Artatomical: Defeating Death with Hunt's Remedy

Take that, Death! Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images

As explored in "40 Faces of Death: A Grim Reaper Gallery," humans are all about personifying mortality. We give it a form. We make it into an outside thing that happens to our bodies rather than something our bodies simply do over time. And as we explored in our podcast episode "The Problem of Immortality," this quest to defeat death creeps its way into everything we do.

It's deep, heavy stuff -- which is why I love the absurdity of this Victorian medical trade card for Hunt's Remedy, "The Great Kidney & Liver Medicine." The medication was supposed cure "dropsy and all diseases of the kidneys, bladder, liver and urinary organs" and was "never known to fail."

Of course it wasn't. Let's watch as our hero uses a bottle of the stuff to brain the Grim Reaper himself, who is thus far truly never known to fail in his duties.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.