Show Notes: Encephalitis Lethargica

Tracy Wilson

We didn't entirely mean for today's episode to be another in the Halloween theme ... we've already talked about a vampire panic, Sweeney Todd, the Bride of Frankenstein and Disneyland's Haunted Mansion (those last two for two episodes apiece). But listener Elin put in a request for encephalitis lethargica, also known as "sleepy sickness." It turned out to be one of the most terrifying things I've ever heard of - an illness that rendered people awake and aware but visibly "asleep" for months, then returned years later to inflict progressively debilitating Parkinsonism, which rendered otherwise young and healthy people virtually comatose. We still don't know for sure what caused it. Pleasant dreams!

Our listener mail two pieces, both about our Luis Alvarez episodes (here's part two). The first is from Vince, who sent us a picture of the Nobel laureate parking at U.C. Berkeley. The other is Sarah, who offers a correction.

For more knowledge: How Sleep Works

Episode link: Encephalitis Lethargica

My research:

Stuff You Missed in History Class via iTunes


the Stuff You Missed in History Class RSS feed


Stuff You Missed in History Class Facebook page