The Enigmatic Plague Doctor

Plague Doctors Mask Of DoomPlague doctors had been an interest of mine for years before I wrote the book The Curious Case of the Tuscan Plague Doctor. After its completion, I wound up becoming somewhat of an expert on the subject, and I think plague doctors have a bad rap. The image of the beak-nosed doctors has evolved into a symbol of death—the very thing they were trying to prevent! But considering the hideousness of the masks they wore, it’s not really surprising.

The plague doctor’s mask—as well as the rest of his gloomy attire—was invented by Charles de L’Orme, chief physician to King Louis XIII, in 1619. The masks were made of either thin leather or heavy, stiffened cloth. The beak portion was approximately 6 or 7 inches long. The eye holes were protected with red-tinted glass, presumably to frighten away evil spirits. The rest of the doctor’s attire consisted of leather trousers, shirt, boots, and gloves, with an overcoat made of heavily oiled canvas-like material. Read The Rest Of The Story At The Weird World Of C. L. Hernandez…

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