During the Bubonic Plague, doctors wore these bird-like masks to avoid becoming sick. They would fill the beaks with spices and rose petals, so they wouldn’t have to smell the rotting bodies.
A theory during the Bubonic Plague was that the plague was caused by evil spirits. To scare the spirits away, the masks were intentionally designed to be creepy.
Mission fucking accomplished
Okay so I love this but it doesn’t cover the half of why the design is awesome and actually borders on making sense.
It wasn’t just that they didn’t want to smell the infected and dead, they thought it was crucial to protecting themselves. They had no way of knowing about what actually caused the plague, and so one of the other theories was that the smell of the infected all by itself was evil and could transmit the plague. So not only would they fill their masks with aromatic herbs and flowers, they would also burn fires in public areas, so that the smell of the smoke would “clear the air”. This all related to the miasma theory of contagion, which was one of the major theories out there until the 19th century. And it makes sense, in a way. Plague victims smelled awful, and there’s a general correlation between horrible septic smells and getting horribly sick if you’re around what causes them for too long.
You can see now that we’ve got two different theories as to what caused the plague that were worked into the design. That’s because the whole thing was an attempt by the doctors to cover as many bases as they could think of, and we’re still not done.
The glass eyepieces. They were either darkened or red, not something you generally want to have to contend with when examining patients. But the plague might be spread by eye contact via the evil eye, so best to ward that off too.
The illustration shows a doctor holding a stick. This was an examination tool, that helped the doctors keep some distance between themselves and the infected. They already had gloves on, but the extra level of separation was apparently deemed necessary. You could even take a pulse with it. Or keep people the fuck away from you, which was apparently a documented use.
Finally, the robe. It’s not just to look fancy, the cloth was waxed, as were all of the rest of their clothes. What’s one of the properties of wax? Water-based fluids aren’t absorbed by it. This was the closest you could get to a sterile, fully protecting garment back then. Because at least one person along the line was smart enough to think “Gee, I’d really rather not have the stuff coming out of those weeping sores anywhere on my person”.
So between all of these there’s a real sense that a lot of real thought was put into making sure the doctors were protected, even if they couldn’t exactly be sure from what. They worked with what information they had. And frankly, it’s a great design given what was available! You limit exposure to aspirated liquids, limit exposure to contaminated liquids already present, you limit contact with the infected. You also don’t give fleas any really good place to hop onto. That’s actually useful.
Beyond that, there were contracts the doctors would sign before they even got near a patient. They were to be under quarantine themselves, they wouldn’t treat patients without a custodian monitoring them and helping when something had to be physically contacted, and they would not treat non-plague patients for the duration. There was an actual system in place by the time the plague doctors really became a thing to make sure they didn’t infect anyone either.
These guys were the product of the scientific process at work, and the scientific process made a bitchin’ proto-hazmat suit. And containment protocols!
Creepy imaginary friends stories told by Reddit users.
omegaweapon The Bad Boys in the Kitchen
I used to hallucinate/hear voices at night when I was around 4, they used to say shit like “is he asleep yet? no he’s just pretending” then I’d hear footsteps running to my room and sometimes actually shit myself and they’d laugh. that’s when I wasnt actually getting beaten up by them in a dream. it was just my parents and I at the house, and it wasn’t my parents. I called them the bad boys in the kitchen. I’m 39 now and my son who’s 6 now once told me that his friend ben said, he used to make me poop my pants when I was little. I laughed it off but my son gave me accurate details of the house etc and mentioned “the bad boys in the kitchen” and how they used to beat me up, which disturbed him because i’m his hero and no one can beat up dad. i literally froze and felt like I was 4 again, I asked who Ben was and he said it was his imaginary friend. I told him Ben is a liar and was just jealous and not to worry about it.
TravelsWithTheDoctor The Creeper Man
My son from the age of three always tells me about the “creeper man” who lives in my mom and dads bedroom. He brings it up after he visits them. I made the mistake once of asking what he looks like. My son said “Oh, he doesn’t have a face.”
BrownXCoat Dead Girl in the Closet
When my daughter was three she had an imaginary friend named Kelly who lived in her closet. Kelly sat in a little rocking chair while she slept, played with her, etc. Typical imaginary friend shit. Anyway, fast forward two years later, the wife and I are watching the new Amityville (the one with Ryan Renolds) and our daughter walks out right when dead girl goes all black eyed. Far from being disturbed she said “That looks like Kelly.” “Kelly who?” we say “You know the dead girl that lived in my closet.”
MidnightXII The Captain
A parent of one of my students told us in a meeting that she was concerned because her son (7 years old) talked about an invisible ghost who would talk to him and play with him in his room. He said the ghost was called The Captain and was an old white guy with a beard. The kid would tell his mom that The Captain told him when he grows up his job will be to kill people, and The Captain would tell him who needed to be killed. The kid would cry and say he doesn’t want to kill when he grows up, but The Captain tells him he doesn’t have a choice and he’ll get used to killing after a while.
NiceColdPBR Bunny Man
When I was 16, I babysat twins who were in the third grade at the time. They always spoke of a man in an Easter Bunny costume, and they were terrified of him. One day I was babysitting, and one twin was in the shower. His brother and I were sitting downstairs watching television when all of the sudden, he said, “you need to go check on Matt.” Seconds later, Matt yelled, “He’s in here!!! He’s in here!!!” I ran upstairs, and I had to check every room before he would calm down. I’m not sure which part of the experience freaked me out the most.
Men: Not ALL men.
Men to their daughters: Yes, all men. Every single one of them.