The explosion of technology and the discovery of the many applications of electricity in the early twentieth century provided opportunities for entrepreneurs who were not burdened by having to prove the safety or efficacy of their therapeutic theories.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg
Dr. Kellogg (1852-1943) was a holistic physician from Battle Creek, Michigan whose belief in moderation brought him to national fame. Visitors from all over the world visited his sanitarium to regain their health through a vegetarian diet, regular enemas, exercise, and therapy that included water, vibration, and electrical treatments.
Dr. John Brinkley, the goat gland doctor
Dr. John Romulus Brinkley became the wealthiest and most powerful quack physician in the world by promoting rejuvenation through the transplantation of goats’ gonads to his patients. The theory that animal characteristics could be transmitted by transplantation had previously been suggested by physicians for hundreds of years, and with a talent for promotion, Dr. Brinkley's made his operation the rage of America and the world.
XERA, Brinkley radio
In 1931, Brinkley's radio station XER which was located just across the Mexican boarder initially broadcast a variety show with a powerful 75,000 watts, though after some encouragement, Mexican authorities allowed him to boost power to 500,000 watts, making it the most powerful station in the world. It was not long before XER became XERA and with power increased to an earth shattering one million watts, many channels were drowned out over a large part of the United States.
Dr. Albert Abrams, King of the Quacks
Albert Abrams, AM, MD, LLD, FRMS, a neurologist born in San Francisco in 1864, was the King of American Charlatans. Abrams believed that the diagnosis and treatment of a number of illnesses began with the percussion of reflex centers in the spine, and he was happy to provide courses on the subject at up to two hundred dollars apiece. Abrams’ electric devices were termed ERA, or Electronic Reactions of Abrams (later to be called “radionics”), and he was responsible for the production of a generation of quack machines that flooded the market in the first part of the twentieth century.