Stories|Part of Inside Our Collections

Superstition, contagion and medical rumour

The great generator of confusion, rumours have not spared human health from their chaos. These images from our collection reveal how false information has materialised in print and publication and spread misinformation. From alleged plague-carriers and quacks to superstitions about immunisation and the first ever anti-vaxxers, this topic has a rich visual history.

Words by Sarah Meillon

  • In pictures

About the author

Sarah Meillon

Sarah is a Research Development intern at the Wellcome Trust. She studies Social Anthropology at LSE. Her interests include ethics of care and welfare, narratives of illness, and community medicine.