The unbelievable-but-apparently-true saga of 13-year-old Chandan Goswami of India, the boy who urinated live, winged beetles.
One ever-popular motif in urban folklore concerns the phenomenon of animals or insects infesting the bodies of living human beings, a premise all the more horrifying for the fact that sometimes such things really do happen. Consider the case of 13-year-old Chandan Goswami of Bengal, India, who, according to a Reuters wire story filed June 17, 2003, "has begun producing winged beetles in his urine after hatching the eggs in his body."
It's the kind of scenario that would naturally invite skepticism, except that a good deal of the information has come directly from the state's medical education director, Dr. Chittaranjan Maity. The insects, Maity told reporters, appeared to be hatching in a fistula near the boy's groin, where doctors were focusing their efforts on killing the eggs.
Regrettably, that was the last anyone heard of Chandan Goswami and his unhappy condition in the international press, though his travails were far from over. A week later more than two weeks after being admitted to the hospital doctors had still not been able to stop the infestation nor alleviate the boy's suffering.
Fortunately, the Calcutta Telegraph covered the story continuously as new developments kept coming to light through June 25, 2003. Here, thanks to its online archives, is The Beetle Boy Saga in toto:
- June 13: Flies Buzz out of 13-Year-Old Boy’s Body in Rare Disease
"Live flies are emerging out of a perforation in the lower part of the body of a 13-year-old boy in Bengal in a bizarre — but not unknown — phenomenon."
- June 14: Doctors Subject Boy to Tests
"No flies have emerged from his body over the last two days, but there is no respite for Chandan Goswami from physicians at the medical college hospital here."
- June 15: One More Fly out of Boy’s Body
"Another fly buzzed out of the crotch of Chandan Goswami, the 13-year-old boy admitted to Burdwan Medical College Hospital with the rare disease of myiasis on Saturday."
- June 16: After Insects, Intruders Bug Ailing Teenager
"The boy infected by myiasis and undergoing treatment at the medical college hospital here is now faced with a greater scare in the people infesting him."
- June 17: Rove Beetle Inside Boy
"The 'fly' that invaded Chandan Goswami’s body has been identified as a species of the rove beetle but doctors attending to him at the medical college hospital here have not been able to make headway beyond that.
- June 23: Boy Languishes, Insects Keep Popping Out
"Visibly ailing, Chandan Goswami, the boy whose body has been invaded by an insect, faces an uncertain future with the doctors at Burdwan Medical College Hospital providing no indication about when he could return home."
- June 24: Finally, City Shift for Insect Boy
"The boy whose body has been the breeding ground of insects can hope for some relief from inquisitive outsiders, students and doctors, flocking his bedside at the Burdwan Medical College Hospital for a glimpse of a rare case . After 17 days of fruitless efforts to rid him of the bizarre ailment, the medical college authorities have decided on shifting 13-year-old Chandan Goswami to Calcutta."
- June 25: Insect Boy on Way to SSKM
"Parents of Chandan Goswami, the boy suffering from myiasis, today got him discharged from the medical college hospital here and set off for Calcutta to admit him to the urology department of SSKM hospital."
Update: — Barely two weeks after 13-year-old Chandan Goswami was hospitalized with live, winged beetles flying out of his crotch, another Indian child, a two-and-a-half-year-old in Hakimpara, was rushed to the doctor by his parents after several black beetles "buzzed out" of his rectum before their very eyes. Diagnosis: scarabiasis. Read more...