However, if you were to experience what this doctor did in 1901, it may have been a scary time. I'm certain that my reaction would have different that the good doctor had I been there.
The Moving Skull
Pranks in the dead house used to be a common occurrence. There are numerous accounts of medical students posing as dead people and faking ghost haunts, but one doctor had a totally different night fright.
As he told a New Orleans newspaper in 1884, he once had a patient with an aneurysm. As the case puzzled the doctor, he decided that he was going to perform an autopsy upon the patient’s death. The doctor did not have to wait long for the patient to die, and the body was sent to the dead house to await inspection.
The doctor went to the dead house an hour before midnight. There, he cut open and examined his former patient. As the doctor did his work by one lit gas burner, he heard a shuffling noise from the corner of the room. It caught him off guard because he believed that he was the only living person in the room.
He inspected the area from where the noise came. But he only saw five skulls resting on the floor that were being prepared by the medical students for their cabinets.
He went back to work on his autopsy. No sooner did he start than he caught sight of some movement from that area. He stopped his work again and watched as a skull moved slowly toward him.
He eyed the floor, expecting to find string pulling the skull, but his inspection yielded no tricks. The doctor, claiming to feel rather peculiar at that moment, sat on a stool and smoked his pipe. He could not take his eyes off the skull.
The skull moved again, coming straight at him. It screeched along the floor until the doctor could not take the suspense any longer. He jumped up from his stool and picked up the skull. Inside was a rat that had managed to get itself stuck inside the brain cavity. The rat was freed, and the doctor went back to work.
So this doctor calmly sits down and smokes his pipe after seeing the skull move? Must have had nerves of steel, or was smoking something other than tobacco in his pipe, ya know?
Coffee out on the patio again today. Blood test at the V.AQ. later, but there's no rush.