corset friday 15.5.2009

 two for one 010two for one 016two for one 008

Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 9:05 am  Comments (38)  

nursemyra’s gardening tips

Sir James Frazer studied magic and religion in diverse cultures across the world.

“For four days before they planted seed in the earth the Pipiles of Central America kept apart from their wives “in order that on the night before planting they might indulge their passions to the fullest extent; certain persons are even said to have been appointed to perform the sexual act at the very moment when the first seeds were deposited in the ground.” The use of their wives at that time was indeed enjoined upon the people by the priests as a religious duty, in default of which it was not lawful to sow the seed.


The same means which are adopted to stimulate the growth of the crops are employed to ensure the fruitfulness of trees. In some parts of Amboyna, when the state of the clove plantation indicates that the crop is likely to be scanty, the men go naked to the plantations by night, and there seek to fertilise the trees precisely as they would impregnate women, while at the same time they call out for “More cloves!” This is supposed to make the trees bear fruit abundantly.


A couple who have given proof of extraordinary fertility by becoming the parents of twins are believed by the Baganda to be endowed with a corresponding power of increasing the fruitfulness of the plantain-trees, their staple food. Some time after the birth of the twins a ceremony is performed, the object of which is to transmit the reproductive virtue of the parents to the plantains. The mother lies down on her back in the thick grass near the house and places a flower of the plantain between her legs; then her husband comes and knocks the flower away with his genital member. Further, the parents go through the country performing dances in the gardens of favoured friends, for the purpose of causing the plantain-trees to bear fruit more abundantly.


Image found here

In the Ukraine on St. George’s Day the priest in his robes, attended by his acolytes, goes out to the fields of the village, where the crops are beginning to show green above the ground, and blesses them. After that the young married people lie down in couples on the sown fields and roll several times over on them, in the belief that this will promote the growth of the crops. In some parts of Russia the priest himself is rolled by women over the sprouting crop, and that without regard to the mud and holes which he may encounter.popesoap1

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 11:49 am  Comments (26)  

vermin on the person


We’ve never had an outbreak of mites at the gimcrack – head lice, yes (nursemyra’s method of eradication – shave the patient’s head, it adds to the asylum atmosphere I like to work in).

Francis Galton favoured the Tartar cure for body lice 

“For vermin on the person take half an ounce of mercury, mix with old tea leaves previously reduced to a paste by mastication, add more saliva. Bruise and stir so the mercury forms little balls as fine as dust. Infuse into a string of cotton, hang around your neck. The lice will bite the bait, swell, become red and die. Renew salutary necklace once a month.”

He also had an interesting quick fix for blisters

“rub blister with spirits mixed with tallow dropped from a candle into palm of hand. Captain Cochrane used this on his pedestrian tour. Teachers of gymnastics also endorse it.”


I’ve not yet considered a holiday spent climbing into rarified air. If it’s on your agenda please don’t take the family cat with you. 

“the effects of rarified air are sometimes fatal to stout plethoric people. Cats are also unable to endure it. Numerous trials have been made with these unhappy feline barometers.”


He also has cures for haemorrhages and snake bite. He describes them as barbarous and they involve things like gunpowder, boiling grease and white hot iron ramrods……

Francis Galton was no pussy.


Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 9:22 am  Comments (33)  

to make a party ghastly


I love a quirky show like Circus Bizarre. As the ad says, Circus Bizarre makes the Jim Rose Circus look like The Wiggles. Baby Hannibal eats live mice, lifts slabs of beer with his scrotum and lets Cruella nail his penis to a table. He also takes to Sexy Assistant Mimi’s bare bottom with an orbital sander making him the envy of every man in the audience.

castpanel_hannibal castpanel_mimi

But old fashioned magic acts have a special place in my heart. Wish I’d been around to watch Alexander Herrmann strut his stuff. He was generous with his advice to would be followers, revealing many of his secrets in Magic Black Art Fully Exposed


Scroll down to the bottom of that link above to learn how to make water into wine or restore burned handkerchiefs.

To make a party appear ghastly: This can only be done in a room. Take half a pint of spirits, and having warmed it, put a handful of salt with it into a basin, then set it on fire, and it will have the effect of making every person within its influence look hideous.


Hideous Metamorphosis: Take a few nut-galls, bruise them to a very fine powder, which strew nicely upon a towel; then put a little brown copperas into a basin of water; this will soon dissolve and leave the water perfectly transparent. After any person has washed in this water, and wiped with the towel on which the galls have been strewed, his hands and face will immediately become black; but in a few days by washing with soap they will again become clean. This trick is too mischievous for performance.

To Give a Person a Supernatural Appearance: Put one part of phosphorus into six of olive oil, and digest them in a sand heat. Rub this on the face (taking care to shut the eyes) and the appearance in the dark will be supernaturally frightful; all the parts which have been rubbed appearing to be covered by a luminous lambent flame of a bluish color, whilst the eyes and mouth appear like black spots. No danger whatever attends this experiment


image by Dominic Gili

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 8:42 am  Comments (33)  

First Aid Gimcrack style

Do you know what to do if someone you’re with is bitten by a snake? I guess it depends on whether or not you have gunpowder handy…..”Tie a string tight above the part, suck the wound, and caustic it as soon as you can. Or, for want of caustic, explode gunpowder in the wound.”


How about if your accident-prone friend has to be pulled half-drowned from a river?

“Human warmth is excellent, such as two big men being made to lie close up against him. Do not follow the ridiculous fashion of  hanging him up by his feet so the water may drain out of his mouth. Turn the patient on his side, excite the nostrils with snuff and the throat with a feather


Snuff has an interesting history. In the middle of the 17th century Tsar Michael 1 of Russia ordered that snuff takers should have their noses cut off, while smokers should have their lips slit, be whipped for the first offence, executed for the second. 


The Yanomami Indians use a hallucinogenic snuff called Yopo

“From now on you can order the original ready to go yopo snuff here. The snuff is 75% roasted cebil seeds powder + 25% very finely powdered snail shellsWarning! Sniffing 500mg at once is a crazy thing!



Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 8:52 am  Comments (37)  

explosive breeders


Jay Savage discovered the sadly now extinct Golden Toads of Costa Rica in 1964. Until then there had only been rumours of their existence as they mostly lived underground, emerging only to reproduce.

These toads were “explosive breeders” with the males simply rushing to mount the first available female. Generally males outnumbered females by as much as ten to one, which often led bachelors to attack amplectant pairs and form “writhing masses of toad balls“. 


This behaviour is found in other toads and frogs too. 


SEX-CRAZED toads killed prime carp worth £20,000 at a fishing lake by dragging them down into an underwater ORGY.

The prized fish, weighing up to 8lbs, suffocated when amorous toads in a mating frenzy jumped on them as they basked in the shallows.

Each carp was attacked by up to a DOZEN randy amphibians mistaking them for lady toads.”


There are more sex issues for the unfortunate amphibians. Researchers studying the Australian Cane Toad report they are being unmanned.

“40 per cent of the males examined from a heavily farmed part of the state had become hermaphrodites, possessing both testes and ovaries, and taking on feminine colouring and body characteristics. Another 20 per cent, while outwardly male, had undergone some feminisation.”


It’s so confusing to be a frog nowadays that they are even resorting to inter species sex and necrophilia. Once in amplexus a male hangs on for days or weeks so who knows whether or not this salamander was dead when he started 


photo found here

Published in: on May 9, 2009 at 9:41 am  Comments (30)  

corset friday 8.5.2009

may 8 1 may 8 2 

may 8 3may 8 4

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 9:38 am  Comments (31)  

oh for chrissakes

One of the extra things I do (out of the goodness of my shrivelled black heart) is take the minutes for the Residents’ Committe. The committee chairperson is Miss S and she runs a tight ship. The #1 item on her agenda today was the recent visit to the Gimcrack by Cardinal a leading dignitary from a church other than our own.


You may remember that nursemyra is employed by a certain religious organisation but we’re fairly inclusive when it comes to entertaining infidels Micks, Jews, Muslims, Shintos and even Seventh Day Adventists. So when Father Flugel from round the road proposed bringing His Superior for afternoon tea we were underwhelmed delighted.


There was some discussion about how to address Himself (Your Eminence) and what to serve for refreshments. Old ladies were falling about to form a welcoming committee and even CK wanted to become involved.


During all this our own chaplain wore an expression of disdain and in aggrieved tones lamented that no one had ever shown any interest in a visit from His Bishop. Which has now been arranged for the following month *sigh* (I never knew there was so much rivalry for incontinent old souls).

Horrifyingly, CK decided this was the time to donate a hideous family heirloom to His Eminence. The DT agreed to wrap the monstrosity to hide its ugliness protect it from harm and at first CK was enamoured of this idea. A lot of trouble was taken to procur tissue and ribbon and a fair fist was made of wrapping it up to look presentable.


Twenty minutes later the mummified heirloom aroused CK’s latent paranoia and she began clawing at the ribbon and wrestled it back out of the box. No amount of cajoling would persuade her to keep it wrapped.

“It’s just to keep it safe until you give it to the Cardinal” said the DT.

“I don’t give a damn about the Cardinal” she screamed. “I don’t want my vase suffocated in that coffin you’ve made”

So we left her sitting by the lift in a nest of shredded tissue and got on with the business of welcoming His Eminence. Hands were shaken, foreheads were blessed, there were tears and teacakes and it was all over in half an hour. CK managed to waylay Him on His way out the door and presented Him with a mangled box of slightly cracked crystal. In which He showed an alarming amount of interest and gratitude which made her quite unbearable for the rest of the day.

That should have been the end of it but sadly for Miss S and her damned committee it was not the case.

Agenda Item #1. “I’d just like to express my disappointment that His Eminence spoke to 6 people on His right hand side but only 3 who were sitting on the left.”

Agenda Item #2. “He also refused a second cup of tea”

Dear God I wish I were making this stuff up……….


Published in: on May 7, 2009 at 8:34 am  Comments (43)  

Yez I Did

Eric Newby’s fabulous book A Traveller’s Life mentioned the Yezidis, an Iraqui religious sect I had not heard of before. He didn’t have much to say about them but another website was more informative


The Yezidi are notable because they have been described as devil-worshippersThey have many unique beliefs, such as that the first Yezidi were created by Adam by parthenogenesis separately from Eve. They also have a set of food taboos which include meat, fish, squash, okra, beans, cabbage and lettuce.


It’s not just the Yezidi who like Satan. Devil worshipping seems to have gained popularity with even Paris Vogue getting in on the act


Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead in those leggings, though a gold breastplate could be useful when trying to subdue some of the crazy old patients at the gimcrack. And it might not be as hard to come by as the ingredients required for these Laveyan Satanic Magic Spells

To harm a rival in love or a foe, pour cheap champagne into
   four corners of a square one moonless night
Baptize a large toad in the name of the victim, and make it
   swallow a piece of parchment inscribed with evil
   words or characters. Tie with hair of the victim, and bury
   under a threshhold or other place he (she) passes daily.
To injure an enemy, wrap a washed human bone in cotton, along
   with something that belongs to him.
To bewitch an enemy to death: hang up a black toad by the
   heels and collect venom in an oyster shell, impregnate with it
   a piece of the victim's soiled linen
Consecrate nails, especially those from a coffin, using fumes
   of saturn (pepperwort, frankincense). Follow footsteps
   of your intended victim and prick the shape of an inverted
   pentagram in all you can.
Take a hen's egg, stir gunpowder into its contents at the
   broken end , and bury the egg in the dust of the road.
To harm an enemy hollow out an acorn, stuff it with a dead
   person's hair, make holes on four sides, and draw two small
   chicken feathers through them so that they cross inside the
   acorn, and put it under the victim's mattress.
puberty basket made with acorn woodpecker scalp feathers

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 8:49 am  Comments (33)  

beauty map


My old friend Francis Galton, did more than just go on fantastic expeditions. He is also famous for creating a “Beauty Map” of Britain. He did this by walking the high streets of major cities with a punch counter in his pocket, recording whether those he passed were good, medium or bad looking. London was rated the best, Aberdeen the worst.


“Taking his interest in beauty all the way to Africa, he once encountered a “Hottentot” woman with pronounced steatopygia (a large behind). Knowing that look to be the height of fashion in Europe at the time, he whipped out his sextant and took thorough measurements of her figure from a distance.


Determined to measure intelligence in human subjects, Galton established an Anthropometric Laboratory at the International Health Exhibition in London in 1884. He didn’t measure intelligence with anything like a written IQ test. Instead, some 9,000 visitors to this laboratory paid three pennies apiece to undergo 17 body measurements (including skull size) and walk out with a score card telling them how smart (or not smart) they were.


As far as Galton was concerned, physical characteristics could reveal more than intelligence; they could show one’s criminal tendencies, too.  Among the misfits he found two types: one with features “broad and massive, like those of Henry VIII, but with a much smaller brain,” and the other “weak and certainly not a common English face.”


nothing English about these Maoris, apart from the nasty man who collected their heads

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 8:14 am  Comments (32)