If your workday is getting to be too stressful, it could have been so much worse. Seriously, the job market from a few centuries ago was disgusting and weirdly violent! These are some very ancient jobs you probably never knew existed, as first reported by Insider!
Remember the good old days, when leeches were supposed to be our medical savior? Leeches were commonly used for bloodletting, a practice where it was believed that a disease could leave the body through bleeding. No one knew how false that was at the time, so leech collectors would be paid to gather leeches from the nearby area for “medical professionals”.
Apparently these collectors would wade a horse into a body of water, where the leeches would fix themselves to the horse’s skin. Yuck! They were also known to use their own body parts for this procedure in a pinch. I have never been more thankful for modern medicine.
Don’t worry, children had plenty of unsavory work options too! Young boys were called upon to be powder monkeys, and they would have to stuff gunpowder into the cannon after it went off. They would literally leave their families and live on these ships for months or years at a time. Did any of the adults care about the dangers of the sea or enemy ships? Nope, why not have children be in the middle of a nasty cannon battle, what’s the worst that could happen?!
These people, wait for it, analyzed people’s habits and intelligence by the shape of their head. Yes, this was considered highly scientific. This was big in the 1800’s, and it was a way to be super duper racist against much of the population. Okay, so technically it did lead actual scientists to study different regions of the brain, but this was such a terrible origin story for neuroscience!
Back in the day when doctors needed corpses for medical school, people would literally be paid to dig up corpses from their graves and sell them! These people were known as restrictionists, or ‘body snatchers’ informally. So if you were in the 1700’s or 1800’s and came across a weird man digging up a body, don’t worry. That was just a hard working citizen!
The name is pretty self-explanatory. People were paid to trap disease-ridden vermin that were overrunning neighborhoods. Back when the bubonic plague was a thing, this job was actually really crucial, as rats would quickly spread disease amongst communities, y’know, while the communities were practicing abysmal hygiene. And they didn’t even have the traps exterminators could use today, so these people literally had to chase after rats all day!