Motion Sickness Trivia

You may think that motion sickness is no laughing matter, but humor can be found in the most unlikely situations. Read on for trivia, quotes and barf bag fun!

Even fish can get sea sick, and some researchers ensure they do (all in the name of science...)

Motion sickness among those watching 3D movies is common, but back in 1999 The Blair Witch Project - which was almost entirely shot on a handheld cameras - famously made cinema goers motion sick with its shaky camera work.

Outlandish Motion Sickness 'Cures'

Some of the more outlandish motion sickness 'cures' I've come across:

  • Tape an umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) to your stomach.
  • Sit on a sheet of blotting paper or brown paper. Other sources advise placing the paper against your chest or stomach under your clothes.
  • Sea sickness: Drink a cup of bilge water (sometimes sea water is recommended instead).
  • Sea sickness: Take a handful of earth or mud onboard and sit on it during the voyage.
  • Wear a tight belt to 'control the stomach'
    ('anti mal de mer belts', which supposedly supported the diaphragm, were commercially marketed in North America in the early 20th century).
  • Gemstone folklore suggests carrying a piece of malachite.

For more mainstream (and proven) treatments and remedies see my page on Preventing Motion Sickness!

Seasickness funnies

Motion Sickness Quotes

"One of the best temporary cures for pride and affectation is seasickness; a man who wants to vomit never puts on airs."
Josh Billings, 1818 - 1885

"A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."
Variously attributed to Lord Nelson (1758 - 1805) and Spike Milligan (1918 - 2002)

"The only cure for seasickness is to sit in the shade by a church in the country."

"My favorite motion sickness cure is a can of Diet Coke. I just get someone to whack me firmly on the back of the head with it."
Poster on the JREF Forum

"Home sickness is a bit like sea sickness. You don't know how awful it is until you get it, and when you do, it hits you right in the top of the stomach and you want to die."
Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990)

It is a curious fact, but nobody ever is sea-sick - on land. At sea, you come across plenty of people very bad indeed, whole boat-loads of them; but I never met a man yet, on land, who had ever known at all what it was to be sea-sick. Where the thousands upon thousands of bad sailors that swarm in every ship hide themselves when they are on land is a mystery.
Jerome K. Jerome 1859 - 1927 'Three Men in a Boat'

There was a young man of Ostend
Who vowed he'd hold out to the end;
But when halfway over
From Calais to Dover,
He done what he didn't intend.

Barf Bag Fun

Barf bags, sick bags, happy bags... whatever you call them, people collect them - and just look how much people are willing to pay for rare examples on Ebay!

A few people go even further and generously share their collections with the world:

Kelly's World of Air Sickness Bags

Kelly's World of Air Sickness Bags

Bruce Kelly has created Kelly's World of Air Sickness Bags which he claims is the world's largest on-line collection of airsickness bags and other types of motion sickness bags (the bags don't just exist on planes, but also on boats, buses, trains and in movie theaters etc.). As Kelly says, these bags are an overlooked piece of aviation history. He considers it his calling to preserve them for future generations.

Barf Bag poster from the Air Sickness Bag Virtual Museum

Air Sickness Bag Virtual Museum

Steven J. Silberberg has created the Air Sickness Bag Virtual Museum and has a barf bag poster on sale. He'll even kick start your own collection by sending you a 'Starter Kit' of 3 free barf bags. What are you waiting for?!

Book: Barfbag Origami. Twenty-Seven First-Class Gags to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing , by Chris Marks

Barf Bag Origami

And if virtual museums weren't enough, Chris Marks has written a book on Barf Bag Origami.

Just the thing to keep your mind off motion sickness on a long flight!

Book: Barf's First Flight: Lessons in Helping Others (Adventures of a Sick Bag Book), by Carolyn Newcomer

Adventures of a Sick Bag: Barf's First Flight

There is even a children's book with a barf bag character. Adventures of a Sick Bag: Barf's First Flight by Carolyn Newcomer, an expert on vomiting issues, uses humor to teach kids about being kind to others.

Royal Wedding sick bag

Bad taste, or just a bit of fun? UK graphic artist Lydia Leith created a Royal Wedding sick bag for those sick of hearing about the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011!

Royal Wedding Sick BagsRoyal Wedding Sick Bags (photo: © Lydia Leith)

Seasick Steve

American Blues Musician Seasick Steve gets his moniker from yup, you guessed it not being too good on boats. "I've been seasick my whole life," he is quoted as saying in an interview on "I can't go on boats. I went on this boat from Norway to Denmark, it was called a booze cruise. They have big ferries that go back and forth every day between Norway and Denmark with these bands playing on them. Mainly for people to just get drunk and buy cheap booze. And I went on the boat and MAN I was sick. I threw up from 12 to 7 in the morning and then I got off, and on the way back they were, 'hey, it's Seasick Steve'. It's stuck on me like stink! Yeah, it's a serious handicap..."

Seasick Steve. Photo: Steve


Kat Harmonica on April 23, 2015:
... just what I was looking for.

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