The Spooky Saturday Collection: October 2016

Through October I shared some of the creepiest illustrations from my 2016 archived collection using #SpookySaturday on Facebook and Twitter.

In the four Saturdays leading up to Halloween, we looked a one gruesome artwork each week – now it’s time to vote for the spookiest!

 

1. 'Mummified cadaver' from Atlas of Legal Medicine by Eduard von Hofmann, 1898. The body of this 50 year old man wasn't discovered until 10 years after he hanged himself in his attic.

1. ‘Mummified cadaver’ from Atlas of Legal Medicine by Eduard von Hofmann, 1898. The body of this 50 year old man wasn’t discovered until 10 years after he hanged himself in his attic.

 

2. 'Resection of the maxilla' by Nicolas Henri Jacob from 'Traité complet de l'anatomie de l'homme' by Marc Jean Bourgery, 1831. Anaesthetic was first used in 1846...

2. ‘Resection of the maxilla’ by Nicolas Henri Jacob from ‘Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme’ by Marc Jean Bourgery, 1831. Anaesthetic was first used in 1846…

 

3. 'Abnormal twins and placenta' from 'Anatomie pathologique du corps humain' by Jean Cruveilhier, 1829

3. ‘Abnormal twins and placenta’ from ‘Anatomie pathologique du corps humain’ by Jean Cruveilhier, 1829

 

4. 'Severe tubercular leprosy (or ichthyosis) of the hand' from the Wellcome Library, London (original source unknown)

4. ‘Severe tubercular leprosy (or ichthyosis) of the hand’ from the Wellcome Library, London (original source unknown)

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The Spooky Saturday Collection: October 2015

This October saw Spooky Saturday 2015 on Facebook and Twitter; a collection of some the most gruesome anatomical artworks I’ve curated through the year.

In the lead up to Halloween, we looked a one artwork each week in a ‘gruesome-off’, let’s see who won and put it to a vote!

Take a look at the four artworks below and cast your vote in the poll!

 

1. 'Tubercules' from 'Traité des Maladies de la Peau' by Pierre François Rayer,1835

1. ‘Tubercules’ from ‘Traité des Maladies de la Peau’ by Pierre François Rayer,1835

 

2. 'Surgical technique for correcting a lazy eye' from 'Traite complet de l'anatomie de l'homme' by Jean Baptiste Marc Bourgery, 1831.

2. ‘Surgical technique for correcting a lazy eye’ from ‘Traite complet de l’anatomie de l’homme’ by Jean Baptiste Marc Bourgery, 1831.

 

3. 'Fetal skeleton, placenta and embryo, and examples of arteriosclerosis' from Thesaurus Anatomicus by Frederik Ruysch, 1701.

3. ‘Fetal skeleton, placenta and embryo, and examples of arteriosclerosis’ from ‘Thesaurus Anatomicus’ by Frederik Ruysch, 1701.

 

4. 'Neoplasm from a rabbit, cartilagenous deposits on the spinal cord, ulcerated Peyer's patches on the small intestine, ulcerated small intestine, intestinal stricture, contractile tissue from a healed burn.' from 'Pathological Anatomy' by Sir Robert Carswell, 1838.

4. ‘Neoplasm from a rabbit, cartilagenous deposits on the spinal cord, ulcerated Peyer’s patches on the small intestine, ulcerated small intestine, intestinal stricture, contractile tissue from a healed burn.’ from ‘Pathological Anatomy’ by Sir Robert Carswell, 1838.

10 Formaldehyde-Inspired Festive Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year again to get the Christmas songs playing, put on some mulled wine and settle down to some online Christmas shopping. Here you will find a selection fabulous formaldehyde-inspired gift ideas for any anatomy enthusiast. And remember to treat yourself this festive season too…

So where to start? Firstly, you’re going to need a Christmas card. Put a smile on someone’s face with something humerus, get it?!…

 

Next, you’ll need to choose a gift for that special someone who appreciates the anatomical. Here are some ideas to get you started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it’s going well. Card written, gifts purchased, but wait, you still need gift wrap! Not to fear, you can even buy wrapping paper and gift tags for that skeleton-loving someone, not to mention the coolest sticky tape ever made.

 

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9. ‘Vintage Anatomy Tags‘ from Angelica Night. £1.97 per digital download.

 

'This is Spinal Tape'. $7.99 from www.thinkgeek.com

10. ‘This is Spinal Tape’. $7.99 from www.thinkgeek.com

 

So you’ve done well; your gruesomely-wrapped gift is sitting in pride of place under your Christmas tree next to the cuddly toys for the kids and Grandma’s brand new slippers. But there is a question lingering in the back of your mind; can you bring yourself to give it away?! Everyone prefers gift vouchers anyway, right?

All photographs featured above are copyright of the noted designers and sellers. Check out their websites through the hyperlinks and images for more Christmas gift inspiration.

The Spooky Saturday Collection: October 2014

This October saw the start of Spooky Saturday on Facebook and Twitter; a collection of some the most gruesome anatomical artworks I’ve curated through the year.

In the lead up to Halloween, we looked a one piece in all it’s grisly glory each weekend and rated it on the ‘Spooky Scale’.

So, which is the winner? Let’s put it to a vote.

Take a look at the four artworks below and cast your vote in the poll!

 

 1. 'Dissection of a pharynx affected by abscess, shown at post-mortem' from 'Principles of Surgery' by John Bell, 1801.

1. ‘Dissection of a pharynx affected by abscess, shown at post-mortem’ from ‘Principles of Surgery’ by John Bell, 1801.

 

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2. ‘Bone neoplasms on the skull’ from ‘Anatomie pathologique du corps humain’ by Jean Cruveilhier, 1829.

 

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3. Illustration by Max Brödel which was featured in a 1932 article which described “surgical procedures on the eye of a rabbit, illustrating anatomical parts”.

 

'Head and skull of malformed infants; conjoined twins, bilateral cleft lip and holoprosencephaly' from 'Surgical Anatomy' by Joseph Maclise, 1856.

4.’Head and skull of malformed infants; conjoined twins, bilateral cleft lip and holoprosencephaly’ from ‘Surgical Anatomy’ by Joseph Maclise, 1856.

 

Morbid Mementos: Memories of Egypt

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My mummified Egyptian in his sarcophagus

During a lovely, sunny break in Egypt this summer, I swore to myself I wouldn’t return home with typical, tacky, tourist tat. I failed. It’s just too easy to get carried away when shopping in Egypt. Initially wary of the market-place style haggling, it turned out to be one of the highlights of our holiday, spending some good times laughing and bantering with the local shop owners. It was on one of these occasions that I broke my tat-less promise. Shelves upon shelves of knick-knacks (including a lot of confusing penis-adorning Egyptian ornaments) I somehow managed to spot a gruesome gem. Imagine my deathly delight when I came across, not only a mummy’s sarcophagus, but one containing a creepy mummified corpse! The shopkeeper, clearly taken aback by my physical reaction to this morbid little mummy turned to my partner as asked, “She likes this kind of stuff?”. “Oh yeah,” he replied, “she loves the dead stuff!” Next came the customary ‘are you a bit weird?’ look that I’ve become accustomed to accept in such situations. The shopkeeper in a surprising ‘why didn’t you say so’ manner began to hunt high and low amongst the thousands upon thousands of goodness knows what that lined the shelves on the walls. “Here he is!” he exclaimed, “Anubis. The God of Death.”

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Anubis tends to the mummification process

One of the most iconic of the Ancient Egyptian gods, Anubis was known as guardian and protector of the deceased, their mummification and their journey through the underworld.  A man with the head of a jackal, Anubis’ black appearance depicted death and fertility, representing rebirth and the afterlife. In the many statutes, artworks and archaeological finds in which he is depicted, he can be seen in various states of part jackal, part man but never as man in his entirety. Jackals and desert dogs would hunt at the edges of the Egyptian desert where the cemeteries and necropolis lay, like Anubis, watching over the dead.

A mask of Anubis worn by priests during the mummification process. (Courtesy of Harrogate Borough Council, Museums and Arts Service)

A mask of Anubis worn by priests during the mummification process. (Courtesy of Harrogate Borough Council, Museums and Arts Service)

The Ancient Egyptians were famously known for the careful mummification of their dead whom they preserved with sweet-smelling plants and herbs. Anubis was thought to use his heightened sense of smell to sniff each mummified body and only allow the purest on to paradise. He would watch over the process, ensuring that the priests, who were known to wear masks of Anubis, conducted the mummification process to the utmost accuracy.

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Anubis weigh a heart on the Scales of Justice

Anubis guided the souls of the dead through the underworld, testing an individual’s commitment to the gods and weighing their heart on the Scales of Justice.  As Guardian of the Scales, Anubis would measure the weight of ones heart against the Feather of Ma’at which represented truth. If the heart was lighter than a feather, the deceased would be led into the underworld but if heavier, Anubis would feed the souls of sinners to Ammit the Destroyer; destructor of the souls of the corrupt and wicked.

So was my little Anubis worth taking home the tat for? According to the shopkeeper, I hope so; “Now you can have as much dead stuff as you want! Anubis will make you a mummy ever day. A hundred! You need him, he’ll always bring you dead stuff.” Sold. I’ll hold him to that.

From Dissections to Death Masks: The Anatomical Museum, The University of Edinburgh

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk


Last weekend I was finally able to satisfy my curiosity of what lay behind the 19
th century doors of The University of Edinburgh’s School of Medicine and Anatomical Museum.

Located on Teviot Place, The Anatomical Museum at the University has not long been open to the public. Now welcoming visitors through its grand gates on the last Saturday of every month, it instantly absorbs you into its stony walls of history and heritage. The museum, which opened as part of the new Medical School in 1884, was founded by the renowned Monro dynasty; 3 generations of Alexander Monro’s whose teaching spanned 126 years occupying the Chair of Anatomy at the University, one after the other through the 18th and 19th century. The grand lobby looms over you with two enormous elephant skeletons from either side. As an eager anatomist, your eyes don’t know where to settle first; the enormous jaw bones of a whale, the huge replica of Rembrandt’s ‘The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp’ or the many portraits and busts of famous anatomists from days gone by.

Dissection Theatre

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk

As a former student of anatomy and as somebody who is fascinated by its teaching from days gone by, I was completely awestruck as I entered the dissection theatre which is still in use as a lecture theatre today. The beautiful rounded room is centred by a relatively small space that once was host to the magnificent spectical that medical students would flock to see; a human body. It’s tightly packed rows of seats are incredibly steep providing views of the cadaver to even those less-than-eager students in the back row. Sitting in one of the leather-like fold down chairs three quarters of the way to the back, I looked down upon the anatomical demonstration videos of Acland Anatomy that were projected onto the wall below. It was quite overwhelming to think that I was sitting in the very seats that would have looked upon the teaching of the famous Monro dynasty and the many cadavers that graced their dissection tables.

Death Masks

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk

The museum has a fascinating collection of 40 life and death masks on display which eerily look out onto the museum and its curious visitors from the far wall that they occupy. Originally belonging to the Edinburgh Phrenological Society, the collection which is now owned by the William Ramsey Henderson Trust shows some well known faces from scientists and politicians to criminals and historical figures. To literally come face to face with pioneering Scottish anatomist and surgeon John Hunter and buyer of Burke and Hare’s bodies Robert Knox alongside notorious figures such as William Shakespeare and Julius Caesar is an experience that can only be personified by the true anatomical cast of the individual’s face.

Burke and Hare

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk

Photograph by Hugh Pastoll via www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk

The notorious Westport Murderers are well known historical characters in Edinburgh. Known across the world as the ruthless bodysnatchers who took the lives of at least 16 Edinburgh residents from 1827 to 1828 to capitalise from the high demand for cadavers in the the dissecting rooms of Edinburgh’s Medical School. Once their crimes were discovered and they were both detained, Hare was offered immunity from prosecution if he would confess and agree to testify against Burke. His testimony set him free and committed Burke to execution by hanging in Edinburgh on January 28, 1829. His body was dissected at The University of Edinburgh and his skeleton preserved, articulated and displayed. Now on view at the museum (minus the two phalanges from the 3rd toe on his right foot…), visitors can come face to face with this shady character from Edinburgh’s past, a vivid reminder of how far anatomy and its teaching have come since those dark days in the early 1800s.

To find out more about the Anatomical Museum, visit their website at www.anatomy.mvm.ed.ac.uk