You might think you have a strange occupation, but it’s nothing compared to the strange jobs people used to have before science and technology changed the way we do certain things. This Halloween we invite you down into the crypt of irrelevance for a spooky tour of jobs from the grave!
Phrenologists existed in a time when little was known about the human brain, and they specialized in predicting things like intelligence, psychology, and potential for a life of crime based on the shape of a person’s head, and nothing more. Sound crazy? It was. Phrenology was eventually dismissed as racist pseudoscience.
In the dark days of medicine, back before we knew about things like germs and infections, medical schools needed cadavers for classes, and – you guessed it – Resurrectionist was the tongue-in-cheek job title of the hardy folks who would exhume bodies from graveyards and sell them back to the schools. Thanks to the advent of germ theory this job found its rightful spot in the cemetery.
Before we had wrangled the science of pest control, those rats in the big cities weren’t catching themselves. You could make a good living as a Rat Catcher clearing out rat-infested homes with no help at all from modern science. And did we mention this was at a time when diseases transmitted from rats were rampant? A modern-day exterminator would scream in horror.
In medicine’s dark ages, 99.9% of doctor’s prescriptions involved being bled by leeches, as it was thought by the greatest medical minds of the time that our blood held the key to curing illnesses. So that means you would need someone to go collect the slimy little leeches for the doctors, and that was a real job people did, for real low pay. Today we have things like syringes and centrifuges that allow us to examine blood like sane people.
Before people had alarm clocks, how did they wake up on time? Simple: they hired a Knocker-Up to do it for them. You told them what time to show up, and they shot peas at your window through a straw or tapped it with a long stick from the street below to wake you up. Just like a real alarm clock, although hitting the snooze button was a bit more complicated.
Be thankful that we are no longer cursed by these wretched jobs from the grave, and have a Happy Halloween!