Will This Be on the Test? Transcripts
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Hi, everybody, and welcome to Will This Be On the Test? I'm Mattie.
We are a podcast where we explore things that we either Miss learned didn't learn fully or didn't learn at all when we were in school.
Yes. And we're also going to talk for a minute about the awesome Halloween baking shows we're gonna watch
November and we cannot let go of Halloween.
Well, since we didn't have any trick or treaters We've had so much leftover candy.
Oh my god, you've been like it's been packed my lunches. It's like breakfast, lunch, dinner.
I candy. I've actually been getting really sick like getting bad headaches and generally feeling cruddy
because all the poison.
It must be that all the candy is poisoned. However, that would mean that your neighbors aren't the one poisoning your candy. It's the candy companies.
Unknown Speaker 1:27
Just like they thought in the early 1900s when they were probably putting lead paint in the candy.
They weren't putting anything in the candy. It was just the poorly made machinery of the time. Yeah, but we've been pretty boring this week. My newer job and a freelance gig started the same week by pure coincidence and the freelance gig wrapped up this week. So for the first time ever, this coming week, I get to experience what a 40 Hour Work Week feels
like. It's wonderful. I cannot recommend it enough. And of course, this week And of course this week, I have been reading a wonderful book. It's by Chuck tingle, and it's called the Space Raptor Butt Trilogy.
we are not going to talk about that.
We should talk about it because it was nominated for a Hugo Award, which is baffling. It's the it's actually I'm not recommending it. It's awful. It's space dinosaur gay erotica, that is written that about a third grade reading level.
If that the grammar and punctuation are so bad, it's like it's bad enough that it's not even really funny.
But this made me think, I bet we could write our own erotica using historical figures like the ones you use in this podcast.
Pliny the Younger. Here's a woman's headache through the powers of sexual healing.
Dude, you're no fun.
I'm really not. Yeah, I've got that remaining. Teacher. Brain and I have to I have to shut this down. Come on,
they would never teach you about that in school
with good reason. Yeah.
Also, kids don't do a book report on the space record, but trilogy, you will fail.
Although, when I was in freshman English class, she had us do this comparison report between a piece of what she said was literature. And a piece of what she said would be trash. We had got to pick our own trash book. And the literature we read was West with the night to which was about this woman named barrel marcon. And I loved this teacher and I actually loved the concept of this assignment. But the problem was that west of the night is nonfiction and obviously the trash book was fiction, and West with the night I remember being almost completely unreadable. And when she like, tried to get our class to grasp why This was that was better than the trash book we read. The problem was none of us had, like, messed with the night. Now, I used to be an English teacher and I actually incorporated this idea into my lessons. What makes a book good versus what makes a book great. It's not the same thing. We learn these books that kids don't necessarily like not because we want them to hate English class, not because we think they'll really love this book, but because the book is important. And so I would usually have them wrap up the assignment, the reading assignments with Did you enjoy this book? Why or why not followed by what makes this book worth reading? And even the kids were like, I absolutely hated this book. This is the worst thing I've ever read. We're usually able to identify why we read it, and why people should read it, even if they wouldn't recommend it as like, let's read this for fun. Yeah. So it wasn't an assignment that worked especially well in the moment. But you know, I remember remembered it, what 18 years later or something and it integrated into my classroom. So teachers even if something may not go the way you expect it to, it can actually have really positive effect.
So who can go first this week?
And last week we did Dolley Madison and we did Rollo. Rollo was first. Okay, so I'm first,
your first this time,
I'm going to be talking about Tituba, who you probably remember from the crucible
or Oh my God, we were just talking about Arthur Miller's ghost hunting dead salesmen.
Yeah, actually, we were.
This is your fault.
We should just record everything we say because the biggest we say off the podcast are if nothing else more bizarre,
but they're also far more incriminating.
That's true. Don't bug our house.
And if I guess NSA guy who already has bugged our house, we're sorry.
So in high school, I read The Crucible, I assume you did too.
And I loved it. A lot of people I know don't a lot of students especially don't enjoy that play. It wasn't really about the Salem witch trials. But the whole blacklisting communism thing that I'm going to cover a different time because I'm really fascinated by it, but it actually did use historical figures, taking a lot of liberties. As you might expect, Tituba is one of the characters in the story and a pretty important one. Honestly, I haven't read the crucible since I was 15 or 16, which was when it was assigned to us even though I enjoyed it I and I know I shouldn't say this too. I sure hope my students aren't listening my former students. I don't replace for fun. I know I just I can't get into it very much. I've sat and read a couple for fun like I read Equus silent read the crucible sense and no place really put it on so it's like number. I don't think I've seen it. But what are you member is that We listened to a recording of one of those parts. And I remember it being read kind of as a minstrel kind of. And in the place she's referred to as a quote Negro slave, in actuality, teach about didn't speak English as a first language, but she was fairly eloquent. And she also likely wasn't African American African at all, and possibly not even black. Really, that doesn't change the fact that she was a slave.
That's right, because they still have the like in the indentured indentured people are
not indentured full blown slaves.
Oh, wow. did not learn about that.
No, she was likely born and what is now Venezuela and was a member of an arawak speaking tribe, so the equivalent of the South American equivalent of our Native Americans, and then she was kidnapped along likely with her husband john, who ended up staying with her and take him to Barbados to work as slaves because there wasn't enough labor in Barbados.
Oh yeah, there is the sugar plantations in the Caribbean where like death Mills of just on a imaginable portion that we do not learn about.
They were brought there and then ultimately they were bought by the reference Samuel Paris and brought to Massachusetts in 16. Eight in the play. Of course, Paris is still her owner, and I don't remember him a whole heck of a lot from the play. But I have a feeling he was not as bad in the play as he turns out to be in real life. So obviously in her light Puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts, she is obviously seen as other immediately, she brought with her not just her darker skin color, but the beliefs and the culture she had lived in both in South America and in Barbados stars, decision I've been born in Barbados, too. So she was seen as a threat to the Puritans immediately she must be into stuff that we're not. She must be here to bring sin blah, blah, blah. Despite all of that she stayed In the house with this family she prayed with them every day she ate dinner with his daughter Betty and any other kids that were in the house and likely shared the same bedroom as the children so she was trusted enough to be around the kids literally all day and all night. So at the time it kind of sounds like the Paris's treated her. I mean, as well as any slaves could be treated, which still is not that great because you don't own people. It's just not okay. In 1692 Betty Paris who was nine years old at the time, and her cousin Abigail, who was 11 begin to have fits, which we most likely would call seizures today. The Doctor William Griggs came in decided, I don't know what this is much be witchcraft. It wasn't witchcraft, but that's what he decided it was most likely it was contaminated rye bread making them sick. That's what that's what some cases we said.
Okay, what's Oh, it's like some weird fungus that grows in rye when its moist and Oh, it's a camera it's called it's
just said moist we lost half of our listeners.
I apologize for saying that the word, I will fucking do it again.
Although we had a conversation about that just this morning because the word doesn't bother me. Is it the least sound? Is it the meaning because hoist enjoys to don't seem to bother people know, just let us know, what is this word bother people, although I have a couple of words that bother me, but I won't get into those because that will start a bigger debate. Contrary to what we were taught in school, Salem did not host the first or the last witch hunts in American history. Nor did a Salem host the first were the last ones in the world. They were happening all throughout the colonies up until this point. Salem in some ways was actually a little late to the party. But before this even happened before Tituba even gotten involved, they were kind of just starting to look forward a little bit because it was the popular thing to do. And by the end of all the They will have accused around 200 people and killing around 19 of them, which is the largest, which is why we learned about it. But if you look at some of the other ones, it's just freaking fascinating the stuff that they did the way they did things. Oh, so court records say that when the girls became sick Tituba and her husband john, helped their marriage make neighbor very simply make a wish cake. This cake was made from rice and the girls urine, which they fed to a dog and hopes that it would give them the name of the wish that
maybe they weren't just doing whatever religious beliefs she had. Pliny the Elder wrote this kind of stuff down.
Yeah, this is all really good wisdom from Pliny
the best wisdom.
She admitted to this book, the freezie for this is to find out who was doing this to the girls, meaning that her goal was to help the girls not to hurt the girls. There were rumors of course. These rumors now that she was already practicing Voodoo and fortune telling and magic that none of thought from the court records. So if that was happening, it's somehow
you just had to buy her that new toy.
You hear that noise? I'm sorry, I got a toy that that tweets like a bird and something went off but I think we're going to have our first introduction to one of the girls today.
So her goal here was trying to help the girls she really did love these girls. In addition to being sick, the girls were claiming that they were being pinched in the head and abused by people they couldn't really see. The girls kept getting worse. And ultimately the girls said that it was Tituba and two white women named Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne who were doing this to that. Damn it says Sarah good was poor in comparison to her neighbors and they decided She must be jealous of all of them. And that's why she would hurt people. She was an easy target because of her poverty. Even her husband got on board with this and was like, Oh, yeah, kill her, because you know, so there were Sarah Osborne, who was on the same socio economic levels, everybody that hadn't attended church in three years because she was really, really sick. And she was in a legal fight with another one of the families.
Ah, there's the other shoe.
Now some of the articles are and I've read a lot. That's why I haven't sourced this because I had to skip back and forth between a bunch something at least one woman was elderly and the other was mentally ill and I switched them back and forth. To clarify those Sarah good was likely about 39 and Sarah Osborne about 49 when they were Sarah good, was executed. Sarah Osborne died in prison, I believe. Now that sounds young, but in the early colony of Virginia, which was before this, they had a life expectancy of 25 at most, and 17th century New England saw only 60% of people survived childhood. So I guess they were
The three of them teach you by Sarah and Sarah. were put in jails not in Salem, but in Boston. Tituba was the first one to be accused. And then the therapists were jumped on to it and they were put in jail. In a place that was not Salem, which they never talked about in school. It was only Salem.
Okay, thank you lived up there. How far from Salem is Boston?
If I remember right, it's about an hour and a half by train not subway but actual train. Okay, so it's not a it's a day trip. You can go out really early in the morning, come back in the evening if you want to, but you can't get there. It's better to stay the night which I never got to. I always wanted to, but I went up there for a day. I think once okay. And I want to I wanted to live there. I was actually looking at schools in Salem, Massachusetts to teach and it's so beautiful. And so expensive.
And side note how accurate is the movie Hocus Pocus?
Oh, exactly what happens in real life.
Okay, that's just Salem all the time.
These three witches running around trying to get children to come to them and suck their souls out or something
instead of that, and also, despite having been dead for 200 years, they know a perfect put a spell on you routine that they can perform together with dances and they know the entire song.
Oh, the one cool thing about that movie, I just recommend listening to this podcast called buffering the Vampire Slayer. They interview a guy in it who played Billy the kind of zombie guy in that movie. And he talks about how they did the mocks that come out of his mouth. He was also the lead gentleman in Buffy, which is why he's on this podcast. Anyway, both Sarah has maintained their innocence until the very end. They always said that they had nothing to do with this. They weren't witches, etc. However Tituba, Tituba, was a genius. Initially, she said that she had nothing to do with any of this, but then realized that there was more of a benefit to admitting to it.
she knew that because she was already an other, she was more likely to be executed in these other people were. And she also knew from living in these Puritans, homes and community for so long that they hated sinners, and they hated liars. But they really believed that if you repented, you deserve to be saved, and you would be saved.
So she lied, to give them what they wanted as the truth. She would ultimately save that she also admitted to all of it because Samuel Paris started to beat her regularly to get her to admit to all of it. And it's also speculated that she didn't believe in hell in the first place. So she wasn't afraid to go there. But at the end of the day, it really is likely because she understood the inner workings of the society, because people would talk around her not really understanding that this is a human being come here and understand what you're saying. So she understood how their minds work. The interrogation of Justice Hawthorne she said that she didn't want to hurt the children but the devil did. So the devil comes to her and asked her to serve him. She stated that the Sarah's were both involved with the actual injuring of the girls along with two other women and a man. She said that the five actual people said originally she said she wasn't involved, came after her and said they would hurt her if she did not agree to hurt the children. So that's how she got involved. She also said that animals would come to her evil ones like pigs and dogs and different colored birds that the Puritans believed the symbols of
evil Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait different colored birds?
Yeah, I think there's more red birds and yellow birds, maybe. Puritans?
Of course, like I'm complaining about the different colored birds when all of this is batshit crazy, but I feel like the different colored birds is just the straw is breaking my mind.
Well, apparently the sparrows could both turn into winged creatures.
Maybe they were the different colored birds
and there was a big like, Wolf Man thing or Bigfoot or something to
Straight up I don't know what mothman is supposed to look like or be but we still hopefully yes
he's saying that he's trying to sound like you think sarcastic but we've had conversations
it's my faith in Mothman is unbreakable even though I do not understand him nor what was true for him is
Hey, but we don't believe in lizard people. So we're doing okay.
We do not believe in lizard people.
Although if there are lizard people, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
But what is monumental lizard person because we don't know what it looks like.
A lizard person. He looks like a giant bat. Man. Not that. That space although I guess he was originally the Batman was a it was a Batman. You know these comic books. I just sold a bunch of its spider hyphen. Man.
I think Batman is just a hype. Just a compound word
wasn't me originally the Batman.
Oh, I have no idea.
She also said that a tall man with white hair came in from Boston and formed forced her to sign the doubles book.
Yes. Ted Danson came in from Boston and and told her she had to sign the devil's book.
That's why he's in the bad place.
And she admitted she attacked several other young girls as well, and would fly through the night on sticks with both of the Sara's.
She's pulling in all of these different mythologies that she knew the Puritans believed in real yet,
insane that there are many others, she puts suspicion onto the larger population. So they know more about the people that they frankly view as people than them what person that they didn't, because if quote, unquote, real people could be involved with this. That was the bigger threat. Oh, smart. I mean, I'm not too keen on the fact that she's the one who ultimately started the snowball of everybody getting accused witchcraft. But as a Slytherin, and I have to respect it.
As a Slytherin. If you could just cast that one hex that makes flames feel like they're tickling you
However, they kept pushing her to add more names. And she said that the devil wouldn't give them all to her yet. And if they push too hard to pretend to go blind, so she gives him the devil will tell me he will. He just hasn't done it yet, which meant they couldn't execute her even if she was convicted, because she would have more names. And especially smart move, though she also played in to the sexism and view of slaves at the time, saying that, as we all know from the Bible, women are more likely to send the men are, they aren't as strong as men, and that since she was a slave, she only knew how to serve and feet and told her she had to serve. She did try to resist him again bringing stuff in from scripture about the devil and how you resist him and etc. But at the end of the day, he said she would he would hurt her and that she had to so she did, she didn't know how else to live. Bring up that scripture is very smart too, because even though it's closed, completely 100% positive that she did not practice Christianity. She had learned enough despite not speaking English as a first language and almost definitely not being illiterate, not being literate. She picked up over the Bible to know how to use it against them. She also apologized for her part in everything, saying that she didn't want to hurt anybody, especially a little Betty, the daughter of the family, and I really do believe that she wanted only good things for that kid. She really didn't love that kid. She said that she repented honestly and truly and all of that. So the Puritans couldn't, couldn't execute her because she repented. However, before the end of the trial, so she's still in jail. She has not reached her actual like, final trial yet. She recounts everything. She says that she lied to protect herself. She tells them about how Samuel Paris was beating her only one person wrote this down, and no one paid any attention to it because a lot of other people's already done it. The witch trial fever was completely swept up already. And one slave recounting every recanted everything was not of interest anymore, so that never made its way to people of import. And then in either 1692 or 1693, a grand jury in Ipswich refused to indict her saying there was a lack of evidence. They also wrote down that she was an ignoramus. Meaning either ignorant or stupid, I looked up to make sure I mean, I know what the word means. I wanted to see if it meant something different back then. It didn't. Not kind, but it probably helped save her that they thought she couldn't have been smart enough to do this. And that Puritan belief and repentance meant that they could not justify executing her because that would go against their own beliefs. They could they could justify executing all of these other people, you know, hanging and drowning and burying Under stones, all of these people, but if they adjusted they were sorry. They may not have done it, and that's just horrible. However, she remained in jail because Samuel Paris refused to pay the fees to get her out.
Oh, nice guy.
She ended up being sold to someone else likely along with her husband because there is no record of them after this, it seems likely they took her far away from Salem because unlike the white women who were approved, she was less likely to be able to integrate back into society. She was more physically recognizable, of course, and already being the other. They always be. It's that woman who was the first one accused that woman we have to watch her she's a slave. We can't trust her at all. And then the crucible we also don't find out what happened to her but it's left more as a does she get executed or does she not? We're in real life. We know what happened to her in terms of that. We just don't know what happened afterwards. So as a literary device, it works really well because as it leaves up that ambiguity about, you know, it didn't matter if these women were actually witches or not in real life, we don't know. We don't know what happened. We don't know if she has descendants. Now we don't know. Although in American Horror Story Coven, the character of Queenie, so she's one of her descendants, which kind of goes against the whole, it was probably all made up that she was a witch thing. But I
mean, that's, that's Ryan Murphy. I mean, we can safely ignore him.
Alright, are you ready for questions? I
am ready for some questions.
And these are questions about whether or not these things would be on a test not whether or not what the answers are. Will, the fact that Tituba was ultimately cleared up her charges be on a test.
Will, the fact that the Salem Witch Trials did not only involve people or prisons or locations in Salem be on the test.
No, because that gets into like regional geography of x gets really confusing.
And here's the big one. I'm curious to see what You say, right, will the fact that Tituba was a slave who was not African beyond the test?
Oh, that is a tough one. Man. I'm going to say no, because that just opens up another entire can of worms. I'm like we're doing this, I'm assuming is part of English class because it's the crucible.
I mean, it doesn't have to be talking about the Salem witch trials in general or slavery in general.
That would be a general question, I think. Yeah. Did you ever learned that there were people who weren't from Africa.
I never learned that this like this is the first time hearing of it as an adult. Yeah, we
we didn't learn a lot about this kind of stuff. Like all slaves were brought in from Africa. And we don't learn about really the involvement of the Caribbean. We don't learn about how, apparently, you know, native peoples were outflow enslaved, and I'm sure it happened beyond this. Yeah, we don't i don't know if it's an over complicating thing. I don't know if it's statistics thing,
or a just like, this is already awful enough, let's just not make it more awful. But I don't think slavery is slavery the matter.
But that's, that's the story of Tituba. there's so little on her but what there is, it's just fascinating.
And okay the entire time I've been trying to think about the crucible and whatever from that. And I've realized I read that same time. I read the crucible at about the same time as I read The Scarlet Letter, and they've become intermingled in my brain and I cannot tell them apart anymore.
Yeah, those were sophomore English prospects.
Yeah, you should split the crucible and the scarlet letter out by like a year, maybe because I was trying to figure out what histor prim had to do with witches. All right,
before we get started on Austin's we have to play HQ. So give us one second
and we're back. We're millionaires now
million. There's entire sense
I didn't get out on question for
Yes, because the park that had the big arch in it was arches.
But there was an arch But hey, we both knew what river made the Grand Canyon. Yep. We both been there and had very different experiences. Yeah, I had a cool I was okay, I was six or seven. I had a cooler of what had had ice in it when the train stop, flip over and dump it was now all frigid water on top of my head and you know how I don't like surprises being wet or being cold. I was not predisposed to enjoy the Grand Canyon after that.
has all those beautiful things I've ever seen. I'd love to go back someday
we can go back. You just have to be really nice to me.
We're never going to go back.
Okay, so who are you or what are you talking about?
Well, actually, we had we had our first recommendation from At 27 at CIT plenty says,
Yeah, after our first episode, I decided to see if Pliny the Elder was on Twitter and he is at shit. Plenty says and he's fantastic.
He is wonderful. He cracks me up. And he recommended that I do radium girls, which is something I kind of hinted at in the Marie Curie episode. So I'm going to continue with that. And this is a little bit different because it's not exactly unknown anymore. Because there is a best selling book about them. It's unknown to me. unknown to you. Well, there's a best selling book which is what I did most of my research for. It was radium girls by Kate
more. So class, everybody quiet down. Austin's going to give us this book report now.
Okay, so I read radium girls by Kate more. It was awesome. Okay, actually, though it was it was actually it was a really good book, what it did because there's been some separate stuff before but it's mostly focusing on the doctors and lawyers. You know, these brave men that help these poor abused women. This book witness differently as it talks about the personal lives of these women, their struggles, what their life was like, because these were young women who had this like job in their teens, and died in their 20s and 30s. So these were very young women,
you're going to talk about what they did and stuff as a job. I really know.
Yeah. We're going to go into it. If you love like courtroom dramas, this is great, because there's a lot of it. And it's all well written. You know, there's lots of back and forth. Lots of great evidence, lots of dirty tricks being played. And also it really does humanize the victims of this like industrial poisoning. So great book, I recommend radium girls. Let's do a quick recap. radium is a radioactive element discovered by Pierre and Marie Curie. Now at this side, they figured out it had a legitimate use as a cancer treatments, which it was treating cancers really well. And because people thought, Well, if radium can treat cancer, it can't be bad for you. So it was used as medicine, and we're gonna talk about some of those crazy medicines. Now again, at this time it was like they didn't know a lot of the dangers of radium even though the experts knew it was dangerous like appear Curie actually gotten some radiation burns from radium. And he was a little bit afraid
of it. Is that what Marie Curie would like carry in her pockets and stuff?
Yeah. And she would get radiation burns from the radium and he was so frenemies it's like if there was ever a a kilogram of radium together in one place, it would probably cook you if you were in the same room with it. So they knew about the Raiders dangerous radium but it was popular. It was new, it was fancy. There was a truly shitty song and 1904 called the radium dance. It is a plinky to piano thing that was an also a hit tune anyway, radium when somebody uses they have for it.
Is it the same uses as essential oils?
Yeah, exact same uses as essential oils.
So bear in mind, not that I have a whole problem with essential oils because
I have a holistic problem with Central oils.
I mean, I like them because they made my classroom smell better and some of them did make me a little calmer, but they probably definitely didn't treat your cancer by themselves.
Yeah, essential oils. They're being curious dates back to when we thought diseases caused by bad smells, which is bullshit and essential oils are mostly bullshit. So anyway, let's talk about radium. So some of the uses they had that have radiation spas, where you bathe in radioactive water, get radioactive face scrubs, be covered in radioactive powder, and you'd be sent out and glowing literally from your treatments. Also, bear in mind radium is expensive as fuck because it was so difficult to process and refine, it was at the time $100,000 of ramp, okay, which in today's money, it's several million dollars a gram through like entire this book. Bear in mind, the amount of reading that these women worked with through the entire careers in all of these plants was between 10 to 30. grams total during the entire time This takes place. So these are my new amounts of radio radiation spas it was used as a food additive they had special pictures that have radium lighting them so when you put water in it it become radiation water and you drink the radiation water which was supposed to be good for you. It wasn't it was also toothpaste, which hilariously was sold by a Dr. Alfred Curie, who was have no relations to meet Pierre and Marie Curie, but he did not specify that when he was advertising
it. Was that his real name?
Yeah, he was he just got lucky as hell. He was using makeup. It was in suppositories. Yep. And you want to hear the best one that I found. It was used as impotence treatments. It was a tiny amount of radium in a little wax rod that was shoved up your urethra to cure impotence.
Let that sink in. I think I'll stick with my essential oils.
hilariously, the inventor of it did die of bladder cancer, probably from the radio. That was some of the uses of radium and also had some industrial uses, like and the biggest one was when mixed with certain other elements, it would glow all the time and was great for luminous paints, which were of huge importance during the war effort and World War One as watches so that people could coordinate things at night without having to like light things to look at their clocks and be shot at. And also as instrument dials on airplanes, which were important.
That makes sense if you have no idea this is really dangerous. That's a sensible you it's a sensible use. But they didn't know it was dangerous. They just didn't know how dangerous it was yet. It's kind of like cigarettes for the first three quarters of the last century,
very similar, actually, there were three plants that were really in America at the time. There was the one in Orange, New Jersey, which was the United States radio company. There. window open. And there's also the radium dial company in Ottawa, Illinois, which is the second big one. And there's also another factory in Waterbury, Connecticut, which we don't really talk about much. But the two big lawsuits has happened in Orange, New Jersey and Ottawa, Illinois. So, the paint they used in wash towels paint by these young women, they used a method called lip pointing on their brushes, they would take the luminous paint, apply it to their brush, point the bristles of the brush using their lips and tongs, and then paint with that so and have a nice fine point. Oh, damn, yeah, so they were ingesting radio. It was the best method even though other places use wouldn't styluses or glass rods or other things to paint them. This was just an economic economical way for the American painters that didn't waste a lot of radio. This was a prestigious job. It was skilled work, because you had to be able to paint these fine dials and numbers on watches and instrument dials, but it was a good job for young women who didn't have to have any specialized school like they could go in They were well paid, it was something respectable. They made a lot of money. When is this? This was in the early 90s. This is around World War One. So okay, that was like 1911 to 1938 as well as taking place. Oh, wow, long time, long time. It was a great job. And it was fun because they would get to play with radio like high school chemistry class like high school chemistry class, they would paint their faces with it, they would paint the nails with it. Somebody even paint their teeth with it with their teeth
would glow. I get that That sounds like fun.
It was fun. And they would also were there like fancy dress clothes to work. So they go out at night, they'd have all of this like dust from the radium on their clothes, and the clothes will be glowing.
I can't think of very many of my students who wouldn't have done that given the opportunity. I mean, if I spill glitter on myself, which I do more often than I realized because I still have glitter showing up. I don't take it off because it makes me happy. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 35:55
And think about how insidious glitter is like when you spoke glare your house or we ever use glitter. It's actually Word forever does the same thing with this radium paint later when they were having like industrial safety inspections of these girls, they found that the reading just got everywhere, not just on the clothes but on their skin in their hair and their ears eyes up their noses, even under their clothes. And it was not easy to wash off it would take several days for this radium dust to get off of their skin. The girls didn't know the danger about this. In fact, they were told explicitly that the radium was safe. What they're doing this we're doing it the best way it couldn't hurt them and if anything, it was good for their health, it would give them a healthy glow. But the problem was the symptoms from radium and radium poisoning didn't show up for years. So these young women to come in, they've worked for a couple of years, they get married, they get another job, they move on and do something else. And it took years for the symptoms start showing up and when they started they weren't major symptoms. I mean they were painful symptoms painful like tooth pain or joint pain or the first symptoms that would happen from radium poison So
stuff that was probably pretty common back then. Yeah, sup that was pretty
Unknown Speaker 37:03
common. Remember like the first time you woke up and your backer because you weren't a teenager anymore. I was a teenager when that happened. A lot of them when they woke up it's like, oh man, my hipster Oh, I must be getting older and they kind of ignore it for a while.
Like you on your 30th birthday.
On my 30th birthday. I hurt my back
for the first time ever. He threw out his back on his 30th birthday.
It was miserable.
See me I was 22 and made the mistake of washing my hands. That's why I haven't done it since.
I've been meaning you talk to you.
Okay, there's minor symptoms like one woman had a tooth pulled and like, oh, the pain is gone. But it didn't go away because the socket never healed. And eventually more and more Keith had to be pulled abscesses and lesions with form of their mouths, their job bones will get would start to necrotizing and their jaws would have to be removed. One woman would you have a dental exam, the doctor went to exam her job and just with the pressure of holding it broke for job that's not normal. And she actually ended up having to have her job removed.
So that's like the bottom of your face is gone.
Yeah, it's like no more Java, which is not great.
It's like in the grudge and that girls jobs ripped off in her tongue is hanging down like her belly button.
Yeah, yeah, it was horrible. One doctor actually kept that woman's jaw. If they'd had indicated he kept a tour, because he had no idea what was causing this. And her jaw bone was radioactive enough. It actually ruined X ray films in the same drawer as it doctors didn't know it was going on at this point. And they didn't talk to each other about it. And a lot of times they didn't even tell the women what the diagnosis was because they didn't know what it was one woman the doctor diagnosed with syphilis, but never told her the kid diagnosed her with syphilis, even though it wasn't syphilis, and it would later be proven that she was in fact, radium poisoning when they examined her body years later.
I mean, things haven't changed that much for women as patients today,
Unknown Speaker 38:55
there's one woman whose first complaint was a pimple on her face that kept getting worse. worse in within days, her entire face was black and necrotizing. And she died. That sounds like one of the worst ways to die. Oh, there's so many worst way to dies in this book like it is horrifying. These were vibrant young women who had no idea what was wrong with them. And no even like experts didn't know what was happening like did they talk all about if they had kids, some of them did have kids actually, but it was many of them were incapable of having kids and some of them had kids who had severe health problems later in life or throughout their entire lives. It is long lasting problems from the radio industry. So and of course, at this time, treatment was expensive. They made good money at this job, but not enough to cover their medical expenses.
As opposed to now or medical treatments are so inexpensive.
Unknown Speaker 39:49
There wasn't really insurance at this point. They were just paying for all of this out of pocket. They didn't know what's wrong with them and there was near constant doctor's visits and the doctors weren't really communicate with each other. One dentist noticed a Bunch of his patients were having this problem. And he realized they're all radium workers, but most of the communication was to the women themselves who were keeping in touch. And they would talk to each other and they'd have these health problems. And they know that, you know, Jane having this problem, or Mary had been sick, and they had a similar problem. They started talking to their doctors about it. Finally, they campaigned enough and the docs campaign enough that the United States freedom company, industrial safety, people did finally investigate them. But the law was completely protecting the radium company. Shocking. Yeah, it was all in place to protect them, and not actually protect the workers. So the last time we're just to keep make sure that they would stay in business
and just profitable every time you say at the time, I'm like,
Unknown Speaker 40:41
and now it's even worse now. And so at first, the doctors thought this was there been a similar problem where people's jaws were riding and the kids are falling out from phosphorous poisoning. And they thought, oh, there must be phosphorus in the paint. That's what's causing this. There wasn't a phosphorus with the paint, and so forth. That's what they use, as they Big defense like, oh, Kp the radio, there's a phosphorus in this. So it's not an industrial accident, something else must be happening. These women must be in poor health. And of course at the time the company attacked the women and spread rumors about the all having syphilis, because one of the women that had died had been diagnosed with syphilis. So clearly, they all had syphilis. However, the United States rated company did their own investigation. And their investigation found that in fact, radio was dangerous radio was the cause of this. And they tried their best to cover up all of that information. It did eventually get out. And there was a big fuss, but there was a statute of limitation for industrial safety things. That was two years and by the time these saintly symptoms were manifesting in these women, it had already been two years. So there was passed the statute of limitations for them to get any type of compensation from the company and lots of early lawsuits were not even taken up by lawyers because of the statute of limitations and there was no point in going forward with
a statute of limitations piss me right off.
Unknown Speaker 42:00
But then there was one doctor Dr. Harry Maitland, who decided to go further and investigate this. He had autopsies of the dead women, he found radium in their bones and what's the testament by burning their bones to ash and then testing them and purified. They were trying to radium that way, they would wrap them in X ray Phil and it would mess up the hfl which can only happen with this way with radiation. They even measured their breath because there was enough radium in their bodies that when radium breaks down it turns into radon gas, there's enough radium in the bodies there's measurable about of radon in their breath.
This is years after they worked those two
Unknown Speaker 42:35
years after a quick little breakdown of radiation. There's three types of rays that are generally given off by radioactive elements like radio. There's alpha rays, which are like full on neutrons particles being shot off of these spray up developments. They can be blocked by a cloth or paper. They're slow moving but large and destructive, but it easy to block. Then there's beta rays which can be blocked by thin sheets of metal and get Gamma rays, which are harder to block but they pass through so quickly, they generally don't do a lot of damage. Well, the workers of time who were doing processing and all this stuff with the radium, they were wearing lead aprons, they were having limited exposure to it, because they knew it cause radiation burns and they knew about the different ways to block them, but they never thought about the problems of internal radiation. Internal radiation has nothing blocking it. And they also found out that your body treats radium the same way it treats calcium. So when these women would lip dip their paint brushes, they're getting small doses of radium in their bloodstream, which should be deposited in their boats, like their jaws, their teeth, their tips, all of these places where they're having these problems was this radio being deposited in there and shooting up all these radioactive waves with no protection at all and it was killing their bone marrow breaking their bones It was rotting the tissue around wherever these great this radio was the positive and there was no cure. radium has a half life 1600 years, so it's not going to decay on your body. These bodies are still radioactive to this day and they will be for generations and generations to come. At this time. Many of us were not told that this diagnosis was failed. Some of them were many of them didn't learn that this was fatal and uncurable until they were in court. And the doctors were testifying about that fucked up. So let's get to the first the first lawsuit was finally reached, where one lawyer determined that the statute of limitations would not apply until the symptoms started showing up, which was several years after and they got accepted because there had been a big stink about this in newspapers. And this was a like these poor young women were dying from radium poisoning with something they were told were safe. And the company had tried to cover up the fact that they figured out it wasn't safe and they didn't fully implement all of these safety measures for the future workers. Awesome. Oh, also, the SH rated company also had a doctor in air quotes working for them. He'd been sending letters to people saying they were fine that their tests were fine. He was a Doctor of Philosophy and like Ross Geller like Ross know, he's a doctor of paleontology and that's the same thing as a PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, not a medical doctor. And in fact in Waterbury, Connecticut, he had been living these suits and settlements with them claimed he was a doctor leading their treatments saying everything was safe for years. Nice guy. Yeah, nice guy. So they were they were trying to protect the profits, not their workers. So five women suit, there's abena and Quinta grace fryer, Catherine Schwab and add the husband. These five women sue the rating company and tried to prove that they know that radium was dangerous. They did not do anything to protect the workers and even Dr. von der hotkey who had studied under the curious new radium was so dangerous. It was so dangerous An interesting fact that some had gotten into his finger was working with it, and he immediately hacked the tip of his finger off. Whoa, that's how dangerous this was. Another fun fact, these women's lawsuits been getting nowhere for years, until a man who had been working in the processing part of the plant and finally died of similar symptoms to them. So then it finally went somewhere.
So between my story and yours, we're learning that men are awesome. Yep.
Unknown Speaker 46:17
awful, awful stuff. Lots of propaganda. They were fighting it, the company's insurance company was fighting this. They're pulling up every dirty trick in the book in this trial, and again, read radium girls, because this would be a five hour long podcast, talking about all of this. So eventually, when it looks like they're about to lose the trial, they started delaying it. It hopes that these very sick women would die and the suits would drop, but they eventually ended up settling these five women so they got their medical treatments paid for large amount of compensation, like you know, future studies. And of course, the company fought them on every single claim they did. And this this trial was big news at the time, and they didn't make a big enough steak. So but while I was on the news, we're talking about the other company in Ottawa. The painters were going to panic there, because they've been opened more recently. And none of them had started having these symptoms yet there were some people who had like bad teeth or joint pain that nothing huge. So they didn't think it was full on radium poisoning that was like literally breaking them apart. They were falling to pieces. So the company did their own private tests, never told the women who work there the results, but they published a full page article in the newspaper saying that they were all fine. And that it was the radio that the company was using. That was the problem. They used a different isotope on it and it wasn't as pure radio. So is this different isotope what's causing the problem, not the pure radium like they used here. And of course, also this time, they changed a lot of laws to cover like radium, Jada Croesus, but not all of the other stuff. And again, they changed the statute limitations still, but where it still was worthless, and there would be no recourse for any of these women.
Yeah, you had to already be dying to be able to do anything.
Unknown Speaker 47:58
Yeah, and again, They did not make any sense because this company did try to institute a glass stylist to paint with instead of the black brushes but the painting was slower less accurate with it and the girls were paid by the dial. Oh God, so they just stopped using it then you know some symptoms started show up and these women to one woman actually had to have her arm amputated because it was certainly have lesions, big growths on it and sarcomas and that's where most of her radium had gathered in her body. They hacked off her arm and it saved her life. And at this point, a second lawsuit is filed. They had several other lawsuits and it failed. But then Catherine Donahue watches her lawsuit, she was in horrible shape from the reading poisoning. Her job was horribly fractured. It was like in tiny fragments in her face. She lost most of her teeth. her spine broke and one of her legs broke while she was walking down the street. So she had a metal brace on her leg and a Vettel back brace at the time of the trial. She made 71 pounds could barely move around on her own in fact she was in such poor Calif at the trial How did you finish in her house at this point the company had moved out of Illinois to New York. And so they're having a just like cross state lines awful trouble trying to get money out of them, but they have left a $10,000 deposit with the Illinois industry Industrial Commission for safety reasons because no insurance company would insure them for claims anymore after the New Jersey case. So they were having to prove like liability for themselves. Now, this is interesting. The company's defense in this entire case they didn't bring in any witnesses no experts, their entire self defense was that radium was not poisonous because this new all the covered poisons and the radium was in fact not a poison. Okay, even though in an earlier lawsuit, they claimed that radium was a poison. Shockingly, they ended up losing this case, again, but not after just a lot of sheared dickish nests and very brave testimonial from a dying woman who could barely speak also She didn't know that this was fatal until the trial. She's the one. She actually like broke down in hysterics when the doctor had to testify that though this was going to kill her, and she was in the final stages, they had told her until that point, this
is the woman with the broken back.
her doctor didn't tell her she was dying.
No,they wanted to spare her the trouble. I know what the fuck. I feel like I make fun of the Jazz Age a lot. But I feel like this is definitely justified. What the fuck
Unknown Speaker 50:27
yeah, please spare me the trouble of knowing I'm dying. So I don't have to worry about getting my affairs in order and making sure that you know if I have kids that they can be taken. Yeah, she had three children.
Oh, God was her husband still around her and her husband was still around. But at this point, this was in the 1930s during the Great Depression. So her husband had been unemployed for a large portion of this
this is depressing stories so depressing.
Unknown Speaker 50:52
So and of course they'll rate the radio power company appeal this eight times. So payment and settlement was delayed by yours. until they finally paid out, Catherine did finally die she weighed 61 pounds have over death. That is like the combined weight of our cats. Yeah, sword isn't in there, that was like a big case setting up all of these industrial safety standards. And really, it was the first time that a company had been found liable in a case like this and had to pay out to people. So this is a big deal. You know, it was a legal precedents for your employer having to provide safe working conditions. A lot of good things happen like in the Manhattan Project. Originally, they were not taking many safety precautions. But one doctor who is familiar with this case, decided we're going to do an intensive study Antonio, and uranium before we do anything, and they figured out that plutonium would have acted very similar to radium. So they introduce a very strict and mandatory safety precautions with the Manhattan Project that probably saved thousands of lives. And also because of this case, and what we know now about the cancer radiation, we stopped above ground nuclear testing because it put an radioactive element into the air that spread all over planet and also, this was the only real study of the effects of radiation exposure on humans. These are women and the hundreds of women who'd worked these plants went in for studies. And it is just a depressing list of the dead all like so many of them had sarcomas died of breast cancer had limbs amputated from, from like radium poisoning, last teeth infertility, these women were still alive up until some of them live into their 90s with all these problems were alive until very recently, like 20 years ago, and also the the sites where they're processing the orders painting were dangerously radioactive, some buildings are destroyed and turned out and like the film is used in film locations, and you could trace patterns of high cancer rates in neighborhoods around these four years. And of course, these companies pledge they helped clean up but never did and that up ended up having do it and these sites are still being cleaned. And we Today well,
the next 1600 years, I mean, you can like
Unknown Speaker 53:03
clearly sites basically means we're gonna take all of this dirt away, sometimes as deep as 15 feet and move it someplace away from people.
So the ocean.
Unknown Speaker 53:12
There's some sites like out in Nevada where we're burying radioactive waste in a geologically safe area where there aren't many people around. Again, it's not an ideal solution, but it's still we got so that is a story of the radium girls and the still ongoing effects of these radium paints.
So they have children and some of the kids had health problems with the health problems similar to the ones their parents,
Unknown Speaker 53:37
for example, Catherine Donahue was her youngest daughter was always just had chronic health problems, but they think was related to the radiation she was exposed to in utero.
What about their husbands and things didn't happen to them?
Unknown Speaker 53:51
Yeah, there's actually some cases of secondary exposure where the men also died from being around the radium dust that their wives are bringing back home with them. So are you ready for some questions?
No, I want to go cry.
Yeah, me too. We should have we should have thought this out better. This is a bummer. So will the various radium yours be on the test?
What's the test over the over this specifically or anything in general?
Will your will will radium suppositories ever be on the test?
probably not no
what the actual methods of the things they are supposed to care basically how radium was the essential oils of the 19 teens.
I kind of feel like if you're an advanced chemistry class that stuff might show up in a general K through 12 education at one No.
Well, the fact that the laws were rewritten initially to protect companies and not the over the employees be on the test. Yes. Will necrotic jaws be on the test? Yes, well, that'd be really disgusting.
It doesn't matter what age you are, but I'm just imagining my middle schoolers reacting to that because like
again, I don't even go into depth on this like woman she's having a tooth pulled and a chunk of her jaw came out with it.
I had a tooth pulled because the dentist messed it up so bad that it broke three times after they messed up because it was fine. And that was traumatic enough listening to just the tooth that I knew would be my anyway. That'd be fine. get pulled out. I can't imagine existing after dealing with this. Yeah.
Catherine Donahue. She claimed that it was her Fighting Irish spirit that was keeping her alive. They were shocked. She lived as long as she did. She was just too pissed off to die.
She She sounds great.
She was pretty again, read this read this book. These women were phenomenal women. Well, the fact that people are still dying from the radiation in these sites from 100 years ago, be on the test.
I think that's kind of a regional question and an age question because you don't want to teach that necessarily in those areas, especially to younger kids because it will scare them,
please. It scares me as an adult.
I feel like if there's a place near the level have signs you can't not address it. Yeah, as long as it's only allowed curriculum. But that's off topic. That was the most depressing story I've ever heard. And I listened to murder podcasts.
Dude, history is so depressing. I
mean, that's part of why we started this podcast is Yeah, realized how much stuff we never learned and we need a real history we need humanity was fucked up. We knew that we've done a lot of shifty and shady things as a whole. We didn't go into depth with a lot of things. I mean, obviously I learned about radiation growing up but never heard a word about this. Yeah, it was just radiation is bad. Don't lick radio.
The author actually goes into this in her book about like, she only heard about this because there was a play that she directed. That was about the doctors and lawyers help these women but she wouldn't know about these women. So she came to America and did the only real research into them by talking to their families. And she came to America. She went to these sites. She did The hard research she talked to their families. She read their personal correspondence with their families and kept and it was radium girls is a great book you should absolutely read radium girls.
What did you learn about
that she wasn't black?
Yeah, I mean she was dark skinned and there's some belief that she might have been half black, but she was most likely Venezuelan and native
wild. Again, I'm just thinking back to I mean, you sound projection of the crystal I must have seen where she was like
she was played by the stereotypical mammy and every
Yeah, she was she was problematic.
The one like not painting like sketch that exists of her and it's obviously not from the time she actually has like feathers in her hair and stuff. So she's clearly supposed to be more Native American or native. I guess it's South America. So yeah, American. But yeah, when I saw images from productions, it was definitely portrayed as a mammy character.
What did you learn? Do you hug Come here. Yes.
Doesn't have me because of my radiation poisoning.
But hell let me touch the cats. You're a horrible person. I mean, I've always kind of known that especially in companies where women were the primary employees the safety conditions are typically worse. And that does continue to today. I had never heard about this at all. I didn't even know like, how they made things glow in the dark back then. So
yeah, they made things go in the dark with radiation isn't good old healthy radiation. Doesn't
phosphorus do that to
phosphorus does that too short time? It's a short time it's like it just it absorbs light and like sushi that somehow I'm not sure about the chemistry of it. But this was a radiation from the radium interacting with I think it was calcium sulfide in the paint that just made it luminous.
I think your story is like the worst thing I've ever heard. Honestly. Yea. Sorry, said we have a happy note to end things on today.
No, we don't just wallow in sadness with us until next week, so never let's find something happy.
Yeah, because history is known for being happy.
There's been something wacky I've been sitting on
Pliny the elder was great.
Maybe I can just go plenty Part Two Electric Boogaloo.
And I mean, the indoor ship battles was kind of just, I mean, horrific things happen, you know, they were killing,
you know, we need to get out of America and Europe and like explore the rest of the world.
There are other parts of the world.
Okay, this may shock you. But there's this entire continent called Asia. You may have heard of it from the game risk.
I thought Asia was a myth. I know Antarctica is a mess
of Antarctica is just the wall of ice around our flat planet that the aliens put there as part of their dome to study
us. I had a dream that Antarctica you know, you guys know that commercial for the World Wildlife Federation. Where it's the sad polar bear that's on the ice in my dream that's all in article was was one floating piece of ice but for some reason the entire world has conspired to make you believe there's a seven continents.
And so if you were to actually go there it's
just a piece of ice that if you get on and it flips over, so Antarctica miss
your dreams You're crazy. This is a real long podcast. It's gonna be short.
I guess that's it for this week. We will Yak at you all next week. Follow us we are on firstname.lastname@example.org slash on the test pod.
We are also on Twitter at on the test pod. All right and on that note,
Will This Be On the Test 1:00:43
Transcribed by https://otter.ai