I’ve been looking forward to this one. It’s the most disgusting advert I’ve posted so far. DO NOT read it if you are eating.


are the
best remedy for worms; they effect a certain cure, are
tasteless, and at the same time are perfectly harmless.
As a proof of their efficacy the following case, out of many
hundreds, is inserted:—Emma Knight, aged eight years, daughter
of James and Caroline Knight, Black Torrington, voided the
extraordinary number of eighty-six large worms, some of them
over twelve inches long, after taking one dose of the above Powders.
Price, under six years of age, 6d.; under twelve, 8d.; under
eighteen, 10d.; adults, 1s. Postage, one penny extra. Send
stamps and state age, to E. H. LAFFERE, Chemist, Hatherleigh,
from whom those Powders are only to be obtained.
                                    N.B.—No Agents.

Source: Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, Or, Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser, Wednesday 21st January 1863.

Twelve-inch long worms might sound like the stuff of quack exaggeration, but sadly not. The starring role in the ad goes to Ascaris lumbricoides L. This species has haunted my dreams since the first year of university when I did a six-week parasitology “taster” course with lectures either side of Friday lunchtimes. If you desperately want to know more about what ascarids can get up to inside you, good ol’ Wikipedia is quite sufficient to give you all the info you don’t want. Click here – or, rather, don’t.

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