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Cut It Off! A Halloween Amputation Demonstration

October 21, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

| $30

Join the Obscura Society as we get into the Halloween spirit and turn the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office into an impromptu operating theater!

We’ll watch a Civil War medical historian from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine amputate a gel leg using authentic 19th-century tools and techniques. The leg, made from foam and simulated bone, looks, feels, and even sounds (!) remarkably like the real thing. Inspired by the creepy (and fictional) Case of George Dedlow, we’ll also discuss spiritualism and seances in the nineteenth century.

Museum staff will also bring some bone saws, miné balls, medical kits, and other objects related to the history of amputation for us to look at. They will be on hand to answer your questions about surgery in the pre-antiseptic, pre-antibiotic era.


  • The event costs $30. The event requires advance tickets only, and all sales are final. There will be no refunds or exchanges. Buy your tickets here
  • This location is easily accessible via bus and Metro’s red, yellow, and green lines. For more information on getting to the museum, click here.
  • Metered street parking is available but can be extremely difficult to find. If you plan to drive, please give yourself ample time to locate parking in the area around the Verizon Center.
  • Photographs are encouraged (but flash photography is not allowed).
  • This adventure is PG (it’s gonna be gory).
  • A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.
  • Share photos on Twitter and Instagram with us @atlasobscura, and @ClaraBartonMSO using the hashtag #ObscuraSociety!


Contact Ashley at

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