History of the World: A Plague that Puts the Black Death to Shame


OK, I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. The Black Death was horrible. But can you imagine a plague of pain and suffering, of embarrassment, of seemingly impossible medical origins? Yes, friends, we're talking about a plague of... hemorrhoids.

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Anyone who has watched Indiana Jones knows that the consequences of disrespecting the Ark of the Covenant are great - clearly, it's very possible that insulting it or opening it with the wrong intentions will make your face melt right off your skull. But apparently, God had different intentions in mind: he gave the Philistines who insulted the Ark a case of mass hemorrhoids. You're thinking, "An anal plague? That doesn't seem very likely..." and you would be right. It's the only case of mass hemorrhoid attack in history (recorded, anyway) and there is no transmissible virus or bacteria that spreads hemorrhoids. But there's no mistaking that hemorrhoids was the plague that was sent. The Bible specifically says, "He smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts."

These were some badass 'rhoids - some men actually died from them. After seven months, the Philistines consulted priests to figure out what they could do to repent for their sins and make the plague go away. The priests said that they should return the Ark to Israel, along with an offering of five golden mice (another plague the Philistines were suffering from) and five golden hemorrhoids.

So, uh, they did. But it didn't work - apparently the Jewish farmers that spotted the unmanned oxen carrying the Ark and the offering into Israel cooked the oxen for lunch and used the cart as firewood. And they opened the Ark... so God wiped out the whole town. Yikes.

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