(1/6) THREAD👇: "Cats in War." Pull up a chair and let me tell you about my friend Paul Koudounaris's new book A CAT'S TALE, in which he fascinates readers with stories about felines from history. #DYK America sent a black cat to "curse" Adolph Hitler during the Second World War?
(2/6) "In 1941, a black cat shipped out from Pennsylvania on a daring mission to undermine Nazi Germany. Named Captain Midnight, he was sent to Britain...to be flown across Europe in an RAF bomber until he eventually crossed the path of Adolph Hitler, and thereby cursed him."
(3/6) "Captain Midnight was transported in a red, white, & blue crate...and his departure was big news, the story carried by newspapers around the country. So, you ask, how can we know if he succeeded? In response, let me ask you, how did things turn out for Mr. Hitler?"
(4/6) Cats have long been denied credit for their role in the military, but they were once considered "essential equipment" for an army. During the First World War, the trenches were overrun with large rats - as seen in this photo.
(5/6) The Allied armies tried everything: poison, terriers, and, of course, cats, who were employed to clear out the vermin from the trenches. The United States Army even included money in its budget for some "feline soldiers."
(6/6) So there you have it! A CAT'S TALE by Paul Koudounaris is full of historical tidbits like this. If you love history and you love cats, you'll love this book. It comes out November 10th, and I can't recommend it enough. Pre-order here: amzn.to/37kzR9g

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More from @DrLindseyFitz

9 Oct
(1/11) THREAD👇: 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. Why? (Photo: Hunterian). Image
(2/11) People believed that 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 on Judgment Day. Stories like this help us to understand why people in the past feared the anatomist’s knife. Image
(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. Image
Read 11 tweets
13 Aug
(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
26 Jul
(1/11) Thread on PREMATURE BURIAL👇

This is an "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.
(2/11) 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.”).
(3/11) 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 11 tweets
12 Jul
(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 take the form of swift 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
24 Jun
A poignant photo by my friend Paul Koudounaris of a beloved pet's tombstone. Despite popular belief, the cat's name was *not* Dewey (that was the family's surname). '"He was only a cat' but human enough to to be a great comfort in hours of loneliness and pain." 💔
Paul is an amazing photographer and storyteller. He's also a great lover of all things feline. He has a book coming out this fall called A CAT'S TALE - all about cats from history. It's the delightful distraction we all need in our lives: amazon.com/Cats-Tale-Jour…
I've been friends with Paul for many years now. He's an eccentric man with a heart of gold. Whenever we meet up, a whimsical journey ensues. This is me in his house in LA a few years back. I felt like Alice dropping through the rabbit hole.
Read 6 tweets
14 Jun
(1/14) THREAD ON BLOODLETTING 👇 for #WorldBloodDonorDay. When King 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

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