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Why are quacks called quacks???

Reference #: 186
Submit Date: 04 Nov 2002
Browse Category: quacks
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Treatment used: none
You can buy this remedy at: health food store
Remedy will cost you: unknown
Country of Remedy: USA
Remedy Source: Magic, Myth, and Medicine, by John Camp, Taplinger Publishing , 1973
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Browse: quacks

Remedy Description

quacks were called "quacks" based on the strident voice they used to

proclaim the value of their cures.. Medicine at that time was largely in the hands

of the local "good women" most of whom got burned at the stake for

witchcraft. Monks also practiced medicine to those who could afford

their high fees. The council of clairmont in 1130, to discourage the

monks from getting rich off medicine, forced the monks to

treat the poor for free. This scheme failed and by the end of the

13th century the vatican forbid all priests to practice medicine or to

be present at operations. This laid the way open to many amateurs and

quacks in europe.



My favorite quack was John St John Long, who worked in London in the

1820's. "Long specialized in tuberculosis, a good choice when

"consumption" claimed so many youg lives. He supplied a onintment

which had to be rubbed on all parts of the body and any sign or

irritation or discoloration of the skin was suppose to prove the

onintment was "extracting" the disease. Yet there was also

the inherent risks that consuption would prove fatal, and there is

evidence that Long purposely choose from his patients many who were

not suffering from the disease, to demonstrate a "cure" later on.

Surprizingly, he survived two trials for manslaughter when patients

died after treatment; he was fined 250 pounds on one charge but

acquited on the other. So great was the public confidence in him

that the second victim was actually the wife of a man who had seen

him convicted at his first trial!!! Long was a very handsome young

man and was loved by women. He was careful that no touch of scandal

should ever touch him, was particularly careful in his dealings

women patients. He never married though no doubt had many opportunities.

After a brief excursion into treating mental illness by extracting

"fluid from the brain" he finally succumed to the disease he had

claimed to cure and died of tuberculosis in 1834. He left the

secret of the onintment to his brother, saying the formula was

worth 10,000 pounds on the open market. Unfortunately there were

no buyers.



Most curious of all the mechanical devices designed to provide home

exersize and stimulus for those who led sedimentary lives. by

far the best known were products of the aptly named Vigor company

of Baker Street, London. In 1895 there were doing enormously well

with their Horse-action Saddle, a massive pice of equiptment

resembling a concertina mounted on a rigid iron frame, the whole

topped by a full sized ridding saddle with handlebars. Seated upon

the saddle the ridder could adjust the machine to 'trot, canter or

gallop.' At least there was nothing to sweep up except the occassional

nut and bolt."



"....According to ads the horse action saddle was popular with the

nobility and aristocracy, a curious claim since most of such people

might be expected to have their own horses. Nevertheless, no less

that the princess of Alexandra of Wales had "personally" ordered one,

no doubt to pass the time away during Prince Edward's protracted

absences from home. What Alexandria though of the machine is

unrecorded. But there is no dobut what the Countest of Arbeeden

felt about it. 'The horse-saddle' she declared in her testimonial,

'has given me complete satisfaction.' ....."





from Magic, Myth, and Medicine, by John Camp,73, Taplinger Publishing

Co, chapter 7, "Quacks and their Cures"

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