If you find yourself even a little bit interested in what you see and read on this blog, please sign up as a Follower and for instant notification of New Posts! I'll do my best to keep you grateful for your health.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give me a "V"! Give me a "D"! Whadaya got?

VD! Now there's something to tack to the end of your name!

Dr. Oliver Bliss (see the blog post of 11/22/09) listed himself as an "electric and vitapathic" physician in the late 1880s. Odds are, then, that he went to the American Health College in Cincinnati to get his V.D. degree - Vitapathic Doctor - not what you were thinking!

A doctor out of the American Health College? Sounds impressive, but let's find out a little more about this prestigious medical institution before we look to be healed by a guy with VD at the end of his name ...

Vitapathy was the self-proclaimed culmination of John Bunyan Campbell's life's work as a doctor. By his own account he had started as an allopathic (conventional) doctor, then studied and practiced the whole gamut of 19th century medicine: botanic medicine > eclecticism > homeopathy > electricity > hydropathy > mesmerism + magnetism + psychology + clairvoyance + spiritism + spiritualism + mental healing + Christian Science + metaphysical treatment + statuvolence + psychomancy. He basically took what he wanted out of each method and formed his ultimate healing method, Vitapathy; as he put it, the rest "are but ... single spokes in the full wheel of Vitapathy."

American Health College did not have a football team because school wasn't in session long enough; the whole course of study was three months. For $100 tuition, students got a copy of Campbell's book on Vitapathy and an electro-magnetic battery he called the "Little Giant," and three months of instruction, not on anatomy, physiology, and medicine, but on Vitapathy.

"Spiritual Vitapathy is an entirely new system of health practice," Campbell explained, "it is an entirely spiritual system, and employs only spirit and spiritualized remedies for the cure of disease leaving all drugs and so-called medicines behind ..." thus eliminating the need for CVS and Walgreen. Campbell had discovered vital spirit, sort of like the cosmic life force, in all things: air, water, food, heat, light, electricity, etc., and Vitapathic minister-physicians (VD's for short), were trained how to draw that stuff out and inject it into the sick and weak. In addition to healing the sick, a VD was fully authorized to preach the gospel of life (Vitapathy), minister over funerals, solemnize marriages, commune with angels, and cast out devils.

The VD's could infuse the Vita into letters they wrote, handkerchiefs, or stockings and the sick who received them, though miles away, could wear those items and get better (yup, he even told the ill to "wear [the] magnetized letter on the part of his body diseased as long as the letter will last and this will keep up the connection between doctor and patient and a continuous treatment, and they will be much benefitted.") Vitapathy was such strong mojo, Dr. John Bunyan Campbell said it could even raise the dead and make a person immortal; personally, I think he got those tall tales from the Bunyan side of his family.

As you might expect, conventional doctors also took a few choice cracks at Dr. Campbell and Vitapathy. One said his book was "intended for the household use of the quack in petticoats" (meaning gullible women who looked after their family's health) and that Campbell was "nothing but a daring fakir, to whom vitapathy ... is a source of revenue." Another critic said most of his students were "ignorant dupes, illiterate dunces and mental imbeciles." Ouch.

Dr. Bliss was a vitapathic doctor, but his card also directed consumers to some medicines of his own making (which was anti-VD doctrine), so he was apparently adding one more spoke to his medical wheel - and the wagon of quackery just kept on rolling.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Locations of visitors to this page