Wednesday 21 August 2019

100-year-old letter predicting how life would be in the 21st century is scarily accurate

Sarah-Jane Murphy

A letter written by a doctor in 1913, outlining his "dream of a century later" has found its way onto Reddit.

Dr Lea A.Riely, president of the Anti-tubercular League in Oklahoma City, recorded various predictions regarding what life would be like in one hundred years time.

The letter was entrusted to the Oklahoma Historical Society and they have released it as part of a recent historical exhibit.

It was posted on Reddit's medical community and Dr Riely has received praise for his accurate foresight.

He begins by discussing the discovery that lead to the development of vaccines.

“125 years ago, a young Englishman, developed and expounded the fact that English dairy maids with cow-pox did not develop smallpox, while everyone else did when exposed,” Dr. Riely wrote.

“It was a hard thing then to realise that such a thing then was or ever could be possible," he said.

At the time when Dr. Riely lived vaccines were a new phenomenon, and were not commonly used.

However, he was excited about the possibility of vaccines eliminating disease.

“This line of treatment will be more in vogue in your day than ours.

"The children of your time will have doses of the bacteria of scarlet fever, tuberculosis, syphilis and measles," he said.

Today children in the western world children are routinely vaccinated.

While there’s still no viable vaccine for syphilis or scarlet fever, measles have been nearly eliminated in the US and Europe thanks to vaccination programmes.

Dr. Riely also predicted that by 2013 drinking water would be "pure and free of diseases."

He envisaged that infant mortality would have plummeted and that there would be a dedicated Public Health agency responsible for ensuring the continued elimination of infectious diseases.

However, he was pretty far off with his thoughts on how human anatomy would change over the course of the century.

He thought that by 2013 humans would be much smaller in size, an average of about 5ft 5 inches, and would have larger heads, from all the extra time we spent learning things.

Thankfully that's not the case.

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