Dr. Albert Abrams

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Are friends electric?” inquired Gary Numan in 1981, but it was roughly seven decades earlier that Dr. Albert Abrams began trying to convince the world that electricity was indeed its friend. His credentials were in doubt, however, and his methods were surely batshit.

Abrams’ treatments were based on a fuzzy principle he dubbed “Electronic Reactions of Abrams,” which he claimed to embed in numerous expensive medical devices he rented and sold. Now rightly recognized as one of the foremost medical mountebanks of the 20th century, the quack knowingly fooled enough of the pubic and his colleagues, newly enamored as they were with radio and other electronic devices proliferating throughout the country, to be taken seriously in some quarters, even “playing” Carnegie Hall in 1922.

A March 31, 1923 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article heralded a supposedly superior new blood test developed by Abrams, in which the pseudo-pill bag used his “Dynomizer” to diagnose and treat by sending out “electronic vibrations” from blood droplets to patients thousands of miles away wearing electrodes on their foreheads. It was every bit as lunatic as it sounds.