The leech rang the bell as the sky darkened. Or so it was thought.

Isn’t it today’s weather forecast hit the spot and now it hurts? Think about what it was like in the old days, when you had to guess the changes in the atmosphere by the horns of a snail. The weather has also been predicted even with leeches.

Our reader sent in a tip about an interesting rake built in the 1850s by an English doctor and inventor George Merryweather. That’s a fitting last name, by the way.

At that time, leeches, or bloodsuckers, were used for all kinds of medicinal purposes. So Mr. Merryweather’s reception room was also full of them.

Observing the worms, he noticed that they seemed to move more restlessly in the bottles as a storm approached. Could they predict the weather?

Merryweather nicked a proprietary leech detector that had several bottles in the shape of a circle, each containing a single worm. When the worm sensed a storm coming, it began to climb up towards the neck of the bottle. There was a lever mechanism that connected to a bell at the end of the string.

So the idea was that leeches ring a bell when a storm is coming. Merryweather named his device tempest prognosticatora forecaster of storms.

The doctor obviously had a close relationship with his worms. He called them his “philosophical advisors”. In the device, the inventor had placed the bottles in a circle so that the worms would not feel lonely, but would see each other.

Not all worms were fortune tellers. According to Merryweather, some of them were “absolutely stupid”.

Merryweather built several versions of the device for different usage needs. He tried to sell his invention to the administration, hoping that the coast of England would be networked with such leech weather stations.

Invention however, was so impractical that its operation was not really based on anything. The movements of the leeches and thus the predictions were completely random. In addition, the device required constant maintenance. The leeches had to be fed and their water changed regularly.

The original device has been lost to history, but replicas have been built for museums.

By Editor

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