Quack, Quack! Photography as a Remote Radionics Healing Agent

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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
Stream: Human Technologies and Usability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , Quack, Quack!


Dr. Kris Belden-Adams

Assistant Professor of Art History, Liberal Arts
Art History, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Kris Belden-Adams teaches the history and theory of Modern and Postmodern art, and its intersections with technology at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has a PhD in Art History from the City University of New York – Graduate Center. Kris is engaged in taking an interdisciplinary and theoretical look at the boundaries and definitions of Modernity and Postmodernity.

Ref: T12P0056