Goose bumps to a cemetery

While putting the finishing touches on the 4th edition of Laughing at the Devil I wondered if ‘goose bumps’ should be hyphenated. A quick search revealed it shouldn’t, but, even more interestingly, I found the term once referred to sexually-transmitted diseases. The cause is said to be (for England and the associated Western civilization:) the bishop of Winchester licensed prostitutes outside of London, associating the symptoms of diseases linked to that profession to goose bumps. The term ‘Winchester goose’ became a permanent nickname for those poor ladies.

Several years ago an author seems to have been led to this history when one of his supposedly-fictional characters indicated she was buried in a cemetery not far from him. Today those thousands interred there are honored by the locals, as well as visitors from afar, who decorate the gates and graves, and celebrate the memory of the not-so-fortunate ones of previous times. Perhaps someday I will make that pilgrimage myself.

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