Author Archives: Chelsea Rein

Chelsea Rein

About Chelsea Rein

Chelsea Rein is a Librarian in the healthcare industry. Her article on the lack of women's perspectives in opinion writing was selected to cover the guest commentary section in her college newspaper, The Ithacan. Chelsea received her Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons University and her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College. She resides in New York City.

The Living Skeleton

Isaac W. Sprague: The Skeleton Man

Isaac W. Sprague, also known as “The Living Skeleton,” was born May 21, 1841, in East Bridgewater Massachusetts. He had a normal childhood until his health began deteriorating at age 12. Some early speculation indicated that he may have contracted a bacterial pathogen while swimming, which triggered his subsequent lifelong illness.

emaciated man

Sprague’s disease caused him to be unable to gain weight no matter the nutrients he consumed and he developed progressive muscle wasting and weakness. This combination led to his later famed and exploited skeletal frame in adulthood. It was said that Sprague would always have keep a flask of sugared milk with him at all times to sip on through the day just so he could get steady nutrients so he would not faint or die from starvation. The only official measurement of Sprague was taken by a physician in 1885 when he was 44 years old, where he weighed just 43 pounds at 5 feet 6 inches. read more