Using pseudo-science instead of actual medical expertise to cure people of illnesses isn’t anything new. This kind of thing was commonplace in ancient times due to the lack of knowledge of the human body during this period. Research from Cambridge sheds light on one of the earliest examples of ancient medicine.
A journal written by Simon Forman, a London-based medical practitioner from the 1600s, and his protege Richard Napier details some of strange methods they took to curing patients of diseases. A known alchemist, Forman usually resorted to “elixirs” or “purges” to people searching for treatment for their deteriorating mental or physical health. Astrology was also a go-to for Forman, with Napier looking to “angles” for the answers he and Foreman couldn’t find.
The journal itself isn’t something that was recently discovered, but Professor Lauren Kassell of Cambridge’s history and philosophy of science department stated that the process of deciphering the journal took a decade:
“Napier produced the bulk of preserved cases, but his penmanship was atrocious and his records super messy. Forman’s writing is strangely archaic, like he’d read too many medieval manuscripts. These are notes only intended to be understood by their authors.”
You can read the cases and other transcripts here.
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