Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #thebutcheringart

Most recents (14)

With #ValentinesDay just around the corner, I thought I’d start doing a series of tweets about the history of venereal diseases. Aren’t you glad you follow me?! Let’s start with this sculpture entitled "Syphilis" by @paulkomoda, demonstrating the disease in its final stages.
@paulkomoda Before penicillin, syphilis was incurable. Victims often developed "saddle nose"—a deformity where the bridge of the nose caves into the face. It was so common, “No Nose Clubs” sprung up in the 19thC. More in #TheButcheringArt: amzn.to/2S4nR5I [Photo: Wellcome Collection]
@paulkomoda For those wishing to avoid syphilis, CONDOMS were an option in earlier centuries. They were typically made of lamb or goat intestines, secured with silk ribbons, and lubricated with saliva. They were also REUSABLE. Some featured bawdy images, like this 18th-century example. 👇
Read 6 tweets
(1/12) Here's a THREAD👇 about how smallpox - one of the deadliest & most contagious disease known to man - was used as a biological weapon during the American Revolution in one of the earliest documented examples of germ warfare. Photo: @ExploreWellcome
@ExploreWellcome (2/12) At the time of the war, inoculation was common practice in Britain - thanks largely to the English aristocrat Lady Mary Wortley Montagu who introduced the practice into Western medicine after witnessing it during her travels to the Ottoman Empire.
@ExploreWellcome (3/12) Before Edward Jenner discovered a vaccine for smallpox in 1796, inoculation (sometimes called variolation) was the only technique available for protecting a person against the virus. But it could be risky. VERY RISKY.
Read 12 tweets
To Kick off 2020, I'll be tweeting 20 WEIRD & WONDERFUL OBJECTS FROM HISTORY, starting with #20: an 18th-century jeweled skeleton from the Waldsassen Basilika in Germany, the “Sistine Chapel of Death.” Photo by Paul Koudounaris's book Heavenly Bodies: amzn.to/2ZCUO9C
#19 of 20 WEIRD & WONDERFUL OBJECTS FROM HISTORY for 2020: a Victorian alarm clark which served as a “memento mori,” reminder of death. Perfect for tonight's #NewYearsEve countdown! It's currently housed at the
@sciencemuseum in London.
@sciencemuseum #18 of 20 WEIRD & WONDERFUL OBJECTS FROM HISTORY for 2020: a 440-pound heart from a blue whale, the largest known animal to ever exist. The heart was so large that technicians from @ROMtoronto had to douse it in over 1,000 gallons of formaldehyde before plastination could begin.
Read 22 tweets
(1/17) A thread on DECAPITATION👇: I once heard a story about a man who attended a friend's execution during the French Revolution. Seconds after the guillotine fell, he retrieved the severed head & asked questions to test consciousness. Was this an 18th-century urban legend?
(2/17) The physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin proposed to the National Assembly that capital punishment should always take the form of decapitation "by means of a simple mechanism.” Thus, the guillotine was instated in France in 1791.
(3/17) Shortly after, debates broke out over how “humane" decapitation really was. When Charlotte Corday was executed in 1793, witnesses observed that her "eyes seemed to retain speculation for a moment or two, and there was a look in the ghastly stare."
Read 17 tweets
(1/14) Let's talk about the ancient practice of BLOODLETTING👇When Charles II suffered a sudden seizure on the morning of 2 February 1685, his personal physician had just the remedy. He quickly slashed open a vein in the King’s left arm and filled a basin with the royal blood.
(2/14) Over the next few days, the King's physicians gave enemas and urged him to drink various potions, including boiled spirits from a human skull. Charles was bled a second time before he lapsed into a coma and died.
(3/14) Even without his doctors’ ministrations, the King may have succumbed, yet his final days were certainly not made any easier by the relentless bloodletting and purging. By the time of Charles II’s death, however, bloodletting was standard medical practice.
Read 14 tweets
(1/10) THREAD 👇: This is a photo of Leonid Ivanovich Rogozov, who successfully removing his own appendix in 1961. Rogozov knew he was in trouble when he began experiencing intense pain in the lower right quadrant of his abdomen. It could only be one thing: appendicitis.
(2/10) Under normal circumstances, appendicitis is not life-threatening. But Rogozov (pictured here) was stuck in the middle of the Antarctica, surrounded by nothing but thousands of square miles of snow and ice. He was the only doctor on his expedition.
(3/10) Rogozov miraculously survived. Believe it or not, he was not the first to attempt a self-appendectomy. In 1921, the American surgeon Evan O’Neill Kane undertook an impromptu experiment after he too was diagnosed with a severe case of appendicitis.
Read 10 tweets
I just received news that I "earned out" my advance for #TheButcheringArt - a wonderful milestone for a writer! Huge thank you to everyone who has bought, reviewed, and shared my book with others. I treated myself to this exquisite @ButlerandWilson necklace. No regrets.
@ButlerandWilson For those who are unfamiliar with how book deals work: a publisher pays X advance, which you must "earn out" before you can make royalties on sales. Only 5% of authors "earn out" - so I'm really pleased with this news, especially as a I had a substantial advance to earn back.
@ButlerandWilson I could not have done this without your incredible support. I'm overwhelmed by the continued interested in The Butchering Art. Thank you, truly. It's hard being a freelancer - but you all inspire me to keep going. I promise it won't be too long till the next book!
Read 3 tweets
(1/14) Let's talk about the ancient practice of BLOODLETTING👇When Charles II suffered a sudden seizure on the morning of 2 February 1685, his personal physician had just the remedy. He quickly slashed open a vein in the King’s left arm and filled a basin with the royal blood.
(2/14) Over the next few days, the King's physicians gave enemas and urged him to drink various potions, including boiled spirits from a human skull. Charles was bled a second time before he lapsed into a coma and died.
(3/14) Even without his doctors’ ministrations, the King may have succumbed, yet his final days were certainly not made any easier by the relentless bloodletting and purging. By the time of Charles II’s death, however, bloodletting was standard medical practice.
Read 14 tweets
THREAD👇#10 of 10 FASCINATING MUMMIES: "Detmold Child," 6,500 years old. The infant (8-10 months) died of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Tests also revealed a condition known as turricephaly that leads to an abnormal, conically-shaped skull. Photo: Wikipedia.
#9 of 10 FASCINATING MUMMIES: The speckled lesions on the face of this 500-year-old mummy from Naples was long believed to be the earliest evidence of smallpox. New tests reveal it was a different scourge: hepatitis B. Photo: Gino Fornaciari. More: nytimes.com/2018/01/05/sci…
#8 of 10 FASCINATING MUMMIES: The “Fire Mummies" of the Philippines, c.1200 AD. The mummification began before death when the dying person would drink a beverage with a very high concentration of salt to dehydrate the body. After death, the corpse was slowly smoked for months.
Read 12 tweets
THREAD👇 (1/12) ESCAPABLE BURIAL CHAMBER built by Thomas Pursell for himself & his family. The ventilated vault can be opened from the inside by a handwheel attached to the door. Pursell was buried there in 1937, and (so far) has never reemerged.
(2/12) Anxiety about premature burial was so widespread during the Victorian period that in 1891, the Italian psychiatrist Enrico Morselli coined the medical term for it: taphephobia (Greek for “grave” + “fear.”).
(3/12) In 1822, Dr Adolf Gutsmuth set out to conquer his taphephobia by consigning himself to a "safety coffin" that he had designed. For hours, he remained underground, during which time he consumed soup, sausages, & beer—delivered through a feeding tube built into the coffin.
Read 12 tweets
(1/16) It’s #InternationalNursesDay. My earlier thread on WWI facial reconstruction prompted a remark that women back then happily sat at home while their men fought. Not true. Women were an integral part of the war effort. Here’s my THREAD 👇 in honour of these brave volunteers.
(2/16) Never before had the world faced such slaughter. During WWI, medical staff applied 1.5 million splints, administered 1,088 million doses of drugs, fitted over 20,000 artificial eyes & used 7,250 tons of cotton wool while applying 108 million bandages to injured combatants.
(3/16) More than 6,000 medical staff would die, & over 17,000 would be wounded in the British Army alone. No matter how extensive healthcare provisions were or how hard doctors and nurses worked, medical care was consistently overwhelmed the sheer number of wounded men.
Read 16 tweets
(1/17) A thread on DECAPITATION👇: I once heard a story about a man who attended a friend's execution during the French Revolution. Seconds after the guillotine fell, he retrieved the severed head & asked questions to test consciousness. Was this an 18th-century urban legend?
(2/17) The physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin proposed to the National Assembly that capital punishment should always take the form of decapitation "by means of a simple mechanism.” Thus, the guillotine was instated in France in 1791.
(3/17) Shortly after, debates broke out over how “humane" decapitation really was. When Charlotte Corday was executed in 1793, witnesses observed that her "eyes seemed to retain speculation for a moment or two, and there was a look in the ghastly stare."
Read 17 tweets
THREAD 👇 (1/11) During the 19th century, many people living in Derbyshire, England meticulously collected and stored their fallen or extracted teeth in jars. When a person died, these teeth were placed inside the coffin alongside the corpse.
(2/11) On Judgment Day, those who failed to do this would be damned to search for the lost teeth in a bucket of blood located deep within the fiery pits of Hell. Stories like this help us to understand why people in the past feared the anatomist’s knife.
(3/11) Deliberate mutilation of the body could have dire consequences in the afterlife. For many living in earlier periods, dissection represented the destruction of one’s identity. Most people imagined the dead to have an active, physical role in the next world.
Read 11 tweets
(1/7) THREAD 👇 A little tale from my book #TheButcheringArt. This is Robert Penman. In 1828, he approached the surgeon James Syme in desperation after developing a bony, fibrous tumor in his lower jaw. At the time, it was about the size of a hen’s egg. (Cast: @surgeonshall).
(2/7) A local surgeon excised the teeth embedded in the growth, but the tumor continued to grow until he reached a point where eating and breathing became extremely difficult. The tumor now weighed over 4.5 pounds and obscured most of his lower face.
(3/7) On the day of the operation, Penman was seated upright in a chair, and his arms and legs restrained. Because neither ether nor chloroform had yet been discovered, Penman was administered no anesthetic.
Read 7 tweets

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