Lindsey Fitzharris

WARNING: TOXIC! The Deadly Dead

by Lindsey Fitzharris September 2, 2012
WARNING: TOXIC! The Deadly Dead

By Lindsey Fitzharris (W&M Contributor) When a person thinks of anatomical specimens from the past, he or she may think of disembodied remains floating in glass jars filled with alcohol. The Hunterian Collection at the Royal College of Surgeons in London is full of such specimens—unborn foetuses suspended in time as if still incubating in […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Torturing the Dead: The Prevention of Premature Burial and Dissection

by Lindsey Fitzharris June 9, 2012
Torturing the Dead: The Prevention of Premature Burial and Dissection

By Lindsey Fitzharris (W&M Contributor) In 1746, Jacques-Bénigne Winslow wrote: “Tho’ Death, at some Time or other, is the necessary and unavoidable Portion of Human Nature in its present Condition, yet it is not always certain, that Persons taken for dead are really and irretrievably deprived of Life.” Indeed, the Danish anatomist went on to […]

1 comment Read the full article →

“One night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury:” Syphilis and “Syphilophobes” in Early Modern England

by Lindsey Fitzharris March 1, 2012
"One night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury:" Syphilis and "Syphilophobes" in Early Modern England

Before the discovery of penicillin in 1928, syphilis was an incurable disease. Its symptoms were as terrifying as they were unrelenting. Those who suffered from it long enough could expect to develop unsightly skin ulcers, paralysis, gradual blindness, dementia and “saddle nose,” a grotesque deformity which occurs when the bridge of the nose caves into […]

1 comment Read the full article →

Dissecting the Living: Vivisection in Early Modern England

by Lindsey Fitzharris February 22, 2012
Dissecting the Living: Vivisection in Early Modern England

In 1664, Robert Hooke—a pioneering member of the Royal Society and lead scientific thinker of his day—decided to investigate the mechanisms involved in breathing. In his laboratory, he strapped a stray dog to his table. Then, taking his scalpel, he proceeded to slice the terrified animal’s chest off so he could peer inside the thoracic […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Drinking Blood and Eating Flesh: Corpse Medicine in Early Modern England

by Lindsey Fitzharris December 2, 2011
Drinking Blood and Eating Flesh: Corpse Medicine in Early Modern England

By Lindsey Fitzharris (W&M Contributor) In order to restore youth to an aging body, the fifteenth-century practitioner, Marsilio Ficino, advised: There is a common and ancient opinion that certain prophetic women who are popularly called ‘screech-owls’ suck the blood of infants as a means, insofar as they can, of growing young again. Why shouldn’t our old people, […]

1 comment Read the full article →

A History of the Barber’s Pole

by Lindsey Fitzharris October 17, 2011
A History of the Barber's Pole

By Lindsey Fitzharris (W&M Contributor) The history of the barber’s pole is as intertwined with the history of the barber-surgeons as the red and white stripes that adorn it. The history of the barber’s pole is as intertwined with the history of the barber-surgeons as the red and white stripes that adorn it. Barber-surgeons were […]

5 comments Read the full article →

Cutting for the Stone: the Case of Stephen Pollard

by Lindsey Fitzharris September 28, 2011
Cutting for the Stone: the Case of Stephen Pollard

By Lindsey Fitzharris  (W&M Contributor) If you visit the Gordon Museum at Guy’s Hospital in London, you will see a small bladder stone—no bigger than 3 centimetres across.  Besides the fact that it has been sliced open to reveal concentric circles within, it is entirely unremarkable in appearance. Yet, this tiny stone was the source […]

2 comments Read the full article →