A number of superstitious and pseudo-scientific beliefs arose around the causes of the spread of the bubonic plague, known to historians as the Black Death, and people ended up barricading themselves from society, flagellating one another with whips, and enacting several other stratagems to try to keep from contracting the disease.Continue Reading
One popular trick to avoid the plague was an early form of aromatherapy. People carried flowers with a sweet odor to keep the disease away, and if they couldn't get flowers, they were told to carry herbal packets. This didn't work so well, though.
Catholics believed that the plague was God's punishment for evil in society, so many of them wandered the highways and whipped one another, begging for mercy. Muslims believed that the disease was the will of God, and their leaders simply told them to accept it.
Some people moved into sewers, having heard that the plague was airborne. The idea was that the stench in the sewers would keep the fresher air, tainted with plague, from coming in and infecting them. Of course, this didn't work, and it also exposed people to other infections in the sewers.
Perhaps the craziest remedy involved shaving a chicken's rear end and then strapping the chicken to the swollen lymph nodes that were a symptom of the disease. The chicken would get sick, and then get washed for the process to happen again until one of the two became healthy.Learn more about Middle Ages