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Tales of Medical Fraud from the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices

A smorgasbord of medical lunacy!

The curator of the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices shares his collection of the hillarious, horrifying, and preposterous medical devies that have been foisted upon the public in their quest for good health. From the Prostate Gland Warmer to the Recto Rotor, from the Nose Straightener to the Wonder Electro Marvel, these implements reveal the desperate measures taken by the public in their search for magic cures. With period advertisements, promotional literature, and gaget instructions, this book offers a wealth of past - and present - medical fraud.

$19.95 plus P&H, ISBN 1-891661-108
240 Pages, Hundreds of photos and illustrations

Available HERE

Here's what people are saying about Bob McCoy and the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices:

  • A stunning testament to the myriad ways people have tried to make money off the eternal ills of humankind. - New York Times
  • An assortment of medical devices that will at once amaze, entertain, and inform you! - David Letterman
  • P.T. Barnum once said there's a sucker born every minute. Bob McCoy would quickly add there's a quack born every hour to take advantage of that. - Good Morning America

Book Cover, The Road to Wellville

The Road to Wellville

When giving tours of the museum, we pause next to Dr. Kellogg's Vibratory Chair (it keeps you regular!), tell a brief story about the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and urge folks to see or read The Road to Wellville...historical fiction about Kellogg and The San at the turn of the century.   The book by T. Coraghessan Boyle is available in paper (1994; $10.36).

The movie, also called The Road to Wellville (1994, $12.99) stars Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda, Matthew Broderick and Dana Carvey. Watch the film closely to see the vibratory chair in action! A very funny movie!

Video, The Road to Wellville


The New Roadside AmericaOffbeat Museums
The New Roadside America :
The Modern Traveler's Guide to the Wild
and Wonderful America's Tourist Attractions

by Doug Kirby, Ken Smith, Mike Wilkins. (Paperback, 1992, $10.40)

Offbeat Museums:
The Collections and Curators
of America's Most Unusual Museums

by Saul Rubin (Paperback, 1997, $19.95)

Two fascinating and fun books!


An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural : James Randi's Decidedly Skeptical Definitions of Alternate Realities by James Randi, Arthur Charles Clarke (Introduction). Price: $11.96. Paperback - (April 1997). Clear and concise - a reference we keep at the front desk. 

Other excellent books by James Randi are The Faith Healers (hardcover, December 1987, $23.95); and The Mask of Nostradamus : The Prophecies of the World's Most Famous Seer (paper, March 1993, $16.76).


Quackery & History

The Great American Medicine Show : Being an Illustrated History of Hucksters, Healers, Health Evangelists, and Heroes from Plymouth Rock to the Present by David Armstrong and Elizabeth Metzger Armstrong. Out of print. Price quoted before purchase.

Cover, The Health Robbers

The Health Robbers : A Close Look at Quackery in America (Consumer Health Library) by Steven Barrett MD, et. al. Hardcover, (October 1993), $28.95.  
The Vitamin Pushers : How the 'Health Food' Industry Is Selling America a Bill of Goods (Consumer Health Library) Stephen Barrett, et al / Hardcover / Published 1994 $20.97
The Snake-Oil Syndrome : Patent Medicine Advertising by A. Walker Bingham Hardcover (June 1994) $40.00
Cornflake Crusade by Gerald Carson. The influence of religion on America's first convenience food...more on the Battle Creek cereal companies.  Out-of-print. Price quoted before purchase.
The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould Hardcover Revised edition (June 1996) $17.50
Paperback Rev/Expd edition (June 1996), $11.96
Technology of Orgasm : 'Hysteria,' the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology. New Series, 24) by Rachel P. Maines. Hardcover, January 1999, $15.40

Mismeasure of Man

Bring Out Your Dead : The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793 (Studies in Health Illness and Caregiving) by J. H. Powell Paperback Reprint edition (July 1993) $15.95; Hardcover Reprint edition (April 1993) $35.00
Alternative' Healthcare : A Comprehensive Guide (Consumer Health Library) by Jack Raso, Stephen Barrett (Editor) $28.95
Heads & headlines; the phrenological Fowlers by Madeleine B. Stern. Out of print. Price quoted before purchase.
A Phrenological Dictionary of Nineteenth-CenturyAmericans. by Madeleine B. Stern. Hardcover (July 1982) $105.00
American Health Quackery : Collected Essays by James Harvey Young. Hardcover, (May 1992), $42.50
The Medical Messiahs : A Social History of Health Quackery in Twentieth-Century America by James Young. Out-of-print. Price quoted before purchase.

Tourist Guides Recommended by Museum Visitors

Access Minneapolis/St. Paul (Serial)
Paperback (June 1998) $15.20
City-Smart Guide Book : Minneapolis St. Paul (1st Ed)
by Rick Nelson. Paperback (February 1997) $11.96
Frommer's America on Wheels Great Lakes & Midwest 1997
Paperback (February 1997) $14.95

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last updated 8/21/00