I have been fascinated by plague doctors after seeing this viral video around Halloween. Back in the 14th Century people didn’t know what pathogens were. Doctors thought that the plague had some relation to birds so they wore these leather bird masks that acted as part of a medieval hazmat suit. They kept aromatic stuff inside them and burned incense as they treated victims. They thought disease was spread by the stench of the sick and dead people around them. They also wore leather chaps and black robes and carried a staff. I read it killed 25 million people in Europe and Asia. And that was during an age when the earth’s population was much smaller than it is today — so it must have seemed like the end of the world. I imagine plague doctors being transformed into sinister hallucinatory half bird half man monsters by high fever and anxiety — doing a ritualistic dance like a medicine man. Edit: Made him look more like Spy vs Spy. It needed to look meaner.
About Mac McRae
I am a digital illustrator who makes postmodern whimsical monsters, people, animals and fish for kids products and companies that are young at heart.