Monday, March 07, 2011

The History of Migraines

The first migraine in the United States was reported near Baltimore, Maryland by a bartender named Earl Craig. He saw a flash of holy heavy whiteness before being overcome by the coal-stained sky above him as he left the bar he tended in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 27th, 1890. In a letter Earl Craig wrote to his fiance later that day, he referred to the onset of the migraine as being struck by a heavy pendulum of white hot light. Later that year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Darla Desmond, mother of three, collapsed in front of her children from the sheer weight of light around her. Within months of these two separate but deeply connected events, the word migraine became something people up and down the east coast came to associate with The Light Sickness, a term phrased by Louis Wertheimer, a student of Jean-Martin Charcot's who lived, by way of Chicago, Illinois and Green Bay Wisconsin, in Paris, France for most of his adult life. Because of Wertheimer, the word migraine became erroneously associated with lime used to hasten the decay of dead cattle. Many theories at the time blamed the manufacture of lime and its toxic offshoot, alkaline powder, for the advent of migraine clusters in North America.

I will deliver my lecture "The History of Migraines" in its entirety on this blog on May 13, 2011 starting at 6:00 AM as part of the Furman-Regents Lecture Series which is sponsored, in part, by the Maplewood Lecture Foundation and the St. Olaf Valiant Approach Foundation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So cool!

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? This is awesome!

8:15 AM  
Blogger Chicken Underwear said...

totally cool!

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:47 PM  

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