Black Death Skeletons have now talked through the careful examination of their DNA, and surprisingly the thieves that had carried off the bodies of the victims survived. Black Death, also known as Bubonic Plague, swept through Europe from 1347 to 1351. It is projected to have been one of the worst epidemics ever known to man, killing somewhere between 75 to 200 million people. That would account for 30 to 50 percent of the population. Sharon DeWitte, a biological anthropologist from the University of South Carolina, called this Bubonic Plague a “selective killer.” She studies the social behavior through the remains of skeletons. Ironically, the survivors were thieves. The thieves were ordered by a magistrate to carry off the dead bodies. Since the thieves were not getting sick, the magistrate ordered the thieves to give up their secret or be hanged.
The conditions in Medieval times was brutal to live through and the plague hit unannounced. Those who fell prey to this dreadful disease, suffered from fevers, swollen lymph nodes, rashes, vulgar boils, and ultimately vomited blood. The name “Black Death” was given because black spots would form where their flesh was dying.
DeWitte, a study researcher, has long been analyzing bones from three cemeteries in London. The DNA from those bones confirmed that the pathogen was Yersinia pestis bacterium. Studies from before the plague in the 11th and 12th centuries resulted in 464 skeletons. After the plague, 133 skeletons were studied from the 14th through the 16th centuries. Findings indicate that the plague acted as an indiscriminate agent to weed out the very frail and weak. DeWitte’s grave-scrubbing research covered a broad sampling of the Medieval population. Those who survived, survived well and lived long, because they were healthier than those who lived prior to the Black Death. DeWitte commented that although the aftermath was devastating, the changes that followed in demography and health were positive. So, those Black Death skeletons did talk, through DNA and the thieves did survive.
The Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a research article in February, 2014, that the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which caused the plague, wrote itself into the human genomes. DeWitte believes this is cause for future generations to have strengthened immune systems.
Rats were the culprits that carried the fleas that carried the Yersinia pestis, Black Death. It is believed that the origin was in central Asia, and that rats traveled on merchant ships. There were four thieves from Europe who were robbing the dead bodies. Miraculously, they were not getting ill. When the Magistrate noticed this, he demanded to know their secret or they were to be hanged. They chose to share their secret of oils, herbs and spices, and their “secret recipe” became known as “Thieves Oil.” It is a blend of five essential oils: clove, lemon, cinnamon,eucalyptus, and rosemary. The thieves rubbed the oil on their hands, ears, and temples.
Weber State University did a study on airborne bacteria in 1997, and found essential oils to be 99.96 percent effective in being anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-septic, and anti-fungal. Essential oils that are known to be high in phenols, such as carcarcrol, thymol and terpenes appear to have a strong detrimental effect on bacteria. That notorious group of thieves had knowledge of their trade. They were skilled spice traders and perfumers. Today, Thieves Oil is known to kill MRSA and gangrene.
Banishing skepticism about the validity of the use of essential oils is growing. Researchers at the University of Manchester, confirmed through clinical trials, that essential oils killed the bacteria known as MRSA, and gangrene, as well as other pathogens. That same university is in pursuit of doing more clinical research. Obtaining funding for the research is difficult since there is no way to patent essential oils, as stated by the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Peter Warn. The excitement pointing to the use of the essential oils stems from the fact that when those oils were applied to an assortment of bacterium, fungi and E. coli, they were killed nearly instantly upon contact.
The effectiveness of these oils stems from the fact that the oils are very complex; unlike pharmaceutical drugs which are simple. bacteria’s known to easily outsmart the pharmaceutical drugs; but when introduced to essential oils, the oils are so complex, they outsmart the bacteria. The complexity of the essential oils makes it impossible to duplicate, which is why they cannot be patented. Each crop of plants from which the essential oils are derived have variables from crop to crop. This has to do with seasonal changes in climate and soil.
Current findings do not have any other explanation as to why those clever thieves did not fall prey to that killer pandemic known as Black Death. Perhaps the study from Manchester State University, which confirmed the 99.96 percent effectiveness of the essential oils in destroying bacteria, fungus, and virus, can substantiate and support the knowledge that the thieves had in knowing their trade of perfumes, oils and spices. Again, Black Death skeletons did talk and the thieves survived. In the end, the thieves talked, too.
By Jill Boyer-Adriance
Essential Oil Seeker
The Hippy Homemaker
Thieves Oil Secret