Category:
Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil

Glacier Rub

I guess you can't keep a good (?) idea down. Particularly poignant product name in an era of climate change.





Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 08, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Body, Head, Business, Advertising, Nature, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century

HumanCharger

From the Finnish company Valkee comes the HumanCharger, aka ear lights. Ear buds shine bright lights into your ears, and this is supposed to stimulate “light sensing proteins” in your brain and make you feell more energized. Specifically, the manufacturer offers the gadget as a cure for jet lag.

Many are skeptical. Back in 2015, a reviewer for the Guardian described them as “a very expensive flashlight.” (They retail for over $150). While the website earlightswindle.com has been trying to debunk them for years, noting:

The swindle was busted in 2012 in Finland, and Valkee was awarded the HuuHaa (flim-flam) prize for the earlight device. Having lost their home market, Valkee is trying elsewhere to trick people into buying this expensive toy




Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 07, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil

Bear Grease for Bald Men

Wikipedia says: "Bear's grease was a popular treatment for men with hair loss from at least as early as 1653 until about the First World War." They obviously know nothing about Canadian Kelly Chamandy, who was still peddling the stuff in the 50s.

When he finally came home for good at the end of the war, Kelly Chamandy was bald as an egg. Taking the advice of his Cree friends, he began massaging rendered bear fat into his scalp and, lo and behold, his hair began to grow back! The state of his pate, his Syrian peddler heritage, and his wilderness experience gave him a brilliant idea which led to his entrance into an ancient, unconventional, and all-but-forgotten industry: the bear grease market.


Big article on Chamandy here.



1953 Maclean's article here.

BTW, here's some bear fat for you.



Foto source.

Posted By: Paul - Tue May 28, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, North America, Twentieth Century, Hair and Hairstyling, Head

Hostetter’s Bitters





Hostetter's "Celebrated" Bitters was a nostrum developed by Dr. Jacob Hostetter of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His son, David Hostetter, put the formula into large scale production in 1853 and it soon became a national best-seller. During the Civil War, Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters was sold to soldiers as "a positive protective against the fatal maladies of the Southern swamps, and the poisonous tendency of the impure rivers and bayous." The original formula was about 47% alcohol -- 94 Proof! The amount of alcohol was so high that it was served in Alaskan saloons by the glass. Hostetter sweetened the alcohol with sugar to which he added a few aromatic oils (anise, coriander, etc.) and vegetable bitters (cinchona, gentian, etc.) to give it a medicinal flavor. From 1954 to 1958, when it was no longer marketed, the product was known as Hostetter Tonic.


More info here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 21, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Antiques, Anachronisms and Throwbacks, Advertising, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Alcohol

Lactagol



Source.

So far as I can tell, cottonseed of any variety does not promote breast milk production. Flaxseed however is another thing.



Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 13, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Body, Pregnancy, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Babies and Toddlers, Nineteenth Century

Vital Power Vacuum Massager

A questionable medical device widely advertised in the early twentieth century.

The article "Two Millennia of Impotence Cures" details some similar "equally flawed" devices including "the Erector-Sleigh, Gassensche Spirale, Gerson’s Constriction Bandage, and Virility, a double cylinder connected to a bellows to produce a vacuum."

If the Vital Power Vacuum Massager cost $15 in 1921, that would be around $500 today.

Jackson Daily News - Oct 30, 1921



via National Library of Medicine

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 25, 2018 - Comments (6)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, 1920s

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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