The Story Behind Eva Perón’s Secret Lobotomy

Iberia Airlines, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Iberia Airlines, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

The story of Eva Perón—the actress-turned-First Lady of Argentina—has been told numerous times. The Broadway musical Evita and the movie adaptation cover her rise to power and her untimely passing, but they leave out what may be the most tragic part of her life. During her final months, Perón likely underwent a secret, forced lobotomy that possibly hastened her death.

Perón was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer in August 1951 and died in July 1952 at age 33. For years, her death was thought to be the direct result of her disease, but a study published in 2015 complicates that narrative.

For his study published in the journal World Neurosurgery, Yale neurosurgeon Daniel Nijensohn used medical records and firsthand accounts to flesh out the details surrounding Perón's lobotomy. He claims Perón received the procedure in May or June 1952, just weeks before her death. Perón reportedly suffered greatly throughout her battle with cancer, and doctors may have recommended the lobotomy as a treatment for pain.

A lobotomy is a type of brain surgery that involves severing connections between the prefrontal cortex and the rest of the brain. This dulls the patient's emotions, which is why it was used to dampen pain—or at least moderate the response to it. The operation is regarded as dangerous and inhumane today, but in the 1950s, it was fairly common.

Lobotomies were also used to treat mental health issues, especially in women. One analysis found that the majority of lobotomies carried out in France, Switzerland, and Belgium between 1935 and 1985 were performed on female patients. In his study, Nijensohn alleges that Perón's surgery was not merely a treatment for pain, but a way to control her erratic behavior.

Perón's politics grew more inflammatory as her condition worsened. In her last public speech delivered on May 1, 1952, she targeted her enemies, and she even attempted to organize armed workers' militias from her sickbed. The operation she received may have been a drastic attempt by Juan Perón—Eva Perón's husband and the President of Argentina—to prevent a civil war. Regardless of the motives, the lobotomy was likely performed without the First Lady's knowledge or consent.

Perón made her last public appearance at her husband's second inauguration in June 1952. Though the surgery she received possibly calmed her anxieties, it also may have worsened her physical health. After the lobotomy, she stopped eating, and by the time of the event she weighed just 78 pounds. She was so frail that she needed a cage-like contraption made of plaster and wire to stand.

Eva Perón died on July 26, 1952. Though she was a controversial figure in politics, she was also regarded as a saint by many Argentinians, and her funeral was attended by millions. The true nature of her final months add another wrinkle to her fascinating legacy.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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A Short, Sweet History of Candy Corn

Love it or hate it, candy corn is here to stay.
Love it or hate it, candy corn is here to stay.
Evan-Amos, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Depending on which survey you happen to be looking at, candy corn is either the best or the worst Halloween candy ever created. If that proves anything, it’s that the tricolor treat is extremely polarizing. But whether you consider candy corn a confectionery abomination or the sweetest part of the spooky season, you can’t deny that it’s an integral part of the holiday—and it’s been around for nearly 150 years.

On this episode of Food History, Mental Floss’s Justin Dodd is tracing candy corn’s long, storied existence all the way back to the 1880s, when confectioner George Renninger started molding buttercream into different shapes—including corn kernels, which he tossed at actual chickens to see if it would fool them. His white-, orange-, and yellow-striped snack eventually caught the attention of Goelitz Confectionery Company (now Jelly Belly), which started mass-producing what was then sometimes called “chicken feed” rather than “candy corn.”

But what exactly is candy corn? Why do we associate it with Halloween? And will it ever disappear? Find answers to these questions and more in the video below.

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