The Premature Burial by Antoine Wiertz

The Fear of Being Buried Alive (and How to Prevent It)

Pliny the Elder remarked: “Such is the condition of humanity, and so uncertain is men’s judgment, that they cannot determine even death itself.”
Stale bread

The Ancient Art of Brewing with Stale Bread

Brewers are once again making beer from things that typically end up in one’s household trash, a 7,000-year-old custom.
A 19th-century advertisement for Hood's Tooth Powder

How the Ban on Medical Advertising Hurt Women Doctors

Intended to protect consumers from unscrupulous quackery, a nineteenth-century ban on medical advertising proved to be a double-edged sword.
Illustration of a man lying on a couch

Workplace Burnout is Nothing New

Doctors were talking about the dangers of chronic stress, exhaustion, and anxiety back in 1909, predicting dire consequences if the symptoms were ignored.
Scottish quack doctor James Graham

The Prince of Quacks (and How He Captivated London)

James Graham, founder of the Temple of Health, benefitted from his undeniable flair for showmanship and his talent for leaping on trends.
A physician administers leeches to a patient. Colour reproduction of a lithograph by F-S. Delpech after L. Boilly, 1827.

Why Did the Victorians Harbor Warm Feelings for Leeches?

Medical authorities wrote about leeches as if they sucked blood out of the goodness of their hearts.
A love potion against a colorful background

What’s in a Love Potion?

Besides the infamous Number Nine, that is.
A Pedoscope made by the Pedoscope Company

When Shoes Were Fit with X-Rays

Fluoroscopes were used in shoe stores from the mid-1920s to 1950s in North America and Europe -- even though the radiation risks of x-rays were well-known.
A bandaged hand

People Who Can’t Feel Pain

While exceptionally rare, congenital analgesia, or a total insensitivity to pain, is a real condition that can be quite dangerous.
obstetric forceps

Why Male Midwives Concealed the Obstetric Forceps

The history of obstetric forceps shows the dangers of privatizing important medical know-how.