I’m reading Jeffrey Kacirk’s delightful Forgotten English, which includes this anecdote concerning boanthropy, a condition where a person believes himself to be a cow or ox:

In 1792, Edward Jenner successfully developed a vaccine for smallpox by injecting a boy with closely related cowpox germs. He did this despite his medical critics’ attempts to scuttle his project by circulating boanthropy scare-stores. The critics alleged that those inoculated would develop bovine appetites, make cowlike sounds, and go about on four legs butting people with their horns…


  1. #1 G
    June 13, 2014

    Sssshhhh!, don’t give the anti-vax nuts any more ideas! Next thing you know they’ll be screeching about “the Boanthropy risk” too.

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