I’ve kissed her. You probably did too.

well, maybe “kiss” is not the right word. But we’ve placed our lips to her lips and learned to give the Breath of Life.

She’s Rescue Annie, AKA ResusiAnnie, the rescue manikin who is used to teach laypeople and medical personnel how to do CPR.
According to Wikipedia, Rescue Annie was originally designed by Norwegian toy maker Ã…smund Laerdal, based on the research of Peter Safar and James Elam, and was first introduced in 1960. the unknown woman of paris
What is less known is that the face of Rescue Annie was based on the death mask of an unknown woman who drowned in the Seine in Paris before the turn of the 20th century. Back then, bodies taken from the river were put on display for families to claim.

Was the girl a country girl seduced and made pregnant by her employer? Or a young housewife who was abused? Or a young mother abandoned by her spouse? Or a lady of easy virtue who was murdered and thrown into the river to cover the crime?
No one knows, for the body remained unclaimed, buried in a pauper’s grave.

But the morgue attendant, touched by her beauty and her sweet smile, made a death mask so that those visiting in the future could see the visage of the young girl, and maybe identify who she was.

The haunting image of the young gently similing girl touched the hearts of Paris, snd some people asked for a copy of the deathmask.
Named, “L’Inconnue de la Seine”, soon plaster copies of the death mask became common among the salons of France, and her story, romanticized by French and German novelists, made fictionalized versions of her tragic “story” a popular theme in the writings of the intelligencia and the common culture.

So when it came time to put a face on the rescue maniken, it was her face that was chosen by the manikin maker.
And so the smiling face of an unknown French woman whose short life had a tragic end has now become the “most kissed face” in the world, helping to save lives of others.

And now (as Paul Harvey said) you know the rest of the story…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

and she writes medical essays to HeyDoc Xanga Blog

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