The kissing bug

A scare spread through many large cities of the US in June 1899. A large number of people asked for treatment at the Emergency Hospital in Washington, D.C. for what seemed to be bug bites, mostly on their lips. A newspaper man dubbed it the “kissing bug” for this reason. A Dr. L.O. Howard in Popular Science Monthly, 56-31 rejected that explanation, chalking it up to hysteria. The New York Herald of July 9 listed the names and addresses of 11 people who had been bitten the day before. Also bitten were children who, presumably, would not be subject to such “mass hysteria.”

–Charles Fort, Wild Talents, p. 882-883 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).