"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