The other evening I attended a fascinating lecture at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, otherwise known as the Mütter Museum -- aka that place where they have dead babies in jars. In 1858, Thomas Dent Mütter, a retired Professor of Surgery, handed over his unique collection of anatomic and pathological materials to The College, which includes everything from creepy but beautiful wax models, medical illustrations and photographs, wicked looking medical instruments and skeletal specimens. The museum boasts unusual and one of a kind specimens like the plaster cast of the torso of Siamese Twins, Chang & Eng, and their conjoined livers. Do I hear any Cronenberg fans going, "Ohhh ... "? This is truly one of my favorite places to visit. The College has started a free lecture series and when I saw that Dr. Kathleen Sands would be called Demonic Possession and Exorcism: Medical Explanations? I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attend. The Mütter tends to shy away from "freaky" subjects in their programming selections for fear of becoming a magnet for unwanted attention. I can somewhat understand this as it detracts from The College's more serious or historical mission and that's what made this an event not to be missed.
Dr. Sands has lectured on exorcism, possession and even witchcraft at many universities and institutions before. For anyone interested in these subjects (as many horror fans are) a lot of the information she presented was fairly basic, but she did tap into several things that were quite interesting and a few that were unknown to me.