Medicine Macabre – Dr. Pembroke’s Favorite Articles of the Year

It is with only a small degree of sadness that I bid farewell to another year. As ever, it is not the time that has passed that matters as much as the experiences yet to come. Yes, the new year beckons like a fresh cadaver; full of fresh meat, bursting with discoveries, secrets, cuts and cavities to be explored, and is usually a good deal less smelly than the previous one.

That said, a fleeting glance back at the year that has passed does have its merits, so with that, I bring to you some of my favorite writings of the previous twelve months, a chance to once again get elbows deep in the blood, gore and unidentifiable fluids that I brought to your esteemed attentions for your reading pleasure. Read on…

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“Tired of having grand-mama expire at your important family events? Expediently revive the old bird with this stylish apparatus…”

Blowing Smoke

We’ll start with my favorite piece of the year – my review of an exciting new piece of medical equipment, the tobacco bellows, which despite their rather unsettling method of application (blowing hot smoke up ones lower most aperture) gained widespread popularity as a means to resuscitate drowning victims. Popular, of course, with all those not getting the nozzle shoved forcibly up their… well, you get the idea.
Why should I read this article?
Because never mind the water-borne diseases of the average 19th century waterway, you really should focus on what will be happening to your rear end should you ever get fished out of the Thames.

Early stethoscope - or a telescope. Or kaleidoscope. One of these. Or all three!

The ‘Being Close To Women Makes My Palms Sweaty’ Device – better known as the Stethoscope.

Stethoscopes and Breasts

Who could forget the tale of René Laennec, the inventor of the stethoscope, for the conception of which we have only to thank the mammary glands of womankind. Poor, diminutive, shy Laennec hit upon the idea whilst doing his best to remain as far away as he possibly could from a particularly capacious set of mammilla, yet still provide accurate diagnosis of the owners cardiac muscle. If nothing else, the writing underlines the lengths to which the average male will avoid contact with the opposite sex when it actually matters.
Why should I read this article?
Because breasts, and small Frenchmen who for once didn’t know how to approach a lady, giving the rest of us a brief moment to snicker and feel superior.


"Lesson 1: Urinate into the chimney. Saves you from nasty surprises later."

“Lesson 1: Urinate into the chimney. Saves you from nasty surprises later.”

Dirty Jobs – Chimney Sweeps Pt 1 & 2

‘Tis a glorious time to be alive, not least of which because of the superb working conditions of our illustrious nineteenth century. Why, did you know that chimney sweep boys can live to almost twenty years of age? Such progress.

This brief study of the lowly chimney sweep and the claustrophobic, brutal nature of his working life will undoubtedly warm the cockles of your heart in this chilly holiday season.
Why should I read this article?
Because nobody really likes children (least of all myself), and because we all enjoy cheap labor with absolutely no consequences.


Buried Alive


Cremation: errors are still a possibility, but chances of reanimation are seriously curtailed.

Being buried alive. Oh, memories. Takes me back (wipes tear from eye). And nobody knew more about getting prematurely interred than the great François De Civille, the ‘thrice buried man’. De Civille, among other exploits, was known to have serenaded women a quarter of his age, fought in several wars and spent a long weekend buried in animal manure. And you thought you kept busy.
Why should I read this article?
Because reading about being buried alive will make your current problems seem like fleeting irritations. Consider it motivational writing.


PT 3 - PIC 1Electrocuting Corpses

As everyone knows, Mary Shelley was a purloiner of the highest order and stole all her ideas from my work, and besides, her writings don’t hold a flickering candle against the macabre reality of galvanic stimulation. This article details my first-hand witnessing of the early nineteenth century equivalent of Victor Frankenstein’s experiments. Look on as the body of a criminal is prodded and probed by electrified implements and made to dance a little deathly jig at the hands of an Italian, who was perhaps a little too enthusiastic about his work.
Why should I read this article?
Because if writhing, spasmodic corpses don’t do it for you, frankly I don’t know what will.


That label is far too complicated for anyone to read after a few swigs from the interior.

If you can read the label, you haven’t drunk enough of the contents.

Cocaine Wine

And to go out in the spirit of the annus novus, (by consuming the spirits themselves), I present to you the most inebriated I have been whilst composing an article, that is, whilst imbibing some rather excellent cocaine wine. A lowly pharmacist creates a mixture capable of producing such euphoric and elevating qualities as to gain testimonials from every mover and shaker of the time, be it the Pope, famous authors or heads of state. Because if you’re not aware, pretty much everyone you love and respect from history was probably continually snockered.
Why should I read this article?
Because booze. And because I said so. I’m not drunk. Whatcha sayin about my mother? C’mere you sunuva….

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And with that, in the fading days of this year I say goodbye to you, and I will greet you forthwith in the next. Those of you that make it, of course. Alcohol poisoning delivers more bodies to my clinic than any other ailment. So perhaps I’ll see you sooner, and I’ll raise a toast for the both of us over your cooling remains. Have fun…

Felix sit annus novus!

Dr. Pembroke wishes to thank you all for your continued support of his medical history studies and hopes (although you’ll never get him to admit it) that you’ll continue to ‘enjoy’ his works into the coming year.

This compilation not enough for you? You can find more of his musings and articles here.

On Spotify? Dr. Pembroke invites you to listen to a collection of creepy music and twisted tunes in his ever-expanding playlist.

You can also find him on The Book Of Faces for his whereabouts, performances and other medically related curiosities.

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