5 Things Series FinaleCaitlin McLaren - 4B Chemical
Posted on: March 25, 2017
All my loyal readers will surely be relieved to hear it: this is the last-ever edition of Five Things You Don’t Want To Know. After this day, you will no longer have to read about the ridiculous and disgusting things our ancestors got up to.
In honour of the end of this column, I have made a compilation of the best (or the worst) of the past few years for your reading displeasure.
Here are the top/bottom five horrible things I have written about in five categories: “Bizarre”, “Stupid”,“Body Parts”,“Unscientific”, and “People eat…”.
(A.k.a. “Who came up with this?”)
The way that the ancient Irish Celts would express submissiveness to their king would be by sucking on his nipples. In fairness, that is pretty submissive. Whatever floats your boat.
The ancient Greeks didn’t approve of men sleeping with other men’s wives. What was the punishment for doing so? Having a large radish inserted into the adulterer’s bottom, in public.
Some Australian Aboriginal peoples believed that the penis should ideally resemble the vulva, and therefore they would cut it open and allow it to heal with a large opening for that reason.
In ancient China, men believed that they could increase their sexual prowess by boiling a sheep’s eyelid in hot tea and then rubbing it on their genitals.
The Huichol of South America considered childbirth to be a cooperative process between the mother and father. That is, the mother would tie a string around the father’s testicles and pull on them every time she felt a contraction.
(Even back in the day, people should have known better.)
The Roman doctor Galen was an important figure in the history of medicine, and fairly reasonable for his day. That didn’t prevent him from recommending tattooing your eyeballs with copper sulphate. Of course, the Romans were the same people who used lead pipes and lead pots despite knowing that lead is toxic; they basically were all suffering from permanent heavy metal poisoning.
In Borneo, they used to believe that newlywed couples could not use the bathroom for three days after their wedding, or they would have an unhappy and fruitless marriage. Their friends would watch them like a hawk to prevent them from releasing any bodily waste.
Japan also has a reputation for bizarre attitudes towards bodily fluids and such, which is not undeserved. For example, in the Middle Ages there was a school of thought that stated that periods were a sin, and therefore women were doomed to a hell of wading in a pool of blood forever. The reasoning behind this was that the blood would enter the water cycle, which was nasty and therefore sinful. Strangely enough, this did not apply to men cutting themselves, or to poop or pee.
In 1700s England, a woman called Mary Toft claimed she was giving birth to rabbits; of course, what she was actually doing was sticking them up there and then pushing them out in front of doctors. Amazingly, some of the doctors actually believed her and wrote about her as a case study, though in fairness to the scientific of the community of the time, these people quickly became laughingstocks. Toft’s motivations remain unclear.
In 1970s (yes, with a 19) England, the Yorkshiremen invented the stupidest sport of all time: putting a ferret in your pants and seeing how long you could tolerate it biting your sensitive parts.
(“Iiiiiiiiiigorrr…..” “Yeth, mathter?”)
Of course, one of humanity’s greatest technological achievements is agriculture. However, despite the intelligence of those who invented it, they didn’t always understand the subtleties. For example, despite what the Aztecs thought, the following procedure has no agricultural value: piercing a hole in your genitals (men) or tongue (women), running a rope woven with cactus spines through the wound, and tying yourselves together in a circle. This will not make your crops grow faster.
On the subject of genitals, (where we seem to find ourselves a disproportionate amount of the time), Aristotle believed that girls are produced in the left testicle, while boys come from the right one. Choosing the gender of your child is as simple and painless as tying the wrong testicle off during sex.
The ancient Babylonians believed that grinding your teeth at night was caused by demonic possession, which seems a bit excessive. The solution was even more excessive: sleeping with a human skull beside your bed, and kissing and licking it seven times every night.
Ancient Roman athletes believed that boars had performance-enhancing qualities. They would therefore dry boars’ dung out and make it into smoothies. These were the protein shakes of the day, and were thought to help in building muscle.
In 1700s England, maybe most doctors weren’t silly enough to believe in women giving birth to rabbits, but they still had strange ideas. For one thing, it was the mainstream scientific consensus of the day that the best way to revive a drowned person was to blow smoke up their ass, literally. Pipes and bellows were hung up at regular intervals along the Thames, for this purpose.
(I hurt in places I didn’t even know I have!)
Witchcraft historically used a lot of random human body parts. One of the largest-scale ones was in old Iceland, where witches might make a pair of pants out of the whole skin of someone’s lower body. Why would you do this? Well, putting a gold coin in the scrotum would produce an infinite supply of gold. (Someone tell this to Trump!)
On the ladies’ side, in Hawaiian mythology, a volcano was once created by the goddess Kapo detaching her vagina and throwing it into the air to distract a pig-god who was trying to rape her sister. She then became known as Kapo-kohe-lele, or “Kapo with the flying vagina”.
In Canada, up in the Yukon, the Sourdough Saloon serves a special drink: hard liquor containing a pickled human toe. Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat the toe – you just have to touch it with your lips.
Perhaps not a body part, but sourced from a body at any rate: old-timey Navajo witches would obtain “dried fluids from incestuous necrophilia” and dry it into a powder, which they would throw in the faces of their enemies. This would make them sicken and die, and probably worked; wouldn’t you sicken and die if someone threw that in your face?
On the other hand, no one does medicine like the ancient Chinese, whose medicine included broth made from a stir-fried human skull. Confucius was against this, on the grounds that it was “rude and inhumane.”
(Your menu for the evening, ladies and gentlemen.)
Many wild species of shrooms will make you pretty sick if you eat them. What is the solution? Simple: feed them to a reindeer, let the reindeer’s body break it down, collect the reindeer’s urine, and drink it. That will, amazingly, get you high while making you less sick.
While we are still drinking, why not try Chinese wine infused with deer penis? It makes you so virile that it was banned during the Beijing Olympics (just stick to the good old boar-dung smoothie instead). If you want to go even further, try Three-Penis Wine, which adds dog and seal penis to the mix.
People in Sicily still eat Casu Marzu cheese, despite it being illegal. Why? Because it is infested with maggots, which may even jump out and hit you in the face – if you’re lucky. If the maggots die, the cheese becomes toxic, so if you must eat Casu Marzu, make sure the maggots are alive.
The Inuit in Greenland traditionally eat kiviaq in the winter, which is seabirds fermented in seal fat. This is a very clever way of storing food for the long, hard Arctic winter, but fermented birds are exactly as pungent as they sound.
The Wari’ tribe of the Amazon eat their barbecued relatives at funerals. However, they let their deceased family member go off a bit before eating them, in order to make the meal (more) gross. After all, enjoying eating your deceased brother-in-law would be rather rude.