Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/681

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anecdote, to have dealt with one of these alleged denizens of the human stomach:

"Prof. Wyman, on entering the office of his friend Dr. Augustus A. Gould, an eminent Boston physician, was asked his opinion about a curious case. His friend, a clergyman, had just brought in an animal which he said a worthy parishioner of his, a man of unimpeachable veracity, after some years of suffering in his stomach, had recently vomited, while sitting on a rock in an open field. The animal tried to escape, but was caught. Prof. Wyman at once recognized it as a young blacksnake, which could not have lived years in the man's stomach and then been vomited. The clergyman indignantly denied that his worthy parishioner could be mistaken or would deceive, and wanted to argue the case. The professor said he would not waste time in dispute, and with his penknife immediately opened the reptile's stomach and turned out some grasshoppers, beetles, and other remnants of the usual food of such animals. He said to the clergyman, 'It seems that your parishioner has a liking for a peculiar kind of diet.'"[1]


I AM not one of the persons who raise a great cry about the evils of the "opium-habit." I have no doubt that the continued use of narcotics, whether they be tobacco or opium, is injurious to the nervous system; but I also firmly believe that the recuperative powers of the body are such that they can largely overcome any harmful results coming from the regular use of these substances. For instance, I know a stone-cutter who resides at Cape Elizabeth, Me., who for the past twenty years has used twenty cents' worth of black "navy plug" tobacco every day. He is a large, vigorous man, weighing over two hundred pounds. His appetite is good; he sleeps well, and, save for a little heart disturbance caused by overstimulation, he is perfectly healthy, and is likely to live until he is fourscore. He is now fifty-one years of age, and he assures me he has used tobacco since he was fourteen, and never had a fit of "swearing off" in his life. A peculiar and, I should say, a rather troublesome habit of his, is to go to bed every night with a big "quid" of hard "plug" tobacco between

  1. The writer will gratefully acknowledge the receipt of additional myths of similar character to those here given, with a view to subsequent fuller treatment of the subject. It will be of service if considerable detail be given in regard to the geographical or social boundaries of the superstition, and if the latter be stated as explicitly as possible. (Address Mrs. Fanny D. Bergen, 17 Arlington St., North Cambridge, Mass.)