ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM ASSOCIATE EDITOR
COU RTESY CENTE R FOR THE HISTORY OF FOOT CARE AND FOOTWEAR
Bored with the same old museums?
Maybe it time for a visit to your
eeling a little run down? Could
your love life use a boost? Need
help with your arthritis?
If the shoe fits (or often if it didn't), wear it. Visitors to the Shoe Museum in
William J.A. Bailey had the Philadelphia.
answer for all these predicaments and
more. What you needed, he said, was a dose of in- national Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago;
vigorating Radithor, a "new weapon of medical sci- the Macaulay Museum of Dental History in
ence" made of "triple distilled water" and radium. Charleston, S.C.; or the Shoe Museum in Philadel-
Why in no time all your problems would be gone, phia.
Today's tour begins in Minneapolis, where Bob
out the door, vanished!
Of course, you would be dead, too. But what med- McCoy has operated his Museum of Questionable
icine doesn't have its occasional side effects? Medical Devices since 1989. He has more than 250
Or maybe your concern is that you're contraptions, from the 1700s to today, all of which
an excellent physician but it just so promise a miracle cure of some sort.
One of his most popular attractions is the
happens you never attended med-
ical school. No need to worry! "phrenology" machine. It looks like an old-fashioned
For $200, you could easily hair dryer, without the plastic covering but with
get a degree from the lots of metal pins sticking out. This machine sup-
Kansas City College of posedly could measure your personality, everything
Medicine and Surgery. from your "executiveness" to your "suavity" (Do you
Robert McCoy is try to pick up women with that worn-out, "Hey
the real McCoy. But baby, what's your sign?" line? The phrenology ma-
that can't be said of chine will find you out!). All this was charted on the
a single thing in "Guide 0' Life," which could then be used to help
his Museum of with "brain growth."
A number of the gizmos were invented by Jews,
Medical De- including one of the most infamous quirks of quack-
vices, which is ery, Wilhelm Reich's "orgone accumulator."
Dr. Reich (1897-1957) was a native of Austria
home to such
wonders as a and, in his youth, a prominent psychoanalyst. He
Coetherator advanced the theory that psychoanalysis should
Radioclast, focus on the entire personality rather than simply
guaranteed to the unconscious mind.
In later life, though, it appears as if Dr. Reich
grow back am-
putated body could have used some serious psychoanalysis him-
parts; a self. He became convinced the air was filled with a
Crosley Xervac, substance known as "orgone."
There wasn't much "orgone" couldn't do. It could
said to make
hair grow; a Col- cure cancer. It also aided men with impotence. All
or-Therm, to slow the patient had to do was sit in a box filled with al-
the aging process; ternate layers of metal and asbestos, or lie under
and an Oxydonor, an "orgone" blanket, or place an "orgone funnel" on
which could cure his head. (These wonderful items each managed to
capture and channel the elusive orgone.)
After announcing his interest in orgone, Dr. Re-
"Every disease yields
to its masterful power," ich was kicked out of the International Psychoan-
the Oxydonor's maker alytic Association. But he continued his
commitment to orgone when he came to the Unit-
The Rx for anyone bored with ed States in 1939. He purchased a laboratory which
the usual collection of art and arti- he called "Orgonon," and began publishing the Or-
facts is a visit to some of the country's gone Journal. Later his research expanded to UFOs;
more unusual medical museums — such as
Mr. McCoy's, which is in Minneapolis; the Inter- MAGICAL page 46