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Q is for Quinine.....

A pain-killing, fever-reducing, bitter-tasting alkaloid found in the bark of the Cinchona tree.

Used as an anti-malaria drug since the 17th century, quinine was, until this past century, the only pharmaceutical capable of counter-acting this mosquito-born illness. Though, if too much quinine is administered, the resulting side effects might make you wish you had stuck with suffering through the malaria.

An overdose of quinine-- or, even a non-overdose amount-- can lead to Cinchonism... a pathological condition whose list of symptoms, literally, are astounding. Just a mild case of Cinchonism can lead to flushed/sweaty skin, ringing of the ears, blurred vision, impaired hearing, confusion, headache, abdominal pain, rashes, vertigo, dizziness, dysphoria, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea--- and this is just the MILD case.

More severe cases include the aforementioned symptoms plus disturbances in the person's cardiac rhythm that can lead to death.

Mosquito Blues

I'd tell you not to fear the bite, 
of this tiny, wing-ed foe.
But, it's true, this beast just might,
seek to exaggerate your woe.

I'd tell you once again, my friend,
not to think of the bitter medicine.
Though it'll feel like your poor life's at an end,
when you see the terrible state that you're in. 

                                                                                                    ---e.a.s. demers                                                                                        


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I is for...

... Iron Maiden

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? ---Edgar Allan Poe

---and not the English heavy metal band from East London...

Day 2 in the realm of morbid/macabre torture devices finds us back in the Middle Ages (there was definitely a fashionable trend of imaginative torture devices during this time). Though, the Middle Ages isn't really when we should be turning our attention when we discuss the Iron Maiden. In fact, there has been some debate as to the exact appearance of this monstrous creation.

It's probably easiest to relocate such a torturous thing back to a time when it seemed everyone was as skilled at exacting a confession as they were at creating the tools to exact those confessions. It's easier to blame ancestors from several hundred years ago than to accept that anyone of civilized disposition would be capable of doing such horrible things with such terrif…

Y is for Yeth Hound.....

Yeth Hound--- one of the incarnations of the "Black Dog" myth, this one located specifically, in Devon, England.

"Black Dogs" appear in myths across the world, most are associated with death and bad omens... i.e. Hell Hounds.

The Yeth Hound is said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child that takes the form of a headless black dog. The Hound wanders the woods at night making pitiful wailing sounds (though, I'm unclear as to how it makes wailing sounds without having a head).

The Black Dogs were possibly one inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles-- "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen."

Heed Not, the Lonesome Cry
Heed not, the lonesome cry, the baleful wail echoing through the woods. Seek not, the black hound's sigh, look not where the headless creature stood.
One sound, your limbs will shake, your heart filled with the deepest dread. One glimpse, your sou…

V is for...

... Vrolik Museum

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? ---Edgar Allan Poe

How about a morbid museum?

Still used by the medical faculty and students at the University of Amsterdam, the Vrolik Museum is a unique collection of odd bones and skulls, pathogenic specimens, and an assortment of anomalous embryos.

The collection was amassed by Dutch anatomist, Gerardus Vrolik (1775-1859) and continued by his son, Dutch anatomist and pathologist, Willem Vrolik (1801-1863). And since Willem's death, various donations have expanded the collection even further. Most specimens are human, though a few zoological specimens have trickled into the collection. Preserved remains, plaster casts, and various models show an assortment of congenital deformities and malformations.

This is one of those places that isn't for the faint of heart---certainly not for those who are easily moved or triggered by…