Elf Shot (04:30)
Disease used to be blamed on the supernatural. Spirits, demons, and elves were thought to cause illness. Arrowheads from the Stone Age reinforced this idea.
Mind Over Matter (01:40)
A knife spell was thought to remove disease caused by the elf's weapon from the body. Belief was a strong ingredient in medicine.
Surgical Exorcism (02:15)
Cerebral problems like epilepsy were blamed on evil spirits that had taken residence in the head. A skull from Roman times shows evidence of the removal procedure.
Early Surgical Equipment (03:35)
A demonstration with a pig shows the tools and procedure used to remove evil spirits from the body in Neolithic times.
Plague in London (02:03)
In the 16th and 17th century people lived in fear of demons causing health problems.
A demonstration shows how foul smells were thought to spread the plague in 17th century London. A traditional costume carrying sweet smells was thought to protect from illness.
Curing the Wrath of God (04:03)
Disease was seen as a punishment for sin. Church would have been the first stop for someone with an STD. Repentance was required.
In medieval times, people did not understand how disease spread.
Magic Medicine (03:18)
Medieval medicine is practiced on modern day people on the streets of London. Attempting to pass illness along to others was common practice.
Life Force Transference (02:03)
Celts believed it was possible to magically transfer the health of healthy people to the sick or wounded.
Blood Transference (05:37)
A demonstration shows how blood and guts were intended to transfer health and vitality from animals to weak humans.
Power of Belief (02:54)
A modern doctor shows how the placebo effect may have worked in early medicine.
Surgical Skull Removal (04:27)
The first surgery performed to release evil spirits from the skull paved the way for a surgery used to treat cerebral conditions today.
On the Next Episode... (00:26)
Watch a preview of the upcoming episode about witches.
Credits: Disease: Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters (00:42)
Credits: Disease: Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters
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