While serving in World War II, Lt. George E. Lemon suffered a head injury from a jeep accident. As he described it, this gave his brain a "tilt" which resulted in a "me-to-me talkathon" and ended with him realizing "the only way to end war, inflation, unemployment, trade deficits and death."

Lemon stewed on his realization for almost four decades until he retired in the 1980s. Then he renamed himself J.C. Brainbeau and began placing classified ads in various magazines offering to share his comprehensive "4 WAY PEACE PLAN" with anyone who sent him a self-addressed stamped envelope. Those who responded to him, however, just received more ads.

Donna Kossy offers some analysis in her book Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief:

Philosophical ads existed before Brainbeau. They can still be found in the back pages of magazines like Gnosis, Fate or Biblical Archeology Review. Typically, such ads proclaim "Esoteric Secrets of the Egyptians can be Yours," "You Possess Hidden Powers," and once in a while something like, "Jesus Never Existed." While ads such as these might lead you something philosophical, their main purpose is to peddle books and amulets, not to communicate ideas.

For Brainbeau, the ads themselves were esoteric truths. Those who sent Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes (SASE) to Brainbeau expecting to receive literature, products or information received even more ads! They revealed Brainbeau's plans, bit by bit, ad by ad. Several sheets of closely spaced Brainbeau ads could be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, but the resulting picture would be just another sheet of ads.

I figured someone on the Internet would have archived Brainbeau's bizarro ads. But I found nothing. So below are some of his ads that Kossy reproduced in her book.

You can read more about Brainbeau at Kossy's Kook Museum, which is now archived at the Wayback Machine.

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 02, 2022
     Category: Eccentrics | Crackpots | Advertising

One of my ideas which never resulted in a story: an author wants his novel famous without many people reading it and only a tiny number of copies in existence. He'd advertise the first chapter free for an SAE. Anyone receiving it could send in another SAE for the second chapter, etc.. Concurrent with mailing the last chapter, he'd notify the press about how he distributed "the novel established publishers wouldn't dare print" and use a few blind accounts to pay big bucks for complete sets collected by those who stayed with it to the end.

The odd nature of the situation, the lack of independent reviews, and the fact the ms. is not available anywhere would make it ripe for hype.
Posted by Phideaux on 02/03/22 at 12:18 AM
@Phideaux: you shouldn't turn that into a story, you should turn it into a novel. That novel, obviously!
Posted by Richard Bos on 02/03/22 at 12:42 PM
The whole thing sounds very like the Doctor with the castile soap. A good product, but a very scattered label on the bottle.
Posted by KDP on 02/03/22 at 08:35 PM
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