Thursday, May 15, 2014
Because I write historical fiction, I do a fair amount of research. Here are a few interesting bits of information I came across this week. . .
Saturday Night Out at the Morgue
Looking for a 19th century idea of a good time in Paris? Visit the morgue, of course. Just behind Notre Dame, the morgue was originally built to identify unknown bodies dredged from the Seine or from suicides. Their remains were displayed on slanted marble tables behind glass. It was open every day from dawn until 6:00 p.m. Most people came simply to gawk at the poor unfortunates.
Interested in reading more? Click HERE.
An Island in New York City
Located in New York's East River is where you'll find North Brother Island. It was once a well-known and important part of the city, but in the past 50 years it's all but fallen off the map. . . unless you're a migratory bird.
From the 1880's until the 1930's, the island was home to Riverside Hospital, a refuge for those suffering from infectious disease. The perfect spot for isolation. After WWII, the island housed returning veterans and their families. In the 50's and 60's, it morphed into a juvenile drug treatment center.
The buildings are still there, though no one is allowed to visit (belongs to the Park & Rec). You can find some haunting photos HERE though.
In the UK, rabies was a huge concern in the 18th and 19th century. Packs of semi-wild dogs ran rampant in England, spreading the infection even to the point of crossing over into hunting dogs. It was finally brought under control when legislation was passed in 1867 which enforced the human shooting of strays, quarantine of imported animals, and the muzzling of pet dogs.
The last reported case of rabies in the UK was in 1970 from a dog imported from Pakistan. Things might be about to change, though, because of new regulations that many see as being too "loose".
For more historical rabies info, click HERE.