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Ruler of the Night: Malvern’s Bizarre Water-Cure Clinic

Nov 11, 2016 in Guest Posts, Mulholland Authors

Ruler of the Night by David MorrellDavid Morrell’s Ruler of the Night is set on the harrowing, fogbound streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first essay about Euston Stationthe second essay about Wyld’s Monster Globe, and the third essay about Dove Cottage.

The hydropathy craze of the mid-1800s began when Vincenz Priessnitz, the son of a farmer, with no medical training whatsoever, established a water-cure clinic in the town of Gräfenberg, located on an Austrian mountain that’s now part of the Czech Republic. The clinic became so popular that British doctors replicated it in the area of Malvern Hills in the West Midlands of England.

Included in T.S. Oliver’s Taking the Cure

The springs at Malvern were renowned for their purity, but the quality of the drinking water was only part of the reason that well-to-do patients paid large sums to seek treatment there for arthritis, gout, kidney ailments, and nervous disorders. Although there wasn’t any scientific basis for using water as a physical therapy, guests became convinced that it helped them.





The wet-sheet treatment, the upper and lower douches, and the plunge bath were only some of the therapies that doctors at Malvern’s hydropathy clinic recommended. In Ruler of the Night, Thomas De Quincey becomes subjected to the extremes of the wet-sheet method as a way of curing him of his opium addiction. Meanwhile, a killer stalks one of the clinic’s guests.

1 Responses »

  1. Hi,
    I just finished “Ruler of the Night” and loved it. Now I’ll have to go get the first two, didn’t realize it was part of a trilogy, ha.
    I just wanted to say how interesting I found the parts about the hydrotherapy, I’m a volunteer at Hot Springs National Park and the bathhouses still use several of the treatments described in your book. The wet sheet treatment isn’t wet anymore, but they do wrap hot, wet towels around aching or sore areas of your body and then cover you up in a sheet and let you cool for about 20 minutes after your bath. They have needle showers and Sitz baths, also. Back in the day, there was a lot more treatments available, but most of those have gone away. Anyway, if you ever get to Hot Springs, send me an email and I’ll show you around.
    Thanks for the GREAT book!
    Jim Sanderson

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