Woman Yawns to Death

Happy Friday! Here’s an unusual little story to begin your weekend.

On March 24, 1903, after three days of trying desperately to save their patient, Oshkosh, Wisconsin doctors bowed their heads in defeat.

From the Champaign County Gazette


After yawning without interruption for three days, despite every effort to effect a cessation, Mrs. William Henry Jenner died. The physicians in attendance stated that the woman was suffering from obscure lesions of the brain, producing laryngial spasms.
The patient, who was unable to sleep, yawned until she could do so no longer from lack of strength.
The spasms continued and finally, after seventy-six hours of suffering death intervened.

76 hours of continuous yawning! Can you imagine? Two things I learned today about yawning: a typical yawn lasts 6 seconds, and your heart rate spikes significantly during a yawn.

Kind of silly point, but yawning is contagious. Even the word “yawn” causes other people to yawn. I’m not tired at all, but I’ve yawned three times while writing this post. I thought it was a little odd this woman required multiple doctors to tend to her yawning issue, but maybe they were so overcome with yawning, it was necessary!

Small boy with long hair wearing hat and sailor coat yawning (1909) LOC

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