Treating Tapeworm

Of all the ailments I see in old newspapers, tapeworm is one that has creeped me out the most. Just the thought of it slinking around inside the human body gives me goosebumps. Share in my misery:

Described as “a delicate operation,” in January 1887, George Gittinger had 60 feet of tapeworm removed by Dr. U.A. Sharretts of Frederick. According to The News: “This is the fourth relief Mr. Gittinger has had in the past 10 months, aggregating 230 feet.”


An ad in The Baltimore Sun sharing testimonials of Dr O. Dodge Phelps in January 1884 featured a tapeworm patient: “…without starving or making the patient, Dr. O. Dodge Phelps removed a tapeworm 30 feet in length in 2 hours and 10 minutes from Miss Katy Volz … also on the same day one 35 feet long from a young lady whose name he is not permitted to publish.”


For tapeworm sufferers wanting to try a remedy at home, Hayward’s “Tapeworm Expeller” was available. Advertised in The Baltimore Sun in September 1898, the medicine, offered by the Hayward Chemical Company in Easton, was “…guaranteed to remove [a tapeworm] without danger or inconvenience in from one to six hours; has NEVER FAILED.”


Lastly, in 1882, a testimonial for Dr. D.M. Lindsay from patient J.C. Wooten appeared in December 1882’s Baltimore Sun. Wooten claimed to suffer from tapeworms for years and treated unsuccessfully, until he sought out Dr. Lindsay: “He treated me, and two (2) monster parasites were removed.”

Under his testimonial was a joint statement from five witnesses: “We, the undersigned, saw the tape-worms pass from him, and the parasites alive for an hour afterwards.”


Sources: Baltimore Sun, December 5, 1882, January 26, 1884, September 6, 1898; The News, January 14, 1887

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