Smallpox and the Supernatural: The Very Strange Case of Edward Jenner

Another Halloween Special:

This Adventure takes us out of the safe comfortable environs to which I have grown accustomed, to a place far, far away into deepest Berkeley, in Gloucester, where there lurks a ghost in the attic…

Before we get to the juicy – if transparent – details, let us fill in the background to the spectral sightings. Edward Jenner is considered to be the Father of immunology and developed a vaccine for the smallpox virus in 1776 which he published two years later in a book entitled ‘An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae; a Disease Discovered in some of the Western Counties of England, Particularly Gloucestershire, and Known by the Name of The Cow Pox’.

After family tragedy struck with the death of Jenner’s wife in 1815 (which came after the deaths of their children – all to Tuberculosis) Jenner sank into depression and turned to fossils and other interests before his death in 1823.

It was not until summer 2009 that stories of haunting surfaced, with papers such as The Telegraph and The Daily Mail running articles about them.

Sarah Parker, the Director of the Jenner Museum said “There have always been stories of ghosts at the Jenner Museum. We usually take them with a large pinch of salt.”

2009 though? That’s a bit recent for a ghost story to emerge isn’t it?

It was this picture here that caused the media flurry:

Who ya gunna call?

Can you see a ghost?

Some claim to see the figure of a man reclining in a chair through the doorway, but I think I can see a face there rather than a reclining figure… what do you see?

As fun as this ghost-hunting is, I remain sceptical about this case, especially as all of this coincided with a new exhibition at the Jenner Museum called Ghosts in the Attic and there is no mention at all on the museum’s website here: www.jennermuseum.com

What do you think?

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