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Henry Wallis – Poet Thomas Chatterton’s death by arsenic.

Death by Wallpaper: When Arsenic in the Walls Was Killing Children

Wallpaper isn’t as popular as it once was, and perhaps the reason for this falling out of fashion was its ability to kill! In 1778, a Swedish Chemist named Carl Scheele created a brilliant green...
A possible portrait of Saladin, found in a work by Ismail al-Jazari, circa 1185.

The Puzzling Death of Sultan Saladin: A 12th Century Medical Mystery Solved?

Here’s a 12th century medical mystery for you: What malady killed well-known Sultan Saladin? Was it small pox, tuberculosis, typhoid, or maybe malaria? Look at his symptoms – some of them were...
Fragment of talisman used to exorcise the sick, Assyrian era.

Mixing Magic and Medicine: New Study Shows Mesopotamian Doctors Had to Battle Demons

Analysis of a collection of clay tablets confirms that a Mesopotamian doctor had to deal with more than just physical ailments. The ancient healer was expected to exorcise demons, ward off witchcraft...
(B) the child’s mummified body prior to the autopsy, (C) the pockmarked face and (D) this rash as evident on the arm.

Child Mummy Unlocks a Secret by Unravelling 450 Years of the Hepatitis B Virus

Scientists examining the mummy of a child who died in the 16th century have confirmed that the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been causing human health issues for centuries. Strangely enough, it seems...
Manananggal, mythical creature of the Philippines

The Shocking Demon that Brings Plague and Devours Babies: Ancient Goddess & Evil Widow Rangda in Balinese Mythology

All eyes focused on the figure of Rangda as she emerged from the inner part of the temple, about a third of the way through the Barong dance (an ancient dance which predates even the Hindu influences...
‘A maid bringing medicine and soup to her master who has a cold.’ (1857)

Medicine Maidens: Why Did Women Become the Primary Medical Providers in Early Modern Households?

A primary female occupation in the early modern period (AD 1500-1800) was that of medicine. Though there were formal doctors—known by various titles and with various tasks detailed by their...
The tumor with teeth was found in a cemetery in Lisbon, Portugal.

Archaeologists Found a Medieval Body With a Tumor That Was Growing Teeth – But That’s Not the Whole Story

Digging up a graveyard in Lisbon, Portugal, archaeologists found the remains of a woman who had died sometime between the 15th and 18th century. They can’t be sure what killed her, but it may have...
Navajo Yebichai (Yei Bi Chei) dancers. Edward S. Curtis. USA, 1900. The Welcome Collection, London

Can a Ghost Make You Ill? The Ghost Sickness Belief of the Native American Indians

Ghost sickness is the belief that ghosts are able to cause a living person to fall ill. This particular term is used by the Native Americans, especially amongst the Navajo people. Nevertheless, this...
 Excavations at the site of in Siberia. Source: Andrey Plekhanov

Why Would Medieval Siberian Nomads Ritually Sacrifice Their Seriously Ill Companions?

By Tamara Zubchuk/ The Siberian Times Unique crouched burials for this period - comprising a seriously ill quartet - presents archaeologists with a puzzle. The find of four graves from the 11th...
Painting of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

When Millions Were Dropping Dead From the Plague, The 14 Holy Helpers Were Summoned to Intercede

The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in the Roman Catholic Church. Veneration of this group of saints (known also as auxiliary saints) began during the 14th century, as...
Sculpture of child, deriv.

Swapping Babies: The Disturbing Faerie Changeling Phenomenon

The worldwide stories of faerie changelings come under a group of motifs recorded in the Aarne-Thompson folklore index as F321: ‘Faerie steals child from cradle and leaves faerie substitute.’ The...
Members of the Habsburg family

Weird Ideas, Weird Behaviors: Bringing the Habsburg Family Skeletons Out of the Closet

The Habsburg family is one of the most important royal families in the history of Europe. This may be somewhat surprising, as many of the rulers from this family behaved strangely, had some weird...
The Ancient Legend of the Monstrous Rat King

The Ancient Legend of the Monstrous Rat King

A rat king is the term used to describe an agglomeration of rats whose tails have entangled together. As a result of this entanglement, a large single entity is formed, which is usually further bound...
The new study says that Neanderthal DNA influences many physical traits in people of European and Asian heritage.

Study Casts New Light on Diseases We Inherited from Neanderthals

Feeling depressed? Can’t kick the tobacco habit? Sun causing skin lesions? Allergies bothering you? Some people of today may blame their Neanderthal ancestry in part for some of these health problems...
Reconstruction of the Iceman. Prehistory Museum of Quinson, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France.

Stomach Troubles for the Iceman: How Otzi Continues to Provide Information About the Past

Ötzi, the Copper Age man, continues to tell tales of our homo sapien past. Now, an international team of scientists including paleopathologist Albert Zink and microbiologist Frank Maixner from the...
La Peste (1695) wax sculpture, Gaetano Zumbo, Museum of Specola, Florence

The Black Death: the Plague that Sowed Terror and Death in Medieval Europe - Part 2

Read Part 1 Science had to wait until the nineteenth century to banish the idea of ​​a supposed supernatural origin of the plague. The fear of a pandemic on a global scale persisted for four...

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