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An amazing followup

Posted by Bob on January 16, 2002

Got this by email:

I recently read your posting on the origin of "Blowing smoke up my ass". I
don't post on the internet, but I thought you might be interested in some
information from Jan Bondeseson's new, relatively scholarly book "Buried
Alive, The Terrifying History of our Most Primal Fear". Apparently, it has
not always been easy to determine if someone is truly dead. This is a quote
from Mr. Bondeson's book:

"Antoine Louis had also proposed another method of testing life, or at least
stimulating the vital spark in the apparently dead person: with a powerful
bellows, he administered an enema of tobacco smoke. One of the pipes of
this remarkable apparatus was thrust into the anus of the apparently dead
person; the other was connected, by way of a powerful bellows, to a large
furnace full of tobacco (reference 5). Such enemas of tobacco smoke were
thought to be very beneficiel and were used to try to revive not only people
presumed dead but also drowned or unconscious individuals. In 1784, the
Belgian physician P.J.B. Previnaire was given a prize by the Academy of
Sciences in Brussels for a book on apparent death, which described and
depicted an improved bellows for enemas of tobacco smoke, which he called
Der Doppelblaser (reference 6). These enemas were regularly used well into
the nineteenth century, particularly in Holland; modern science has
discerned no physiological rationale for their use, except the pain and
indignity of having a blunt instrument violently thrust up one's rear
passage must have had some restorativbe effect (reference 7)."

The text is accompanied by patent illustrations of the Doppelblaser witht he
following explanation, "The fearful-looking Doppelblaser, an apparatus for
administering enemas to ttest the viability of cprpses, described in Dr.
P.J.B Previnaire's Abhandlung Uper die verschiedenen Arten des Scheintodes
(Leipzig, 1790)."

Another illustration bears the caption, " A brave German doctor administers
an enema of tobacco smoke to a corpse in this curious late
eighteenth-century plate. From the author's collection."

I leave it to you and the discussion board to determine if this could be the
origin of this phrase. Although the topic is somewhat distasteful, I
recommend Mr. Bondeson's book (ISBN 0-393-04906-X). Please don't use my
name if you choose to post any of this.

Sincerely,
[name withheld]