The bogus lady doctor

In a recent post for the British Newspaper Archive, I mentioned Maria Owen, who posed as a doctor in late Victorian Birmingham. Here’s some more...

The mysterious ‘Zep’ love potion

A rag, worn close to the heart, and steeped in a mystic substance imbued with the wisdom of the East. A flame, charring the edges...

‘Eat! Eat! Eat!’ Those notorious tapeworm diet pills

Peoria, Illinois, 1912: the horror begins. A society lady, encouraged by a friend’s success with an easy new weight-loss treatment, pays $25 for ‘two rather...

A devil of a cure

One must always be grateful for small mercies. When a giant jazz-hands Satan is trampling amok on your planet of residence, you can at least...

On thorny ground: the human x-ray scientists

Imagine being able to see through a steel door, or to force the germination of poppy seeds and at once destroy them with the power...
Welcome to our virtual collection of health advertising, fraudulent schemes and medical oddities of the past.

Pre-order now!

Caroline Rance's novel, Kill Grief, a tale of 18th-century smuggling, surgery and gin, will be out on Kindle on 13 April. Pre-order for just £1.99!

Zep: a love potion

In 1930s Yorkshire, a clairvoyant used a magical substance called Zep to help women find husbands.

Medikidz review

A review of Medikidz Explain Epilepsy, a graphic novel giving accurate and accessible medical information.

Fat or fiction?

The tapeworm diet is credited with a long history, but did our great-grandmothers really use parasites for weight loss?

Human X-Rays

In 1911, the Grant brothers of Maidstone claimed to be 'human x-rays', able to cure disease and even bring people back to life by the power of their minds.


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