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.
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.
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.
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.
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: ketv.com)
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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