird way to die.

“Agricultural Disorders of the Lung,” RadioGraphics (1991); 11:625-634.

Mansfield News-Journal - Sep 24, 1982

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 09, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Death, Health, Excrement

Opposed cream in coffee

The French scholar Arsene Thiebaud de Berneaud liked his coffee black. So much so that he "opposed with ferocity the then comparatively new custom of adding milk or cream to black coffee."

"He seems to have had an obsession that all mixtures of fluids were injurious... Sustained by this preconceived notion, he was able to publish a long diatribe in 1826, in which he accuses cafe au lait of causing almost every derangement known to medicine."

I've been able to find almost no other information about de Berneaud, so this one odd theory seems to be the most enduring thing he left behind.

The Chatham Press - July 15, 1922

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 27, 2018 - Comments (5)
Category: Health, Weird Theory, Coffee and other Legal Stimulants, Nineteenth Century

Impact Therapy

Shamokin News Dispatch - Aug 31, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 13, 2018 - Comments (5)
Category: Health, Medicine, 1960s

Brain fluid leak

In the news recently, Kendra Jackson who had long been suffering from chronic sneezing and a runny nose, was diagnosed as actually having a brain fluid leak — after doctors had been telling her for years that she just suffered from allergies. A surgical procedure managed to fix the problem.
(more info:

Reminded me of the 1936 case of "sneeze girl" that I posted about 2 weeks ago. Perhaps Sneeze Girl was also suffering from some kind of brain fluid leak.

Kendra Jackson

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 31, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Health

Sneeze Girl

From Time magazine, Dec 14, 1936:

Because she had been sneezing every few minutes since Oct. 9, Mary Margaret Cleer, 13, daughter of a Fort Myer, Va. gasoline station attendant, last week held the attention of a great many curious laymen and puzzled doctors. No one knew what caused the prolonged sneezing fit which had racked the child to skin & bones and put a constant, haggard sneer on her face.

To see if allergy to some substance caused the sneezing, Washington doctors scratched her skin some 80 times, rubbed into the scratches hay pollen, flower pollen, pulverized cat fur, dog hair, house dust, food extracts, dozens of substances.

Skin tests failed to reveal any specific allergy. A Washington doctor cut out the adolescent's tonsils, with no effect on the sneezing. Other specialists could find nothing unusual in her lungs or nervous system.

Lay cures for sneezing which Mary Cleer was urged to try included wearing a "magnetic" letter pinned to her night dress, looking down the bridge of her nose at pieces of bright silk held close to the tip, clipping an electrified wire to her nose and toes, getting tattooed, taking snuff.

Last week when Mary Cleer went to Johns Hopkins Hospital, the great medical faculty there had never before treated or even seen a girl who sneezed so persistently. Johns Hopkins specialists began a new series of tests. A psychiatrist examined the girl and summoned her parents to analyze their mental and emotional makeups. Mary underwent fluoroscopy, blood testing, other examinations. A gynecologist also took her in charge, for the nasal and genital tissues are histologically related. The mucous membranes of the nose swell during sexual excitement. This well-known phenomenon gives rise to a theory that the noses of many little girls become sensitive as they turn into young womanhood, and that this makes such girls sniff, lisp or pamper their noses in an apparently affected manner, and that this overture to womanhood causes an occasional girl to sneeze uncontrollably. That, a gynecologist might guess, was the trouble with Mary Cleer, 13.

Apparently the sneezing eventually stopped of its own accord. No one ever figured out what the cause was.

Decatur Daily Review - Dec 3, 1936

(left) Alexandria Town Talk - Oct 27, 1936
(right) Daily Clintonian - Dec 8, 1936

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 17, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Health, Medicine, 1930s

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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.

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