Dorchester Atheneum
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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Cullis Consumptives Home
Consumptives Home
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 The Cullis Consumptives Home, a hospital for incurables at Grove Hall, Roxbury district, was incorporated in 1870, six years after it was founded by Dr. Charles Cullis, who remained as manager. It relied wholly on voluntary contributions. From this source over $500,000 had been received by 1879, and over 2700 patients had been cared for. The Home accomodated 80 patients. The premises contained, besides the Home proper, two children's homes, a free chapel, and a home for those afflicted with spinal complaints.

It seems that the original building must have been replaced by the much larger one that appears in illustrations in 1899 and in the early 1900s.

The Cullis Consumptives Home is often referred to as being in Dorchester.

Mary Roach, in her book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers mentions that Dr. Duncan MacDougall in 1907 experimented at the Cullis Home to determine the weight of the human soul. He constructed a special bed in his office by arranging a light framework built upon very delicately balanced platform beam scales sensitive to two-tenths of an ounce. He experimented with six patients in the end stages of terminal illnesses and observed them before, during and after the process of death, measuring any corresponding changes in weight. He said that he found a loss of weight at the moment of death. MacDougall repeated the experiment with fifteen dogs and found no loss of weight. He concluded that the human soul had measurable mass. His work caused acrid debate at the time. See Roach's book for a better description.

Source:

King's Hand-Book of Boston. Boston: Moses King Corporation, 1889. 9th ed.

Roach, Mary. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.

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Created: February 15, 2004   Modified: October 6, 2008