Halloween Treats from the National Library of Medicine

In this season of skeletons and specters, monsters and mayhem, the National Library of Medicine offers a few goodies that, unlike candy, won’t add to your waistline—though they might help pass the time between knocks on your door.

Skeleton of a female, standing, facing right, left arm extendedSpine Tingling Skeletons

The human skeleton evokes more shivers than science this time of year, but whether you’re interested in medicine or the macabre, we have some treats for you. Type “skeleton” in the search bar of the US National Library of Medicine’s Digital Collections to access over one hundred skeletal images, from the cranium to the phalanges. Many images are in the public domain and available for you to use—if you dare.

The Most Famous Monster

Over 200 years ago, a young woman’s novel about a scientist’s “unholy creation” was published anonymously.

Since then, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” has inspired plays, films, comics—and a National Library of Medicine exhibition.

That exhibition, Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature, has been captivating audiences for 20 years.

Superimposed over a picture of a dark and scary forest is the following quote by Mary Shelley, If you’re in southern Arizona or northeastern Ohio, you’re in luck. The traveling exhibition is on display at the University of Arizona’s Health Sciences Library and the College of Wooster’s Andrews Library through the end of November. But the online exhibition is available for everyone.

So take time this Halloween to consider the medical advances that challenge our traditional understanding of what it means to be human and that expose hidden fears of science and technology.

Digging Deeper

From the dance of death to a costume conundrum, Circulating Now, a blog from the NLM History of Medicine Division, has been offering Halloween-themed stories for years.

Reading by candlelight recommended.

4 thoughts on “Halloween Treats from the National Library of Medicine

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