The Curse of Banting

By | 4 April, 2018
Artist's impression of what the Curse of Banting might look like

Artist’s impression of what the Curse of Banting might look like

To all of us with diabetes, Frederick Banting is a scientific giant to whom we owe a great deal. As we all know Banting won the 1923 Nobel Prize for Medicine, alongside JJR Macleod, for the isolation of insulin.1

Sadly Banting was killed in a plane crash in 1941, after both the engines of the Lockheed L-14 Super Electra he was travelling on failed while flying over Newfoundland. Banting was later buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.2

After his funeral his tomb was sealed with instructions for it never to be opened. Rumours that his instructions were enforced through an elaborate curse over the tomb spread widely but were not taken seriously by the diabetic community3 but they attracted the attention of Howard Carter, the internationally famous archaeologist.

Responsible for opening Tutankhamun’s tomb during Lord Carnarvon’s legendary archaeological dig, Carter had become fascinated with the tales of Banting’s tomb and the wild stories of the curse that surrounded it.4 Having evaded Tutankhamun’s curse, Carter scoffed at the idea that Banting’s tomb would present any serious danger and ignored the pleadings of the local diabetic community,5 who were steeped in the traditions of what became known as The Curse of Banting.6

Despite the community’s reservations, Carter travelled to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Soon after midnight and as lightening flickered around the darkened sky7, Carter approached the long-sealed doors of Banting’s tomb. Inscribed on the heavy stone entrance read the doom-filled legend:

“Do not disturb the tomb of Banting. Open these doors and you will bring down minor irritations on all diabetics wherever they may dwell”.

As the native porters fled terrified into the night, Carter stood firm, broke the door’s ancient seal8 and flung open the tomb’s heavy doors. There was a sudden rush of wind from the tomb and terrifying, ghost-like apparitions shot part Carter into the night.9

Carter vehemently denied that the tomb had been cursed and dismissed claims from diabetics around the world that he had unwittingly released Banting’s hideous scourge upon them.10 But rumours still persist that Carter did indeed unleash the curse and that, as a result of his rash actions, diabetics are subject to minor irritations every day.

Want to test your blood but your meter is upstairs and you’ve got to trudge all the way up to get it? That’s the Curse of Banting11 in action. Minor hypo but all the Fruit Pastilles in your bag are ancient and rock solid? Again, the Curse of Banting. Infusion set gets caught on a door handle? Guess what, it’s the Curse of Banting striking again.12

Little did Howard Carter know what he unleashed on the fateful, stormy night in that Toronto cemetery but the curse is something that continues to haunt the pancreatically challenged hordes13 to this very day and the curse might even touch you, dear reader, very soon.

But don’t have nightmares14 and sleep well tonight, if you dare!15

  1. This is all true, by the way
  2. This is still true
  3. We’re starting to get on shaky ground here
  4. This didn’t happen, Carter died two years before Banting in 1939
  5. In the paragraph above it said they didn’t take it seriously
  6. This community didn’t exist in any event
  7. Really? A dark and stormy night? Please!
  8. The seal couldn’t be ancient as this supposedly happened at least two years before Banting actually died
  9. Much like that bit at the end of Raider’s of the Lost Ark; but without the Nazis
  10. He didn’t say this as he was dead
  11. This must be a proper curse – it’s in italics and everything
  12. Admittedly, some of these are really annoying
  13. Look! I spelt ‘hordes’ correctly for once
  14. You won’t
  15. Why would anyone not dare to sleep? None of this story makes any sense.

10 thoughts on “The Curse of Banting

  1. Alison

    This is exactly the type of well informed article I’ve come to expect from Shoot Up. And I’m so grateful that I now understand the cause of that random high BG this morning.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      There may be a little embellishment around the fringes of the story but you have to admit it makes a lot of sense when you think about it, doesn’t it?

      Reply
        1. Tim Post author

          The amount of fact varies – I’ve got to say, it’s very High Fact through the first two paragraphs

          Reply
  2. Sue Clewer

    Loved this! I always wondered why there were so many irritants, making diabetes a right pain!! Thanks for nothing Banting!!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. Angie Logan

    The next time I am subject to one of these irritations I know I can comfortably rage “BANTING!!!” at the sky and shake my fist, in the style of Wrath of Khan. 😀

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      But should we blame Banting though? He just wanted to defend his tomb. Perhaps our wrath (of Khan) should be directed at the mischievous Howard Carter

      Reply
      1. Angie Logan

        This is an excellent point. Though I feel both are partly to blame. Yelling “CARTER AND BANTING!!!” seems a little long though. Perhaps I’ll just go with how I’m feeling at the time…

        Reply
        1. Tim Post author

          Sounds like a plan – I find a primaeval roar of anguish does the job.

          Reply

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