Nose Writing

William Horatio Bates was a New York ophthalmologist who claimed that poor vision could be cured through eye exercises. He was quite well known in the 1920s and 30s.

One of his eye exercises was called "nose writing." Here it's described by Margaret Darst Corbett (an "authorized instructor" of his method) in her 1953 book How to Improve Your Sight:

Aldous Huxley was also a fan of the 'Bates Method' and of nose writing, which he described in his 1942 book The Art of Seeing:

Another excellent procedure, which is simultaneously an exercise in mind-body coordination, an imagination drill, and a small-scale shift, is "nose-writing." sitting down comfortably in an easy chair, close your eyes and imagine that you have a good long pencil attached to the end of your nose. (Lovers of Edward Lear will remember his pictures of the 'Dong.') Equipped with this instrument, move your head and neck so as to write with your protracted nose upon an imaginary sheet of paper (or, if the pencil is thought of as being white, on an imaginary blackboard) eight or nine inches in front of your face.

I don't think mainstream ophthalmologists have ever put any stock in the benefits of nose writing, but it still has promoters. See the video below.

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 24, 2022
     Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil | Eyes and Vision

In "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science", Martin Gardner devotes a whole chapter to Bates. It ends with Huxley proving that his quack methods worked by confidently reading a paper before an audience. Bennett Cerf was a witness: "Then suddenly he faltered--and the disturbing truth became obvious. He wasn't reading his address at all. He had learned it by heart. To refresh his memory he brought the paper closer and closer to his eyes. When it was only an inch or so away, he had to fish out a magnifying glass to make the typing visible to him. It was an agonizing moment..."
Posted by Bill the Splut on 06/24/22 at 10:15 AM
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