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Old 07-21-2014, 07:50 PM   #31
crich70
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According to:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Malaria...roduction.aspx



But according to this site:
http://malaria.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD023991.html
mosquito-born malaria did exist in England historically and would have been around at the time of the Brontes, but how many deaths can be attributed to this is in doubt.
http://pmj.bmj.com/content/80/949/663.full#sec-5
Back in those long ago days there were a lot of bugs (not all of them insects) that preyed unchecked on us poor human beings so I wouldn't doubt that Malaria could have been just about anywhere it's warm enough for mosquitoes to live.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:31 PM   #32
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Having done more research into the way TB spreads: droplet infection, like a cold; it's quite possible that one of the sisters (Emily died first, after Bramwell who it's thought died from alcoholism and drug abuse) developed TB then infected a sister who was nursing her. Charlotte died several years after the others, apparently from weakness and extreme morning sickness while pregnant with Nicholl's child.
We all know what happened to John Keats, a former med student who died of the disease he caught while trying to care for his brother. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened to Charlotte.

Personally, I'd make a distinction between the gossip-worthiness of the Brontes' lives and that of their deaths.

My girlfriend and her twin sister are both artists. When they're busy painting or making collages and I'm writing, I often think of the Bronte sisters.

That sort of communal artistic focus seems ideal to me, but it can appear vaguely improper to strangers despite its innocence.
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:18 PM   #33
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That sort of communal artistic focus seems wonderfully conducive to creativity and is part of the Bronte's lives which I envy. I don't, however, envy them the medical ignorance of the times in which they lived, which is what leaves us with such mystery and ability to speculate about the possibilities fostered by such closeness and the feelings which may have simmered in the Haworth pot. Was it all proper sibling affection, or were there sibling rivalries which may have led to murder? Or the outsider, Nicholls, for some reason of his own wanting to kill the Brontes. I recently purchased a second-hand book, "The Brontes A Life in Letters" edited by Juliet Barker, in the intro it is said that Nicholls threatened to censor Charlotte's future letters to Ellen Nussey if Ellen did not promise to burn them. This presents him as a tyrannical husband who wanted to present a picture of himself as loving, which is how we generally think of him because of the letters, but what if she were concealing the truth?
I think there's lots more to the Bronte story than meets the eye. The official version just doesn't make sense to me. Lots of scope for the imaginations of many novelists or research historians.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:52 AM   #34
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That sort of communal artistic focus seems wonderfully conducive to creativity and is part of the Bronte's lives which I envy. I don't, however, envy them the medical ignorance of the times in which they lived, which is what leaves us with such mystery and ability to speculate about the possibilities fostered by such closeness and the feelings which may have simmered in the Haworth pot. Was it all proper sibling affection, or were there sibling rivalries which may have led to murder? Or the outsider, Nicholls, for some reason of his own wanting to kill the Brontes. I recently purchased a second-hand book, "The Brontes A Life in Letters" edited by Juliet Barker, in the intro it is said that Nicholls threatened to censor Charlotte's future letters to Ellen Nussey if Ellen did not promise to burn them. This presents him as a tyrannical husband who wanted to present a picture of himself as loving, which is how we generally think of him because of the letters, but what if she were concealing the truth?
I think there's lots more to the Bronte story than meets the eye. The official version just doesn't make sense to me. Lots of scope for the imaginations of many novelists or research historians.
I think much the same can be said of well known people even today. They have a public image that they try to present and then they have that side of themselves that they try to keep private but which comes out in the news if a divorce occurs for example.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:59 AM   #35
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But at least the basic cause of death is generally known, even if it's something like AIDS, if not the complete picture. For example, we know that the cause of Princess Di death was RTA, even if we can speculate that the crash was deliberately instigated and not an accident.

News reporters are almost everywhere, and death certificates/inquests are more accurate at establishing cause of death, so we're not leaving such mysteries behind. There are certain deaths, like those of Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Paula Yates and Peaches, where the causes are well known, but the whys and wherefores are still clouded in mystery.

With the Brontes, the actual causes still leave room for doubt and speculation.
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:15 PM   #36
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But at least the basic cause of death is generally known, even if it's something like AIDS, if not the complete picture. For example, we know that the cause of Princess Di death was RTA, even if we can speculate that the crash was deliberately instigated and not an accident.

News reporters are almost everywhere, and death certificates/inquests are more accurate at establishing cause of death, so we're not leaving such mysteries behind. There are certain deaths, like those of Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Paula Yates and Peaches, where the causes are well known, but the whys and wherefores are still clouded in mystery.

With the Brontes, the actual causes still leave room for doubt and speculation.
True. Though that isn't necessarily a conspiracy either. Rather the result of the world in which they lived which was rather simple by the standards of today when it came to medical science. Some think that Napoleon was the victim of poison for example but it's hard to say if that was the case or not as forensic science as we know it now was at best in its infancy.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:20 PM   #37
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I didn't say that ignorance of the cause necessarily leads to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy, or even that one person was the agent, but that the circumstances of their deaths encourages interesting speculation. Three of them dead within a year, the other dying nine months after marriage to a seemingly tyrannical man, hmmm, I wonder whether 'consumption', rather than being what we now term 'tuberculosis' was just a blanket medical term used then for 'illness unknown', a little like 'viral infection' is used now for a high fever of unknown origin. But the unknown illness in the case of the Bronte sisters (I accept that Bramwell drank himself to death) could well have been poison. After all this time, there's very little way of proving what killed them, except, maybe exhumation, to test bones and hair for signs of obvious poisons such as arsenic. I'm not even certain that would still be detectable.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:25 PM   #38
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I didn't say that ignorance of the cause necessarily leads to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy, or even that one person was the agent, but that the circumstances of their deaths encourages interesting speculation. Three of them dead within a year, the other dying nine months after marriage to a seemingly tyrannical man, hmmm, I wonder whether 'consumption', rather than being what we now term 'tuberculosis' was just a blanket medical term used then for 'illness unknown', a little like 'viral infection' is used now for a high fever of unknown origin. But the unknown illness in the case of the Bronte sisters (I accept that Bramwell drank himself to death) could well have been poison. After all this time, there's very little way of proving what killed them, except, maybe exhumation, to test bones and hair for signs of obvious poisons such as arsenic. I'm not even certain that would still be detectable.
And even if it is it might be inconclusive as the embalming methods used back then might very well have included things like Arsenic. Not to mention it occurs naturally in the soil in some places so there could be post mortem contamination as well.
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Old 08-06-2014, 03:58 PM   #39
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At that time, wasn't arsenic also in many 'remedies' and beauty products, as well as yellow and green wallpaper (I always thought the woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" was suffering from poisoning)? This would have given them a certain resistance to it: if you take small doses of arsenic regularly, the lethal dose is higher. But there were many other possible poisons. James Tully, the writer of "The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte" thinks it was agrimony, if I remember correctly.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:48 PM   #40
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I read a historical mystery in which a woman served her husband tiny doses of arsenic in his food every day, and then killed him by cutting him off cold turkey.

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At that time, wasn't arsenic also in many 'remedies' and beauty products, as well as yellow and green wallpaper (I always thought the woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" was suffering from poisoning)? This would have given them a certain resistance to it: if you take small doses of arsenic regularly, the lethal dose is higher. But there were many other possible poisons. James Tully, the writer of "The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte" thinks it was agrimony, if I remember correctly.
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:25 AM   #41
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At that time, wasn't arsenic also in many 'remedies' and beauty products, as well as yellow and green wallpaper (I always thought the woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" was suffering from poisoning)? This would have given them a certain resistance to it: if you take small doses of arsenic regularly, the lethal dose is higher. But there were many other possible poisons. James Tully, the writer of "The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte" thinks it was agrimony, if I remember correctly.
And medicines like Laudanum were commonplace. According to Wikipedia laudanum contains almost all of the opium alkaloids, including morphine and codeine. I can imagine the danger of accidental overdose with it is great since (according to Wikipedia) Overdose and death may occur with a single oral dose of between 100 and 150 mg of morphine in a healthy adult who is not habituated to opiates. And back then such things might well be covered up by a family for fear of the stigma of people thinking that the family member was a suicide, even if it was an accidental overdose.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:51 AM   #42
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I found this article and looked up the book on Amazon:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/387204.stm

The UK doesn't have mosquitoes, it's too cold here. But the water supply did run through the graveyard, I think I saw that on here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyTeDZZBphI
(If you don't want to watch the whole thing, start at around 13 mins.)
How horrible. Anyone else thinking of the scene in Wuthering Heights?
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:24 AM   #43
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How horrible. Anyone else thinking of the scene in Wuthering Heights?
Very few people had clean drinking water available to them prior to the 20th century. That's why people - even young children - drank (weak) beer, rather than water - the brewing process killed the bacteria.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:52 PM   #44
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Very few people had clean drinking water available to them prior to the 20th century. That's why people - even young children - drank (weak) beer, rather than water - the brewing process killed the bacteria.
And then the English also switched from beer to Tea as well didn't they? That led to thegreat Tea growing empire during their colonial period as well as the slave trade prior to 1800 or so. Boiled water probably didn't get rid of all problems but I wager it helped some too.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:25 AM   #45
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well, I imagine they would have found something to trade if not tea. More cinammon perhaps.
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