Forthcoming events

Join me for some quack-filled talks in London this summer! I’ve been invited by the London Fortean Society and Antique Beat to share my stories of fraud, advertising and the occasional gruesome death. I’ll cover different material each time so do come along to both – it would be great …

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New book: The History of Medicine in 100 Facts

The History of Medicine in 100 Facts book

The history of medicine is a vast subject, encompassing the whole of humanity in every region of the globe. For millennia, our ancestors have sought to combat disease, relieve pain and postpone the Grim Reaper’s inevitable victory, doing so with a fortitude and humour that makes their experiences resonate with …

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What the Apothecary Ordered

WTAO - inside pages

I’m delighted to announce that 10 August is the UK publication day for a pocket volume I compiled for Old House Books, an imprint of Shire Publications. What the Apothecary Ordered gathers together some of the more peculiar remedies of the last two millennia, and presents them alongside evocative images …

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History Carnival 132

The March of Intellect

It might be 1 April but there are no fools in the history blogosphere if the last month is anything to go by. I’m pleased to present History Carnival 132, showcasing some of the fascinating blog posts published in March. Thank you to all who submitted articles for inclusion. The …

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Godfrey’s Inhaler

This mainstream medical product enabled the inhalation of vapour for the treatment of asthma, hay fever, coughs, colds and other respiratory problems. The vapour was created by combining hydrochloric acid and ammonium chloride, which were provided in attractive little glass bottles – one clear and one emerald green. There are …

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The Quack Doctor Book

I’ve written a book! It is out now and I must embark on the excruciating task of self-promotion, about which I ought to have learnt something from the quacks by this time. Unfortunately I can’t promise that this book is made from rare ingredients known to ancient tribespeople, that it …

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‘Come for the skin book, stay for the history!’ An interview with Dr Lindsey Fitzharris

The image of the 18th-century anatomist is a shady one, redolent of midnight forays into graveyards and dissection in front of a rabble of students. The cadavers in these scenes are anonymous and devoid of character; mere objects fuelling a relentless craving for knowledge. But everybody who ended up on …

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Pockey Warts, Buboes and Shankers

As the old saying goes, ‘A night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury,’ and Dr Newman’s Anti-Venereal Pills were just one of a plethora of clap and pox remedies advertised in 18th-century newspapers. The relatively anonymous purchase of a pea-sized bolus offered the customer a level of secrecy, but that …

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McMunn’s Elixir of Opium

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4870668/McMunn.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download Source: Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery (Louisville, KY), July 1855 Click here for Transcript There are no prizes for guessing what was in this. First formulated in the mid 1830s by Dr John B McMunn (or M’Munn), it became a big hit …

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