When the Spanish Fly Kicks In !

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When the Spanish Fly Kicks In !

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Robert McDonald photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

The druggist, doctor or local medicine man was always ready to share his potions for all that ailed you– including the matters of Cupid. Instead of smiles or wise words he offered some nasty stuff put into beer or spread on bread. Yes, bread.

In the Georgian era medical blistering, also sometimes known as vesiculation, raised a blister on the skin, and was thought by Georgian doctors to be an effective tool to deal with certain medical issues. Among the issues and problems blistering was thought to correct or aid was hysteria, hypochonriasis, gout, certain types of simple inflammation, and fevers, as well as cases of insanity. Blistering was achieved with applications of a fine powder usually composed of cantharides (a powerful-blistering substance often obtained from blister beetles, sometimes called Spanish Fly.

Have you ever heard of Spanish Fly?  It’s actually an insect that can be found in hay and it can be really poisonous if eaten. Livestock have died after eating this insect and can you imagine there were people who used this poisonous liquid as an aphrodisiac? It is documented as really doing the job but it hasn’t killed you the next day you might be one of the lucky ones.  Due to its toxicity, it was some also used as a poison.

 

Uses of Oil

It was used sometimes as a rosy blush when applied to the cheeks– if your cheeks didn’t blister or peel off. After a popular potion of  a foul mixture of pigeons’ droppings, cumin, horseradish and beetroot didn’t work to grow hair people tried Spanish Fly. There is no doubt both remedies caused a scalp tingling sensation that felt as if it might be doing something positive, but the droppings probably didn’t win many friends and the Spanish Fly caused the scalp to bleed and blister profusely. Extreme ideas were the norm of the day back then. Feast your eyes on the 1891 animal remedies clipping below:

 

historicalnotes

Clipped from Vancouver Daily World,  24 Jan 1891, Sat,  Page 3

 

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

 

relatedreading

 

The Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy

If Quackery Poison Gets You!! Blue Poison Ointment

Constipation Guaranteed to be Cured in Almonte

It’s Electrifying! Dr Scott’s Electric Corset

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I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?

 

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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