Here are 10 More Crazy Theories People Used to Believe. For part 1, click here.
Back in the day if someone was deemed insane or mentally unstable doctors performed a Transorbital Lobotomy on them. The technique involved using an instrument called an orbitoclast, a modified ice pick, which the physician would insert through the patient’s eye socket using a hammer. They would then move the instrument side-to-side to separate the frontal lobes from the thalamus, the part of the brain that receives and relays sensory input. The afflicted person would be left in a vegetative state most of the time afterwards.
John F. Kennedy’s sister, Rosemary Kennedy, was given one of the first lobotomies because of her mood swings. Doctors asked her to sing God Bless America while they cut into her brain, and stopped when she “became incoherent.” António Moniz, the surgeon who developed the frontal lobotomy procedure to make people calm and docile, was shot by one of his lobotomized patients. – Source
2. Female Hysteria
Female hysteria was a once-common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is today no longer recognized by medical authorities as a medical disorder. Women considered to be suffering from it exhibited a wide array of symptoms, including faintness, nervousness, sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and “a tendency to cause trouble.” In extreme cases, the woman might be forced to enter an insane asylum or to undergo surgical hysterectomy.
It was thought that hysteria can be cured by masturbation and orgasm. The vibrator was in fact invented for doctors who were getting carpel tunnel from using their fingers to give female patients orgasms in order to treat hysteria.
3. Spontaneous Generation
Before modern times, people believed that living organisms develop from nonliving matter. According to this theory, pieces of cheese and bread wrapped in rags and left in a dark corner, for example, were thus thought to produce mice, because after several weeks there were mice in the rags. Many believed in spontaneous generation because it explained such occurrences as the appearance of maggots on decaying meat.
Francesco Redi, an Italian physician, was one of the first people to challenge the theory of spontaneous generation by demonstrating that maggots come from fly eggs. The origin of microorganisms such as bacteria, however, was not fully determined until Louis Pasteur proved in the 19th century that microorganisms reproduce. – Source
4. Babies don’t feel Pain
Whether babies feel pain has been the subject of debate within the medical profession for centuries. Prior to the late nineteenth century it was generally considered that babies hurt more easily than adults. Even up until the 1980s doctors considered that newborn babies didn’t feel pain, so they frequently performed surgeries on infants without anesthesia. – Source
5. You will suffocate on a train
In 19th century Britain, people were worried about trains going faster than 30mph. They thought that passengers would suffocate or that as the train reached a corner it would simply come off the rails. People believed that they would suffocate if they travelled faster than 30mph as they would not be able to breathe due to the surrounding air rushing past them.
A galloping horse goes at about 30 mph, and a thoroughbred racehorse can hit 40 mph for a short burst. The Victorians must have been well aware of that, and I haven’t come across anyone claiming they were nearly suffocated by furious riding. Of course, the railway was frighteningly new and unnatural, and a train runs at high speed for much longer than a horse can. The train also produces smoke, soot, noise, etc. Psychologically it’s believable that 30 mph on a train could be very different from 30 mph on horseback. – Source
6. Vaginal Douching Helps
Douching means washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. It is still common among women in the United States. It’s estimated that 20 to 40 percent of American women 15 to 44 years old douche regularly. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women avoid the practice. Douching can change the delicate balance of vaginal flora and acidity in a healthy vagina. Any changes can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria which can lead to a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
Coca-cola was so widely used as a spermicidal douche in the 1950’s and 60’s USA that multiple scientific studies have been undertaken to disprove its contraceptive ability. Lysol started out as an abortion agent that women used as a douche to kill their unwanted babies. – Source
7. American eugenics movement
The American eugenics movement was backed by countless scientists, research from top universities, and eventually the United States government. Many disabled or “unfit” people were killed or sterilized, and the movement influenced the Holocaust.
California sterilized 20,000 people between 1900-1980 in a state run eugenics program. During America’s eugenics movement, some 60,000 people were involuntarily sterilized. The Supreme Court upheld the practice in an opinion written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote that “three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Nikola Tesla was a eugenicist, and advocated for the elimination of “undesirables,” not just convicted criminals, through eugenics by 2100. – Source
8. Smoke Enema
The phrase “blowing smoke up your ass” actually comes from a medical practice. In the late 1700s, there were emergency tobacco smoke enema kits all along the Thames that were thought to be effective at reviving drowning victims. It involved a bellows that was inserted into the anus to pump it full of smoke. It was thought that this warmed and stimulated them. The practice was actually invented by natives who of course had access to tobacco long before Europeans. They used it to treat gut pain.
Liquid tobacco enemas were often given to ease the symptoms of a hernia. During the early 19th century the practice fell into decline, when it was discovered that the principal active agent in tobacco smoke, nicotine, is poisonous. – Source
9. Recapitulation Theory
Recapitulation Theory was a biological hypothesis that as the embryo develops it goes through transitive stages where it resembles its evolutionary ancestors. So at some point while growing, a human embryo will be fish-like, then reptile-like, etc. – Source
Throughout history people have been convinced that the foreskin brings only evil and problems. They have claimed that circumcision prevents masturbation and that it should be performed without anesthetic “as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment.” Circumcision was also pushed as a ‘cure’ for many other ailments of the day, including: syphilis, tuberculosis, night terrors, even bed wetting. Additionally it was falsely reported to be a cure for cancer. – Source
According to the bible, David was offered the king’s daughter if he came back with 100 foreskins of slain enemies. He came back with 200. Foreskins were used to surgically replace eyelids of WWII soldiers injured by fiery explosions. John Kellog published books condemning masturbation and suggested it be treated by sewing foreskin shut with silver wire and burning the clitoris with carbolic acid. He believed meat consumption lead to masturbation and urged people to eat more cereals, which is why he invented Corn Flakes. Foreskins are used to make high-end skin creams. The skin products contain fibroblasts grown on the foreskin and harvested from it. One foreskin can be used for decades to produce face cream. Doctors can now grow skin for burn victims using the foreskins of circumcised infants. One foreskin can produce 23,000 square meters.