Vodcast: The Great Pox in Early Modern Europe

Fellow history blogger The Groovy Historian invited me to do a vodcast about syphilis. Here’s the result! You can sign up to The Groovy Historian’s...

Dr Wheeler and the Bacillus of Death

In May 1895, a low-key but intriguing advertisement appeared in British local newspapers. What could this ‘death microbe’ be? Did it refer to the lethal...

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...
Welcome to our virtual collection of health advertising, fraudulent schemes and medical oddities of the past.

Medical histfic

Caroline Rance's novel, Kill Grief, a dark tale of gin, surgery and love in an 18th-century hospital, is out now for Kindle. Get it for just £1.99/$2.99!

Death Microbe

Reports in April 1895 claimed that a doctor in Chicago had discovered the secret to immortality.

Zep: a love potion

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

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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