In these flu-ridden times, scientists across the globe are feverishly searching for a vaccine to end the pandemic known as COVID-19. What great serendipity, then, that recently some pages of unpublished plague research have re-emerged for auction, written by none other than one of the greatest scientific minds to have ever lived. Surely, such a brilliant scholar could offer invaluable insights in curing our current -- oh, it's Isaac Newton? That crazy wizard vigilante? Nevermind.
This week, Bonham's auction house saw the sale of previously lost pages part of Newton's notes on curing the bubonic plague for $81,325. But if the buyer hoped he had just bought the key to combat pandemics, they clearly hadn't read Newton's manuscript, which consults cures only a quack would consider. At the age of 23, the young genius witnessed the last great plague to ravish England. When the pustules cleared, Newton returned to Cambridge, where he tried his hand at figuring out a cure. Unfortunately, when it came it came to pharmacology, Newton's inner eye-stabbing scientist lost out to Newton's inner mad alchemist who later so no harm in inhaling so much lead and mercury his brain went to mush.
Researching De Peste, the plague manual written by the radical physician Jan Baptist Van Helmont (inventor of the word "gas"), Newton, through the lens of his singularly brilliant mind, determined the perfect and convenient cure to end the scourge of plague forever. And like any great Medieval cure, it starts with squeezing a toad. According to the father of modern science, "the best is a toad suspended by the legs in a chimney for three days, which at last vomited up earth with various insects in it." Collect that goopy mess in a "dish of yellow wax," combine it with the "powdered toad" and, voila, this mess of vomit and asbestos (it was in a chimney for three days) makes for a medicinal lozenge that "drove away the contagion and drew out the poison."
Of course, lozenge, in this case, doesn't mean a toad vomit-flavored sweet you have to dissolve in your mouth, but the shape of the 'medicinal' toad vomit amulet that will siphon out the bubos -- which makes the cure somehow less yet even more idiotic. Newton also conceded that, if no fresh toads were available to absorb the plague, putting on an amulet made of either jacinth, sapphire or amber would also give a decent +5 resistance against diseases. Still, it's better than drinking bleach.
For more vomit worthy jokes, do follow Cedric on Twitter.
Top Image: Sir Godfrey Kneller, Cimabue/Pixabay