Quack, Quack! Photography as a Remote Radionics Healing Agent
The Pathoclast is a "radionics" medical device introduced in 1916, classified as a "quack medical device" by the Food and Drug Administration, and confiscated on a wide scale in the 1960s. It operates by detecting and "cancelling out" the airborne vibrations of various ailments. Without even leaving the privacy of his or her own office, a doctor is able to diagnose any disease imaginable - from cancer to warts - with the diagnostic curative powers of the Pathoclast. If a photograph, blood sample, or human hair of an off-site patient, or a faraway diseased wheat field, is placed by a doctor in the well of the Pathoclast, the machine will detect the "ill" radiation, send out the machine's own counteractive "wellness-bringing," airborne, non-specific radiation, to "cure" the corresponding patient. This invention recently has enjoyed a resurgence of use by non-physicians, echoing enthusiasm with unknown, vague, airborne energy-flows which were popularized in 2006 in the self-help movie "The Secret" - which posited that a person's thoughts emanate, and may attract or repel good events (including disease cures) to enter their lives if they just "ask, believe, and receive." This essay will explore the history of the Pathoclast and will examine the climate of receptivity to non-empirically proven healing techniques that has precipitated the current revival of its use.
Keywords: Radionics, Pathoclast, Abrams, Drown, Healing, The Secret, Quack Medicine, Medicine, History of Medicine
Dr. Kris Belden-Adams
Assistant Professor of Art History, Liberal Arts