It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Jun 4, 2023

The Golden Tooth of Christoph Müller


The Discovery

In 1593, people started talking about a boy named Christoph Müller who had a golden tooth. A professor of medicine named Jakob Horst decided to investigate. He found out that the boy really did have a gold tooth in his mouth. Horst tested the gold and found out that it was real, but not as good as Hungarian gold.

The Explanation

Horst wrote a book about the case called "Of the Golden Tooth of the Boy from Silesia". He thought that the boy's tooth turned to gold because of the planets' alignment when he was born. Horst believed that the golden tooth was a sign of good things to come for the Holy Roman Empire. However, because the tooth was on the boy's left side, which was considered the bad side, Horst thought that there would be some bad things that would happen first.

In the year 1593, there was a report that the teeth of a child of Silesia of seven years old dropped out, and that one of gold came in the place of one of his great teeth. Horatius, a professor of physic in the university of Helmstad, wrote in the year 1595, the history of this tooth, and pretended that it was partly natural, and partly miraculous, and that it was sent from God to this child, to comfort the Christians who were then afflicted by the Turks.

The Debate

Not everyone agreed with Horst. A Scottish doctor named Duncan Liddell thought that the tooth was man-made. He wrote his own book called "Tractatus de dente aureo pueri Silesiani". Time proved Liddell right. The gold on the tooth was just a thin layer that someone had put on the boy's tooth.

The Truth

The boy tried to hide the truth by not letting anyone else look at his tooth. But one day, a drunk man got angry and stabbed the boy in the cheek. When a doctor came to help the boy, he found out that the tooth was fake. Christoph was put in jail, and the person who put the gold on his tooth ran away. Even though the tooth was fake, it is still important in the history of dentistry. It was the first time that someone made a gold crown for a tooth.

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