Wondering Why?

Why Are Hatters Mad?

Why Are Hatters Mad?

For sure you have seen the latest movie of Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland. The characters are all fictional but one character that is very interesting is the ‘Mad Hatter, played by no less than the award-winning actor Johnny Deep. As expected Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the role was exceptional and as for movie goers, no other than Johnny Depp could give a justification to the role of mad hatter.

Mad Hatter role was part of the characters in books and even early movies in the adventures of Alice in Wonderland. But why do hatters have the reputation of being mad? Does it have a literal meaning or a figurative expression of how artistic hatters can be as they are ‘mad, or creative in their work.

There were uncertainties before as to the term ‘Mad hatter,, came from but it was inspired by the phrase as mad as a hatter. As we literally examine the making of a hat, mercury was known to be used in the process of curing the wool, fur, hair or animal skin used in making a hat. The use of mercury has effects to the neurological system or the brain and it could even lead to mercury poisoning. Manifestations of neurological effects are distorted vision, confused speech, anti-social behavior and mood swings. The effects of mercury used is said to be toxic to the body specifically creating neurological manifestations. With this, the hatters are considered to be ‘mad, because of behavioral manifestations as that of an individual who is crazy or who has gone mad.

Although, there is no too much evidence that supports the claim aside from the behavioral manifestations, eventually in the 19th century, mercury poisoning was also coined as a Mad Hatter’s Disease. Since then, the expression that hatters are mad, was mostly linked to the trembling symptoms that they manifest. The behavioral manifestations with the exposure of mercury are the origins of why hatters are considered mad.


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