Ledgers Reveal Bizarre Medical Cases from 400 Years Ago

Highlights from one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history.

A ledger from around 400 years ago

The University of Cambridge has been working on a project to digitize one of the largest set of private medical records in history, and recently they put 500 of their favorite cases online.

CNET highlights some of the more interesting cases from early 17th-century astrologers Simon Forman and Richard Napier. The pair treated patients ranging from household servants to archbishops with sometimes bizarre prescriptions such as attaching the bodies of dead pigeons to the patients’ feet.

While the pair attempted to cure conditions they perceived as witchcraft and magic, they also dealt with many of the same conditions doctors deal with today, such as colds, fevers, headaches and broken bones.

To read more incredible cases, see the full library here.