Niall Ó Glacáin, or Nellanus Glacanus (c. 1563-1653) was an Irish physician during the time of the Bubonic plague. Of all documented plague doctors, Ó Glacáin was the most notable. He treated victims throughout France, Spain and Italy. Bubonic plague is commonly believed to be the cause of the Black Death that swept through Europe. Sometime before 1600, Ó Glacáin made his way to Spain, possibly to treat victims of an outbreak of the plague, which was rampant from 1595 to 1602. The beak doctor costume was invented around 1619 (during the second plague pandemic); the beak-like mask was filled with aromatic items for air purification. In 1627, Ó Glacáin moved to France to assist during another plague outbreak. In 1629, as a respected authority on plague treatment, Ó Glacáin published his most famous work, Tractatus de Peste, which contained his concise descriptions of the plague, its various effects on patients, and treatment and prevention recommendations.
I’ve been saving this 8-bit plague doctor character for a long time. I wanted Ó Glacáin to be No. 800, which meant waiting until this year’s All Hallows’ Eve. On that note, I have now drawn 800 of these primitive pixel art characters over the past four years. Here are seven other individuals that I chose to honor numerically: No. 100 (Benjamin Franklin), No. 200 (Johnny Cash), No. 300 (Leonidas I), No. 400 (Charles Darwin), No. 500 (William Gibson), No. 600 (Jeff Mangum), No. 700 (J. D. Salinger). Happy Halloween! Also, Ebola. As previously tweeted, the following is the plot of Absolute Zero, a book published in 1999: “A man with Ebola flew to Dallas and began the Ebola pandemic in America.” Creepy.