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Creepy “Cures” From the Past, The Stuff of Horror Movies

In the development of medical treatment there is always a lot of trail and error but in the past rumor and superstition also played a big role. Some treatments where more effective than others but of course there were also quite a lot of peculiar treatments  some of which appear to be straight out of a horror movie, never mind something you would see practiced by your local GP.

#1 Plague Doctor Outfit

A plague doctor you can probably guess was a special medical physician who would treat those who had the plague, or black death rather. They wore a very peculiar costume consisting of a variety of heavy garments and a mask that had glass eye openings and a long beak like nose to hold scented substances along with straw. The outfit itself was primarily used as a form of protection.


#2 Dr. Kilmer’s Female Remedy

Marketed as a “blood purifier” in the late 1800’s this remedy was said to be good for women, but in 1906 it fell under scrutiny when its ingredients and supposed results were called into question.


#3 Tanning Babies

It was believed that tanning babies was beneficial and could cure them of rickets. Here is a picture taken in 1925 of a nurse tanning two babies at the Chicago Orphan Asylum.


#4 Transfusion Bottle

Before the more commonly seen durable plastic bags, a glass bottle with its rubber tubbing would have been used to contain blood or anything else used in Intravenous therapies or transfusions. Not so much an odd cure but rather a bit chilling, reminding us of stereotypical cold and bleak hospitals prior to the 1950’s.


#5 Lewis Sayre’s Scoliosis Treatment

In an effort to correct spine distortions Sayre devised a method in which he would suspend the patient and then wrap them in plaster of paris.


#6 The Wrapping of Patients in Wet Sheets

A strange treatment that was commonly used on those considered insane during 19th and 20th century.


#7 Bloodletting

Bloodletting is the withdrawal of blood from the patients body, to cure or prevent illness or disease. What we would think of as a very peculiar practice was once one of the most common treatments carried out for almost any illness up until the late 19th century, in fact its still said to be used in less developed countries around the world today.



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