Profile picture
Mike Stuchbery💀🍷 @MikeStuchbery_
, 17 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
It's a wet, dreary #FolkloreThursday, so let me tell you about one of the most interesting guys you've ever heard of. A bloke who straddled the world of science and folklore, fact and fiction. A scholar of the haunted and the weird. His name? Justinus Kerner. THREAD 1/
Southern Germany is a place of myth and legend. Perhaps it's the landscape, perhaps it's the distance from the commercial centres from the north, perhaps it's just a land apart. Wuerttemberg, the region surrounding Stuttgart, is especially so. /2
Nearly every valley, every peak, every forest in Wuerttemberg has its legends, its hauntings, its supposed secrets. In the early 19th century, they persisted in a way that they simply do not do now. This was the world Justinus Kerner was born into in 1786. /3
Justinus, of relatively modest means, was lucky to get a scholarship to the University of Tuebingen, and studied as a doctor. After he graduated, he worked as a rural doctor, serving the people of the region - and collecting their stories as he went. /4
Now, Wuerttemberg in the 19th century wasn't exactly well-served in terms of medical care, and Justinus had a wide patch, so to speak. There were few specialists in his era too, so he was called for all sorts of cases, from simple illness, to perplexing, even strange cases. /5
One such case, that he would write down, involved the 'Maid of Orlach' from 1831. This was an early documented case of a 'poltergeist' and 'demonic possession' - a young dairy maid was said to have been tormented by the long-dead spirits of a nun and a monk. /6
For several week, this young girl, by the name of Magdalene Grombach, appeared to be fought over by the ghosts, who had lived several centuries before and knew one another. Her health suffered terribly. Eventually, the two appeared to reconcile and she made a full recovery. /7
We'd probably describe the case quite differently - in many ways, this resembles any one of a number of dissociative mental illnesses - by Justinus dutifully recorded the goings on, and attempted to use what he knew, including hynoptism, to draw out his answers. /8
It wasn't as if he wasn't a scientifically-minded fellow. He was one of the first to accurately describe botulism and its effects, and throughout his life he published scientific papers. However, the strange and the secret had a tight grip over him. /9
In 1815 he got the post of medical officer - or chief regional doctor - for the region surrounding the town of Weinsberg, near Heilbronn, and from there he set out to make his home a place where he could fully explore the 'secret' world. /10
Kerner's publications - & a body of poetry, in which he documented the folk tales and traditions of the area - made his home at Weinsberg a bit of a local tourist attraction, bringing celebrities, even royalty, to his door. People would gift him books, 'occult' tomes. /11
Justinus' house completely reflected his interests - windchimes hung in the windows, creating ethereal melodies. Pictures and prints covered the walls. Books and folk art littered available surfaces. It was if his brain was spilling out around him. /12
Perhaps Kerner's most celebrated case involved Frederike Hauffe, the 'Seeress of Prevorst', who claimed to have visions in her sleep that allowed her to predict the future. He documented several visions, and again experimented with hynotism when she stayed at his house. /13
In many ways, Kerner was a cross between House, Fox Mulder and Dr Henry Jones, albeit a lot more genial and welcoming than any of the three. He gave off an air of warm, controlled chaos and enthusiasm. /14
If all this wasn't awesome enough, Justinus invented the wonderful art of klecksography - the creation of images using inkblots. He used them to inspire poetry and believed that they could reveal unconscious thoughts. Yes, they inspired Rorschach in his testing. /15
Justinus died in 1862, after years of work serving his community and chronicling the folklore of Wuerttemberg and surrounding areas. He was an inspiration to many of those who would follow him, both in scientific terms and his study of folklore. /16
What I love about this strange, funny lookin' dude (as I am) is that he treasured scientific knowledge AND esoteric knowledge on the same level. In some ways, he thought they could inform one another. I think there's much we can draw from that. /FIN #FolkloreThursday
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Mike Stuchbery💀🍷
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!