“Marvellous Freak of Nature”

This story was originally published in the Illustrated Police News, August 29, 1896.

The article begins with: “Marvellous Freak of Nature In An Eight Months’ Old Baby“, so you know it’s going to be really sensitive and professional.

“There died on Monday in St. Louis, says a Daily Mail correspondent, the most extraordinary case of lusus naturae [freak of nature] that has probably ever been known. Herman Bench was eight months old at his death, which was caused, the doctors say, through senile decay.

“Imagine the strange course of nature that in eight months converts the baby into the decrepit man of 80. This individual – it can scarcely be called a child – had a fully developed head, its face had the aspect of maturity, and on it age had placed the lines of care. During its brief existence it grew a beard and manifested other signs of maturity. Lastly, with respect to intelligence, it passed through all the mental stages peculiar to mankind, from prattling babyhood to youthful volubility, and from middle-aged meditativeness to senile garrulity and then to extinction. All this in eight months”.

It’s a miracle they didn’t include an equally sensitive illustration of the baby. Jesus, guys. Seriously. You couldn’t have been a little more sensational?

On a different note, do any readers out there know what medical condition could account for this? It’d be interesting (and refreshing) to have a more clinical perspective.

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4 Responses to “Marvellous Freak of Nature”

  1. Becky Black says:

    There’s a thing called progeria, that causes rapid ageing, but not usually in a mere 8 months. People with progeria can live into their teens or early 20s according to the Wikipedia page.
    Maybe it was that but a super accelerated case, and maybe the death wasn’t directly related to the condition they had, whatever the doctors say.. And of course some of the details given could be dodgy!


  2. Random german nurse says:

    I always read this blog on my nightshifts and yet i missed that the livejournal is actually not the real Blogging place anymore. Shame on me!

    I personally like this link better: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progeroid_syndromes

    To me it sounds like the took a case of Hutchinson–Gilford progeria Syndrome and then just changed the years to months, because why the fuck not. Sounds much more exciting that way, right? And threw in a beard for good measure.


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