I have been pondering a peculiar, and peculiarly disgusting, discovery for a little while now and it occured to me that coldandgray's diary might be a good place to get it out of my head (and, most likely, into somebody else's). This diary is often full of piquant observations, the oddities of daily life, so in some sense I think it's appropriate.
So. Have you all heard of tapeworms before? They are really disgusting creatures that live in your intestines and grow to be feet and feet long, coiling around and around inside the host's digestive tract and eating all of his or her food, causing the host to waste away - starving unwittingly.
Well, back in the day before whatever procedure we now use to forcibly expel tapeworms from the body was developed, they had to be convinced to go voluntarily.
Why would a tapeworm choose to leave the body of its host? Well, because there's nothing to eat there anymore. The first part of the cure was witting starvation - the host would not eat anything for a week or so.
Eventually, the tapeworm would get really, really hungry and at that point the host would lie down in a darkened room, near a bowl of milk. And the hungry tapeworm would sense the milk, and crawl out of the host's mouth in order to get to it.
I'm not clear on this part, but in my imagination the tapeworm is like other worms, so that if you just chop it apart, you don't kill the worm...any piece left inside the body would just regenerate and grow again. So it seems to me that there'd be no way to actually pull the worm from your mouth once it started crawling out. You'd really have to lie there and wait for it to make its own way. All of its many many feet.