Scurvy: The Stuff of Nightmares


If you needed something to remind you not to join any expeditions to the Arctic, this Lapham’s Quarterly piece about scurvy in sailors of centuries past should do the trick:

(Trapped in the Arctic in 1832, explorer John Ross began to bleed from wounds he’d received decades earlier in the Napoleonic Wars.) Your teeth come loose from your gums, because your body literally can no longer hold itself together.

Bonus: There’s some real creepy stuff about whalers’ coffins gradually moving back up to the earth’s surface.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →