Halloween at Falk Library

On Tuesday, October 31, visitors to Falk Library were greeted with treats and spooky objects. Students helped themselves to free candy and stickers inspired by our History of Medicine Collection.

While enjoying their treats visitors could play “Haunted History of Medicine,” a game to guess the names of historical medical objects from the HSLS collection. Take a look at the objects and their clues; can you identify these mysterious medical devices? Find the answers at the bottom of this article.

  1. This tool carved a portal, opening the secrets of the mind.
  2. This implement once unlocked the gateways to pain and relief.
  3. This device drew forth the essence of life with piercing speed.
  4. When pain was the price of relief, this device brought relief with hidden precision.


Antique medical devices from the History of Medicine Collection, with clues to their purpose and names.
Three people standing over a table with bowls of candy, stickers, apples, and a display case with four objects inside.
Falk Library visitors enjoying treats while looking at the objects in the “Haunted History of Medicine” guessing game.


  1. Galt trephine (1890) – From Tiemann’s amputating instruments set, this was used to cut a hole in the skull without damaging the brain.
  2. Dental key (c. 1760) – This device was placed on a tooth and turned, thus “unlocking” the tooth and removing it from the jaw.
  3. Spring lancet (19th century) – Used for bloodletting, a spring would release the blade to cut into the skin.
  4. Scarificator (19th century) – Also used for bloodletting, this device contains spring-loaded blades that when released would create a series of parallel cuts in the skin