Quack Doctors & Life Before Little Blue Pills...


I've always been rather anti quack medicine ever since my mother shut a car door on my hand and treated the resulting swelling with homeopathic arnica pills. Needless to say the swelling didn't go down and despite her repeated requests to imagine the size of it if I hadn't taken the 'medicine' I became skeptical of her woo methods. 

Some however, I still continue. So if I feel a cold coming on, I chop up a couple of garlic cloves and take them like pills. These supposedly kill off bacteria in the throat and have the bonus result of making sure your nearest and dearest don't get infected by you because you belch up the waft of an overzealous french restaurant for the rest of the day.

However as we discover, in the past the woo factor ups immensely. I was lucky enough to work with Caroline Rance at QEDcon this year. She is an expert in quack remedies and witch doctors of the past, so when she agreed to do the podcast I was over the moon.

Her choice is John Gardener a man who claimed to extract not just worms, but eels, cockroaches and weird crabby like things out of his gullible patients. Conversely he was also kind and charitable which made his business practices and attention seeking all the more incongruous. As well as having jars full of exotic worms and creatures he had 'extracted' from patients he also bought himself a grave plot, with a tombstone for his upcoming death. A very strange counterproductive bit of advertising, as many assumed quite reasonably he was no longer in business. 

What I'm very thankful for is finding Caroline meant I am finally able to find a place for a quick backstage interview I did with Bethany Black, the groundbreaking actor who for whatever reason knows waaay to much about a doctor who spent his days inserting slivers of monkey testicles underneath the skin of his rich clientele. His name, Voronoff also sounds like me stumbling around due to forgetting the word 'lightswitch'. 

To find out more, you'll have to listen to the podcast!

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