In 1910, the plot of Alien went down in a local newspaper

Illustration for article titled In 1910, the plot of Alien went down in a local newspaper

Between the gargantuan frog steaks, the flying stegosauruses, and the giant mosquito robots, old-timey newspapers were a nightmarish fantasy realm where the Teapot Dome scandal may have well have been Warren G. Harding's scheme to build a utopian cloudopolis powered by Liptons.


And indeed, an unassuming story about an ill-fated Cleveland woman in the December 23, 1910 edition of Washington's Tacoma Times presaged Ridley Scott's Alien by approximately seven decades. From the article dubbed "Live Lizzard found in Girl's Stomach, Declare Physicians":

Two live lizards three and a half inches long, several smaller ones, and a number of lizard eggs, were taken from the stomach of Lovel Herman, nineteen, four days before she died. A postmortem examination showed that the wall of the stomach had been attacked by the animals, the doctors say. The heart had enlarged to three times its normal size.

For several years she had been ill, complaining that something was clawing at her stomach. Specialists were puzzled until finally Dr. McIntosh, working on the theory it was a tapeworm, found the lizards.

Miss Herman drank water from a spring in which there were lizards, when she lived at Millersburg, 12 years ago, and it is believed that she swallowed the eggs or the young animals at that time and that they grew while in her body. She craved meat and eggs during the last months of her life, and it is believed she demanded such nourishing food because the lizards, as well as her body, had to be fed. She ate ravenously, but weighed only 80 pounds.

Incidentally, the health officials refuse to accept the certificate of death based upon the lizards theory, declaring that no such case has been reported since the days of primitive medicine.

It is unknown if Ms. Herman attempted to extract the lizards using a kerosene torch, a ventriloquist dummy filled with buttermilk, and Dr. Guy Otis Brewster's newfangled boxing exoskeleton.


[Chronicling America via The Quack Doctor]

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