In 18th Century Lurgan, Ireland, Dr. John McCall’s wife Margorie fell ill with fever and died shortly thereafter.
Since he was a doctor and therefore rich, Margorie naturally had an expensive gold wedding ring – but at her death, neither John nor any other mourner was able to remove it from her swollen finger.
Due to fear that her fever would spread, Margorie was hastily buried in Shankill Cemetery, and news of the doctor’s dead wife spread throughout neighborhood.
Soon, some grave-robbers got busy digging up Margorie’s coffin. When they pried open the lid, they were delighted to find that yes, the valuable ring was still on her finger. Try as they might, they couldn’t pull off the ring, so they agreed to saw off the whole finger.
As the sharp blade cut into her skin, Margorie came back to life, sat bolt upright, and shrieked like a tween with Bieber Fever. A miracle if there ever was one!
When the startled corpse-desecrating thieves fled, Margorie was left alone to climb out of her grave like a creep and wander home.
Across town, her widower Dr. John was boozing with some relatives, sorrowful at the loss of his wife but also pumped about his new-found bachelorhood.
When he heard a gentle rapping, rapping on his chamber door, he opened it to find his dead wife, extra creepy and all wraithlike in her burial robes and bloody from the ol’ saw-to-the-finger ordeal.
The shock was too much for the doctor. He instantly dropped dead on the floor and was buried in the grave Marjorie had just vacated.
Before our indulgent misuse of technology made us a tad brutish and unsophisticated in our relationships with each other, men and women once had a form of ritual quaintly called “courtship” where a chivalrous young man was expected to woo a demure young woman with subtly, attention, kindness, and flowers.
Such actions were supposed to signal his honourable intentions, trustworthiness, and his reliability to furnish his intended with all that she might require. (Oh, how many poor women fell into a life of drudgery because of that? I wonder.)
Of course, these young men would also have their needs but they could only hint at these through the saving grace of innuendo and saucy humor, which made it possible to say one thing and mean something entirely different!
What was supposed to be just another day on the job for 25-year-old Phineas Gage turned out to be anything but, with events transpiring to make him a legend – in neurology anyway.
On that fateful day, Phineas Gage suffered a traumatic brain injury when a very large iron rod went through his head.
Despite this, he survived and became one of the first to demonstrate a clear link between brain trauma and personality change.
On September 13, 1848, Gage was helping excavate rocks to make way for a railroad track on the Rutland and Burlington Railroad near Cavendish in Vermont.
Just prior to the accident, Gage was preparing for an explosion by compacting a bore with explosive powder using a tamping iron.
A spark created from the tamping iron ignited the powder, driving the iron straight through Gage’s skull.
It entered under the left cheek bone and exited completely through the top of the head, and was later recovered some 30 yards away, smeared with blood and brain matter.
To have an idea of extent of damage this iron would have caused, you need to realise its size.
The tamping iron was 3 ft 8 in. (1.11 m) in length and 1.25 inches (3.18 cm) in diameter at one end and tapered over a distance of about 1 ft., to 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) in diameter, weighing approximately 13 pounds (6 kg).
After the rod passed through his head, it is not known whether or not Gage ever lost consciousness, but within minutes of his injury, at the astonishment of the men on his crew, he was walking and talking and he sat upright in an oxcart for the 3/4 mile ride to his house where he was attended to by Dr. Edward H. Williams.
Australia has a long and storied history of over-sized monuments, and The Big Lobster in Kingston SE, known locally as “Larry”, is one of the most impressive.
Keeping watch over this small town in South Australia for over 35 years, Larry is a fiberglass-on-steel crustacean standing over 50 feet high and 50 feet long.
Paul Kelly, a designer from nearby Adelaide, devised the construction of Larry after a local fisherman suggested the idea in order to help promote the area and its seafood.
The giant lobster has changed hands a number of times since its construction in 1979, and the site currently features a restaurant, tourist center, playground, and a wine tasting area.
Unfortunately, the big guy is getting a little long in the tooth (do lobsters have teeth?) after almost four decades of service, and the town has embarked on a capital campaign to raise funds to restore Larry to his former bright red glory.
The Big Lobster is one of Australia’s largest kitsch monuments, and he may be a little shop worn, but they say lobsters can live to be a hundred years old.
With a little love, money and good will, Larry should have years left in him.
A True Comment from The Toff
When the crayfish originally arrived at Kingston the new owners who ordered it were totally astounded. Why? It was the overall size of the bloody thing.
The creators of Larry the Cray had made him in metric sizes when the original plan had said feet and inches