Wandering wombs and vibrating cures

Once, women’s problems were often ascribed to a ‘wandering womb’. The organ would go walkabout in the abdominal cavity, and as it bumped into various other organs like the liver and spleen, may cause sluggishness, weakness, even vertigo and of course, hysteria. The physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia believed the womb “an animal within an animal,” an organ that “moved of itself hither and thither in the flanks.” I’d like to blame this purely on the ancient Greeks. (I love the description that Hippocrates, who either invented or popularised the wandering womb theory because “I need to create a problem that my penis will solve”). And these are the dudes who gave us theories including testicles be

Getting wet at OUMNH

After many hours scouring the databases and determining what was special about this museum's stores, I spent a wonderful morning surrounded by the stores of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History's wet specimens collection. I specifically went in to photograph brains, of which they have a very nice selection, and some, like this bear, have been labeled to help amateurs like me find all the bits. (All images can be displayed due to the Courtesy of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. And they were very courteous. Lovely in fact!) But there were MANY things in the stores, it was hard not to get distracted. There were so many beautiful things that I think I will have to mak

THAT scene from Alien

Looks like a normal X-ray of a normal torso doesn't it? Look closer. Okay, I see smaller creatures in there too. Swimming around. Wait, what? Yes, I have no idea what this slide is of either. But I can't help having the feeling that I have seen what happens next. (For a long time when I was younger, I thought John Hurt must be tremendously shy, or tremendously ugly. But that is because I had only seen him with the facehugger alien, and then in heavy makeup for the elephant man. And in the days before the internet, I just couldn't remember what he actually looked like in person). Anyway, this X-ray is another of J. A. Fairfax Fozzard's slides (I will never tire of his superb name!). It is in

Which way first? The little end or the big?

Which way does a chicken lay an egg? Little end first - and ease into it? Or big end first and finish with a relief? In the hopes of avoiding wars on the level of Blefuscud vs Lilliput, and despite no real help from the internet, I can give you a definitive answer - with a twist! Last weekend I had a lucky purchase of seven boxes of magic lantern slides, "mostly anatomical" from Willingham Auctions. I went along to inspect them in person, and left my lucky bid, to then collect, photograph and hoard like a leprechaun. Some of the boxes, and slides are labelled J. A. Fairfax Fozzard (what a wonderful name!), who worked at the Department of Anatomy at Cambridge University. Amongst his many achi