Lamashtu was a Mesopotamian demon who terrorized pregnant women and kidnapped children (and helped catalyze modern vampire mythology).
From the TED-Ed Lesson Vampires: Folklore, fantasy and fact - Michael Molina
Animation by The Moving Company Animation Studio
“It is definitely not smart to intentionally infect yourself. I’ve already had people ask.”
A third of the world has been infected, though. Tiny cysts nested in one’s brain and muscles attest. The parasite Toxoplasmosis gondii comes into us by undercooked meat, well-intentioned placentas, gardening soil, or, most infamously, cats. It is the reason that pregnant women are not supposed to empty litter boxes.
“If you’re young and healthy and have it already, it might provide some benefit, as we saw in our research,” Ann-Kathrin Stock, a cognitive neurophysiology researcher at the University of Dresden in Germany, told me. “But the adverse effects are potentially huge. If you ever really get sick it might be what kills you.
Read more. [Image: Kevindooley/Flickr]