Wednesday, November 12, 2008

fun fact du jour

I have this thing for old newspapers. I mean, REALLY old newspapers. Like, CENTURIES-old newspapers. It's fun to get lost in them and imagine what the times they record must have been like to live in. (I'm a geek. So sue me. I spent a week at Notre Dame holed up with microfilm of their American Catholic newspaper collection for my thesis and the librarians started asking if I were sleeping there. But when the damn microfilm machines worked, it was fun!)

Anyway, Paul at "Recovering Journalist" mentioned some goodies he found at an exhibit of early newspapers at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. This is my absolute favorite:

The weekly newspaper report of London deaths in 1680 included 57 people who died from “griping in the guts,” 29 from “teeth” and 2 from “evil.”


My guts gripe all the time! Although when I saw my internist this morning and discovered that in 6 weeks, I hadn't lost ONE FREAKING OUNCE (I had it coming, but still), I was griping AT my guts. Well, and at my laziness for not doing what I need to. And then, after that, I pissed off my therapist for the 2nd week in a row. It's been just an absolutely ducky day!

Now playing: Ray LaMontagne - Trouble
via FoxyTunes


Engineering Goddess said...

how do you die from "teeth" I wonder too? LOL I love reading old stuff too - now I hated history and didn't pay attention worth anything in high school - just enough to "pass" but now I love learning about the "distant past" - especially when it's something mundane like a newspaper too - something ordinary.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Ah... I was ALSO wondering about "teeth". Is it from the person's own teeth? Or from someone else's? All kidding aside, even today people die from untended tooth decay. An untreated infection in your jaw is awfully close to your BRAIN.

But how do you die from :"evil"? Is it the evil eye from your mother-in-law? Is it what they called spoiled food? Enquiring minds wanna know!

CAC said...

I have no trouble seeing how people die from "teeth," given the shape mine are in! Seriously, infections, abscesses, etc can get nasty in a hurry.

As for evil, medicine in the 1680s wasn't all that evolved -- someone who had a seizure, say, was thought to be possessed.

Given my heritage, I don't doubt that one can die from the evil eye from your MIL or own mom, but that was probably more common in Rome than in London. ;-)