Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: headache

  • On orchids and testes

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “You like orchids?…Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, their perfume the rotten sweetness of corruption.”– John Steinbeck Orchids belong to a widespread group of flowering plants. There are about 28,000 species of orchids worldwide.1 The underground tubers of many European orchids—which contain the plant’s reserve food…

  • Dancing with spiders: tarantellas and tarantism

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “There are always hysterical people undergoing extraordinary cures.” – Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man Etching of people dancing the tarantella and playing music as an antidote to a tarantula bite. Wellcome Collection. Public domain.   The industrial city of Taranto is in the “heel” of boot-shaped Italy. The Romans called…

  • Half-skull

    Sophia Wilson New Zealand   Photo © Chris Downer / Twelfth century headache / (cc-by-sa/2.0) a ghost shrieks at the window, threatens to break through, shatter eye-cover. throbbing fingers infiltrate soft crevices; neuronal mass pulsates. knife twists, gristle-turning; stoat gnaw, rat’s claw. mind summersaults to snap-trap pain, can’t let go its axon’s branch. cerebral crevices convolute;…