Luminous spectres and electrical kisses

Decapitation - from 'How to Entertain a Social Party' 1875

The Quack Doctor wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Thank you to all who have read the blog, bought the books, liked and shared my posts on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, or been in touch to share fascinating family history stories and pictures of medical ephemera during …

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Happy Christmas!

Burdock Blood Bitters, late 19thC

ADvent Calendar Day 24 I hope you’ve enjoyed the daily posts during December – I’ve had fun compiling them! I leave you with a festive late-19th century trade card for Burdock Blood Bitters or ‘B.B.B.’ This famous tonic, which was around 20% alcohol, was advertised as the solution to numerous …

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‘Set the spirit alight’: Victorian festive science

Ah, Christmas! A time for peace, goodwill, and setting fire to chemicals. I was intrigued the other day by Rupert Cole’s article at the Guardian about the crossover between the cultures of science and Christmas during the Victorian period, so I’ve unearthed some festive scientific amusements recommended by 19th-century newspapers. How …

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A Poem on Christmas Day

From the Gentleman’s Magazine, December 1766: CHRISTMAS DAY. Welcome, thrice welcome Christmas day ! Let’s eat, drink, dance, and sing away: Old England ne’er had stronger reason To welcome in this joyful season ! Mark high and low, and all around us And know the blessings that surround us. Let …

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