Strange case: ‘At all events the blade fell’

strange case

Injuries acquired in unusual circumstances, spurious news stories of medical happenings, bizarre or gruesome reports from doctors’ casebooks…

Strange cases is an occasional feature on the Quack Doctor that reproduces these tales. Today we meet a morbid Parisian who ended up spiting his face.

fancy dingbat by Lee Jackson

Model of Guillotine Severs Owner’s Nose

Frontispiece from Guillotine the Great and her Sucessors by Graham Everitt, London, 1890A citizen of Paris, a pensioner, boasts that he has witnessed 37 executions, and now that he is getting old, being unable to follow M. de Paris, the idea of the guillotine has so obsessed him that he has made a model on a small scale, which he has used for cutting cigar ends. Recently he had friends to lunch and after the repast the model was produced. For some reason the knife refused to act. The host, feeling that his reputation was at stake, set about to discern the cause. Examining the machine very closely his nose got into the lunette. Probably the machine was shaken. At all events the blade fell, and with it the tip of the morbid gentleman’s nose. His first care was to visit the surgeon and after the injury had been attended to he went home, broke up and burned ‘la Veuve’.

The San Francisco Call, 4 April 1909

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