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Bizarre Medical History / Open Lines

Date Friday - November 30, 2018
Host George Noory
Guests Thomas MorrisOpen Lines

Writer and medical historian Thomas Morris joined George Noory in the first half of the program to discuss fascinating and bizarre curiosities he has unearthed from early medical literature. One such strange case comes from two centuries ago when a priest in Pennsylvania complained of an especially painful toothache. The next morning, the priest's tooth burst in his mouth with a sound like a pistol shot going off, Morris reported. "Two other patients... had exactly the same difficulty, and one of them it exploded so noisily that she was deafened for sometime afterward," he added.

Morris recounted a story from 1799 about an American sailor who thought he could swallow knives after seeing a sideshow performer do the same. He was eventually admitted to a hospital where he died, and three dozen knives and knife parts were found in his digestive track, Morris revealed. In a similar case from the 19th century involving a French convict, it was discovered he had hidden an escape kit in his rectum. "All the tools he would need to break out of prison, climb the wall, and even the money he would need to travel around the country undetected had all been put in this kind of wooden case," he said.

Morris shared stories of patients who reportedly had injuries which glowed in the dark (likely because wounds were infected with a species of phosphorescent bacteria), as well as one concerning spontaneous human combustion. The 1731 case involved an Italian aristocrat who could not be located by her maid one morning. The maid discovered a heap of ashes and two legs untouched from the foot to the knee with stockings on, Morris explained, noting the furnishings were not burned and there was a greasy substance on the wall. He suggested her fiery end was caused not by spontaneously bursting into flame but by bathing in camphorated spirits (highly flammable) then walking too close to an open flame.

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The next 90 minutes of the program was devoted to Open Lines. Roger from California told George about a man named Om Banna who perished in a motorcycle accident in the region of Rajasthan in India. According to local legend, the bike was taken to the police station for processing, but mysteriously appeared back at the site of the accident the next day. Hundreds of people have reported seeing the motorcycle drive by itself, and witnessed the ghost of Om Banna at vehicular accidents, Roger revealed.

Charles in Texas briefly described a medical condition where patients are alert but have no detectable heart beat. The vascular system takes over and circulates the blood without the heart, he explained. Paul from Boston recalled the story of a Civil War soldier who had received a dramatic stomach injury after being shot by a small cannon. Surgeons attempted to fix the soldier's wound but it never healed and ultimately left a 3-inch hole over his stomach, Paul said. A flap was made to cover the injury and the soldier would travel to medical schools, where physicians could lift the flap and watch peristalsis in his stomach, Paul added.

The last half-hour featured a replay from 8/25/11 when Frank Borzellieri talked about his new book, Who Believes in Roswell?.

News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein / Peter Davenport / Tim Binnall

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Friday November 30, 2018

  • Moms
    A Tribe Called Quest

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