a comictoes condition

Augustus Pleasonton is best known for his theories about the colour blue.

read about the blue mouse here

He wrote the pseudo-scientific book The Influence Of The Blue Ray Of The Sunlight And Of The Blue Color Of The Sky, which was published in 1876.  Pleasonton’s theory led to what was called the “Blue-glass Craze”, whereby people began growing crops under blue light. He also postulated that blue light was especially significant in the health of humans and helped eradicate disease.

blue glass by Chihuly found here

And then there were his speculations on electricity and its effect on humans:

The sexes are oppositely electrified – hence their mutual attraction for each other. But give them the same electricities and mutual repulsion results. It has been shown that the negative masculine electricity of the man is reversed and becomes positive like that of a woman under excitement of alcoholic stimulants – in other words, for the time being, the man becomes the woman.

image of Christine Jorgensen found here

His attributes become feminine; he is irritable, irrational, excitable by trivialities, and when opposed in his opinions becomes outrageous. If, in this mood, he meets his wife, whose normal condition of electricity is like his present condition, (positive) they then repel each other.

magnetic men found here

The height of blue glass giddiness came with the publication of an entire book-length spoof by John Carboy:

“Blue glass isn’t a common quack nostrum like Jink’s Solidified Bug Juice or Doctor Scrap’s Extract of Hepisdam” Carboy assured readers. “Blue glass cures constipation of the Obituary Organs, as a table sauce it has no superior and for polishing furniture it cannot be surpassed. Square pieces of blue glass weighing six pounds each may be used for dispersing a cluster of tom cats.

TomKat found here

Carboy also spoofed the testimonial letters that Pleasonton printed in his book:

“I have been for years  afflicted with an amanuensis in the verticle goitre of my left arm, followed by a paragraph of the liver, which left me in a comictoes condition, with a constant supparation of axminster over my manipulative organs. The doctor advised me to have my umbilical cord stuffed and to diet myself upon extract of solidified lightning but my sufferings were not abated.

capillary burns caused by lightning found here

Then I bought several sheets of Blue Glass. The first sheet reversed my crustacea and expanded my cheekbones so that I couldn’t close my mouth without lifting my shoulders with a rope and tackle. The second remedied this by bringing about a general pulverisation of  my cardigan coagulations. I find I can now get drunk every day with no trouble. Please publish this for the benefit of all mankind.”

coagulated cardigan found here

The fad for blue glass as a cure all faded away, though in the 1940s Dinshan P Ghadiali made over $1,000,000 selling his Spectro-Chrome Cabinet to believers in his theory of the restoration of humans by ‘attuned colour waves’

cabinet found here

From this we learn that Green light is a pituitary stimulant, a germicide and a muscle tissue builder. Yellow light is a digestant. Red is a liver energizer and a haemoglobin builder. Violet is a cardiac depressant; Blue is a vitality builder; Turquoise, a tonic; Lemon, a bone builder; Orange, an emetic; Scarlet, a genital excitant and Purple an anti-malarial…

purple frog found here

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 11:31 am  Comments (46)  
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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i could wear that lovely cardigan to work for an entire month, and the nerd herd would take absolutely no notice of that distinctive pattern…

  2. I do believe my obituary organs need a sluicedown.

    (Ummm, for what it’s worth, Blue is a very popular beer here in Canada. Crap, but has been near the top of market share for decades…)

    • re that organ problem: just chew one tablespoon of blue glass thoroughly and wash down with a can of ale for effective sluicing

  3. Every era has its form of quackery that seems perfectly legitimate at the time. I can’t wait to see future generations to goof on Feng Shui and vegans.

    • I thought Vegans ate Feng Shui for breakfast

    • How is choosing to eat no animal products a form of quackery?

      • It takes the form of quackery due to an absence of duck in one’s diet.

      • I was hoping to rattle someone’s cage with that comment! What else is blogging for?

      • I’m sure I could rattle your cage right back but clearly we differ on the purpose of blogging.

  4. …hello gal, passing by to say that I decided to buy a Mahjong game; I ll go internet cause no one here, but I saw that there are couple versions, one with less (the Chinese version) pieces and the USA ones with more..
    what s your recommendations?

  5. Alcohol tends to make men emotional blabbering idiots…is he saying that is a female tendency???

    • He’s saying a load of twaddle

  6. I’m still laughing about the chunk of blue glass used to disperse clusters of tomcats. . . I love the pseudoscientific language I need my obituary organs unconstipated, I wonder if a paragraph of liver would take care of that or should I try extract of lightning instead? Say, I met a guy who made extract of white lightning once.

    • Scalp serum or moonshine?

  7. TomKat is really freaky. the purple frog is pretty.

    • I love the purple frog

  8. With testimonials like that, who could resist the miraculous restorative powers of the blue glass? I have to add that blue glass cured the blinding headache I had had non-stop for 14½ years. Except that I went bald instead.

    • Perhaps some yellow glass might fix that

      • Don’t fix baldness, it’s awesome!

  9. Am I the only one who secretly fantasizes about taking a bat to a Chihuly? I’m not sure what color-overload is responsible for this, but I should probably look into it. 🙂

    • Step away from the black light NOW

  10. Those capillary burns are rather lovely ……

    • Yes, in a strange way they are!

  11. Not terribly relevant but certainly serendipitous. I home brew Mead, which I prefer to package in cobalt blue wine bottles. The vessel in which mead is brewed is called a “Carboy” and I and a date once snuck into the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in the middle of the night and drank a bottle of said mead out of said bottle under a hanging Chihuly sculpture not unlike the one pictured.

    How funny is that?

  12. Chihuly does some cool looking stuff.

    • Nursemyra and I had a gorgeous time together at the Ritz Carlton in Singapore last year, where the foyer has a magnificent Chihuly. Beautiful.

      • Ah the memories…..

  13. Please consider this Regina Spektor ditty about the color blue:

    That photomorph of TomKat is creeping me out. I must find some Scientology propaganda forthwith …

    • I love Regina’s cover of this song

      • Oh thank you. I love that song. I didn’t know Regina. That was gorgeous.

      • Yes, thank you. She is pretty amazing. Radiohead ain’t bad either.

  14. Psychiatry is rife with this pseudo scientific language. Sometimes at a conference, I’ll whisper to a friend, “What the F?” after a particularly galling piece of gibberish was spouted our way.

  15. So it is possible to glamorize sex changes.

    Looks like Denny has homework to do.

  16. I’d like to have the experience of surviving a lightning strike, but only if it impresses women.

  17. *makes note to buy some blue wine glasses*

  18. Ooo pretty shiny colours… Oh dear, where was I?

  19. I was totally into this post, then I got to the part about the tomcats and suddenly I went cross-eyed.

    That has got to be the scariest pic I’ve ever seen. And between your blog and mine, I’ve seen a lot!

  20. Faulkner and Hemingway both suffered many paragraphs of the liver.

  21. Jim Carrey makes Robin Williams look sane!

  22. I don’t know about the rest, but orange has always seemed fairly emetic to me.

  23. Carboy’s work is brilliant!

  24. I laughed so hard — I think I may have burst one of my obituary organs.

  25. “His attributes become feminine; he is irritable, irrational, excitable by trivialities, and when opposed in his opinions becomes outrageous.”

    I know of MORE than a few men who act like this and it’s NOT because of booze!

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