Thursday, July 23, 2015

His Phantasy Wrought So Far

Well! I was just sitting here reading in THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY about a guy who accidentally swallowed a mouthful of water from a pit where he knew frogs lived, and so "began to suspect that he had likewise swallowed frogs' spawn, and with that conceit and fear his phantasy wrought so far, that he verily thought he had young live frogs in his belly, that lived by his nourishment, and was so certainly persuaded of it... he studied Physick seven years together to cure himself." In 1609 he met with all the greatest physicians in Europe about it! They tried to explain to him that it was just his imagination "but he pertinaciously contradicted." To help him get over it, his friend Platerus "would have deceived him by putting live frogs into his excrements," but this guy didn't fall for that well-meant trick! After all, he was "a wise and learned man otherwise, a Doctor of Physick."