17 November 2010

Vomiting Lizards

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
November 2010

The title of this blog certainly is not very pretty but I am betting more than one person will check in to see what it is about. I certainly did a double take when I was recently looking at newspaper articles for 1892 in our area.

The Big Sandy News usually posted activities for various communities. Glenwood is in Lawrence County, Kentucky very close to both the Carter and Boyd County lines. The 16 September 1892 issue brings us this news from Glenwood:

"Last Sunday morning Uncle Billy Taylor was out among his cattle when he became deathly sick. He went to his house and a doctor was called. The old man had begun having convulsions, then began to vomit, when he threw up four grown lizards. He soon got better and says it is a mystery how they got there."

I had trouble swallowing this bit of news. Coming from a background with many doctors my mind is racing as to what actually did happen. My first thought was the gentleman had a severe case of tape worms but surely the physician could tell the difference! There is an eating disorder known as Pica where people eat a variety of things. Gould's Medical Dictionary for 1926 says it is "a craving for unnatural and strange articles of food; a symptom present in certain forms of insanity..."

There are several Taylor families in the area during this time frame so I don't want to "bite off more than I can chew" and will leave the genealogy to the Taylor researchers.

Clip art by clker.com


  1. I've heard of leaping lizards before, but this is somethin g different!

  2. Teresa, isn't this totally bizarre? I love it!