When Charles II had a fit while shaving in 1685, he was lucky to be treated with the finest medical advice of the day. He was attended by fourteen physicians who . . . shaved his head, applied blistering agents to his scalp, put special plasters made from pigeon droppings onto the soles of his feet, fed him bezoar stones (much-prized gallstones from the bladder of a goat), and made him drink forty drops of extract from a dead man's skull. He died two days later.