Walking in History

Ruma - earliest pictorial record of Polio (3,000 BC)

Ruma was a Syrian boy who probably had the earliest known case of a disease now known as Polio. When Ruma was 5 years old he got very sick with pain in his head and his leg ached. When he was no better after several days, his father carried the boy to the temple where they believed the priest would cure him with powerful magic (charms, amulets, herbs, and magic drinks).

The story of Ruma is seen on a 3,000 year old Egyptian tablet, and is perhaps the earliest pictorial record of Polio. Some thought maybe his leg was just poorly drawn, but the stone tablet (stele) tells the story of Ruma, now a grown man with a withered right leg. And, he is holding a long stick to use as a crutch. The tablet tells that he is a gatekeeper at the temple of Astarte in Egypt. He is shown with his wife, Ama and his young son, Ptah-m-heb. He brings with him fruit, wine, and a gazelle for the goddess he believes saved his life.

"Never to Die: the Egyptians in their own words," by Josephine Mayer and Tom Prideaux, p. 80

"Polio Pioneers, The Story of the Fight Against Polio" by Dorothy and Philip Sterling, 1955, p. 9-12

The Polio Stele (limestone with original paintwork) is part of museum collection at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Dantes Plads
7, Copenhagen, Denmark, and was acquired in Egypt in the 1980s.

King Narmer (3,200 BC)

Mighty stride and powerful gastrocnemius and soleus. Scene from the ceremonial slate (mudstone) palette of Narmer (the last king of Dynasty 0/ or the first king of Dynasty I) discovered at Hierakonpolis, 25º N 05'; 32º E 47', by Quibell in 1898.

Poliomyelitis: A Summer Plague Polio and its Survivors, by Tony Gould

                      One of the most amazing things about poliomyelitis is that no epidemic of it was
                      noted until seventy-one years ago. Large epidemics of other virus diseases, such as
                      smallpox, yellow fever, influenza, and measles, are recorded much farther back in

                                                       Greer Williams, Virus Hunters (1960)

                      No doubt many scenes which occurred in London during the great plague of 1665
                      were reenacted in our Long Island andWestchester towns. Under the sway of
                      panic people looked with skepticism and suspicion on government health officers.
                      The selectmen of many villages, whose doctors were struggling with the impossible
                      and failing to stop the epidemic or save the individual case from paralysis, resorted
                      to home-made martial law. Deputy sheriffs, hastily appointed and armed with
                      shot-guns, patrolled the roads leading in and out of towns, grimly turning back all
                      vehicles in which were found children under sixteen years of age. Railways refused
                      tickets to these selected youngsters, the innocent victims of ignorance and despair.
                      Indeed, the notion was firmly held that below the magic age, called sweet at other
                      times, there lurked the dread disease, whereas above it no menace existed either
                      for the individual or the community.

                                                   George Draper, Infantile Paralysis (1935)

                      The epidemic of 1916 will go down in history as the high-water mark in attempts at
                      enforcement of isolation and quarantine measures.

                                               John R. Paul, A History of Poliomyelitis (1971)

It was not the disease itself, but outbreaks of epidemic proportions that were of recent origin. An Egyptian stele, dating from
the period 1580-1350 BC and depicting a young man with a withered leg leaning on a long staff, suggests that polio has been endemic since ancient times.

                     The term poliomyelitis derives from the Greek words, polios, meaning `grey', and myelos,
                 `matter', and refers to the grey matter of the spinal cord. The disease was called by many names
                 in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including: Dental Paralysis, Infantile Spinal
                 Paralysis, Teething Paralysis, Essential Paralysis of Children, Regressive Paralysis, Myelitis of the
                 Anterior Horns, Tephromyelitis (from the Greek tephros, meaning `ash-grey') and, most
                 poetically, Paralysis of the Morning-after the way in which a child goes to bed apparently
                 healthy, wakes feverish in the night and then is unable to get up in the morning. The number of
                 names ÷ and there were several others ÷ reflects the confusion over the nature of the disease.

                     Perhaps the earliest recorded case is that of Sir Walter Scott (born in Edinburgh in 1771),
                 who was led to believe that he `showed every sign of health and strength' till he was about
                 eighteen months old. Then:

                      One night, I have been told, I showed great reluctance to be caught and put to bed,
                      and after being chased about the room, was apprehended and consigned to my
                      dormitory with some difficulty. It was the last time I was to show much personal
                      agility. In the morning I was discovered to be affected with the fever which often
                      accompanies the cutting of large teeth. It held me three days. On the fourth, when
                      they went to bathe me as usual, they discovered that I had lost the power of my
                      right leg .... There appeared to be no dislocation or sprain; blisters and other
                      topical remedies were applied in vain ...

                      The impatience of a child soon inclined me to struggle with my infirmity, and I
                      began by degrees to stand, to walk, and to run. Although the limb affected was
                      much shrunk and contracted, my general health, which was of more importance,
                      was much strengthened by [my] being frequently in the open air, and, in a word, I
                      who in a city had probably been condemned to helpless and hopeless decrepitude,
                      was now a healthy, high-spirited, and, my lameness apart, a sturdy child ...

                 The first attempt at a clinical description of the disease was made by the English physician,
                 Michael Underwood, in the second edition of his treatise on the Diseases of Children,
                 published in 1789. He calls it `Debility of the Lower Extremities' and writes: `It is not a common
                 disorder, I believe, and seems to occur seldomer in London than in some parts. Nor am I
                 enough acquainted with it to be fully satisfied, either, in regard to the true cause or seat of the
                 disease, either from my own observation, or that of others.' Nevertheless, he is inclined to
                 attribute it to `teething and foul bowels'. Where both lower extremities `have been paralytic,
                 nothing has seemed to do any good but irons to the legs, for the support of the limbs, and
                 enabling the patient to walk'. (A later editor of Underwood's treatise, obviously unfamiliar with
                 the flaccidity of the paralysis resulting from polio, comments parenthetically: `If the limbs are
                 paralytic, how are irons to the legs to enable the patient to walk?')

                      The first account of an outbreak of the disease was written by a young doctor
                      called John Badham, the son of a distinguished professor of medicine at the
                      University of Glasgow. It took place in 1835 in Worksop, in north
                      Nottinghamshire. There were four cases, described by Badham in meticulous
                      detail. He comments on the `extraordinary youth' of all four patients; on the
                      `cerebral symptoms', such as drowsiness or abnormality of the pupils of the eye; on
                      the `remarkable [fact] that in no one instance has the health of the child been in any
                      degree impaired'; and on the strabismus (squinting) apparent in one case, leading
                      him `to suspect a cerebral complication, rather than a spinal one'. Unfortunately, the
                      thirty-two-year-old John Badham died of consumption in 1840, the very year in
                      which the first systematic investigation of poliomyelitis, written partly in response to
                      his account of the Worksop outbreak, was published in Germany.

                     Like Badham, Jacob von Heine draws attention both to the extreme youth of patients (six
                 months to three years) and to their good general health (though he is referring to their health
                 preceding the attack). But where Badham sees only `drowsiness', Heine recognises fever and
                 pain in children during the pre-paralytic phase of the illness, which makes him think that the
                 disease may be contagious, and far from suspecting `a cerebral complication, rather than a spinal
                 one', he finds no cerebral involvement and concludes that all the symptoms `point to an affection
                 of the central nervous system, namely the spinal cord'.

                     In the matter of treatment (which had baffled Badham), Heine steered clear of fashionable
                 nostrums such as purges, emetics, blisters and bleedings, and recommended `exercise, baths,
                 and various simple surgical procedures, followed by the application of braces and apparatus'. As
                 the historian of the disease and a leading participant in its `conquest', Dr John R. Paul of Yale
                 University points out, `Considering the degree to which the handling of a given disease is wont to
                 change over a period of 125 years, Heine's treatment of paralyzed limbs and the resulting
                 deformities and disabilities of children has undergone remarkably little alteration.'

                     In 1907 the Swedish paediatrician, Ivar Wickman, named the disease `Heine-Medin disease'
                 after both the great German orthopaedist and the Swedish pioneer, Karl Oskar Medin, whose
                 pupil Wickman was. Medin's involvement in an unprecedented outbreak of forty-four cases in
                 Stockholm in 1887 led him to categorise various types of the disease ÷ spinal, bulbar, ataxic,
                 encephalitic and polyneuritic ÷ as well as, crucially, to conclude that its acute phase consisted of
                 two separate fevers, sometimes with a fever-free remission (what the American doctor George
                 Draper mis-labelled the `dromedary form' ÷ it is the Bactrian camel, not the dromedary, that
                 has two humps). The initial fever was no more than a general malaise; it was the second attack
                 that did the damage to the central nervous system.

                     The significance of this finding was not lost on the young Ivar Wickman when he came to
                 investigate the infinitely more serious Scandinavian epidemic of 1905, in which there were more
                 than 1,000 cases. The questions that concerned him were: was the disease contagious and, if so,
                 how was it spread ÷ by direct contact with infected children, or by carriers of the virus who
                 themselves showed no sign of infection? Others, including On Charles Caverly in his notes on the
                 1894 Vermont outbreak, had observed that there could be `abortive' or non-paralytic cases.
                 Wickman's originality lay in suggesting that non-paralytic cases were both far more widespread
                 than anyone had supposed and instrumental in spreading the disease. His experience of the 1905
                 epidemic convinced him that Heine-Medin disease was highly contagious, and that apparently
                 healthy or only mildly affected persons played a key role in spreading it.

                     Although he committed suicide at the age of forty-two, just two years before the New York
                 epidemic, Wickman's historic monograph of 1907 earned him a place in the Polio Hall of Fame
                 erected in 1958 at Warm Springs, Georgia, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the
                 National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (where fifteen doctors and scientists are honoured,
                 along with the founders of the NFIP, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Basil O'Connor).

                 The end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century was once considered a
                 medical golden age, but has recently been dubbed `the Childhood of Scientific Medicine, a
                 period of great stimulus and rapid growth, filled with the excitement of learning new things ÷
                 and also filled with childish certainties'. Following Robert Koch's painstaking and brilliant work
                 on anthrax, tuberculosis and cholera, and Pasteur's discovery of a rabies vaccine (a century after
                 Jenner had started the whole business of vaccination by deliberately infecting people with
                 cowpox as a preventive of smallpox), `Everybody, everywhere, tried to hunt microbes, see
                 them, grow them, identify them, explain them, escape them. Their primary activity ... was finding
                 and naming the causes of infectious diseases. It was the Day of Diagnosis.' The microbes being
                 so assiduously hunted were largely bacteria, and the essential tackle needed for their capture
                 included the microscope, dyes that highlighted the microorganisms, culture dishes, test tubes and
                 some unfortunate laboratory animal to act as involuntary host. Bacteriology, or microbiology,
                 was the name of this sport; virology had yet to be born.

                     As far as microbe hunters were concerned, the only difference between bacteria and viruses
                 was one of size. Bacteria were the organisms which would not pass through a porcelain filter;
                 viruses the ones which would. If the filtration process succeeded in sterilising cultures of
                 organisms, then they were bacteria; if not ÷ and laboratory animals could be reinfected after
                 filtration of the culture ÷ it was called a virus. Bacteria became visible under the microscope if
                 stained with certain types of dye; viruses, however, were too small to be seen, even through an
                 optical microscope, and it was practically impossible to study them visually before the invention
                 of the electron microscope in 1937.

                     Despite the virtual invisibility of viruses, immunisation was first discovered in relation to a virus
                 ÷ smallpox ÷ and the first two human vaccines (the second being rabies) were virus vaccines.
                 But as John Rowan Wilson points out, `almost all the really productive developments in this field
                 after the death of Pasteur until 1930 were in connection with bacteria. The reason for this lay in
                 the technical difficulties of culturing the organisms'. In Vienna in 1908, Drs Karl Landsteiner and
                 Erwin Popper discovered that the infectious agent for poliomyelitis was not a bacterium, but a
                 `filterable virus' ÷ as any micro-organism that passed through the porcelain filter came to be
                 called. When Landsteiner and Popper injected filtered fluid taken from the spinal cord of a polio
                 victim into the brains of two monkeys, both animals went down with the disease. Through their
                 experiment, the two scientists not only established the cause of polio, but also set the pattern for
                 future research, with monkeys as polio's primary `guinea pigs'.

                     The importance of their discovery was widely recognised, not least by Simon Flexner in New
                 York. Flexner had been appointed director of the newly established Rockefeller Institute for
                 Medical Research in 1903 and had already successfully developed an antiserum (serum is the
                 watery fluid left when blood coagulates and contains proteins called globulins which comprise
                 antibodies) for cerebrospinal meningitis. In doing this, he had worked out one of `only about four
                 big ideas [needed] in order to prevent human diseases via vaccination'.

                      The first big idea, at least two thousand years old, is that people who recover from
                      certain infectious diseases are safe from a second attack. The second is that a
                      scientist can find a suitable animal host, susceptible to the infection, that will
                      manufacture virus for him in quantity. The third idea is that in such a host, or
                      through some laboratory manoeuvre, the scientist can find a way of taming,
                      stunning, or killing the virus so that it will still produce disease resistance but not the
                      disease. The fourth idea is the use of antibodies in an immune serum ÷ or
                      antiserum, as it is also called ÷ as a quantitative index for virus presence. This is
                      called a virus-neutralization test.

                 The neutralisation test was originated by George M. Sternberg, a military doctor who was
                 promoted to Surgeon General of the US army during Cleveland's presidency. It was already
                 known that blood serum contained antitoxic properties in relation to bacteria, but Sternberg was
                 the first to show that it was true for viruses, too. Following Sternberg's ÷ and Landsteiner's ÷
                 lead, Flexner `demonstrated in 1910 that the serum of monkeys convalescent from experimental
                 [i.e. artificially induced] poliomyelitis contained antibodies, spoken of as "germicidal substances"
                 ÷ a finding that was made almost simultaneously by Landsteiner and others'.

                      Shortly after this, Netter and Levaditi [in Paris] and others also found these
                      neutralizing substances in the blood of humans recovering from poliomyelitis. This
                      demonstration of antibodies in convalescent patients was to prove another
                      landmark in the therapeutic history of the disease. Its significance ranked almost on
                      a par with the discovery of the virus, a fact unappreciated until some years later.

                 One of several sons of Jewish immigrant parents, Simon Flexner had had a distinctly unpromising
                 childhood in Louisville, Kentucky. When he was ten, his father, Morris, had taken him along to
                 the local jail as a tacit warning of what lay ahead of him if he did not mend his ways. But this visit
                 filled the young Flexner with excitement rather than dread and he surprised his older brothers,
                 who had gathered round to gloat over his humiliation, by saying that he had `had a swell time'.
                 He left school at fourteen and was apprenticed to a plumber, according to one historian, who
                 writes: `At the end of a week the plumber returned him to his father with the blunt evaluation that
                 he was too dumb to be a plumber.' It is a good story, perhaps too good, since Flexner's son tells
                 it rather differently:

                      Simon received a curt command to follow his father and was led into a plumber's
                      shop. Morris pushed the boy forward and offered him to the plumber as an
                      apprentice. The plumber said he did not need an apprentice. Morris went out and
                      walked off, leaving the boy standing on the street.

                 Whichever version one accepts, there can be no doubt that during his adolescence Flexner was,
                 in his own words, `in and out of wretched jobs leading nowhere'. It was not until he was
                 apprenticed to a pharmacist that he found a sense of direction. After that, his rise was meteoric,
                 through Johns Hopkins Medical School in its heyday and a professorship of pathology at the
                 University of Pennsylvania to the Rockefeller Institute, whose first director he was ÷ a post he
                 held for more than thirty years. Considering the ÷ perhaps disproportionate ÷ influence he
                 would have on medical research in the United States over three decades, it is worth noting that
                 his initial medical education at the University of Louisville Medical School was a farce. Flexner
                 recalls, `I did not learn to practice medicine, indeed, I cannot say that I was particularly helped
                 by the school. What it did for me was give me the MD degree.' Appropriately enough, his own
                 younger brother, Abraham, was to put an end to such anomalies by exposing them in his 1910
                 `Flexner Report' on Medical Education in the United States and Canada.

                     Simon Flexner's lack of clinical competence and experience, combined with his belief that
                 `medicine derived from such basic sciences as pathology, physiology, chemistry, and
                 bacteriology', meant that his initial staff appointments to the Rockefeller Institute `were not of
                 physicians interested in pursuing problems in clinical medicine, but rather of investigators skilled
                 in the basic sciences who sought to cast light on medical problems through experimental
                 research'. The success of the institute's experiments with monkeys in developing the antiserum
                 for cerebrospinal meningitis, reducing the mortality rate from three in four to one in four,
                 convinced Flexner of the validity of his methods and determined his approach to polio research,
                 encouraging a degree of confidence which was scarcely justified by subsequent events.

                     Initially, however, he succeeded in taking Landsteiner's work a crucial stage further by
                 transferring poliovirus not just from humans to monkeys, but from monkey to monkey. (Others,
                 including Landsteiner himself, also achieved this, but Flexner did it first.) When Flexner published
                 his report, he omitted the word experimental from the title ÷ a very significant omission,
                 according to Dr John Paul:

                      Indeed this was a major mistake that was to dog Flexner's footsteps throughout his
                      entire professional life ÷ his failure to distinguish between certain aspects of
                      experimental poliomyelitis in the monkey and the disease in man ... It was an error
                      with unfortunate implications that were to influence thought at the Rockefeller
                      Institute for a generation.

                 Paul compares Flexner's role as `laboratory doctor' unfavourably with the clinical investigations
                 of a contemporary Swedish team headed by Carl Kling. Sweden had suffered another epidemic
                 in 1911 (at nearly 4,000 cases the largest to date anywhere in the world), and Kling and his
                 colleagues succeeded in isolating poliovirus from living patients ÷ not just from those who had
                 been paralysed, but from abortive cases as well, thus confirming Wickman's theories about the
                 way the disease spread. From autopsies they also made important discoveries of the sites in the
                 body favoured by the virus other than the central nervous system, where the damage was done;
                 as they expected, they found it in the throat, but they were surprised to find it in the intestinal wall
                 as well. This caused them to ponder such key questions as how the virus entered the body and
                 how, once there, it penetrated the central nervous system. They did not come up with all the
                 answers but, by combining clinical and laboratory techniques, at least they were asking the right

                     A news item in the New York Times of 9 March 1911 suggests that Simon Flexner was so
                 confident of the rectitude of his approach that he was not looking to the Swedes or anyone else
                 for help in solving the mysteries of polio:

                      The Rockefeller Institute in this city believes that its search for a cure for infantile
                      paralysis is about to be rewarded. Within six months, according to Dr Simon
                      Flexner, definite announcement of a specific remedy may be expected.

                      `We have already discovered how to prevent the disease,' says Dr Flexner in a
                      statement published here today, `and the achievement of a cure, I may
                      conservatively say, is not now far distant ...'

                 No cure for polio has ever been achieved and more than forty years would elapse before a safe
                 and reliable method of prevention was developed. 

Did the polio vaccine cause AIDS?

During the 90's Edward Hooper, a British journalist, traveled to Africa and became convinced that AIDS was an act of man, not an act of God. He interviewed hundred of participants and collected thousands of documents to support his theory. The earliest cases of AIDS occurred in central Africa, in the same regions where Koprowski's vaccine was given to over a million people in 1957-1960.

Hooper mapped the locations where Koprowski's CHAT vaccine was given and where the earliest cases of AIDS were discovered. It showed a dramatic geographical correlation.

Hooper claims that kidneys from chimpanzees infected with SIV were used to grow the polio virus during Koprowski's 1950's vaccination campaign. Archival footage confirms that a large number of chimpanzees were housed at Camp Lindi, located upstream from Koprowski's medical laboratory in Stanleyville in the former Belgian Congo.

Paul Osterrieth and Hilary Koprowski steadfastly denied that chimpanzee tissue was used to grow the polio virus in the Congo.

Before his death Pierre Doupagne, the chief technician at the laboratory of Stanleyville admitted to Edward Hooper that he made sterile tissue culture from chimps for Paul Osterrieth.

In September 2000 the world's top AIDS specialists assembled at London's Royal Society for a conference on the origins of AIDS. It was meant to give Edward Hooper a chance to present his evidence to the scientific community.

From the opening of the conference arguments were launched against Hooper's theory. Then there was was a surprise announcement. Samples of Kopowski's CHAT vaccine had been located and tested and found not to have any trace of HIV, SIV or chimp DNA.

This announcement was viewed by the scientific community as a decisive statement against Hooper's theory. Articles were published in Nature and Science concluded that Hooper's hypothesis was not viable.

The Emperor Claudius (reigned 41 - 54AD)

Emperor Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus was born in 10 BC to Nero Claudius Drusus and his wife
     Antonia. Although he came from a royal blood line, his family had a very low opinion of his abilities and often
     ignored him. Labeled an invalid from birth because of physical disabilities including partial paralysis, stammering,
     slobbering, and limping, he was the last person his family thought would inherit the throne and serve as Roman
     Emperor. An outcast in his home environment, Claudius turned to the study of history to occupy his time. He
     authored various works about orthographic reform of the Roman alphabet and a work defending Cicero, a
     republican politician and orator. Claudius also enjoyed playing dice games.

Claudius escaped the wrath of his mad nephew, Caligula, because the effects of his infantile paralysis (polio) made him appear as no threat to the throne. However, after the Praetorian Guard assassinated Caligula and he was thrust upon the throne, he
surprised everyone by being a capable administrator. His major mistake was recalling Caligula's sister Agrippina back from
banishment and wedding her. She later poisoned him after he adopted her son Nero, to get her son on the throne.

     Claudius' rise to power came after Emperor Gauis (Caligula), his nephew, was unexpectedly murdered on January
     1, AD 41. Claudius became heir to the throne, to many a Roman's dismay. The soldiers, courtiers, freedman, and
     foreigners were his main support although the senatorial aristocracy also offered to back the new emperor. Many
     Romans sought to have Claudius assassinated because of his cruel and ruthless discussions and actions with
     members of the senate and knighthood. It is thought by some that he even executed senators on occasion. Despite
     this conflict Claudius did respect these agencies and gave new opportunities to them both.

     Claudius' reign was marked with an expansion of the Roman Empire. He invaded and conquered Britain in AD 43
     and captured Camulodunum. There he started a colony of veterans and built client-kingdoms to protect the small
     populated land. Claudius also took over North Africa and annexed Mauretania, where he established two
     provinces as well. Around AD 49 he also annexed Iturea and allowed the province of Syria to control it, trying
     not to come into conflict with the Germans and the Parthians.

     In the area of civil administration he encouraged urbanization. The judicial system improved under his reign and he
     favored the modern extension by individual and collective grants in Noricum. Claudius also made many
     administrative innovations. He increased his control over finances and province administration and gave
     jurisdiction of fiscal matters to the governors under him in the senatorial provinces.

     Claudius' personal life was wrought with conflicts that ultimately led to his undoing. He married three times. His
     first wife, Boudicca, started a revolt, and his second wife had a strong sexual appetite that led her to conspiracy
     and ultimately, her execution. Claudius' third time was not a charm either. He decided to stay within the family and
     married his niece, Aggripina. She was very influential over Claudius to the point where he adopted her son Nero.
     Then she fed Claudius a dinner containing poisonous mushrooms which killed him. Her main motive was that her
     precious son, Nero, might inherit the throne.

     Although Claudius was generally thought of as a weak leader and was labeled, even by his own family, as
     someone not worthy to rule; he made notable contributions to the development of the Roman empire. He
     conquered and colonized Britain, established provinces in North Africa, and he urbanized and innovated his civil
     administration. He died an unnecessary and tragic death by a plate of poisonous mushrooms dished out by his scheming, power-hungry wife.and was succeeded by his adopted son, Nero.

The medical and historical evidence suggest that Claudius was given mushrooms that contained muscarine, a deadly toxin that
attacks the nervous system, causing a wide range of agonizing symptoms," says William A. Valente, M.D., clinical professor of
medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

On October 13, AD 54, Claudius became gravely ill after devouring a heaping helping of mushrooms served up by his fourth
wife, Agrippina. His symptoms included extreme abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, low blood pressure,
and difficulty breathing. Claudius was dead within 12 hours.

So what was Agrippina's motive? "Power," says Richard Talbert, Ph.D., who is the William Rand Kenan Professor of History
at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Ambitious and influential, Agrippina had convinced Claudius to adopt her son
Nero, so that Nero would inherit the throne. But when Agrippina learned that Claudius might tap his own son for the job,
Agrippina hatched the mushroom murder plot.

Some historians have suggested that Claudius' demise was hastened by an additional dose of poison administered by his
physician. "That's pure speculation," says Dr. Talbert, who notes that the historical record is far from complete. While the
weapon of choice was the poisoned mushrooms, Dr. Valente says Claudius may actually have died of "de una uxore
nimia,"---a Latin phrase meaning "one too many wives."

Some say that Claudius also gives his name to the symptom of intermiittent claudication, pathognomonic of peripheral vascular disease. He had a limp together with a tendency to stop walking and grimace as if in pain. The two words however, are etymologically unrelated. There already existed a latin word at the time 'claudeo/claudico' which meant to limp, which seems a rather cruel coincidence for the Emperor. Claudicant first appeared in the English language in 1624.

Autobiography, translated by Robert Graves

Tamerlane (1336 - 1405) - The Iron Limper

Tamerlane, the name was derived from the Persian Timur-i lang, "Temur the Lame" by Europeans during the 16th century. His Turkic name is Timur, which means 'iron'. In his life time, he has conquered more than anyone else except for Alexander. His armies crossed Eurasia from Delhi to Moscow, from the Tien Shan Mountains of Central Asia to the Taurus Mountains in Anatolia. From 1370 till his death 1405, Temur built a powerful empire and became the last of great nomadic leaders.



There are abundant ancient sources written about Tamerlane. We have the primary source from Spanish Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, sent by King Henry III of Castile on a return embassy to Tamerlane. There is also a Persian biography of Tamerlane by Ali Sharaf ad-Din and the Arab biography by Ahmad ibn Arabshah; from Marlowe to Edgar Allan Poe, he continues to fascinate us as hero or viper.

Timur claimed direct descent from Jenghiz Khan through the house of Chagatai. He was born at Kesh (the Green city), about fifty miles south of Sarmarkand in 1336, a son of a lesser chief of the Barlas tribe. Sharaf ad-Din explained that in his 20s, he received arrow wounds in battle while stealing sheep in his twenties and left him lame in the right leg and with a stiff right arm for the rest of his life. But Tamerlane made light of these disabilities; by 1369 he had possessed himself of all the lands which had formed the heritage of Chagatai and, after being proclaimed sovereign at Balkh, made Samarkand his capital.

 He was said to be tall strongly built and well proportioned, with a large head and broad forehead. His complexion was pale and ruddy, his beard long and his voice full and resonant. Arabshah describes him approaching seventy, a master politician and military strategist:

 steadfast in mind and robust in body, brave and fearless, firm as rock. He did not care for jesting or lying; wit and trifling pleased him not; truth, even were it painful, delighted him.....He loved bold and valiant soldiers, by whose aid he opend the locks of terror, tore men to pieces like lions, and overturned mountains. He was fautless in strategy, constant in fortune, firm of purpose and truthful in business.

In 1941, the body of Tamerlane was permitted to be exhumed by a Russian scientist, M. M. Gerasimov. The scientist found Timur, after examining his skeleton, a Mongoloid man about 5 feet 8 inches. He also confirmed Tamerlane's lameness. In his book The Face Finder, Gerasimov explains how he was able to reconstruct exact likenesses of Timur from a careful consideration of his skull.

Different sources indicate that Timur is a man with extraordinary intelligence - not only intuitive, but intellectual. Even though he did not know how to read or write, he spoke two or three languages including Persian and Turkic and liked to be read history at mealtimes. He had aesthetic appreciation in buildings and garden. It has been said that he loved art so much that he could not help stealing it! The Byzantine palace gates of the Ottoman capital of Brusa were carried off to Samarkand, where they were much admired by Clavijo. Ibn Khaldun, who met him outside Damascus in 1401 worte:

 "This king Timur is one of the greatest and mightiest kings...he is hightly intelligent and very perspicacious, addicted to debate and argument about what he knows and also about what he does not know!"

Known to be a chess player, he had invented a more elaborate form of the game, now called Tamerlane Chess, with twice the number of pieces on a board of a hundred and ten squares.

The same as Jenghiz Khan, Timur rose from a nomad ruler; however unlike Jenghiz Khan, he was the first one based his strength on the exploitation of settled populations and inherited a system of rule which could encompass both settled and nomad populations. Those who saw Timur's army described it as a huge conglomeration of different peoples - nomad and settled, Muslims and Christians, Turks, Tajiks, Arabs, Georgians and Indians. Timur's conquests were extraordinary not only for their extent and their success, but also for their ferocity and massacres. The war machine was composed of 'tumen', military units of a 10,000 in the conquered territories. It consisted of his family, loyal tribes particularly the Barlas and Jalayir tribes, recruited soldiers from nomadic population from as far as the Moghuls, Golden Horde and Anatolia, and finally Persian- speaking sedentarists.

Timur and his army were never at rest and neither age nor increasing infirmity could halt his growing ambitions. In 1391 Timur's army fought and won in the great battle of Kanduzcha on June 18. Following his campaign in India, he acquired an elephant corps and took them back to Samarkand for building mosques and tombs. He led the attack and victory on the Ottoman army in the battle of Ankara on July 28 1402.

With great interest in trade, Timur had a grand plan to reactivate the Silk Road, the central land route, and make it the monopoly link between Europe and China. Monopolization was to be achieved by war: primarily, against the Golden Horde, the master of principal rival, the northern land route; secondarily, against the states of western Persia and the Moghuls to the east in order to place the Silk Road under unified control politically; and finally agaist India, Egypt and China. 

Chinese Foot-binding

Child wearing Lotus shoes is carried across cobbled San Francisco streetThe Chinese custom of foot binding is another curious reminder of the relationship between the foot and sex. Strapping of the foot with means of tight bandages over a period of two or three years was needed to engender the desired effect. Traditionally, foot-binding began between the ages of five and seven. Pain was most severe during the first year but gradually diminished.  During the binding the girl at night lay across the bed, putting her legs on the edge of the bedstead in such a manner as to make pressure under the knees, thus numbing the parts below. The feet were unbound only once a month, and the foot was often found gangrenous and ulcerated, with one or two toes not infrequently being lost. The aim of the ordeal was to produce a ãthree-inch golden lotusä. The practice, began in the Tang Dynasty (923-936 AD), continued until the communist era: a 1997 UC San Francisco study of women over 70 in Beijing found 50% had bound foot deformities. In 1998, the Xinhua News Agency announced that the Zhiqiang Shoe Factory, the last to manufacture shoes for bound-feet women would henceforth only make them on a special-order basis. The factory had added small shoes for old women to its product range in 1991 to fill a gap in the market, which was at that time focused on high-heeled shoes.

Walking in military history

According to the historian Mary Mosher Flesher, a research associate at Smith College in
 Northampton, Massachusetts, locomotion research was the key to military success in the
 eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Soldiers of that era could no longer afford to fling
 themselves at one another in a furious melee, Flesher points out in a recent paper in Annals
 of Science. Thanks to the invention of muskets, foot soldiers could now pick off cavalry from
 a distance, and battles were decided by marching speed and rate of fire. "An
 eighteenth-century battle was like a chess game," Flesher says. "The armies didn't always
 want to meet and fight. They were trying to get around each other, to establish positions as
 quickly as possible."

 Rather than waste time aiming their inaccurate muskets, soldiers formed tight ranks, shot in
 the general direction of the enemy and then dropped back to reload while the row behind
 them advanced. To help soldiers carry out all those actions as efficiently as possible, an
 empirical military science of marching was developed.

 Marching theory, Flesher writes, treated a regiment as a mechanical system, carefully
 quantifying the length and cadence of each soldier's step and the movement of bodies
 through space. The first musket drills were developed by the Dutch in the late sixteenth
 century, but they reached an apex of precision among the Prussians of the mid-eighteenth
 century. On the basis of battlefield observations, Frederick the Great's soldiers were taught
 to stand erect yet relaxed and to swing their legs stiffly as they marched. To synchronize
 their movements they stamped their heels on the ground and clapped their gun barrels in
 unison, while drill sergeants timed their steps with stopwatches.

 Prussian martinets are a modern-day caricature. But they were once a military wonder. "The
 more I read about them, the more I marvel at how much they knew," Flesher says. "Frederick
 was able to increase the marching rate from six to twelve miles a day. His troops could cross
 the battlefield obliquely, in step, while their foes were still moving at right angles." In 1763,
 when the Prussians defeated France and its allies in the Seven Years' War, they owed their
 triumph, in part, to better walking. As a result, the single-mindedness and discipline of
 military drills became a blueprint for everything from manliness to philosophy to political
 authority in Prussia.

Marching theory had many of the earmarks of objective research: it was precise and its
 results were reproducible; it was rigorously tested and continually reexamined. But it took
 civilians to create a true science of locomotion--one that applied to more than just the
 battlefield. Beginning in the 1820s, Eduard, Wilhelm and Ernst Heinrich Weber, three German
 brothers with backgrounds in physiology, anatomy and mechanics, established the world's
 first movement laboratory. The Webers used Hanoverian soldiers as subjects, but they tried
 to make the soldiers forget their training: they wanted to study natural walking, not
 marching. In their 1836 book, Mechanics of the Human Walking Apparatus, the Webers
 described the undulations of the spine, the inclination of the pelvis and the effects of wind
 and gravity on the body. Their conclusion--that the body's natural gait is more efficient than
 marching in most situations--brought walking science full circle.

 By the early nineteenth century, in any case, precise marching had lost some of its military
 value. Guns had become more accurate and easier to load, and so soldiers were advised to
 take time to aim. Massive regiments had become easy targets. Skirmishing was now the
 order of the day, and Native American hunters were the new model soldiers. The Webers'
 defense of natural walking, in other words, fit the times perfectly. The Age of Reason, with
 its perfectly ordered armies, had given way to the romantic age, with its emphasis on
 individualism, improvisation and feel for terrain. Locomotion research would gradually fade to
 the background, into biomechanics and orthopedics labs, no longer destined to turn the tides
 of war.

Science World Jan-Feb, 1998

Mary Mosher Flesher (1997) Repetitive order and the human walking apparatus: Prussian military science versus the Webers' locomotion research Annals of Science 54 (5) 463-487.


(Lat. dis, without, and calceus, shoe).

A term applied to those religious congregations of men and women, the members of which go entirely unshod or wear sandals, with or without other covering for the feet. These congregations are often distinguished of this account from other branches of the same order. The custom of going unshod was introduced into the West by St. Francis of Assissi for men and St. Clare for women. After the various modificiations of the Rule of St. Francis, the Observantines adhered to the primitative custom of going unshod, and in this they were followed by the Minims and Capuchins. The Discalced Franciscans or Alcantarines, who prior to 1897 formed a distinct branch of the Franciscan Order went without footwear of any kind. The followers of St. Clare at first went barefoot, but later came to wear sandals and even shoes. The Colettines and Capuchin Sisters returned to the use of sandals. Sandals were also adopted by the Camaldolese monks of the Congregation of Monte Corona (1522), the Maronite Catholic monks, the Poor Hermits of St. Jerome of the Congregation of Bl. Peter of Pisa, the Augustinians of Thomas of Jesus (1532), the Barefooted Servites (1593), the Discalced Carmelites (1568), the Feuillants (Cistercians, 1575), Trinitarians (1594), Mercedarians (1604), and the Passionists. (See FRIARS MINOR) 

Transcribed by Christine J. Murray 

Pace Sticks

The Royal Regiment of Artillery (UK) claim to be the originator of the pace stick. It was used by field gun teams to ensure correct distances between the guns. This pace stick was more like a walking stick, with a silver or ivory knob. It could not be manipulated as the more usual pace sticks, as it was opened like a pair of callipers. Th stick was later developed as an aid to drill. In 1928, the late Arthur Brand MVO MBE developed a drill for pace sticks. The stick that he used is still kept in the Warrant Officers and Sergeants mess at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

In 1952 the Academy Sergeant Major (the late John Lord MVO MBE) started a ãpace sticking competitionä. This competition was held annually between Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the Guards Depot. It was originally four Sergeants in the team and a Warrant officer as the team captain who acted as the driver and gave the  words of command over the course which involved marching in slow and quick time whilst alternating turning the stick with the left or right hand. The teams are now modified to a frontage of three Sergeants but the driver still remains a Warrant Officer. Since the closing of the Guards Depot in April 1993 the annual competition has demised, however the All Arms (World Championships) pace sticking competition still carries on and is held annually at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Teams from all over the world compete in different categories for the title of World Champion Pace Sticking team or the prestigious individual World Pace Stick Champion.

Military Stride Length & Cadence

Steps per minute
Distance per minute
Step Length
Slow 75 62 yds 18 ins 30"
Quick 110 91 yds 24 ins 30"
Double 150 150 yds 36"
Side Quick time - 10"
Stepping out Slow or Quick time - 33"
Stepping short Slow or Quick time - 10"
Side pace to clear or cover another (as in forming four deep) - - 21"

In order to beat the time correctly on a drum the "Plummet" must be used. A variety of pendulums or plummets have been constructed for this purpose. When none of these can be procured, the following simple method can be adopted. Suspend a spherical ball of metal by a string that is not liable to stretch; the length of the string measured from the point of suspension to the centre of the ball, must be as follows for the different degrees of march. Thus arranged, the plummet will swing the exact time required.
Inches Hundreths
Slow time 24 96
Quick 11 66
Double 6 26

In comparison to the 120 steps/minute pace of other French units, the Foreign Legion has an 88 steps/minute marching pace. This can be seen at ceremonial parades and public displays attended by the Legion, particularly while parading in Paris on 14 July (Bastille Day). Because of the impressively slow pace, which Legionnaires refer to as the "crawl", the Legion is always the last unit marching in any parade. The Legion is normally accompanied by its own band which traditionally plays the march of any one of the regiments comprising the Legion, except that of the unit actually on parade. The regimental song of each unit and "Le Boudin" (commonly called the blood sausage or black pudding song) is sung by Legionnaires standing at attention. Also, because the Legion must always stay together, it doesn't break formation into two when approaching the presidential grandstand, as other French military units do, in order to preserve the unity of the Legion.

Contrary to popular belief, the adoption of the Legion's slow marching speed was not due to a need to preserve energy and fluids during long marches under the hot Algerian sun. Its exact origins are somewhat unclear, but the official explanation is that although the pace regulation does not seem to have been instituted before 1945, it hails back to the slow, majestic marching pace of the Ancien Régime, and its reintroduction was a "return to traditional roots".

Calvin Coolidge's son

On 30 June 1924, Coolidge's two sons, John and Calvin Jr., set out to play tennis on the White House tennis court. 16-year-old Calvin Jr., in a hurry to get out on the court, donned tennis shoes but no socks. Young Calvin's sockless exertions raised a blister on one of the toes on his right foot. He didn't tell anyone, and it soon became infected. The next day, the 16-year-old awoke with a stiff and painful leg. The doctor was called, and his examination revealed that a septic infection had spread to Calvin's bloodstream and throughout his body. In 1924, penicillin and other revolutionary infection-fighting drugs were yet to be discovered, and Calvin's condition was critical. During the next several days, seven doctors tried stomach washings, blood transfusions, an operation, and other methods in desperate efforts to save the teenager. But Calvin only grew weaker. By July 7, he was delirious. Finally, his body began to relax. He said weakly, "I surrender," and lapsed into a coma. Four hours later, at 10:30 p.m., he died. President Coolidge blamed himself for his son's death, and many have claimed that it plunged him into a depression from which he never recovered.

The strange death of such a prominent young man naturally attracted the attention of the nation. Before long a rumor began circulating (particularly among teenagers) that Calvin Jr.'s death was caused by the dye from his black socks entering his bloodstream through a cut and poisoning him.

How this rumor began is something we can only guess at, and no obvious explanations spring to mind. Obviously the public knew that whatever killed Calvin had something to do with a wound on his foot and blood poisoning, so perhaps the sock rumor arose because it seemed like a logical explanation to those who were not privy to the details of his injury. Or perhaps, as Morgan and Tucker suggest, it may simply have been "the result of youthful anxiety about dress and appearance." Either way, the rumor may have seemed plausible at the time because some of the coloring agents commonly used by the clothing industry (such as zinc chloride, which was used to give socks a pearl gray color, and aniline dye, which was used to make shoe leather black) did indeed often cause serious inflammations when the unabsorbed chemicals came into contact with a wearer's skin.

There appears to be a higher than average rate of divorce, alcoholism, and premature death among the lives of children of U.S. Presidents.

Doug Wead (2002) All The Presidents' Children, Atria Books

John Tyler (President of USA, 1841·1845)

While a 30 year old Congressman in Washington, Tyler developed an illness that remains difficult to diagnose. Based on Tyler's clear description of the illness  it would today be described as a symmetric, generalized, subacute paralysis. His recovery was so slow and prolonged that he resigned from Congress for two years.

Tyler described the illness to his doctor as follows:

                     I sustained a violent singular shock four days ago. I had gone to the house on Thursday morning before experiencing a
                     disagreeable sensation in my head, which increased so much as to force me to leave the hall. It then visited in succession hands,
                     feet, tongue, and lips, creating in each the effect that is produced by what is commonly called a sleeping hand, which all of us are
                     subject to; but it was so severe as to render my limbs, tongue, and so forth, almost useless to me. I was bled and took purgatives
                     which have rendered me convalescent. The doctor ascribed it to a diseased stomach, and very probably correctly did so. I am
                     now walking about and I'm to all appearances well, but often experience a glow in my face and over the whole system which is
                     often followed by debility with pain in my neck and arms.

Possible diagnoses include Guillain-Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, tick paralysis, diphtheritic paralysis, and botulism

Bumgarner, John R. The Health of the Presidents: The 41 United States Presidents Through 1993 from a Physician's Point of View. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-89950-956-8   [a] p. 64 [b] pp. 64-65 [c] p. 65

Dr. Samuel Mudd and John Wilkes Booth's leg fracture

Mudd PortraitAfter he shot President Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth broke his left leg in his leap to the stage at Ford's Theatre. Needing a doctor's assistance, he and David Herold arrived at Dr. Mudd's (about 30 miles from Washington) at approximately 4:00 A.M. on April 15, 1865. Dr. Mudd set, splinted, and bandaged the broken leg (a fracture of the tibia & fibula 3 inches above the ankle joint). The National Park Service photograph to the right shows Booth's boot which Dr. Mudd removed when he treated the leg. Although he had met Booth on at least three prior occasions, Dr. Mudd said he did not recognize his patient. He said the two used the names "Tyson" and "Henston." Booth and Herold stayed at the Mudd residence until the next afternoon (roughly a 12 hour stay). Mudd asked his handyman, John Best, to make a pair of rough crutches for Booth. Mudd was paid $25 for his services. Booth and Herold left in the direction of Zekiah Swamp.

Within days Dr. Mudd was under arrest by the United States Government. He was charged with conspiracy and with harboring Booth and Herold during their escape. He went on trial along with Lewis Powell (Paine), George Atzerodt, Mary Surratt, David Herold, Ned Spangler, Samuel Arnold, and Michael O'Laughlen. In court witnesses described Dr. Mudd as the most attentive of the accused. He was dressed in a black suit with a clean white shirt. Testimony against the doctor at the trial included his harsh treatment of some of his slaves. He shot one male slave (who survived). New information regarding Dr. Mudd surfaced in 1977. A previously unknown statement by conspirator George Atzerodt indicated that John Wilkes Booth had sent liquor and provisions to Dr. Mudd's home two weeks prior to the assassination. Like the other defendants, Dr. Mudd was found guilty. His sentence: life imprisonment. He missed the death penalty by one vote.

Early in 1869 a courier from the United States Government knocked on the front door of the Mudd farm. When Mrs. Mudd answered, the man handed her an envelope and said, "From the President of the United States. Please sign this receipt to certify that I have delivered it to you. If you have a reply, I shall return it for you." Mrs. Mudd opened the envelope and found a letter written on White House stationery. It read:

          Dear Mrs. Mudd: As promised, I have drawn up a pardon for your husband, Dr. Samuel A.
          Mudd. Please come to my office at your earliest convenience. I wish to sign it in your
          presence and give it to you personally.

          President of the United States of America.

Mrs. Mudd went to the White House the next morning. There the President signed and delivered to her the papers for
the release of her husband. The date of the pardon was February 8, 1869.

Dr. Mudd was released from Ft. Jefferson on March 8 and arrived home on March 20. He had served somewhat less than
4 years in prison. He partially regained his medical practice and lived a quiet life on the farm.

Dr. Mudd's father passed away in 1877. In January of 1878 Dr. Mudd's youngest daughter and ninth child, Nettie, was
born. In January of 1883 Dr. Mudd had a busy schedule with many sick patients during a harsh winter. On New Year's
Day he put on his muffler and overshoes and called on patients. He came down with a severe cold. He was running a
fever and had to remain in bed. As the days progressed, the fever rose. On January 10th, 1883, Dr. Mudd died of
pneumonia or pleurisy at the age of 49. He was buried in St. Mary's cemetery next to the Bryantown church where he
first met Booth in 1864. Sarah Frances, who was buried next to him, lived until November 29, 1911. Dr. Mudd's
descendants, most notably Dr. Richard Mudd (1901-2002) of Saginaw, Michigan, worked indefatigably to clear his name
of any complicity with John Wilkes Booth. Recently a petition (petitioner Richard D. Mudd, M.D.) was filed in the United
States District Court for the District of Columbia (case No. 1:97CVO2946) bringing suit against the Secretary of the Army,
Togo West et.al., ordering the Archivist of the United States to "...correct the records in his possession by showing that
Dr. (Samuel A.) Mudd's conviction was set aside pursuant to action taken under 10 U.S.C. sec. 1552.", and that the court
"...order the payment of Petitioner's costs in bringing this action;..." On July 22, 1998, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman
said he would rule soon, and on Thursday, October 29, 1998, he ordered the Army to reconsider the conviction of Dr.
Mudd. Friedman said the Army's recent rulings (see below) against the request were arbitrary. The following decision
was announced on March 9, 2000: SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Army has rejected an appeal to overturn the 1865
conviction of Dr. Samuel Mudd as an accomplice in the escape of John Wilkes Booth after the Lincoln assassination.
Mudd's 99-year-old grandson, Dr. Richard Mudd of Saginaw, has waged a long campaign to clear his grandfather's
name. But this week, Army Assistant Secretary Patrick T. Henry rejected the latest request to throw out Samuel Mudd's
conviction by a military court. Henry said his decision was based on a narrow question - whether a military court had
jurisdiction to try Samuel Mudd, who was a civilian. "I find that the charges against Dr. Mudd (i.e., that he aided and
abetted President Lincoln's assassins) constituted a military offense, rendering Dr. Mudd accountable for his conduct to
military authorities," he wrote in Monday's decision.

On March 14, 2001, Judge Friedman rejected Richard Mudd's contention that his grandfather should not have been tried
by a military court because he was a citizen of Maryland, a state that did not secede from the Union, and thus entitled to
a civil trial. John McHale, a Mudd family spokesman, said that an appeal of Judge Friedman’s ruling would be filed. On
Friday, November 8, 2002, a federal appeals court dismissed the case. Judge Harry Edwards wrote that the law under
which the Mudd family was seeking to have Samuel Mudd's conspiracy conviction expunged applied only to records
involving members of the military. Although Mudd was tried by a military tribunal, he was not a member of the military.

Dr. Mudd, when under arrest for alleged complicity in Lincoln's murder, had described Booth's leg injury as "a straight fracture of the tibia about two inches above the ankle.  There was nothing resembling a compound fracture."(39)  In his letter to Secretary Stanton after the autopsy on Montauk, the Army Surgeon General had stated  that "the left leg and foot were encased in an appliance of splints and bandages, upon the removal of which, a fracture of the fibula (small bone of the leg) 3 inches above the ankle joint, accompanied by considerable ecchymosis, was discovered."(40)  In Montauk's pilothouse that sultry April Thursday no questions had been asked about the leg. However, shortly before his death in 1891 Dr. May composed a memoir in which  he attributed his identification of the body to "my mark. . .unmistakably found by me upon it.  Never in a human had a greater change taken place. . .every vestige of resemblance to the living man had disappeared.   But the mark of the scalpel during life remained indelible in death"   settling once and for all "the identity of the man who had assassinated the President."  And the leg?  "The right limb was greatly contused, and perfectly black from a fracture of one of the long bones. . . ."

John Wilkes Booth's autopsy was performed aboard the Montauk by Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes and Dr. Joseph
Janvier Woodward. On April 27, 1865, Dr. Barnes wrote the following account to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton:


     I have the honor to report that in compliance with your orders, assisted by Dr. Woodward, USA, I made at 2 PM
     this day, a postmortem examination of the body of J. Wilkes Booth, lying on board the Monitor Montauk off
     the Navy Yard.

     The left leg and foot were encased in an appliance of splints and bandages, upon the removal of which, a
     fracture of the fibula (small bone of the leg) 3 inches above the ankle joint, accompanied by considerable
     ecchymosis, was discovered.

     The cause of death was a gun shot wound in the neck - the ball entering just behind the sterno-cleido muscle -
     2 1/2 inches above the clavicle - passing through the bony bridge of fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae -
     severing the spinal chord (sic) and passing out through the body of the sterno-cleido of right side, 3 inches
     above the clavicle.

     Paralysis of the entire body was immediate, and all the horrors of consciousness of suffering and death must
     have been present to the assassin during the two hours he lingered.

Dr. Woodward wrote the following detailed account of his autopsy on John Wilkes Booth:

     Case JWB: Was killed April 26, 1865, by a conoidal pistol ball, fired at the distance of a few yards, from a
     cavalry revolver. The missile perforated the base of the right lamina of the 4th lumbar vertebra, fracturing it
     longitudinally and separating it by a fissure from the spinous process, at the same time fracturing the 5th
     vertebra through its pedicle, and involving that transverse process. The projectile then transversed the spinal
     canal almost horizontally but with a slight inclination downward and backward, perforating the cord which
     was found much torn and discolored with blood (see Specimen 4087 Sect. I AMM). The ball then shattered the
     bases of the left 4th and 5th laminae, driving bony fragments among the muscles, and made its exit at the left
     side of the neck, nearly opposite the point of entrance. It avoided the 2nd and 3rd cervical nerves. These facts
     were determined at autopsy which was made on April 28. Immediately after the reception of the injury, there
     was very general paralysis. The phrenic nerves performed their function, but the respiration was
     diaphragmatic, of course, labored and slow. Deglutition was impracticable, and one or two attempts at
     articulation were unintelligible. Death, from asphyxia, took place about two hours after the reception of the

Break a leg?

Although the Wilkes Booth story has been used to explain the Theater phrase "Break a leg", the most plausible story behind holds that it originated in twentieth-century Germany. Lexicographers believe the phrase comes from the German Halsund Beinbruch (roughly, "break your neck and leg"), a phrase first heard during World War I. Halsund Beinbruch was used in the Luftwaffe as a way of saying happy landings, and it's still used in the theater and among skiers.

American Civil War Prosthetics: The Gettysburg Limb

 In 1866, North Carolina became the first state to start a program to give artificial limbs to thousands of amputees after the war.
 The program offered free rail passage and rooming in Raleigh to veterans who came to the city to have limbs fitted. The state paid $75 to those who didn't want an artificial leg or wanted to buy a different model, and $50 to those who didn't want an artificial arm. In all, 1,550 veterans wrote to the state about their wartime disabilities.

Hanna, the peg-leg whittler -- like his grandson 137 years later -- thought the store-bought leg was something special. It was, Wegner says, "his Sunday-go-to-meeting leg." Hanna, a native of Anson County, was a member of the 26th North Carolina Regiment, a regiment that lost more soldiers than any other on either side in the Civil War.

At Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, he was shot above the left ankle and in the head. Surgeons removed the grapeshot from his head and amputated his leg just below the knee. With arm and leg wounds, "They didn't take shot out back then. They just whacked it off," said Hanna's grandson, Duncan Hanna.

There was broad public support for the artificial-limb program, said Ansley Herring Wegner, a researcher at the N.C. Division of Archives and History. The state spent $81,310.12 on the program between 1866 to 1870, she said. In 1872, the combined state and local budgets for public schools was $155,000, according to state records. She has written a book on the leg program titled "Phantom Pain" that will be published this summer.

Hanna agreed to lend his grandfather's leg to the state. After candy wrappers, a dime and even a baby tooth were removed from inside, the leg underwent some restoration work. It is now on display in a case at the Bentonville Battlefield - next to the blades in a Civil War surgeon's amputation kit.

"He liked to be sharp. He wouldn't wear it in the rain, either - not even with a boot on it," he said. Robert Hanna struggled at times, especially in the fall, when the corn stalks on his farm were dry. "You could hear him screaming, and they'd say, 'Leave him alone,' " his grandson said. "The wind would blow and the corn stalks would rub together and it would sound like men marching. He'd have flashbacks." "He had one that had a bull's hoof on it (for the foot)," his grandson said. Robert Hanna continued using the state-issued leg sparingly until he died in 1918, still a proud Confederate veteran.

 "He was buried with no leg. He was buried in a gray uniform - a gray suit they made for him. He wouldn't wear a blue suit," his grandson said.

Although fortunate to be unconscious during surgery, soldiers who underwent the knife often received a nasty visitor a few days later-infection. Any open wound almost always became infected. The unwashed hands of the surgeon, the non-sterile surgical instruments used on a succession of men, and the dirty sponges used on an entire ward of wounded soldiers all introduced infectious bacteria into wounds. These infections often resulted in gangrene and death.

Case of Private Julius Fabry
Private Julius Fabry, K Company, 4th U.S. Artillery, age 38, was shot in the left knee at the battle of Deep Bottom, Virginia, on Aug.16, 1864. His leg was amputated just above the knee on the following day. The thigh bone became infected and Fabry's pain was treated with morphine for the next 6 years. Pus drained regularly from the infected bone. In 1870, the infected bone was remove at the hip joint. In 1878, Fabry reported no trouble with the stump, but he was unwilling to use an artificial limb. Fabry died in 1894.


Surgeons frequently treated arm and leg wounds by amputating. The grisly wounds caused by bullets and schrapnel were often contaminated by clothing and other debris. Cleaning such a wound was time-consuming and often ineffective. However, amputation made a complex wound simple. Surgical manuals taught that an amputation should be performed within the first two days following injury. The death rate from these so-called primary amputations was lower than the rate for amputations performed after the wound became infected. Union surgeons performed nearly 30,000 amputations.

Patients undergoing amputation were first anesthetized. A tourniquet was applied above the site of the proposed amputation. The skin and muscle were then cut with amputation knives several inches above the fracture site. The muscles were pulled up to expose the bone. An amputation saw was used to cut through the bone. Once the cut was completed, large arteries were pulled out from the stump tissue with a tenaculum and tied off to prevent bleeding. The skin muscle was then released and the tissue sutured. Two types of amputation were commonly used. A circular amputation involved cutting straight through the skin to the bone and resulted in a stump that was circular in appearance. A flap amputation required the tissue to be cut leaving two flaps of skin that were used to create a stump. Fingers and other small bones were amputated using the smaller metacarpal saw.

Prosthetic limbs were designed and built to help amputees regain some of their former capabilities. Some of these devices were custom-made while others were mass-produced.

The Case of Private Columbus Rush
Private Columbus Rush, Company C, 21st Georgia, age 22, was wounded during the assault on Fort Stedman, Virginia, on March 25, 1865 by a shell fragment that fractured both the right leg below the knee and the left kneecap. Both limbs were amputated above the knees on the same day. He recovered quickly and was discharged from Lincoln Hospital in Washington on Aug. 2, 1865. In 1866, while being treated at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, he was outfitted with artificial limbs.
The results of the double amputation. Using his prosthetic legs, Rush could
walk with the aid of two canes.


Surgeons treated some shoulder wounds with a technique known as excision, also termed exsection or resection.Post-operative photograph of  Kegerreis. The fractured bone was removed, the tissues sutured, and the limb left to heal. Excision gave the patient limited use of the arm and usually full use of the hand. Prosthetic braces worn over the shoulder allowed nearly normal function of the limb for some patients.

The Case of Private J.P. Kegerreis
Private J.P. Kegerreis, Company B, 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, was wounded at Petersburg, Va. on June 17, 1864 by a minie ball. The ball entered his neck, punctured his windpipe, and passed through his right shoulder joint and out his back. Keggereis was tagged for amputation at the field hospital but tore off the tag and crawled among the less seriously wounded. Three days later, while at City Point Hospital, his wound was treated and found filled with maggots. His neck wound healed in a month, but his shoulder wound was infected. In the winter of 1865, the infected bone was removed by excision. The wound healed slowly, and he was discharged in May of 1866. In December of 1867, a surgeon removed a large piece of bone from the joint and the bones of the arm later fused on a semi-flexed position. He was able to lift 135 pounds with his injured arm. 

The Limping Lady of Baltimore

Born in 1906 in Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia Hall was a petite woman who loved outdoor sports and thrived on skiing and hunting. Educated in economics at Radcliff and then Barnard College in New York, she finished her studies in Paris and Vienna. She was also fluent in French, German, and Italian. In 1931, Virginia began what she thought would become a life-long career in international relations. She took a clerk's position with the American Embassy in Warsaw at a salary of $2,500 per year. Over the next few years she would serve in Tallinn, Estonia; Vienna, Austria and Izmir, Turkey. While hunting in Izmir her shotgun slipped from her grasp. When she grabbed for it, the gun discharged and pellets struck her foot. By the time medical help arrived, gangrene had already developed. The surgeon amputated her leg to save her life. She was fitted  with a B/K wooden prosthesis, which she named "Cuthbert". The accident ended Virginia's plans for a long career with the State Department. Not only did the State Department personnel chiefs have a  closed mind about women in the career service but there also existed a  regulation that disallowed employment of anyone with "any amputation of a portion of a limb."

She went to work istead for the British Special Operations Executive in France in 1941-1942, operating with the "Maquis", the French Underground. In 1941, as the Nazis were closing in on her, she escaped on foot over the Pyrenees into Spain. Having become fluent in German and French as well as Morse code during her tenure with the SOE, she joined the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, the World War II-era forerunner to the CIA, in 1942, spying on the Germans using a milkmaid cover. The French Resistance called her "la dame que boite," or the "Limping Lady." The Germans called her "Artemis" and put her on the Gestapo's most-wanted list of Allied spies. She had many Allied code names: "Bousey," "Marie Monin," "Germaine," "Diane," and "Camille."

The invasion of North Africa in November 1942 brought a torrent of German troops into Vichy. Their sudden presence forced Hall to leave the country. She crossed the Pyrenees mountains in the dead of winter. Before setting out on the journey Virginia radioed SOE in London that she hoped 'Cuthbert' would not be troublesome. London replied, "If Cuthbert troublesome eliminate him." London had forgotten that 'Cuthbert' was the codename for her prosthesis!

The Gestapo attempted to capture the "woman with the limp" but were unable to do so because of her exquisite disguise and the fact that she had taught herself to walk with a "swinging" gait. She was instrumental in collecting intelligence data, training Maquis in guerilla warfare and sabotage, and actively participating in sabotaging German communications during the D-Day Invasion. On a dark night in March 1944, Virginia Hall strapped her wooden leg on her side and parachuted back into occupied France. She set up voice and Morse code communications with the Allies and later began to organize Free French Resistance operations and coordinated the rescue and evacuation of downed Allied pilots. The Gestapo never caught her.

Hall is the only civilian woman during World War II who received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military valor award. She was honored with the MBE for her service after the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. After the war, she became one of the CIA's first female operations officers, breaking two glass ceilings: the business of being female and the disability issue.

Adolf Hitler's Parkinson Disease

By Dr. Abraham Lieberman
Parkinson's disease may have been a key factor in Adolf Hitler's downfall.

             The dictator suffered the disease, and the mental
             inflexibility associated with it could have been what led
             to his slow response to the D-Day landings in Normandy
             in 1944, researchers said at the International Congress
             on Parkinson's Disease in Vancouver.

             Dr Tom Hutton, a neurologist who co-authored the study,
             said Hitler was suffering physical and mental symptoms
             of the disease, but his aides kept it secret.

             He said that by the time of the Normandy landings, Hitler
             had suffered the disease for 10 years and would have
             had problems processing conflicting information - hence
             his initial refusal to allow Panzer divisions to move to the
             site of the invasion.

             Hitler is said to have been convinced that the Allies
             would launch their attack at Calais.

             Debilitating disease

             Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disease of the
             nervous system that generally affects both men and
             women who are more than 40 years old. However, 10%
             of sufferers are believed to be under 40.

                                 The disease develops slowly
                                 and is associated with
                                 trembling of the arms and
                                 legs, stiffness and rigidity of
                                 the muscles and slowness of

                                 A third of Parkinson's suffers
                                 also develop senile dementia.

                                 In many cases, sufferers
                                 eventually die from
                                 secondary complications
                                 such as pneumonia, urinary
             tract infection, pressure sores, septicaemia and stroke.

             It is thought to be caused by the death of nerve cells that
             would normally produce a chemical - dopamine - that
             carries messages around the nervous system.

             "Hitler's slowness to counterattack at Normandy may
             have been secondary to mental inflexibility and difficulty
             in shifting concepts due to Parkinsonism," Dr Hutton's
             discussion paper said.

             Dr Hutton, of the Neurology Research and Education
             Centre in Texas used records from officials who treated
             Hitler in 1944 and 1945 that described him as having lost
             "his mental flexibility".

Professor Max de Crinis established his diagnosis of Parkinson's disease in
                       Hitler early in 1945 and informed the SS leadership, who decided to initiate treatment with a specially prepared 'antiparkinsonian
                       mixture' to be administered by a physician. However, Hitler never received the mixture, this implies that the SS intended to remove
                       the severely diseased 'Leader'. Two different character traits can be analysed in Hitler's personality: on the one hand the typical
                       premorbid personality of parkinsonian patients with uncorrectable mental rigidity, extreme inflexibility and insupportable pedantry. On
                       the other an antisocial personality disorder with lack of ethical and social values, a deeply rooted tendency to betray others and to
                       deceive himself and uncontrollable emotional reactions. This special combination in Hitler's personality resulted in the uncritical
                       conviction of his mission and an enormous driving for recognition. The neuropsychiatric analysis of Hitler's personality could lead to a
                       better explanation of the pathological traits of one of the most conspicuous historical personalities.

            Adolf Hitler had Parkinson disease! This surprises people. The reason
                                                 they're surprised is that Hitler, the evilest-man of the 20th Century, was
                                                 the most photographed man of the 20th Century. And, Parkinson, when it
                                                 appears, is easily recognized--and can be diagnosed on camera. So how
                                                 could the German public not know Hitler had PD? And how could the Allies:
                                                 England, Russia, and America, possessors of sophisticated secret-services
                                                 with thousand of cunning spies, not know Hitler had Parkinson disease?
                                                 Spies that penetrated each other's innermost circles, spies that knew
                                                 each other's innermost secrets --should've known Hitler had Parkinson
                                                 disease. Especially as the knowledge (in retrospect) is obvious from
                                                 watching films of Hitler. If an American President had Parkinson wouldn't
                                                 we know it? If a candidate for President had Parkinson wouldn't we know

                                                 A German neurologist, Professor Max De Crinis, an advisor to Heinrich
                             Himmler, Chief of the SS, told Himmler, after watching films of Hitler, that Hitler had Parkinson
                             disease. De Crinis never personally examined or treated Hitler. However, the knowledge De Crinis
                             imparted to Himmler, that Hitler suffered from an incurable (and in the 1940s an untreatable) brain
                             disease was a factor in Himmler's betraying Hitler.

                             By 1940, shortly after World War II started, Hitler, his close associates, and his doctors knew
                             Hitler was ill. In 1940, they may not have realized his illness was PD. In a book, "Hitler's Fatal
                             Sickness and Other Secrets of the Nazi Leaders", Professor John Lattimer, who in 1945 interviewed
                             and examined most of Hitler's associates, concluded that Hitler, shortly after he started World War
                             II, knew he was ill, knew his time was limited, and wanted to fulfill his plans before he was
                             incapacitated. Professor Lattimer's a renowned urologist and forensic pathologist--the doctor
                             asked to review President John F Kennedy's autopsy.

                             In 1940 Hitler developed a tremor of his left-hand. After this he limited his public appearances and
                             was rarely seen. And, he let himself be filmed only from angles that didn't show his tremor. Tremor,
                             in the public mind, is erroneously associated with senility. And, neither Hitler nor his associates
                             wanted anyone, neither the German public nor the Allies, to know Hitler had a tremor. And,
                             perhaps was senile.

                             Evidence For Hitler's Parkinson's disease

                             1. Newsreels
                             Hitler's Parkinson's is most striking revealed in a 1945 Swedish newsreel. The newsreel has been
                             reproduced on videotape and analyzed in an article for "Movement Disorders", the official journal of
                             the International Movement Disorder Society. The 1945 Swedish newsreel, unlike contemporary
                             German newsreels, escaped the German censors. The videotape shows Hitler walking slowly, and
                             not swinging his left arm. He has a masked, dulled, expressionless face. He walks slowly and
                             deliberately, not swinging his left-arm. He's stooped and bent-forward, and he has an obvious
                             resting tremor of his left arm.

                             To diagnose Parkinson disease, patients must have at least two of Parkinson's 4 main symptoms:
                             resting tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness, and trouble walking. In the newsreel Hitler has
                             the two most crucial symptoms needed for diagnosis: resting tremor, and slowness of movement.

                             2. Photographs
                             Sometime in 1940, Hitler at age 51 years, became aware of a tremor of his left hand. The tremor
                             was a resting tremor, one which appeared when the muscles of his hand relaxed as opposed to
                             when they were contracted. Initially, Hitler's tremor was intermittent appearing when he was
                             excited. He could usually hide his tremor by keeping his left-hand in his pocket (picture 1), by
                             holding an object, a scroll, in his left hand (picture 2), or by cupping his left hand over his right
                             (picture 3). Then later he cupped his right hand over his left (picture 4). As the disease advanced
                             , and was kept hidden from the German public, Hitler, nonetheless, became more disabled (picture

                             3. Eyewitness Reports
                             General H. Guderian, Hitler's Chief of Staff, wrote, in Guderian: Panzer General that in February
                             1943: "Hitler's left hand trembled, his back was bent, and his gaze was fixed."

                             Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and armaments minister wrote in Inside the Third Reich: "In 1944
                             Hitler was shriveling up like an old man. His limbs trembled, he walked stooped with dragging
                             footsteps.....His uniform, which in the-past he had kept scrupulously neat was stained by the food
                             he had eaten with a shaking hands."

                             General von Cholitz, the German Commanding General in Paris said, upon meeting Hitler in 1944:
                             "Hitler had become an old man. His face was worn..... His shoulders sagged. He cupped his left
                             hand in his right to hide the trembling of his left arm. But above all, it was his voice that shocked
                             me. The hard raucous voice had faded to a weak whisper."

                             G. Boldt, an intelligence officer on Hitler's staff, wrote in Hitler: The Last Ten Days, An Eyewitness
                             Account, that in February 1945: "Hitler's left arm hung limply by his side, and his left hand
                             trembled perceptibly.....He was not the vigorous, energetic Hitler the Germans knew, the Hitler
                             that Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda, still depicted."

                             S. Knappe, an SS officer wrote in Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier that on meeting Hitler in
                             April 1945: "I was shocked by his appearance. He was stooped, and his left arm was bent, and
                             shaking.....Both of his hands shook.....He looked.....at least twenty years older than his 56 years."

                             4. Hitler's Handwriting
                             Hitler had micrographia, a small, compressed and cramped handwriting characteristic of Parkinson
                             disease (picture 6).

                             5. Reports by Doctors Who Studied Hitler
                             Among the earliest, and best reports of Hitler's Parkinson disease, is that by P. Stolk, a Dutch
                             authority (Professor Stolk never examined Hitler): "Hitler developed a tremor, which affected only
                             his left-side. It was first noticed in his left-arm (in the autumn of 1942) and subsequently also in
                             his left-leg. It's possible that his tremor had developed much earlier (in 1940). His left-arm was
                             kept hanging down trembling heavily, or was pressed against his body, and he dragged his left-leg.
                             The upper part of his body tended to incline forward. And finally he was unable to walk without
                             supporting himself. In fact it was for this purpose that he had benches placed against the wall of
                             the great bunker which was his retreat. Standing-up Hitler was (often) forced to grab-hold of his
                             partner in conversation for support. His speech was low pitched and hardly intelligible. His facial
                             expression became rigid and mask-like and saliva occasionally escaped from the corner of his
                             mouth. In his final years Adolf Hitler evidently was suffering from Parkinson disease."

                             Hitler's Symptoms

                             1. Slowness or Lack of Movement (Bradykinesia)
                             Bradykinesia (slowness or lack of movement) in Hitler, manifested itself as decreased (or absent)
                             movement of Hitler's left-arm. This is first apparent in Leni Reifenstahl's 1934 film, Triumph of the
                             Will made during the 2nd Annual Nazi Party Congress in Nurnberg. The decreased (or absent)
                             movement of Hitler's left arm, in the Reifenstahl film, is apparent when Hitler's walking, or-talking,
                             automatic activities that don't require conscious awareness. Such patients, including Hitler, can
                             move the affected arm when asked to do so: they are not paralyzed.

                             2. Tremor
                             Tremor is variable--and it's not always present. Indeed, 30% of all Parkinson patients don't have
                             tremor. In Parkinson disease tremor, when present, begins on one side (as in Hitler) and later,
                             after several years, spreads to the other side. The tremor may involve the chin, but rarely the
                             head. The tremor is present when the arm is relaxed, hence the name, resting-tremor. A
                             resting-tremor appears when Hitler's seated and his hand's supported, or when he's walking and his
                             hand's hanging-down. The tremor usually disappears, when the patient innervates the muscles of
                             his hand by making a fist or clenching an object.

                             Duration of Hitler's Parkinson's Disease

                             Dr. Abraham Lieberman, after a study of 300 hours of videotapes of Hitler, from 1919 - 1940,
                             reported that the first symptom of Hitler's Parkinson disease, decreased movement of his left-arm,
                             was apparent in 1934, when Hitler was 45 years old.

 There are few clues as to the cause of Hitler's Parkinsonism, although some have suggested it was post-encephalitic, while amphetamine abuse is another possibility.

Lieberman A (1997) .Hitler's Parkinson's disease began in 1933. Mov Disord 12(2):239-40.

Gerstenbrand F, Karamat E.(1999) Adolf Hitler's Parkinson's disease and an attempt to analyse his personality structure.Eur J Neurol. 6(2):121-7.

The Lockstep

Let the avenue to this house be rendered difficult and gloomy by mountains and morasses. Let the doors be of iron, and let the grating, occasioned by opening and shutting them, be increased by an echo that shall deeply pierce the soul.                            Dr. Benjamin Rush, Quaker reformer, 1787

During the early years of the 19th century, the reform-minded Quakers tirelessly lobbied the Pennsylvania legislature to build a prison based on the idea of reform through solitude and reflection. The Quakers hopefully and naively assumed that an inmate's conscience, given enough time alone, would make him penitent (hence the new word, 'penitentiary'). They wanted a new prison to prove their theory, and in 1822 the Pennsylvania legislature approved the funding. Penitentiary means literally a place for penitents, dating from 1790, "when the Quaker state of Pennsylvania built a special cell block to separate more serious offenders from lesser ones…" "Pen" for short.

The inmates were not allowed to communicate with each other or meet for any purpose, not even for religious services. Ministers sermonized to the inmates while walking through the prison, their voices echoing through the cellblocks. The inmates weren't allowed to sing, whistle, have visitors, see a newspaper, or hear from any source about the outside world. They were allowed in their exercise yards, which were attached to their 8 by 12 foot cells, just one hour per day. At Eastern State, you went into your cell and you stayed there. You saw no one except a guard, and you spoke to no one.

Here's how the Quakers explained this policy: "No prisoner is seen by another after he enters the wall. When the years of confinement have passed, his old associates in crime will be scattered over the earth, or in the grave and the prisoner can go forth into a new and industrious life, where his previous misdeeds are unknown."

Although the Quakers banned flogging at the prison, other types of corporal punishment were used. If you were caught communicating with another inmate by, say, tapping on a pipe, you might be denied a few meals or secluded in a dark empty cell for a day or two. The "shower bath" was another punishment used at the prison. An inmate was stripped to the waist, chained to an outside wall in cold weather, and doused with cold water. If it was cold enough outside, ice would form on the inmate's body. Even crueler was the "iron gag." This was a five-inch piece of metal that fit over the inmate's tongue. The inmate was also cuffed with his wrists behind him, and a chain was connected from the gag to the cuffs. If the inmate fought the device and pulled with his arms, the gag was forced deeper into his mouth. At least one inmate died from the iron gag.

The lockstep was introduced at Sing Sing Penitentiary ("Big House"), Westchester County, New York. As well as being humiliating, it was also often painful because prisoners were usually issued with tshoes that were too tight. Many committed suicide because of the pain.

Inmate stripes pre-1904: One stripe for first timers, 2 for second offenders and 3 for even more frequent repeaters. Right -- Inmate solid grays begin 1904.

The lockstep was abolished on August 9, 1900, and the striped uniform went the same way four years later. Inmates were gradually permitted "freedom of the yard" and baseball was introduced on the recreation field.

Charles Dickens visited the Eastern State Penitentiary in 1842 and later wrote about it. "The System is rigid, strict and hopeless ... and I believe it to be cruel and wrong.... I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body."

Images of America: Sing Sing Prison, Guy Cheli 

Dr. Scholl

Foot Doctor to the World, William H. Scholl.

Bob Marley's foot

In 1977, doctors diagnosed Marley with skin cancer. The singer had developed melanoma in the big toe of his right foot, first noticed when a football (soccer) injury refused to heal. Bob was playing football for hours a day. Maybe we should ban soccer? For religious reasons Bob refused to have his toe amputated and the cancer metastasised to his brain. He survived more than two years with his cancer, not helped by the unorthodox medical treatment of a Dr. Issel in Bavaria.
Artificial limb factoryBob playing football
Bob Marley contemplating his own B/K amputation in an old aircraft hangar that had been converted to an artificial limb factory (Heidelburg 1977).

You have to admit that it's kind of strange. They were playing football and there was also this artificial limb factory in this big hall. Kate Simon

One conspiracy theory maintains that the CIA killed Bob by putting a copper wore in a boot which they sent to him and he tried on. When he put his foot in the boot the wire stabbed into his toe injecting him with cancer.

Bob Marley, The Photographs of Kate Simon (2003) Genesis Publications Ltd. UK

Nikita Khruschev

The October 1960 shoe-banging incident at the United Nations, which many Americans living during the Cold War still remember. Khrushchev, though, had a good reason to be angry, according to his grandson. Soviet Premier Nikita Sergeivich Khrushchev pledged support for "wars of national liberation" in an address to the United Nations in New York, At one point during the speech, Khrushchev took off his shoe and banged it on the table. (One of his biographers speculated that this was designed to improve his image at home.) Khrushchev came to New York in the middle of the 1960 Presidential election campaign. His U.N address awakened Western fears that he planned to aid Communist revolutionary movements around the world. After his U.N. speech, Fidel Castro, leader of the recent revolution in Cuba, visited Khrushchev in his hotel room.

"The main reason was that the representative of Indonesia told him that the Soviet Union had slaves in Eastern Europe," Khrushchev said. "My grandfather told him, `But you have slaves on some islands that are not belonging to Indonesia.' They began to climb over the chairs.

"Then my grandfather began to bang with his wrists and he lost his (watch) on the floor. He began to look for it, then he found his shoe."  As a good performer, Khrushchev needed a strong, convincing exit, true to the role he chose, and that is what happened: his shoes, made of durable Soviet leather in a special shoe atelier for the Soviet nomenclature, were too new and too tight, and he removed them. He bent down to pick up the watch and saw his empty shoes. How lucky!

He sat up, and "one hand was with the shoe and one hand was without the shoe. He was banging (the table) like a drum. Well, it turns out the shoe may not have been banged, it may only have been brandished."

"It was merely for 15 seconds," Khrushchev concluded, claiming his grandfather was defending his country's honor, not trying to threaten the Western world.

“It was not a big deal to the Soviets,” says his son Sergei Khrushchev,  “but when I moved here, people started to ask.” Khrushchev, was prompted by one of those queries to rummage through his garage, where he found a few boxes of his father’s old shoes. A few years ago Sergei Khrushchev donated his papers to the John Hay Library at Brown University (where he now works). When curator Mark Brown arrived to sort them, the two men came across the shoes in the garage. “Would you like my father’s shoes?” Khrushchev asked.

“The shoes in John Hay Library are not The Shoes,” he says. “I found an AP photograph of my father wearing sandals at the United Nations.” What happened, he thinks, is this: “My father came from Moscow in ordinary shoes, but when he got to New York it was hot, so he switched to sandals. It was those sandals that he wore to the United Nations that day.” The sandals—“My father had very small feet: size seven or eight, like a boy”—were eventually thrown out. And so the shoes in the archives are ones Nikita brought with him to New York but didn’t wear.  “Ordinary shoes,” says Sergei. “So it is nothing special. Nothing at all.”

Yet it's possible, as Taubman suggests, to trace the Cuban crisis to Khrushchev's sense of betrayal two years earlier, when President Eisenhower recklessly allowed a U-2 espionage flight over the Russian-Pakistan border. After all, Eisenhower himself once claimed that nothing would make him "request authority to declare war more quickly than violation of our air space by Soviet aircraft."

When Kennedy succeeded Ike, Khrushchev couldn't resist testing the younger president while avenging himself on Eisenhower, by shipping nuclear missiles to Cuba. "What if we throw a hedgehog down Uncle Sam's pants?" he suggested to a colleague. This debacle led directly to the end of Khrushchev's political career in 1964, after which he became a "non-person," essentially ostracized by all but his immediate family.

After he was dismissed as premier in 1964, Khrushchev's name was not officially mentioned for 20 years. As far as the authorities were concerned, the incident had
never happened, and neither had Khrushchev.

The shoe itself wasn't mentioned in the US media until Wednesday 12 October 1960. The head of the Philippine delegation, Senator Lorenzo Sumulong, expressed his surprise at the Soviet Union's concerns over western imperialism, while it, in turn, swallowed the whole of eastern Europe. Khrushchev's rage was beyond anything he had ever shown before. He called the poor Filipino "a jerk, a stooge and a lackey of imperialism", then he put his shoe on the desk and banged it.

Nina Khrushcheva The case of Khrushchev's shoe.(Nikita Krushchev shoe banging incident at United Nations) New Statesman Oct 2, 2000

Which side of the street to walk?

The rules about which side of the road people drive on are clear, but there are also less clear "rules" that govern how
pedestrians behave in relation to each other. These pedestrian rules are not usually enforced by law (the recent proposal to
legislate a "fast lane" for walkers on Oxford Street in London notwithstanding) but form a sort of "accepted practice" that is
followed most of the time, but not all of the time, and which many people are not consciously aware of -- until they travel to a
country with a different standard practice and end up bumping into people.

Keep right: Keeping right is the normal practice in the USA and Canada. (Although there might be some regional variations:
one reader says that people in Idaho keep to the left.). People even keep right when skating on Ottawa's 8-kilometer-long skating rink on the Rideau Canal in the winter. France also keeps to the right. Pedestrians in Taiwan keep right and to reinforce the rule, some crosswalks in Taipei had arrows directing people to keep right when crossing roads. As the habit has become more ingrained, these arrows have been gradually removed.

No preference: The United Kingdom seems not to have a preference as to which side of the path to use when walking.
This puts the British at a disadvantage when they go to places where there is a standard practice, because "they are unaware that there is a convention and so do not instinctively follow it, so getting in the way of roughly half of the people coming the other way and muttering about how crowded it is."

This doesn't mean that the British bump into each other. They don't use single-file traffic like other nationalities, but still manage
to negotiate their way effectively -- presumably using some form of body language or other cues to maneuver. Foreigners in the
UK who are not tuned in to the signals try to play follow-the-leader and end up bumping into people when the leader's route
turns out to be unpredictable. Conversely, British tourists in foreign lands who don't realize that they are supposed to fall in line,
cut through traffic at odd places and get run down.

Keep left: People in Japan keep left when walking. If someone is coming at you and you step to your right, they step to their left, and you stay on a collision course. Mexicans fight the flow by trying to keep left in Texas when everyone else keeps right. In Hong Kong there is a slight tendency to walk on the left.

Spiral stairs

Although Australians normally keep left, the spiral stairs in the Ballieu Library at the University of Melbourne have a sign saying "keep right." This is apparently for safety reasons. The steps curve to the right, or clockwise, as you climb them, and they are very narrow on the inside of the curve. Narrow stairs are easier to climb than to descend, because people usually put only the forefoot on a stair and don't use their heels. Therefore, it is easier and safer to climb on the inside of the curve, and descend on the outside where the stairs are wider, meaning that one should keep to the right.

This discussion brought up the question, why do the stairs curve in the direction that they do? Traditionally, they curve right or
clockwise as you climb them, because it was easiest for a knight with a sword to defend a tower if they curved in that direction.
Spend a few minutes chasing freshmen up and down the Ballieu Library staircase while waving your right arm about, and you
should soon be convinced that it is easier and more effective to brandish a sword if your sword arm is towards the outside of
the curve. (Use of real swords is not recommended if you want to retain your book-borrowing privileges.) So the owner of a
spiral stair will prefer to defend while facing counter-clockwise, and to have unwanted guests approach in a clockwise
direction. We assume that most often, the unwanted guests will be trying to climb rather than descend. All of this assumes a
right-handed swordsman, of course, and a staircase which is wrapped around a central support of some kind. A staircase
which follows the inside wall of a structure and has open space in the center would operate in reverse, as would a staircase
which is meant to be defended from below instead of from above. There is at least one Scottish castle built by a family with a strong tendency towards left-handedness, which has staircases curving the other way around.

Escalators and moving walkways

On escalators and moving walkways in places like airports and subways (metros) in Europe and North America, people
usually keep to the right and allow others to overtake on the left: "walk left, stand right." Nicholas Hodder confirms that
despite the fact that Londoners walk every which way on the surface, they observe the "stand on the right" rule on escalators in
the Underground. He also mentions that while there are "signs asking passengers to stand on the right on escalators, there are
also signs asking passengers to keep to the left when walking around connecting tunnels in some of the busier stations... It's all a
bit of a mess really."

In Japan, people didn't walk on escalators or travelators at all until recently, but impatient Tokyoites recently started the habit overtaking on the right, while the less impatient stood on the left. At about the same time, the City of Osaka started putting up signs saying 'stand on the right, walk on the left', on the grounds that this is how it's done abroad. So now there are two distinctly different habits set up within the same country."

In Australia, the convention on escalators is stand left, walk right. Until a few years ago, underground stations in Melbourne had signs saying this. For some reason they took the signs away, but everyone still follows the convention.

Revolving doors

Another interesting choice that pedestrians must make is which way to go through a revolving door. In North America and
continental Europe, people keep to the right when they pass through revolving doors, and the door rotates counter-clockwise
as viewed from above. In Australia and New Zealand, the situation is reversed and people keep to the left. Iin Atlanta (USA), there is a restaurant (the Tavern at Phipps) which has a "large antique revolving door at one of the entrances. A prominent sign on the door reminds people to enter to the left, and explains that the door was originally installed in London in 1908."