Download: 15 Creepy Vintage Medical Photos

By Bored Badger


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These extremely strange and creepy pictures caught on camera are disturbing. Here are their mysterious backstories. Some of them cannot be explained.

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15. This photo taken circa 1937 shows children lying in an iron lung, which was heavily used before the advent of the polio vaccine. Back then, it was common for children to spend several months in these machines, although not all of them survived. How miserable is that?

14. For all you starry-eyed women out there…NO! This is NOT a scene from 50 Shades of Grey. It's actually a method of treating scoliosis developed by Lewis Sayre--shown on the left--who was the leading American orthopedic surgeon of the 19th century. Christian Grey ain't got nothin' on this guy!

13. This photo, taken in 1925 at the Chicago Orphan Asylum, shows a lady tanning two babies to offset winter rickets, a disease found in young children caused by a vitamin D and calcium deficiency that causes large gaps in their bones, making them dry and spongy.

12. This was a typical US Civil War surgeon's kit. I dunno what 90% of these tools were used for, but I don't wanna know. And God forbid you ever have to see THAT put to use!

11. 19th and early 20th century treatment for insanity involved wrapping patients in wet sheets then laying them out in neat rows as a form of hydro therapy. After digging in to this matter a little more, I still wasn't able to figure out the reasoning behind this. Why do YOU think they did it?

10. Here we have an 1878 advertisement for Dr. Clark's Spinal Apparatus. Something tells me this apparatus probably messed up your back more than it helped it out.

9. Old school wheelchair? Actually, back then an injured or disabled person was referred to as "invalid" and therefore they called this an "invalid cart," which served the same function as a modern-day wheelchair. Circa 1915.

8. Here's a British blood transfusion bottle from 1978. I dunno why, but for some reason this is just disturbing and frightening to me.

7. Can you guess what this is? It's called an obstetric phantom, a tool used to teach midwives and medical students about childbirth. This particular artifact dates back to 18th & 19th century Italy.

6. Radioactive water anyone?

5. Here we have a woman displaying her prosthetic leg but is too embarrassed to show her face. Circa 1890-1900.

4. Here we have an antique "birthing chair" that was used until the 1800s. I'll give you ONE guess as to what it was used for.

3. Taken sometime between 1855 and 1860, this was one of the first surgical procedures where ether was used as an anesthetic, as you can see here where the patient was knocked out after taking an ether-soaked rag to the face. What happened next to his leg, I don't even wanna know.

2. Shown here is Edward Mordake, a 19th century heir to an English peerage who was born with an extra face on the back of his head. The second face could not eat or speak out loud, but it was known to "smile and sneer while Mordake was weeping." He begged doctors to remove the "demon face," after claiming that it would whisper to him at night, but no doctor would dare to attempt the procedure. Because of this second face, he committed suicide at the age of 23. This shouldn't exist.

And now, for our number one creepy vintage medical photo. For more videos, subscribe here.

1. Here we have Russian surgeon Leonid Rogozov, who served as the only surgeon on his particular Antarctic expedition. After suffering from appendicitis, he courageously performed surgery on himself on May 1st, 1961. With the help of a driver and meteorologist who held a mirror and provided him his surgical instruments, Dr. Rogozov used novocaine as a local anesthesia and proceeded to make a 10-12 cm incision into his own abdominal wall. About 30-40 minutes after the start of the procedure, the doctor started suffering from weakness and nausea and therefore had to repeatedly take short rest breaks. BUT, he managed to finish his self-surgery in about two hours and made a full recovery within two weeks. Later that year he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.

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"Order of the Red Banner of Labour OBVERSE" by Fdutil - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

"RicketsXray" by Frank Gaillard - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -