It was probably best that he didn’t know. When this type of tumor was identified in the late 1800s, a German doctor christened it “teratoma” from the Greekteraton, which means monster.44 These twisted cysts were a source of fascination even when there was no name for them: the first description dates back to a Babylonian text from 600 B.C. These masses of tissue range in size from microscopic to fist sized (or even bigger) and contain hair, teeth, bone, and sometimes even eyes, limbs, and brain tissue. They are often located in the reproductive organs, brain, skull, tongue, and neck and resemble pus-soaked hairballs. They are like those hairy, toothy creatures in the 1980s horror film franchiseCritters. The only good news is that they are usually—but not always—benign. Cochrane Collaboration: Taubes 1996; the Cochrane Collaboration Web site ( Detox Muhleman, D., 1

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