Strangely, King Charles was far from alone in his glass delusion. He was only the most exalted representative of a rash of Glass Men that appeared throughout Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. Tales of people afflicted with glass bones, glass heads, glass arms, and glass hearts abound in the medical and literary texts of the time.
One unfortunate man was convinced his buttocks was made of glass, and that sitting down would smash it into flying shards. He was afraid to leave the house, in case a glazier tried to melt him down into a windowpane.
Another Glass Man travelled to Murano, an Italian island famous for its beautiful glass, hoping to fling himself into a kiln and be transformed into a goblet.
Yet another case tells of a scholar who believed that the surface of the world was made of glass, beneath which lurked a tangle of serpents. He did not dare to leave his bed, for fear that he would smash the glass and fall in among the snakes.