Tag Archives: drowning

All My Fears From A to Z

This image was selected as a picture of the we...
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 29th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fear Factor Daily Prompt:  People are afraid of all kinds of things: spiders, the dark, or being enclosed in small spaces. Tell us about your greatest fear — rational or irrational.

I am a day behind with this, so I guess we can rule out the fear of being late.  There is no one major area of crippling paranoia for me.  Just a lot of minor annoying (but, of course, completely rational) phobias which I have decided to organize into an alphabetical list.

1.  Aliens (especially the ones that are cleverly disguised and walking among us.) (Hey, I’ve seen the documentaries, I know about these things)

2.  Bats (the kind that fly around at night wanting to get tangled up in your hair)

3.  Cancer

4.  Drowning

5.  Explosions

6.  Falling (hard and awkwardly enough to break bones) (or down an abandoned mine shaft)

7.  Germs (and people who don’t wash their germy hands)

8.  Heights (rooftops and beyond)

9.  Illnesses of the fatal variety

10.  Job interviews (avoiding them is the reason I’ve been doing the same job for so long)

11. Karaoke (Really, that shit is scary)

12. Lightning bolts

13.  Memory loss and Madness (although if I do go mad, who knows, it might just be a different kind of happy)

14.  Natural disasters

15.  Oceans

16.  Pain

17.  Quicksand

18.  Roller Coasters

19.  Swimming (without a life jacket) (in the ocean) (…which would lead to drowning….)

20.  Typhoons

21.  Unidentified Flying Objects

22.  Violence (physical, verbal, abuse of any kind)

23.  Wasps

24.  Xenophobia (Yes, I know, fear of a fear.  But until we get over our fear of strangers and foreign things,  peace on earth will never happen)

25.  Yeti

26.  Zombies

I probably won’t write a children’s alphabet book based on this list, complete with frightening illustrations, although stranger things have been done with the alphabet.  And many of the things I’ve listed (like the last two, for instance), I have no actual personal experience with whatsoever.  They just seem to me to be absolutely fear-worthy.

What are you afraid of?

Bowssening for the Insane

From James Pettigrew’s Superstitions Connected with Medicine and Surgery, 1844, comes this delightful word, bowssening;  casting mad people into the sea.  Or, immersing them in water until they are well-nigh drowned.  This was a process recommended by high medical authorities in the 1700’s as a cure for madness.  I think it’s probably safe to assume that the high medical authorities in those days were all crazy as coots.

The Cornish call this immersion bossenning, from beuzi or bidhyzi signifying ‘to dip or drown’.  I googled “Cornish people” to see if they’re still around and they are!  Best to avoid Cornwall I think if you possibly can.  Or at least the parish of Altarnun where they took the disordered in mind to the brink of a square pool, tumbled him in with a sudden blow on the breast and proceeded to toss him up and down until he was quite debilitated and his fury forsook him.  Wow.  Sounds like a cure to me.  After that they carried him to church and sang masses over him.  Now seriously, would that not MAKE you crazy?

Altarnun looks like such an idyllic little spot.  Too bad now when I look at these pictures all I can see is some poor demented soul being dipped repeatedly off that bridge and then carried up this lovely little path dripping wet (although no longer screaming) to celebrate his miraculous cure.  And perhaps to silently pray for one little extra favor from God having to do with avoiding pneumonia.

Maybe they just practiced this emotion calming measure  on very rare occasions as an example to others.  Like a deterrent of sorts.  Act crazy and this could happen to you!  I’d be putting my sane face on every day since I take dipping and drowning very seriously and would go to great lengths to avoid both of those things.  Scary stuff when the cure is worse than the malady.