Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 5:53 pm
What life-threatening illness can you get from repotting plants, attending a rodeo or going spelunking? If you didn't guess histoplasmosis, you're not alone.
This week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, chronicle of all things infectious, reports on the surprising appearance of histoplasmosis, a lung infection caused by a fungus, in four people in Montana.
With its looming, gloomy high stone walls, crumbling corridors, and stark cells that once housed thousands of hard-core criminals, Eastern State Penitentiary certainly looks haunted. Its 142-year history is full of suicide, madness, disease, murder and torture, making it easy to imagine the spirits of troubled souls left behind to roam its abandoned halls.
"We love being the country that freed the slaves," says historian David Blight. But "we're not so fond of being the country that had the biggest slave system on the planet." That's why Blight was glad to see the new film 12 Years a Slave, an adaptation of an 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup. Northup was a free black man who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841 and won his freedom 12 years later. "We need to keep telling this story because it, in part, made us who we were," Blight tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.