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Thread: Goofy myth perpetuated - again.

  1. #21
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    Default Devil's Advocate

    Let me say first, I'm disinclined to believe that lead bullets were used, or used on a regular basis, as pain management. Otherwise, why not be part of a standard issue medical kit?

    Now the Devil's Advocate:

    Ask yourself thisL Where are all these "pain bullets" coming from? The medical staff certainly isn't hauling around cases of bullets. The soldiers have all of their equipment taken from them (personal items receipted for) when they arrive at the hospital, and many, if not birtually all, have their weapons and accoutrements left behind when they reach the field dressing station, or just dropped in place when picked up by the ambulance or litter bearers. It's excess gear, and excess weight, and the medical staff doesn't want to deal with it.

    Why couldn't a surgeon just carry one in a pocket and use it over and over? It's not like he would be worried about germs.

    Noah. 1. Breathe. 2. Suspend disbelief and go to a movie for entertainment value. If it's supposed to be a historically accurate piece and they get something wrong, then okay. Guys getting the crap beat out of them and then walking fine in the next scene is not authentic. My mom's pet peeve is that people can drive up to a building in a movie and there is always a parking space.

    I'm a photographer (at times) and was in a movie (as an extra) that was semi-historical set in the 1940s. I played a Press Photographer using a Speed Graphic. I wanted to be 100% accurate. Those cameras use a metal film holder. The holder slides in the back. There are two metal film guards (I forget the technical terms) that cover two sheets of film on either side of the film holder. To shot the image, one slides out the film guard closet to the front, takes the image and then flips the guard (the guards are different colors on each side like black and sliver ~ again, it's been a long time) and slides it back in. That tells the photographer that that piece of film has been exposed. Then, the entire film holder is pulled out and flipped so that the other piece of film can be exposed. Even though there was no film, I was doing this during the scene. Movie scenes are shot from many different angles, with and without sound, etc. When they were doing the close-ups on the star and she was doing her dialog and the boom mike was right next to me, the sound guy "asked" me not to make all that noise. And thus ended the true authenticity of the scene. Does anyone but photographers give it any notice at all and then only if they are familiar with that type of camera? Probably not.

    God, what was that entire rambling about? I'd delete it, but it took too long to type.

    Things to notice in movies, especially older movies with lower budgets.

    Cars being crashed are much older then the rest of the cars. (Not so much true in newer movies).
    Phone numbers are always 555. An exchange that until recently was never used. I know that's obvious to most of us, but until a few years ago, my best friend hadn't realized it.
    Cars that fly through the air and exploding often don't have engines in them if one looks carefully. (Again mostly old, low budget movies or TV shows)
    Finally, the streets in night scenes are almost always wet no matter what the weather has been. That's because wet streets film nicer.


    But as for accurate, I'm reading Gangrene and Glory currently. At some point the author says flags were flown at half-mast. Technically, only on ships are flags flown at half-mast. Elsewhere ashore, flags are flown at half-staff. A minor detail, but what other minor details are incorrect and I just don't know it?

    PS ~ Noah started it!
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Jas. Cox
    Civilian, but not always Civil
    53rd Indiana Vol. Inf. Co. I (for my Great, Great Grandfather Private William Haas)

  2. #22
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    Default

    Hank,


    I would put a great deal of the "pain" bullets not all, mind you, but the majority for sale, as modern fakes. Note how few actual conoidal balls show up with teeth marks, but so many round balls do.

    To me, it's a sign that someone doesn't know what the majority type of round was, and that these round ball are easy to acquire at the local WalMart. As clever as many of these hucksters are with swords, belt buckles and battle flags, it isn't at all hard to imagine being able to induce teeth marks.

    What's needed is an experiment to see just how much muscle power is needed to MAKE the sort of marks being seen. Certainly most hogs and other similar sized critters will have much mire powerful jaws than a human, even under duress, and many of those pain bullets show some pretty serious deformation.
    Tim Kindred
    Medical Mess

  3. #23
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TimKindred
    Hank,
    ... What's needed is an experiment to see just how much muscle power is needed to MAKE the sort of marks being seen. Certainly most hogs and other similar sized critters will have much mire powerful jaws than a human, even under duress, and many of those pain bullets show some pretty serious deformation.
    Sounds like a MythBusters job to me!
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Jas. Cox
    Civilian, but not always Civil
    53rd Indiana Vol. Inf. Co. I (for my Great, Great Grandfather Private William Haas)

  4. #24
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    Default

    PS ~ Noah started it!

    Yeah. Movie cliches. I've noticed a lot of them too. Mostly I guffaw out loud and scare those around me for laughing at inappropriate times during the movie.

    Back to the bullets.

    Hank has a point - I wonder if we could look back and see if the veterans had anything to say about it? Charles Johnson does not mention anything of the sort in Muskets and Medicine which was written post war. (He does go on about how medicine has advanced and if we knew about germs then we'd have saved more lives, &c.) The lack of any mention on bullet-biting during minor procedures would lead me to conclude:

    It never happened.

    It never happened in his presence, but might have happened elsewhere.

    It may have been common enough not to bother mentioning.

    None of this is gospel, of course. I'd have to go back and reread to see if it's mentioned.

    Edited to add:
    Sounds like a MythBusters job to me!
    Why not. They tested the old story of the soldier who got shot through the testicles and the bullet carried the genetic material when it hit the woman nearby, thus allowing said genetic material to get her pregnant. Busted, by the way.
    Noah Briggs

  5. #25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NoahBriggs
    Sounds like a MythBusters job to me!
    Why not. They tested the old story of the soldier who got shot through the testicles and the bullet carried the genetic material when it hit the woman nearby, thus allowing said genetic material to get her pregnant. Busted, by the way.
    I'd like to see that as well. Also bullets covered in something tasty and offered to hogs. Though if hogs are the origin, I can't help thinking, "Do you know where that bullet's been?" I doubt if the hogs spit them all out the front end.

    Here's something, from Erasmus Darwin, published 1819:

    When there appears a tendency to bite in the painful epilepsy, the end of a rolled up towel, or a wedge of soft wood, should be put into the mouth of the patient. As a bullet is said sometimes to be given to a soldier, who is to be severely flogged, that he may, by biting it, better bear his punishment.
    1) As Darwin recounts the story/myth, the bullet is given to the soldier (by his floggers?), not something he initiates himself. That's different than I'd pictured, so factor that in.

    2) Yet another example of the story being passed around about flogging, not surgery.

    Um, off topic again, why did Mythbusters test something that was already admitted to be a hoax in the original magazine?

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@voyager.net

  6. #26
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    Um, off topic again, why did Mythbusters test something that was already admitted to be a hoax in the original magazine?

    The story got retold over the years until it became part of, ironically, internet legends. Fortunately there are people not afraid to think for themselves who asked if the event was possibly true.

    The Mythbusters, of course, use regular science to recreate certain urban legends to see if something weird were physically possible. If the answer is "no" they go further to see just how much physics are needed to accomplish the act (within reason). I think that either they did not know it had been debunked in the past, or felt it best to ignore it so their experiment would not have some sort of bias, because they do take the time to look up the original material as best as they can.

    The Mythbusters called several scenes in Pirates of the Carribbean Chief among those was the use of improvised ammunition in cannon barrels. They shot grapeshot at a pig as a control, and watching it in slow motion I realized, (after wincing) if that patient landed on my table, I'd have several hours of work ahead of me. It got splattered.

    They also fired improvised chain, which I guess could represent chain shot in the Navy. It practically tore the dead pig in half.

    My Hollywood ballisitics rant was not too far off-topic in that a lot of misinformation (in this case 19th century weapons ballisitics) is perpetuated by Hollywood, and it enters regular society's notions as a "fact" that bullets do some of these things, like spark on impact, hit a gas tank to cause the vehicle to blow up, &c. Most people have the impression that bullets leaving a gun barrel fly straight and true until they hit their target, and are little if ever deformed.

    I now speak of nineteenth century weapons when I say it's not always true. Musket balls are not always seated correctly, gas escapes the patch, the minie ball does not lock to the barrel' rifiling grooves, faulty powder, temperature and heat-induced droop of the gun barrel, the angle the soldier holds the musket, all these things affect the ballistic path. Most minies fly out of the gun facing forward but can easily tumble in the air, and the heated lead could shift thebullet's center of gravity to throw their trajectory off. Thus the balls enter the human body at weird angles and speeds enough to do horrific damage, yet not always exit the other side. Of course there are exceptions.

    Regardless of the origins, the whole biting the bullet story comes up at interpretations all the time, and the members who hang out at this conference are bright enough to debate it intellectually without degenerating themselves to childish ad hominen and tu quequere attacks. I'd hope to find some sort of explanation either for the origins and/or if it was actually done in a hospital in the course of the war, in a continuing effort to combat ignorance and poor thinking about the medical aspect of the war. That includes my ignorance and poor thinking.
    Noah Briggs

  7. #27
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    Default MythBusters

    They also did a test to see if bullets actually lost energy when hitting water "Bulletproof Water." I don't remember the whole thing, but in general it was confirmed. I'm going to see if I can find it on their website. Please hold.

    http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/my...thbusters.html

    http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/my...pisode_06.html

    It was in Episode 51: Bulletproof Water Revisited

    Episode 51: Myths Revisited
    Here's another look at myths that generated a truckload of angry fan mail, prompting Jamie and Adam to put them back under the microscope. In Split Arrow, the three" mythkateers" take their best shots at busting this myth again with surprising results. Fans were not impressed when the Confederate Rocket was fuelled with paraffin; instead, they insisted on a "salami" launch. In Bulletproof Water, Adam and Jamie explored the depth of survival when shot at underwater.

    And:

    Episode 30: Son of a Gun
    It's survived untried for nearly 150 years: The myth of the Civil War soldier who was shot clean through his nether regions and the nearby woman who became pregnant when hit by the traveling bullet. Good luck, Jamie and Adam! Then the two test just how dangerous it is to use the telephone or take a shower during a thunderstorm. Finally, Scottie and Kari attempt to re-create the voyage of a hapless pair of boating greenhorns who set out to sea without first detaching their boat from their car trailer.
    premiere: March 30, 2005

    Okay I've grown tired of trying to find the actual conclusions of these "Myths." One can purchase a video of it for $1.99. http://shopping.discovery.com/catego...=40588004-49-0

    To submit a myth:

    http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/my...talk/talk.html
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Jas. Cox
    Civilian, but not always Civil
    53rd Indiana Vol. Inf. Co. I (for my Great, Great Grandfather Private William Haas)

  8. #28
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    Default another question regarding the ball

    All of the "pain" balls I have seen, seemed to be swaged balls, and do not have a sprue from the mold. Were they swaging round balls at this time?
    Marvin Boyce
    Dardanelle, Arkansas

  9. #29
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    I never heard of Pain bullets but I have heard of soldiers chewing on bullets on a hot day to get their saliva going.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan3MD
    I never heard of Pain bullets but I have heard of soldiers chewing on bullets on a hot day to get their saliva going.
    Comrade Evan,

    if you think it through, you'll understand that this is also a myth. Ammunition is issued in fixed rounds. A soldier would have to take out a round from his box and break it open, inwrapping the ball in order to suck on it. Then he'd have to stick it in a pocket and carry it around.

    The bain of any soldier is excess weight. In "Hard marching Every Day" Wilbur Fisk's memoirs, he talks about agonising over what to take in his knapsack in the spring of '63, prior to what would be the Chancellorsville campaign. He speaks of men leaving behind cans of food, discussing whether it is worth lugging a can of peaches, paring down to the bare essentials knowing full well he'd have to carry it with him.

    Now compare that with what one Southern article reccomended: using a common pebble to increase salivation, and chewing on a spring of mint to cool the air.

    I'd consider that myth busted..
    Tim Kindred
    Medical Mess

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