words

It’s been a little while since we posted due to moving house and offices, but we are back into the swing of things now.   We thought we would find something a little different for this week:

DRAPETOMANIA

Drapetomania was a problematical mental illness in the 1800’s (mainly identified in America) and in 1851, Samuel Cartwright, an American Physician, theorised that this was the cause of black slaves fleeing captivity.  It was not a term necessarily recognised in medical terminology, but Cartwright said, when describing the illness, that it was . . .

‘unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers”.

He advised that preventative measures and cures would involve ‘whipping’ them until they were too scared to run or, in severe cases, cutting off their big toes to stop them from running.

The term was last published in a 1914 medical dictionary, when it offered the definition of – ‘vagabondage, an uncontrollable or insane impulsion to wander’.

I know my mind loves to wander off and does so regularly, perhaps we could start a new term – Mindtomania!

runawaye

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