The Morbid Anatomy Museum recently acquired a 19th-century phrenological death mask. Liza Young, a museum studies student at St. John's University, tracked down its history.
First, though, Young supplies a quick reminder of what phrenology was meant to do and what that meant about the people whose heads were most likely to end up as the models for practice busts.
To briefly sum up the essence of a fascinating practice, each lump of the skull was believed to correspond to a particular moral or immoral temperament localized within a specific area of the brain, which would swell or dip in relation to the volume of the temperament’s presence.
In order to hone the new science, phrenologists studied the skulls of exceptional characters on the opposing ends of the spectrum: the most brilliant of men and the most errant. However, the only abundant cache of skulls available was provided by the local executioner. Yes, following death by guillotine or some such unfortunate fate, scientists would make a cast of the head, now relieved of its body, and study the plaster copy for the lumps of the brain that would, they believed, mark the subject as the criminal he was now known to be. While it cannot be stated indisputably that the bust in question was cast from a criminal (the length of his neck suggests he was not guillotined, unlike these men), it is safe to say that he was indeed dead. This conclusion is evidenced by the opening of his eyes, which would have been unbearable for a living model. Understanding the ultimate end of the model is very likely as close to identifying him as I will able to come, so let’s put a pin in that and move forward to where this man lived out his life before it was cut short.
In a new interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association above, Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID), said he expects the US will have 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year. “Then, by the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple […]
Just for kicks, Paul Rule, 66, participated in a study launched by the Cambridge Natural History Society that enlisted citizen scientists and nature-lovers to help deepen knowledge of the flora and fauna in Cambridge, England. Rule recorded nearly 600 different animal species in his “ordinary” city garden, including an elephant moth like the one seen […]
Astronaut David Scott re-created, in 1971 during the Apollo 15 mission, Galileo’s “falling bodies” experiment by dropping a hammer and feather on the moon at the same time. Simply, both fell at the same rate because there was no air resistance. screengrab via Wonders of Physics/YouTube (Digg)
Not every house has a fireplace. And to be honest, not every homeowner wants to deal with the hassles and maintenance of a fireplace. But it’s tough to argue that the intoxicating glow and dance of a licking flame isn’t mesmerizing, not to mention all of a fire’s practical uses. For those looking to enjoy […]
Knowledge is power. And a company that knows who its customers are is far more likely to see those customers return. On the web, information gathering often comes in the shape of an online form. Whether it’s a registration, a contest, an order, or just a simple contact, those opportunities to engage with users and […]
It’s impossible for anyone to truly escape the effects our COVID-19 lifestyle changes have made, but if you’re a web developer, there’s a decent chance your work life might be virtually unchanged. Even before the quarantines and work-from-home orders, over 16 percent of web developers were already self-employed. And with a growing number of tech […]