I just found the most interesting story about four grave robbers who miraculously survived the Bubonic plague despite close contact with the victims. It intrigues me because it feeds into my hypochondria and general interest in horrible diseases of all sorts -- any story about airborne pathogens thrills me:
"As the bubonic plague decimated Europe in the year 1413, four thieves were captured and charged with robbing the dead and dying victims. When the thieves were tried, the magistrate offered leniency if they would reveal how they resisted contracting the infection as they performed their gruesome acts. They explained that they were perfumers and spice traders and told of a special concoction of aromatic herbs, including cloves and rosemary, that they rubbed on their hands, ears, and temples."
I also love that there is an aromatherapist out there who actually named her product "Thieves" and sells it online. It's kind of charming, and I'm so ready to give it a try because I've become obsessed with de-bugging my apartment while also making it smell nice (because bug spray smells awful, obviously, and commercial air fresheners only make it worse by creating some sort of scented fug). This sounds like the closest I can get to complete cleanliness without creating some sort of clean-room/antechamber, and forcing everyone within to wear scrubs and those little footie slippers.
And, frankly, who hasn't had images of the bubonic plague dancing in their head while riding the NYC subway in winter ... ???