Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Research Rabbit Holes

January 12, 2023

We have all experienced the research rabbit hole, when gathering information for a story. Some will takes us to extraordinary places expanding our knowledge in a fascinating way, while others can drag us into dark and hidden places, we wish we’d avoided.

With my fantasy series sited in medieval times, I have discovered a wealth of information for medical methods. Each of my novellas center around a sorceress able to heal others. In The Rython Kingdom the grandmother passes on her knowledge to her successor, her granddaughter and in the sequel, Rython Legacy, the granddaughter harnesses her powers. As I write the prequel to the series, I am once again returning to this specific subject.

What is most interesting is that even today some of these medieval cures are used today. This is remarkable in its own way, as we think modern medicine has advanced through technology alone. For example, for pain a potent mix of hemlock, henbane and opium poppy – all plants which can be lethal in high doses were used in carefully measured amounts. These mixtures were also used as general anesthetics before surgery, such as amputations, cauterization, removal of cataracts, dental extractions, and even trepanning. For the treatment of wounds maggots were applied to debride necrotic skin and honey applied as an antibacterial to prevent infection.

Other rabbit holes I have dived into include:

Barrel racing – pending manuscript – Willow Tree Tears

Reincarnation – t be honest a life long interest – The Twesome Loop novel

Corpse desiccation, hermits & voodoo dolls – pending manuscript – The Giving Thief

University courses pending manuscript – Seasons of An Affair

Police procedures – current crime trilogy – The Delphic Murders

Forest animal habitats – Ockleberries to the Rescue – children’s chapter book.

What strange rabbit holes have you been propelled down?

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