John Kellogg invented corn flakes

31 may 1884         USAUSA, Michigan

USA, Michigan

For people the world over, a bowl of corn flakes is the go-to breakfast of choice.

But for the majority of those who look forward to their morning bowl, it will come as a surprise that they were invented to stop people masturbating.

John Harvey Kellogg, who first created the cereal in the late 19th century, originally intended it to be a ‘healthy, ready-to-eat anti-masturbatory morning meal’, according to Mental Floss.

Mr Kellogg, a physician, was uncomfortable about sex, believing it was unhealthy for the body, mind and soul.

He was celibate, having never consummated his marriage and keeping a separate bedroom from his wife.

He also adopted his children rather than impregnating his partner.

And while he was anti-sex, he considered masturbation even worse.

'Self-pollution is a crime doubly abominable,’ he wrote, according to Mental Floss journalists.

In his book Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life, he described 39 different symptoms which he said were caused by masturbation.

These included epilepsy, acne, bad posture, stiff joints, infirmity, poor development, fickleness, and palpitations.

He believed that a healthy lifestyle could cure most ailments.

Meat and rich or flavoured foods increased sexual desire, he said.

Meanwhile, he believed plainer foods could help purify the body and mind.

While working as a physician at Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan, he developed a range of breakfasts he believed would prevent a person from pleasuring themselves.

First, he made ‘granula’, a cereal where oats and corn were baked and then ground into tiny pieces.

Under the threat of legal action from another company who was already making the same product under the same name, Mr Kellogg changed the name of his invention to ‘granola’.

Next, Mr Kellogg developed an enema machine in which the intestines were cleaned out with water.

After flushing the bowels with water, he believed they would be further cleansed by administering a pint of yoghurt; half through the mouth and half through the anus.

And finally, Mr Kellogg developed a range of decidedly plain cereals, including corn flakes, which he believed would dampen the desire for masturbation.

He partnered with his brother Will, a businessman who later added sugar to corn flakes and went on to found the Kellogg Company.

Mr John Kellogg renounced this recipe, and the brothers were embroiled in a feud for decades.

Cereals and yoghurt aside, he also had other, more sinister ‘cures’ for masturbation.

For girls, he recommended applying carbolic acid to the clitoris to burn it.

And for boys, he suggested threading silver wire through the foreskin to prevent erections and cause irritation.

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