31 OCT 2020

Corpse Medicine

From mummies to brains to mellified man

In this gruesome episode we look at corpse medicine. For thousands of years humans have used other humans for medicine. Not only do we look at the history but we actually recreate some of the famous concoctions!

Human fleeeesshh!

From brain mashed with wine and chocolate to bodies preserved in honey for 100 years we’ve found inventive ways to capture and essence of the body.

This episode we turn our kitchen into a medieval medical lab and taste human brains, mellified man and ancient Egyptian mummy.

Do they really work? Can corpse medicine cure all ailments?

Spooky reading


This transcript is automatically generated so may contain errors.

Since Halloween and we've got a suitably gruesome episode for you, do you remember what we did last year for Halloween?

E numbers.

Exactly, and in what way they were.

They we did it in like a witches brew.

That's right, yeah, it's kind of like the numbers that you have in your sweets, which then made out of allsorts of funny things. Aren't they an? It's like a witch's?

Spell yeah, and all of them were real, aren't they? Yes exactly, but **** glands.

Exactly be very Newlands, yeah, but this year I thought we take it up a notch.

Okay, okay, I'm going for something even more disgusting, so I hope you're hungry. Yep, it's now are you suffering from any ailments or problems or aches or pains? Anything anywhere, not really. Are you feeling slightly mad or crazy or delirious? No, not to worry because we will fix it anyway.

The acoustics are a little bit different this episode, because wherever you recording in the kitchen, yeah, but it's actually turned into my medical lab.


Because I've made many cures and remedies for you out of human flesh.

Are you ready?

And you're on holiday.

On your half term, so I thought I'll let you off doing too much research this episode and make all these treats for you. So I've looked back in time and rediscovered the forgotten it forbidden practise of human medicine.

I've been digging up corpses and trading with Sadie figures and even shady alleyways and risking my own life and limb to bring you other peoples lifes and limb. So what do we have here? We've got.

A bit of brain okay.

This is some human flesh.


Also got eyeballs bits of bone.

I know, but these are goo stains or something.

We gotta skull haven't we? Yep, so you still hungry, yeah?

The history of medical cannibalism. These back are very long time and many cultures have attached special properties to consuming the body or its secretions.

Large brains skin flesh fat sweat her bones and more. The full featured in different remedies at different times for everything from epilepsy to baldness, to prolonging life or curing doubts. So once we start with.

Let's start with these scarf.

Now got a picture for you here. This is from 1633 and its skull Moss and what this was was when there was a dead body or or rather his skull. Maybe in a crypt or somewhere.

It must have grown at and what they would think is that there must. That's going on. It would actually kind of be infused by the power and the essence of the skunk, yeah?

So it would be ground down into a powder and they believe that it might actually treat the likes of epilepsy. Yeah, and this actually comes from a brilliantly named book called.

Mummies, cannibals and vampires.

The history of Corpse medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians.

Had also used it to treat nose bleeds, so again you get some of the power that and he had a nose bleed. This you'll stick up your nice and this actually work.

This sounds like it works. Yeah, because it would. The powder would all get stuck together and blocking this.

Yeah, encouraged your blood to clot as well. So stop, please bleed. I've actually got a piece of human skull here.

So can you just stay up please?

And I wouldn't put that in there. Some water with some chocolate or some cocoa powder which is here.

Now that's probably enough.

Open deck.

Well, that smells yummy.

Okay, that should be fine. So if you grind the up now is the 17th century scientists called Thomas Willis and he used the combination of crushed skull and cocoa powder as a cure for bleeding.

So keep crushing the passing water. That's good. You're really cracking that. Buy in there.

Now we're going to have to also add a tiny bit of special alcohol. Like say I keep mixing.

How's it looking?


Good, safer.

Okay, I think that will probably be so you've now made a nice mixture of chocolate and skull. Now we need to taste them and see what they like. Do you want to go 1st July?

Some reason it tastes like chocolate nuts chopped their nuts.

Quite naughty, I guess it's maybe the ageing places of the skull or where is left. Or perhaps the owner of the skull had a very not heavy diet.

We just eaten should help you receive any bleeding. So if you are bleeding internally, it's now stopped as a good thing.

Okay, it doesn't taste very nice now.

There's your drink, not the yellow one. That's for later.

I've got blended brain as my drink.

One of the foundational works of Chinese medicine is Leeshan News 5097 book Nu Gang Moo, which is a book that covers allsorts of Chinese medicine right at the end of it on CH52, which is the last one in the book.

It's all about human medicine. Here's a list of few of the subsections within that.

So human hair cut off head human hair collected from from a comb.

It wax niedert teeth poo, baby poo, flesh tears bones.

I didn't actually look what tears before, but I think maybe that could be something sad. Or maybe the tears of joy. Maybe it varies, actually.

Yeah, he would have written this book. Surely if it's like her from comb and haircut off.

The section bones are include skulls.

And I can actually find the exact use if they kind of consumed any skull, okay 8 any or did anything with that. Yeah, but according to Asian heavens writings.

At the very top of the skull, there's part of it, called the BMA, and this is where the different parts of your skull kind of fused together. Yeah, it was believed that this Queen on the head is really, really important, okay, and he says.

Lets go of a human. Looks like around to cover shaped like the Sky is the Palace of never now never means Nirvana like Paradise and he adds it is a place where ancestral wisdom is start damaged. Alchemist's stimulate delay, just fire and a con it is water so as to restore his condition of pure Quan or young.

Now there's a practise of drilling holes into the head. OK, to kind of allow. I think the kind of passage of the energies and it's actually still practised today in some parts of Taiwan, obviously, particularly in the 1500s. Just think what are risking dangerous procedure that must have been, yeah.

Do you imagine having that, don't you?


and we back to Europe. I've actually spent the last of our money on Kings drops now. Do you know what Kings drops are?

King plops Knockings pops may.

Kings block.

Lopez and yeah.

Kings drops are mixture of humans going alcohol and it said that King Charles the second he actually paid a with £6000 for a recipe because he was having a funny terms.

So he wanted to message medicine, obviously.

It's called a tincture.

It's good teacher, Okay, and it was believed that this could cure gout and dropsy, and all fevers putrid and pestilential, which isn't word really use anymore charge. The second he suffers from seizures in 1685. So he took Kings drops or spirit of skull daily. An shockingly they didn't actually seem to cure him.

Work, no, I know.

Bing King Charles could easily afford to have his own lab set up, just like we've got set up in the kitchen now, so he would have a ready supply of Kings drops available for him. And then he set up his lab in the Palace at Whitehall. Yeah, it was very much in demand and everybody wants to get there a lot of apothecaries. They were actually displaced goals in their window, but no Costco we have here so that the general public knew they were available for sale there. But they can only really be afforded by the kind of the rich.

And maybe the nobility.

Could you imagine a modern doctor displaying a skull and then one day, but that's say to you?

Bad things.

Now what is inside your skull?

My brain exactly.

Tiny, let's say that it's growing all the time through your curiosity of a child.

Did we do in episode one?

Brain surgery

yeah and you got out of my brain didn't you? Explains the random giggling. Could you quickly rinse the passion mortar out please? We're going to get in a moment. Allot of this old medicine had the idea of like cures like and what's meant by that is that if you hurt your head then you need something from your head to cure it. You've got toothache, then you would take a teeth in your, rub it against.

Your teeth and it would help to cure it. Brain was seen as another cure for epilepsy. So what we're going to do now is make up some brain based medicine okay. And one of these is brain. So if you can take that please and pop it into the oven water.


Open yes up to brave.

Don't do anything yet, so you put the brain in the passion water. Now the 1651 book, The Art of Distillation by physician John French, describes the prices are making this medicine as follows.

Take the brains of a young man who have died a violent death mash with a stone water and steepen wine so you can start mashing that please.

Mash mash mash mash.

Very good, so keep mashing that brain.

Okay, now if you had some wine to that please.

Yeah, okay.

Okay, that should do.

I take the bottle from me.

Ben, can you get that bit more?

Than mix please.


And to continue, as John French is saying, digested half a year in horse dung.

So we're going to skip the horse dung, but this unfortunately we don't have time to do that.

I mean, you leave it to distil okay, so you're ready to try it.


all that looks yummy.

Ohh, that looks delicious.

Right, so gotta spin here. This has been for you there.

And give a little smile first.

I've ever had human brain before.



But she then I thought, well.

Not too bad, not good. Got some more you.

Top stuff.

Now, to my knowledge, I've neither died, nor did I have a violent death. Which is a pity.

Because when this happens, the life force.

You write unforced. I don't have a cure for biting yourself.

I am, yeah, just say. Unfortunately I'm neither dead nor did I have a violent death. When that happens. Is your life force? Can you say traumatic at the time? It kind of gets really heightened and invigorated, so the kind of energy that's going to come from your brain being eaten. It's actually enhanced and stronger so it's more concentrated and it makes the medicine more paint.

So you really want to drink after these things daily, yeah?

And what better than urine?


Behind you you might see a yellow glass.

I was right, it was we, we we.

Just move up some more time, they just pop it down there.

We ve still warm.

Yeah, express leashes and included several types of urine, both pure and processed in his book, but can't be taken to ensure that yet again the genuine article because some people were so you fake human urine.

Just got the same effect as no.

Now some of these if you already would involve things like keeping the blood in motion. It's like a lubricant reducing fever, killing parasites, or dispersing poisons from the body, so maybe it sort of helped dilute it.

I say it's got a good range of uses, doesn't it?

However, the Princes and wealthy patricians disliked using it because they considered it unhygienic.

But wonder why?

But we're not Princes, are we? Well, principle casting, maybe yeah, so we're going to try some urine.

There were not put his report casting where Kings.

Soakings apart casting.

Is it good?

Mate, I'm gonna try some of its any fair.

Oh yeah, that's disgusting.

So what's it taste like stuff? Yeah, it's about sushi and revolting, isn't it?

It's just not very nice, yeah?

It's horrible when is your your income from.

Gobi *****?

Your ***** your favourite word to send this podcast. Now you'll be pleased to know that leash nzam, he actually said that.

The ***** is not a drug.

You don't worry, we're not going to get out there chopping knife.

So you not Sakina urine then?

Know how bout blood?

Hope it is similar to the mashed up brain, so that's already nice.

So as you know, blood is a favourite of vampires and could as well be their source of eternal life content. And he's my tally accent here.

The Italian no.

Do you want to try this one okay? Leonardo da Vinci said so. I'm going to tell him now.

We preserve our life with the deaths of others in a dead thing and sent it life remains which when reunited with the stomachs of the living, regains sensitive and intellectual life. Yeah, so he's saying that when he has, because with my arms around, it's just a tad gesticulate, just that word.

They did their dad fidgeting.

Like in Italian man with my arms around.

And then you keep the pizza in the tray. Just about, yeah.

And who are we to argue with Leonardo Davinci when he's saying that if you take some of the essence of a dead person or the blood and kind of eat or drink it, it's going to increase your life. I mean, he's much cleverer than we are. Yeah, I'm staying in Italy. What happened in Raymond Times in Gladiators had a fight and maybe got little bit bloody, what with people like to do.

They would like to keep the blood of the gladiators.

Yeah they would collect it went though. And what would they do with it? Drink but also collect the sweat with me, yeah?

Which I think it probably takes a little bit like the urinary had, so we're going to avoid that 15th century philosopher Masilo Ficino recommended drinking the blood from the arm of a young person. Now Anton, are there any young people round here with arms?


No well hold still okay, this won't hurt a bit.


Right, this would actually be killing somebody or just be probably a bit of blood letting and then drinking their essence. Okay, so I wonder if that's maybe where some of these vampire storeys came from. Maybe there was kind of Italian count who lived up high in his car so he drank the blood.

And smooth children like yourselves.

Now, as recently as 1908 Mingermany, there's a hanging and some of the crowd had actually tried to collect the blood and swallow it.

So it's still going on up until fairly recent times.

And even today Catholics, they still richly drink human blood in a way don't they? Yeah, during a Holy Communion and you know that their partner and bread and wine and that symbolises? Yeah the blood and body of Christ, so that transubstantion it's kind of a representation of still drinking blood, isn't it?

It seems like this idea of drinking blood got into the head of the physicians that treated paper innocently 8th and in 1492, in a desperate attempt to save him, when he will, they actually got three young boys and drains them of blood until they were dead.

And the paper drank their blood.


So vampire pipe.

Yeah, do you think he lives up to his name of innocence? No? And do you think the blood saved him? No so either waste of the life of three young children.

Now, if you prefer your blood and taste journey, some people do.

I've got you covered. Okay, because there's a 1679 recipe that comes from a Franciscan monastery and they actually reduced the blood of corpses to make marmalade.

So good for Paddington Bear there Yep. Now when some Chinese beliefs it wasn't the blood of a hung person that was important but rather their Geist had the powerful medicinal properties okay, and in the earth below where the body was hung as charcoal like substance were to manifest itself. And this was called Rambo. But it must be collected really quickly before it kind of dissipates into the earth around it. Yeah, Lee gives the use of Limbo adds.

Rambo pacifies the heart and tranquillizers the soul, and boldness it treats convulsions, fright, and manic depressive psychosis. Grind Rambo with the water and take it by mouth.


Do you bite your nails?

Really, yeah honestly, yeah honestly.

Dallas believe in something called Assange, and it's a spirit that haunts a patient and it can be treated with fingernails and don't know how.


So to kill a sun shade you must antiquate.

Got the fingernails on GNC days so it's the 17th and come to the toenails and Jawu 31st.

But on the nails into ash on the 16th day and the 7th month of the year.

Take the *** by modern water. In this way the sun she and the nine worms will turn into ash.

So by taking your fingernails.

And burning them and tell you now is better than conceiving them. You could kill a ghost that haunted your body, OK?

Now everything that we've eaten so far, it's been pretty fresh, hasn't it? Yeah, but many things like wine and some meat and things improved with age. If you leave it to mature, so we're going to do that now, okay?


So how bout?

Angel, so we will be tasting it next Halloween episode, obviously.

Now I've already prepared some stuff and it's been really, really, really difficult to find some of our past and more trapped away.

And I have managed to source an ancient mummies in that box behind you.


Pop it down next to the microphone. Okay. Now if you open up, please.

Hinges just falling off their.

Yes, such an old box.

And if you like Sophie again.

Now this is an ancient mummy all day from Egypt. I don't know how difficult was to get that to smuggle it out. Mrs actually highly illegal. What we're doing here.


Now I've actually covered this briefly before on our episode about the voice of the Mummy.

And even it get eating already lately.

So that is a little bit of mummy flesh that you eating there.

Is it nice yummy.

Let me try some as well.

Well, that's good straight to me, isn't it?

Now I'm going to eat with it in my mouth.

Eat with it in. When I.

Speak with it in my mouth.

So ancient Egyptian mummies their ground up and used for allsorts of medicine okay.

And they could cure.

All manner of ailments, but they were almost like a miracle cure in some ways.

French King Francis, the first of France, never left home without a days of mummy medicine with him. That's how important they were.

And these were so widespread that actually for awhile the words for mummy and drug they were Simmons from one another, but not with these skulls there be lots of fake mummy's doing the rounds, and maybe people would think it might kill beggars or murder people, mummify them and then round them up to be used as medicine, so not even a proper ancient one, which is obviously imbued with all this magical powers and energy of the ritual procedure went through.

Of its death.


I know that probably came thanks to an Italian Explorer and archaeologist. Could Gina Varney Bazzoni and he brought the surface of city back to England Okay and then he built a fake team around it in the museum and that love and passion of Egyptian things kinda in London. The first Egyptian mania started there.

And he said.

They Fortunately is Italian isn't he is 6 foot six though. Fortunately I'm destitute of the sense of smell I could taste it the mummies but rather unpleasant to swallow. Not actually know if that means he ate the mummies or not, or if it was just a smelly but the stuff we got here is pretty good. Actually, isn't it?

That's pack on Mummy away carefully and I've got one more medicine for you and this is a very very special one, which started kind of the whole idea for this episode. So just pop the mummy over there please.

I'm still doing this mummy.

Mummy is very chilly.

I'm not Sakina now.

Okay yeah, so our final here.

Protection please.

Come back here. This is very important.

I final human medicine.

It's called malafide man.

It's a delicious sweet treat to finish off our episode with. Okay, think of it as the desert of human flesh.


And it's in one of the packages here.

So frame put it up.


Might be a bit gooey.

So that there is a delicious piece of human flesh and I'm going to tell you how it's made okay.

Simplified or Honeyman again comes from Lisa his tax, but has not been out to verify if it's true or not, and he left it at the very end. That's the last thing.

In the world, it think it's true because he wouldn't have phones then to text.

Leashes and texts.

You must be from there. I mean his book, her medicine.

Yeah, and he seems quite sceptical. He actually asked, like readers to hopefully do further research. And now if it's true or not because he heard a rumour that it was actually an Arabian practise to mummify people with honey.

Honey mummification itself has been popular throughout the world, so it's been done in South America and Egypt, and even Alexander the Great. He asked to be embalmed with honey.

This team hasn't been found, so if we go and hunt it down in Macedonia and find it, I think we should probably.

Do what robots do here and treating him. He's imagine the power here. He's one of the like amazing Men of history.

Somebody probably would do that there.

Yes, maybe he's been eaten already.

That's why we can't find him.

And his team because it was made out of.

Marshmallow gingerbread house


Now Arab scholars. As you probably know, they kept fantastic records. They're really good record keepers and a lot of classical Western knowledge was kind of lost during the dark Ages or mediaeval time. And thankfully, thanks to the Arab scholars. It came back into Europe.

Yeah, and the fact that there is no account that come from Arabia cast some doubt on the validity of this Storey. So maybe his scepticism is correctly placed. But that won't stop us win it, no? So you've opened up our modified man already and if you put it onto the chopping board, please.

You can touch with your fingers in the flesh. Ever seen Uncle Steve recently?


You can wait for things if you want. In the water there.

By 1

now do you create a modified man and body had to come from an elderly volunteer, usually on a 7020 years old there said.

And they still had to be alive at the time. So when I said buddy that he needed a living centre 80 year old.

Because the idea of the self sacrifice was an important part of the process. Yeah, they had to be willing to be involved. This and.

What would happen is they would only eat honey and have nothing else to do anything they would consume and they would probably survive that diet for a couple of weeks and then they die towards the end of their life. They will actually start sweating honey and pulling honey and winning honey. Okay, they were just honey all throughout them and after they were dead they would be in a stink of sarcophagus. Yeah, and what do you think? I was full off?

Honey, yeah, exactly even more honey. And on the top of it date was written down and they were left for how long do you think 100 years yes 100 years to really kind of get that honey essence all they threw them but you know you honey itself, it doesn't really rust does them? No just got really low water content and it's totally antibacterial so it can stay preserved for a very very long time. So there's been Egyptian teams opened up Wetherby pots of honey there.

And they still be fresh after thousands of years.

So people could eat each honey. Yeah, yes, enough money.

The book True Gangloo by Tale Joshi and says.

After 100 years, the body became a kind of honey preserved think that was used as a drug.

When someone was suffering from an injury to his body, including bone fractures, little author Honeyman could be taken as a drug. It worked right away even in that country is something was very precious. It was called Honey man.

So this modified man I've made for you here and want to just jump in half please.

It is known to.

That's right, it was believed that this can cure any ailment or problem instantly, including a broken bone. Do you want me to cut it? Yeah, okay, so I'm going to cut through here.

It's a little bit tough now if you take some of this.

I was good.

That's the best thing we've had all day. To have a little bit.

So what do you think of modified man?



I'm getting a hint of pig exactly SIM Papa New Guinea problem, Second Finger Island. That's what they call people, isn't it?

That's our last Halloween treat.

For the day. So what you think? Not sure how you feeling more energised and have all your aches and pains gone now?

Nice, I think you've done very well trying all these fees. This is all genuine today. We don't really use human medicine, do we know? But in a way we kind of still keep it going through organ transplants take me well, you might have someone else's heart from a obviously a dead person. You've got their heart speeds longer their kidneys, yeah. Or even blood transfusions. I mean, how far away really is that from Pape Innocent the 8th drinking these children's blood.

The prices are finding the blood is very different, but the attempt to an outcome is still quite similar, isn't it? Anyway, the advancements in medical knowledge that we've kind of understood actually how to properly do it.

So do you think you would be taking human medicine again or are you going to go for more up to date medicine?

I think I'm going to take real men to some.

Really puts me this is real medicine.

Real medicine of the now.

Because you don't say well I've got, you can have a heart or brain, a skull. I think there might even be a brain in there.

I'm going to take a brain cause I like that.

I'm gonna take this green Hill.

Right now, baby.

Baby but ********* before.

And petrified baby. How big is good for?

You or bad for you good. There's petrifies. It's going to meet up.

Thank you for listening. I hope you've enjoyed our rather macabre Halloween special. If you enjoyed it, Anton.

This medicine isn't helping.

Yeah, you know, Doctor.

Yeah, I haven't read it.

Yes, so please follow us on Twitter at.

In the current hot Pot, mother security.

Visit our websites.

At the curiosity of a child.

Pictures of a child.com.

Oh, and of course rates and review us and just before we go we got a new review so so we doubt okay.

This review comes from iTunes.

And thank you very much too.

Leak_I_I'm__father and he says five stars by safety razors. Five stars.

And he says great wholesome effort. This is a fun podcast. Each episode is getting better overtime. You can tell they're getting the hang of it. I don't know that's going to apply to this one in the kitchen.

As a father, it gives me inspiration to feed my young children.

To feed my young children.

With all the wild and wacky facts of the world, and fewer than imagination is not just for kids. Give it a listen. I swear you'll learn lots you didn't know. Thank you I but done by Father and son. Yeah, that's nice, isn't it? So thank you very much, Luke. If we had T shirts or merchandise, hard send you one. But we don't.

And yeah, so I've got some ideas for the next episode. I'm going to see if I can line up another special thing and to our listeners. Thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed it and will talk to you again soon.

Hopefully before I haven't died with the medicine.

This could save you. This is the finest medicine of history.

Goodbye goodbye.