A Black Leather.bird mask. Why is it scary? It certainly looks creepy, and not without reason. During the Black Plague, Italian doctors wore these to keep from inhaling airborne contaminants. Bubonic plague had a sister virus called pneumonic plague, which was airborne, and therefore twice as deadly. In those days they didn't know viruses worked, but they understood contagion!
Plague doctor...the "beak" would contain herbs that would help to protect the Doctor from contracting the disease. It was basically useless...of course they didn't realize how disease was spread and the different methods of cross contamination, etc...
The Medicine Men during the Black Plague. The bird like beaks were meant to hold dried flowers (including roses and carnations), herbs (including mint), spices, camphor or a vinegar sponge, with the intent to counter the "evil" smells of the plague, and prevent contamination.
"As may be seen on picture here, In Rome the doctors do appear, When to their patients they are called, In places by the plague appalled, Their hats and cloaks, of fashion new, Are made of oilcloth, dark of hue, Their caps with glasses are designed, Their bills with antidotes all lined, That foulsome air may do no harm, Nor cause the doctor man alarm, The staff in hand must serve to show Their noble trade where'er they go."-Dr. Nathaniel Hodges