Mauled in the lions’ den

Lions at South Perth Zoo

Lions at South Perth Zoo

In June 1952 a bizarre death occurred at Perth Zoo. Alexander Lindsay Edmeades, of Snook Crescent in Hilton, had jumped into the lions’ den where he was attacked by the occupant.

His badly-clawed body was found about 8 a.m. on the following day.

Strangely, the 36-year-old clerk was not seeking to end his life but attempting to prove his faith in God. A few days before his death, Alexander had written a letter announcing his intention to fast for 51 days, which would save many thousands of souls in Australia.

Alexander was suffering from schizophrenia, which had been triggered during World War II and his last-minute escape from Singapore. Before the war, there had been no signs of mental illness at all.

And Alexander was not the first to be killed in the lions’ den. Just one year earlier Dorothy Bostock had also climbed the 18ft enclosure and jumped to her doom, only discovered the next morning.

The coroner ruled that he did not believe Alexander’s motive was suicide, but a case of someone in the grip of a religious complex. Normal mental processes had been completely swamped by this mania.

Alexander genuinely believed that, like Daniel, God would protect him and that his actions would bring people to salvation.

“I would ask members of the public to take a generous view of this man’s action—and indeed of those of all people who take their lives,” the coroner added.

There’s no cure for stupidity

child_vaccinationHarold Martin, of 315 William Street, was very very angry. He had just sat down to breakfast and opened the newspaper.

There, in June 1906, Harold read Dr Harvey Astles sneering at opponents of vaccination as being misinformed at best and positively dangerous at worst.

Well, Harold was one of those opponents of vaccination. He believed it was a “pernicious, disgusting foolery”. Oh, it was also a “cruel, filthy, unnatural heathenish operation”.

He wasn’t a doctor like Harvey, but Harold knew that vaccination was dangerous. All he needed was a proper diet, good habits, pure air, and abstinence from all kinds of medicine.

Warming to his theme, Harold warned that vaccination did not stop smallpox, it was actually the cause of that disease. Dr Astles was responsible for spreading disease, and he was the one who called himself a medical man.

Further, Harold wanted a law passed making vaccination a criminal offence. He called on the society for the prevention of cruelty to children to save the poor helpless little mites, who will all suffer and die if doctors are allowed to inoculate them.

In conclusion, we would all be better off if every physician, surgeon, midwife, chemist, and drug were wiped from the face of the Earth.

So what does this story teach us? That vaccination sceptics have been around since inoculation was invented. And they were no less stupid then than now.

h/t Museum of Perth

Welcome to the asylum

straight jacketHave you ever wondered what makes people go insane? Wonder no more. We provide the evidence from the combined admissions to both Fremantle Asylum and Whitby Falls in 1902 (Graylands not yet having been constructed).

It has to be said that the Dodgy Perth team seem a very high risk group. Although we will decline to mention which of the following categories apply.

Mls Fmls Ttl
Lonely life 5
Love affairs (including seduction) 3 3
Mental anxiety (business) 5 5
Mental anxiety (domestic) 1 6 7
Overwork 2 4 6
Religious excitement 5 1 6
Shock 1 1
Accident 1 1
Change of life 2 2
Congenital 3 3
Epilepsy 4 1 5
Heredity 2 2
Intemperance (alcohol) 15 2 17
Intemperance (opium) 4 4
Masturbation 8 8
Puerperal state 4 4
Privation 7 7
Previous attacks 2 2 4
Senility 3 2 5
Sunstroke 3 1 4
Venereal disease 7 7
Unknown 8 2 10
TOTAL 85 31 116

It’s getting hard for miners

impotenceIf you’ve ever stayed up late watching SBS you will probably have noticed those adverts. The ones where they prey on men’s fears of declining performance and then offer a medical miracle that will turn you into a bunny again.

The Dodgy Perth office would like to assure readers that we have no problems in that department. Proof may be obtained in exchange for a meal and single red rose.

But before nasally delivered medicine, do you suppose that men didn’t fret about their declining performance? Of course they did. Even hardened miners feel pressure to perform.

And where there is anxiety, there will be someone out to make a profit.

In 1908, it was herbalists Collison & Laking, who plied their trade next to the Maritana Hotel in Kalgoorlie. They advertised they could cure all diseases of a private nature: failing manhood, nocturnal emissions, and night losses. (Impotence and wet dreams, basically.)

But first, you need to know how a strong manly miner could have come to such a situation. The answer is, as ever, simple. He disobeyed Nature’s Laws when he was young. And this is his punishment.

No, our grizzly gold digger had not broken the law of gravity. Worse. He had engaged in an (at least one) act of masturbation when a teenager. The shame. The pity. The horrible consequences.

But there was no point in getting all depressed about this dreadful violation of Nature’s Laws. Instead, he simply needed to nip over to Collison & Laking who were the specialists who could sell him a remedy before it was too late.

They stressed that ordinary medicines were useless in these cases. Only herbal medicine could restore true manliness.

So, to all Dodgy Perth readers who have indulged in self-pleasure in the distant past, before you fully understood the consequences, we say beware. And get yourself down to your nearest herbalist.

Then we can talk about that dinner date.

Build character, with laxatives


Sunday Times, 3 May 1931

ALL the morning he has been touchy and naughty, and now, to cap it all, he has used a very bad word. Whose fault is it? Is he bad because he WANTS to be bad? Or is he bad because there’s something the matter with him—something his mother could easily cure?

All children get moods when they are very bad, very unmanageable, or very tearful—“cranky” moods—and it isn’t their fault. A kind of poison gets hold of them and makes them do things they don’t mean—a poison generated inside themselves, in their stomach, liver, kidneys and bowels.

That’s what’s the matter with this chap, and one or two Laxettes would cure him easily.

Laxettes, the chocolate medicine, are wonderful for “cranky” moods because of their purifying effect on ALL the organs of digestion and elimination stomach, liver, kidneys AND bowels. At the first cranky symptom give Laxettes.

Be quite sure they are genuine by buying them IN THE TIN. Laxettes are sold IN the tin, never loose, with the name on every tin and tablet.

Send coupon for interesting free literature on Crankiness, free Laxettes sample, and vital information about intestinal worms in children.

Correcting naughty children


Do you have mischievous children? We at Dodgy Perth have the solution.

Adverts in the press in 1907 informed you that naughtiness is usually caused by a “disordered stomach”. The good parent will automatically dose the kid up with loads of Chamberlain’s Tablets.

That is to say, a good parent plies their misbehaving child with laxatives. Laxatives.

Apparently you will be delighted with the results.

Should you require any laxatives to make your child into a little angel, just ask your local chemist for the appropriate dose.

Wake up and smell the coffee


Starting in the 1890s advertisements appeared in WA newspapers extolling the benefits of a wonder drug called Eucrasy.

Unlike most medicines, though, the main benefit was not for the person who was taking it. Mainly because they didn’t know they were taking it.

It is, of course, very unfortunate if your husband is an alcoholic. Living with a drunkard is not anyone’s idea of fun.

One solution is to send hubbie off to an institute where they will inject him with bichloride of gold four times a day. This is the expensive option, and not within reach for most.

So we enter the crazy world of Eucrasy. A world where women were expected to administer drugs to their partner without his knowledge or consent.

By mail order, a month’s supply of the medication would arrive at your doorstep and it would then be secretly added to the drunkard’s tea, coffee, or slipped into his soup.

Colourless and tasteless, it had no side effects other than curing the man of his drinking problem.

The ingredients in Eucrasy were a secret, but it appears to have been some kind of vegetable extract and contained no minerals, and certainly none of the fashionable morphine, opium, or cocaine.

Instantly, the wife would have noticed her husband’s appetite return, and a loss of desire for alcohol in a mere one to two days

Complete cures could be effected in a week or two.

And we can’t just chalk this one up to Victorian-era weirdness. The medicine was still being marketed in the mid-1950s as something you should secretly slip into hubbie’s coffee.

So men, when you next see your partner slipping drugs into your morning cuppa, don’t assume she’s doing anything bad. It’s just an attempt to keep you away from the pub this evening.