Plague Doctors (Actual; Historical)


Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 7, 2001
"The plague doctor's costume was the clothing worn by a plague doctor to protect him from airborne diseases. The costume, originating in the 17th century, consisted of an ankle length overcoat and a bird-like beak mask often filled with sweet or strong smelling substances (commonly lavender), along with gloves, boots, a brim hat, and an outer over-clothing garment.[2]"
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This Live Science reference article provides an overview of the iconic plague doctor's garb and the history of these physicians from the Middle Ages onward.
Plague doctors: Separating medical myths from facts

You’ve seen them before: mysterious figures, clad from head to toe in oiled leather, wearing goggles and beaked masks. The plague doctor costume looks like a cross between a steampunk crow and the Grim Reaper, and has come to represent both the terrors of the Black Death and the foreignness of medieval medicine.

However, the beak mask costume first appeared much later than the middle ages, some three centuries after the Black Death first struck in the 1340s. There may have been a few doctors in the 17th and 18th centuries who wore the outfit, including the iconic beak mask, but most medieval and early modern physicians who studied and treated plague patients did not. ...

The plague doctor getup, and especially the beaked mask, has become one of the most popular costumes in the "Carnevale," or Carnival of Venice in Italy. In fact, some historians have argued that the beaked plague doctor was nothing but a fictional and comedic character at first, and that the theatrical version inspired genuine doctors to use the costume during the outbreaks of 1656 and 1720.

Without more informative written reports and images from this period, which can help us understand under what circumstances the outfit was used, it is impossible to tell which came first: the plague doctor's protective outfit, or the carnival costume. ...

Although the beak mask costume has since become a theatrical and macabre symbol of a primitive time in medical history, in truth it represents how for centuries physicians, scientists and health officials have thought about the spread and prevention of plague. The costume represents changing ideas about the causes and transmission of disease, about the relationship between doctors and patients, and about the role of the state in protecting public health.

There is a new action movie coming out in Russia. Major Grom: Plague Doctor.
Someone is killing criminals in a plague doctor costume fitted with armour and flame throwers. Major Grom has to take him down.
Just as a matter of interest, this is my eldest daughter in her Steampunk Plague Doctor outfit.
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Here's an odd form of historical re-enactment. A New York resident describes her experience using a centuries-old plague doctor ritual kit to cleanse / purge her home the old-fashioned way.
A Great Plague ritual kit has bottled up the scent of death to help you cleanse your home

Shortly after midnight, I lit a candle in my bathroom, turned off the rest of the lights, and shut the door to enclose myself with the small, dimly lit space. ... In the glow of the flickering lights, a bowl of water and several different vials filled with mysterious liquids set the stage for what could easily be assumed to be a night of witchy potion making, an activity that would have certainly been fitting for the late October date. But the ritual on which I was about to embark was not of purely supernatural origins but instead one with a great deal of historical significance.

Earlier that week, I had come across a curious listing in an email newsletter for a DIY kit that would guide you a purging and healing ritual inspired by the methods used by plague doctors during the Great Plague of 1665. Intrigued by the offering, I sent the requested $20 payment via Venmo, and a couple days later, I received a muslin-wrapped package tied up with string. A note attached to the outside of the bundle instructed me to first read the note and place the single exterior vial into the fridge before proceeding with the cleanse.

The kit came from a company called This Yearning, a one-woman show that specializes in multisensory immersive experiences that, at least during the current pandemic, are offered in a DIY format to be conducted at home. ...
FULL STORY (With Photos):