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David Emery

'Cello Scrotum' Exposed as Hoax

By January 30, 2009

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"Cello scrotum," a medical condition described in a 1974 issue of the British Medical Journal as a rash caused by the chafing of a cello against a player's crotch, has been revealed to be a hoax by its creators, Baroness Elaine Murphy, a member of the House of Lords, and her husband John M. Murphy, chairman of St. Peter's Brewery.

"Reading Curtisís 1974 letter to the BMJ on guitar nipple," the baroness writes in a letter newly published in the same august journal, "we thought it highly likely to be a spoof and decided to go one further by submitting a letter pretending to have noted a similar phenomenon in cellists, signed by the non-doctor one of us (JMM). Anyone who has ever watched a cello being played would realise the physical impossibility of our claim. Somewhat to our astonishment, the letter was published."

The Murphys decided to out themselves after encountering a reference to the fabricated syndrome in a recent BMJ article entitled "A Symphony of Maladies." The subject arose in the context of a discussion of similar, though putatively real, musical performance-related conditions such as fiddler's neck, flautist's chin, cellist's chest, and, yes, guitar nipple. To their credit, the authors noted that the validity of cello scrotum was in question due to the "awkward playing position" required to produce it. Do not, needless to say, try this at home.

Read more about it:
Exposed: The Medical Myth of 'Cello Scrotum'
Murphy's Lore
A Symphony of Maladies


February 1, 2009 at 10:38 am
(1) Jared J. H. Catapano says:

Well I’m certainly glad to hear that beautiful things can be enjoyed from an amazing piece of craftsmanship and a cello. BA-ZING!


-Jared J. H. Catapano (ology.com)

February 6, 2009 at 6:33 pm
(2) ShanghaiJohnnyP says:

All those Obama stories sound like something the Couldntservatives and Wouldntservlicans
at Faux Snooze woulda came up with!!

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