An Account of the Revolutionary Discovery of Dr. Albert Abrams, the Diagnosis of Disease from the Radio-Activity of the blood
By Upton Sinclair
(Reprinted from Pearson’s Magazine for June 1922)
For some fifteen or eighteen years I have had the good fortune to count among my friends one of America’s greatest poets and most lovable of men, George Sterling. For ten or twelve of these years I have been accustomed to read in his letters extravagant statements concerning a certain San Francisco physician. He would say, “I should never again be afraid of getting any disease, Abrams would cure it in a week or two.” He would say. “My friend Abrams continues to work new miracles, so rapidly that the medical professions have been frightened away from him.” These statements were so extreme, that I failed to take them as seriously as I should. I wish now to profit by that blunder and tell what I have to tell as cautiously and conservatively as possible, so as not to frighten the reader away.
A few months ago I received from George Sterling a letter from which I quote a couple of paragraphs:
“I am glad to see you’re interested in Dr. Abrams, and wish I could orally discuss him with you. He has utterly revolutionized medicine, and henceforth nine operations out of ten will be unnecessary, especially those where Bacilli are concerned. I send you one of his quarterly pamphlets, which he publishes for the many physicians who have taken his course. There are always a lot of them in his laboratory, and they tell me that his diagnoses are 100 percent correct. In this quarterly read especially the article by Sir James Barr, late president of the British Medical Association; realizing meanwhile what it means for a conservative English physician to make such statements! And Barr is going to be convinced even as to cancer. I know of many cases that Abrams has cured lately, four of them personal friends of mine. And tuberculosis is nothing to him. To me, he seems the greatest man ever born….”
So I decided to go to San Francisco and investigate. I planned to spend a day or two, but what I found there held me a couple of weeks, and it might have been months or even years if urgent duties had not called me home. I think the best way for me to present to you the work of Dr. Albert Abrams is to take you into his clinic and let you see what I saw at my first visit, without any preparation or explanation. It is a two-story building on Sacramento street, and after I had visited it a few times, I took to calling it” The House of Wonder,” for I saw in it such miracles as I had ever dreamed of in this world.
You are in a physician’s laboratory, with rows of raised chairs along one side of the wall. These chairs are occupied by a score or more of physicians, who have come from all over the country to study Abrams’ work. In the center of the room is a long table containing some electrical apparatus. One of the wires from this apparatus ends in an electrode, and in front of the table, upon the grounded plate, stands a young man, stripped to the waist, and with the electrode pressed to his forehead. Dr. Abrams sits on a chair before the young man, and taps with his finger upon the latter’s abdomen, a method known to physicians as “percussion”. To save you unnecessary bewilderment, I explain at once that this young man is no the patient being examined; this young man is known as the “subject’, and his body is merely one of the instruments which Abrams uses in his examination. The patient is in Toronto, or Boston, or Mexico City, and all that Dr. Abrams has is half a dozen drops of his blood upon a bit of clean white blotting paper.
“Next specimen,” says Dr. Abrams, and his assistant takes from an envelope a blood specimen which has come in that morning’s mail, and puts it to the right size and puts it in a little box which connected by wire with a rheostat, in turn, connected with the body of the subject.
The doctor’s assistant hands him a letter which has come with the specimen, and the doctor reads it to his clinic: “I send the blood of Mrs. J., age 46 years.” That is all. “No symptoms!” grumbles Abrams. : They want to try me out, of course, and I can’t blame them, but it is a waste of my time to begin at the beginning in each case. All right, gentlemen, we set the instrument at 49, which is the vibratory rate of human blood. I don’t happen to know this doctor who sends the specimen, and there are people trying to play tricks on me all the time. If this specimen contains human blood, the vibratory rate will come through on the body of the subject, and we shall have a dull area on this spot if it is a male.” The doctor indicates a line just below the navel, and about an inch to the left. “If it is a female, the dull area will be on the corresponding spot to the right. Now listen.”
He presses the second finger of this left hand against the abdomen of this subject, and with the second finger of his right hand, used as a little hammer, he begins to tap. He starts a couple of inches off from the correct spot, and you hear a slightly resonant sound. He moves his finger, and when he comes upon the correct spot you notice a difference in the sound—at least you come to notice it after you have listened through several sessions of the clinic and your ear has become practiced. The sound is duller – the same difference you would notice if you were percussing a table to a spot over one of the legs.
“It is human blood, female,” says Abrams. “In order to verify it, I set the rheostat at 50, and you notice that the dullness disappears. I set it back at 49, and the dullness returns. I call your attention to the fact that the subject is facing west. I turn his body slightly out of the line, so, and you note the dullness is gone, even at 49. I have to impress upon you, again and again, the importance of these minute details. I do not know why it is necessary to face west; it must have something to do with the magnetic currents of the earth, of course. All I know is that if you face the west you get these reactions, and if you face any other way, you don’t get them. All this work of mine is empirical, you understand. I experiment and find out what happens. I try one way, and then I try another, so little by little, I am groping my way to these secrets of nature.
“Now we have here a specimen of a woman’s blood, and without being given any symptoms we are asked to find the disease if there be a disease. We begin with the most common of all diseases, that is to say, congenital syphilis. There are latent syphilide conditions in the blood, which can be recognized only by this method of electronic analysis. We find that an enormous percentage of human beings have a hereditary syphilitic affection, and this prepares the body soil for numerous other diseases, such as tuberculosis and cancer. We now set the rheostat at 57, which is the vibratory rate for congenital syphilis. If this vibratory rate is present in the blood, it will come through and manifest itself upon the body of the subject in what we call the ‘dumbbell area’, extending across the upper portion of the abdomen. Now listen.” And the doctor begins to tap. “You hear?’ He says. “Congenital syphilis. We will now determine the strain. If it is bovine, there will be an area of dullness here.” He indicates a spot above the navel of his subject. “Yes, bovine strain. Vaccination, as usual! We will next determine the virulence of the disease. We will set this dial of the rheostat at 30 ohms as a guess. It comes through, you see. We try 35 ohms. A very severe case. 37 ohms, 38 ohms. At 38 you notice that the dullness disappears. We set it back to 37. It comes through at 37. We will now examine the specimen for tuberculosis. We set the rheostat at 42. No reaction. We will try cancer, 50; the dull area should be here. Ah! You notice? Unmistakable! To show you the difference, I set it at 49. At 49, you see, there is the reaction for human blood, at this spot by the navel, but no reaction in the cancer area. We set it back at 50 and the dullness returns at once.
“We have now to determine the location of the disease. Cerebro-spinal? That should come through here. No cerebro-spinal. Digestive? Yes. Cancer of the digestive tract. Where? We try here and here. Ah, yes, cancer of the pylorus. We will determine the ohmage. Five ohms? It comes through. Ten ohms? Again! A very severe case. Twelve ohms, yes. It has passed the stage where it is operable. In a case of this sort, gentlemen, we are in a position to destroy the malignancy of the disease, but we cannot remove the growth, nor can we correct any structural changes which may have taken place. This specimen comes from Detroit, and we are asked to telegraph the diagnosis. We telegraph that we find congenital syphilis, 37 ohms, bovine strain; also cancer of the pylorus, 12 ohms. We prescribe treatment with the oscilloclast at the rates of 2 and 5. Next specimen”
The assistant takes the blood specimen from the little box and throws it into a trash basket. She touches the top and inside and cover of the box with a little horse-shoe magnet to destroy the radioactivity of the last specimen, and puts in another specimen, this time marked from a physician in Boston. This specimen is marked “male, age 62”
“Another physician I do not know,” says Abrams. “And again, no symptoms given. It seems that we have to spend the whole morning doing this a-b-c work; every physician in the country has to be separately convinced – and then they aren’t convinced! All right, no help for it. First, is it human blood? We set the dial at 49. Forehead, please.”
The subject places the electrode upon his forehead, and Dr. Abrams begins to tap. “Aha!” he says. “A practical joker. Not human blood! You see, gentlemen, it is clear and unmistakable. The area for human blood is precisely here. Now listen carefully; there is no difference whatever in the sound. Neither male nor female! About once a week we have someone trying to play this silly joke upon us. Just for fun, let us determine what kind of blood it is.: And the doctor sets the rheostat at one figure after another. “Cows blood? No. Dog’s blood? No. Chicken’s blood? No. Monkey, cat, sheep – ah yes, sheep’s blood. He has pressed the paper against his Sunday dinner before it went into the oven. All right, we will waste no more time upon that.” The doctor takes the envelope, and the vehemence of his pencil, as he writes the words “sheep’s blood” ought surely, if there be anything in his theory of radio-activity, to convey a vigorous shock to the doctor in Boston who has played the trick.
“Next specimen.” And so we proceed. Another sample is put in, and the tapping beings, and we are told that this person has 25 ohms of tuberculosis, located in the spinal cord and left kidney. We are told that the disease is of 12 years standing, also that there is “strep”, that is to say, streptococci or puss infection in the teeth on the lower left-hand side. We are told that the next specimen, which comes from a town in Texas, indicates a tumor located on a certain precise spot of the brain. The next specimen comes without any indications whatever, and we are told that it is a woman 52 years of age, and that she is suffering from acquired syphilis of 14 years standing, and that the lesion will be located on the right forefinger. Some of these findings are made in two or three minutes. None of them take more than ten minutes, and after you have watched the work for an hour, you find yourself with one clear-cut conclusion in your mind: this eager and excitable little Jewish doctor is either one of the greatest geniuses in the history of mankind, or else one of the greatest maniacs. You are not quite sure which and you go on day after day, and still, you cannot be sure, because the thing unveiled to you is so amazing, you cannot make it real to yourself.
But one thing quickly becomes clear to you. The hypothesis of fraud must be excluded. This man is passionately, even furiously convinced of the reality of his phenomena; also he is a reverent scientist, working in the highest traditions of the healing art. He is a much over-worked man, irritable and nervous. Things go wrong with his apparatus; the wires get in his way, or his assistants make blunders, and he says “Damn it!” and has to apologize to the lady doctors. But present him with a new idea, some way to verify or perfect his work, and he pounces on it like a cat. He is a veritable incarnation of Nietzsche’s phrase about the human soul, which “hungers for knowledge as the lion for his food.” There is no experiment he will not try; you suggest an idea to him one morning, and discover the next day that he has slept only two hours – he was working the rest of the time on that idea. There is hardly any subject of human thought about which he has not read and has not something vivid and vital to say. Incidentally, he is a warm-hearted, lovable man, whose work it is a personal pleasure to aid.
He has a marvelous acquaintance with the human body. He calls it the most delicate scientific instrument in existence, and he has not merely that knowledge of its structure and functions which other physicians and surgeons possess – he has gone on to explore the radio-activity it manifests, and the infinite variety of reactions resulting therefrom. Many years ago this man was known in the medical profession as the discoverer of “the reflexes of Abrams.” He studied the nervous system of the body, racing out each minute thread of nerve, and showing exactly where disturbances in the functions and structure would manifest themselves. It is this knowledge about nerve reactions which he has now turned to use. The nerve threads all carry different vibrations, and if radio-activity is introduced into the body, they instantly sort it out and manifest it at a certain area, which can be found.
You decide that the man is not a fraud, and then you begin to wonder, can it be that he is deceiving himself and that he only imagines he is getting these reactions? You talk with the physicians who sit watching. “Why did you come here?” you ask, and the answer is, “I sent Abrams some blood specimens, and found his diagnoses were right every time.” You ask another and get the same response. You ask a third and he says, “He diagnosed my cancer while I was in Illinois, and cure it, so I came to learn about it.” Half the physicians here have been cure of something, you find, and several are in the process of cure.
One came in while I was there, and I watched an entertaining little drama. He was an elderly gentleman, retired from practice because of a nervous breakdown. His case had been diagnosed at a certain famous sanitarium, so he knew all about himself, and you could see that he was highly suspicious of these electronic gymnastics. He told me that his mind was open to any new truth; but my wife, who is a judge of character, remarked to me, there hasn’t anything new got into his mind in twenty-five years.” Abrams examined his blood and found tuberculosis, cerbro-spinal, and you could see that the old gentleman was not satisfied. Evidently, he said, for next morning he was on hand again, and Abrams said, “I have told Dr. So-and-so that I will locate for him the precise spot where he suffers intense pain, and he agrees that if I and do that he will feel reassured about my method.”
Dr. So-and-so has stripped to the waist and sits facing the west, with his arms stretched out and his feet on grounded plates. An assistant takes an electrode and places it on Dr. S-and-so’s spine below the waist. Abrams, meantime, remains I his seat before the subject; for strange as it may seem, he learns more about the patient from the subject’s body than from the patient’s body! “Drawdown the curtain, please.” He says, and a shade is drawn, separating the patient from the subject and from Abrams. “I do this,” he explains, “in order to exclude the personal equation. I might be influenced by watching the patient, and I want to convince him that these tests are dependent upon nothing but the radio-activity of the disease. We set the dial at 42, which is the vibratory rate of tuberculosis. My assistant will move the electrode up the spine of the patient, and when it comes to the seat of the disease, the dull area will manifest itself on the body of the subject here and here. I want you to listen for the sound. My assistant will move the electrode slowly. Each reaction takes twelve seconds, and if you move too quickly I do not get the reactions properly, or I confuse one area with another. Now, ready”
The doctor begins to tap upon the abdomen of his subject, and the assistant moves the electrode, covering a new spot each time. Finally, the dull sound is heard, and Abrams cries, “Stop! Mark it please.” The assistant takes a pencil and marks a mark about the electrode. “That is where you have the pain, Dr. Sp-and so,” says Abrams, and Dr. Sp-and-so looks bewildered and answers, “Yes, that is the spot.”
“Now,” says Abrams, “We will begin at the top and work down the spine and I will tell you when you come to the same spot.” This is done. “And now,” says Abrams, “I am going to show you how this experiment may be entirely separated from the personal equation. I am going to demonstrate it with the pith ball.” He takes from the drawer a rod, having a ball of dried pith about the size of your little finer-nail suspended by a thread. The assistant takes a flannel cloth and a rod of hard rubber, and rubs it vigorously, to electrify it, and touches the pith ball with it several times. The pith ball now carries a light charge of electricity. “You see that leaps away from the rod. Like repels like. Bu the radio-activity of disease is of the opposite polarity and will attract this pith ball. I press the end of the rod upon the body of the patient so that the pith ball hangs about one inch away. I put it here, where there is no disease, and you note that it hangs perfectly motionless, but now I put it over the spot which is marked, and we wait a few seconds for the reaction, and you see the pith ball moves in. It is drawn in unmistakably, sometimes it touches the skin; and we can check it up by putting electrode at the seat of the disease, and bringing the pith ball over to the body of the subject; at the dull are we see it moves.”
I assume that the reader is skeptical concerning these miracles. It is proper that he should be. Someone may point out that the little drama with Dr.So-and-so might easily have been arranged in advance, after a fashion understood in the “medium parlors,” where you talk with the spirit of your deceased grandmother for the sum of two dollars. But I sat in this clinic twice a day for a couple of weeks, and in that time I saw several hundred blood specimens examined, and letters and telegrams sent to physicians all over the United States. Abrams has examined to date over 12,000 blood specimens for other physicians, and the fact that letters continue to arrive by special delivery can only have one meaning – that the physicians find his diagnoses correct. Also, I saw in this clinic more than a hundred patients who had been treated or were being treated, by Abrams’ methods, and he must have been a stage manager of supernatural skill to have taken all this variety of people, men, and women from a dozen races and of ages varying from eight to eighty, and taught them to play the strange roles which they played before the critical audience! Again and again, I saw Abrams make a diagnosis from the blood, and then bring in the patient, and invite some physician in the clinic who happened to be a specialist, to make an examination and see if he could find signs of the disease. Once it was adenoids, again it was a tumor of the thigh, again tuberculosis of the skin, again epithelioma.
Here, for example, is an Irish lady with a vigorous temperament. She has been treated in one of the largest hospitals of San Francisco for cancer of the breast. Six physicians diagnosed her case, and when she refused to lose her breast, one of them threatened to have a certificate signed by all six of them declaring her insane. She defied them and came to Abrams, and had been treated by him a couple of weeks. “Do you believe in him?” asked my wife; and she answered, “Believe in him? He saved my breast!” She states that all the pain is gone, and the enlargement is reduced by one-half.
And here is a Greek boy, who has been almost totally blind from acquired syphilis. He is feeling good, and the doctor, who likes to “jolly” his patients, lets him display himself. “How well can you see now, Joe?”
“As good as ever I could in my life, doctor.”
“You don’t mean it, Joe!”
“Can you see me, Joe?”
“Sure I can see you.”
“And what have I in my hand?”
“You got a silver dollar.”
“Don’t you wish you had it, Joe?”
“I reckon I could use it if I had it.”
“And you really couldn’t see at all two months ago? You couldn’t have seen this dollar?”
“No, sir, I couldn’t have seen it if you had held it before my eyes.”
And here comes an actor, who has had a tumor on the brain, and had lost the power to make connected sounds, and was rapidly losing the power to walk. Now, after two months’ treatment, he can both talk and walk again, and his stage ambitions have revived. He is a tall, black-coated figure, presenting a weird appearance because a part of his treatment has consisted of shaving his head and painting it a vivid red, some substance whose vibratory rate corresponds to that of sarcoma.
“Now, show us how you can walk,” says Abrams. “Can you stand on your toe?”
“Yes, sir,” says the actor, and he toddles around.
“You couldn’t do that a few weeks ago?”
“I fell on my face every time I tried it.”
“And now on your heels. You couldn’t do that?”
“No, sir, if I got up on my heels when I got out of bed, I fell back on the bed helpless.”
“And your voice is coming back alright?”
“Well you can hear it,” says the actor proudly. His voice still falters, but he tells us how in the old days he acted in England, and how someday he is going to do Richard III. He shows us how he will do it, with many expansive gestures.
“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York!”
What is the principle upon which these marvels are based? Let us bear in mind, to begin with, that all our explanations in this matter are guesses. What Abrams has done is to find out what happens. He has done this by twenty years of minute and painstaking experiment. Having found out, he tries to account for the happenings, to rationalize them, but if all his guesses are wrong, that does not alter the facts.
Let us begin with first principles. Modern physical science has discovered that all matter consists of electrical energy. Each molecule of matter is composed of millions of minute electrical charges. This is not a theory of Abrams, but something which is taught in all school text-book of physics. No eye has ever beheld these “electrons,” they are millions of millions of times smaller than anything the microscope can reveal; but it has been found possible by various devices to photograph or otherwise record the effects of their activity, and if you are curious you may find such photographs reproduced in modern text-books of advanced physics. These electrons constitute universes in themselves; the tiny electrical charges revolve about a central nucleus just as our planets revolve about the sun. Some of the electrons are thrown off, and this constitutes what is known as radio-activity. It is known that all matter has radio-activity, and Abrams has proven by many interesting experiments that the human body is an infinitely complicated electronic machine, with a vast variety of radio-activities.
Every high school boy knows that water consists of two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen, and if it varied from that composition, it would be something else than water. In the same way, Abrams has discovered experimentally that every disease has a radio-activity peculiar to itself, and uniform and invariable. He calls this the “vibratory rate” of the disease; but you must bear in mind that this term is purely arbitrary, a name which he gives to certain effects which he has observed and measured, though he does not know what they are or how they came to be. Tubercular tissue, and the tubercle bacillus and every drop of blood from a body which contains the tubercle bacillus – all these substances produce a reaction when the rheostat is set at 23, and if the reaction does not come through at this point, there is no tuberculosis in that body. That this is amazing and new does not in any way alter the fact that it is so. It has been demonstrated over and over again scores of times every day in his clinic, and it can be demonstrated by anyone who will take the trouble to understand his method.
It would be impossible to exaggerate the revolutionary nature of this one discovery. It gives us for the first time an infallible method for diagnosis of disease; it gives us also a means of exploring disease and understanding its real nature. By this method we learn that many of the principal diseases exist in forms hitherto not recognized; also that some diseases, supposed to be entirely separate and distinct, are in reality different symptoms of the same disease. For example, the so-called pernicious anemia, or deficiency of red corpuscles in the blood, turns out to be a symptom of congenital syphilis affecting the spleen, with cancer grafted thereon. Neurasthenia in all of its forms turns out to be congenital syphilis, human or bovine, of cerbro-spinal activity. Cancer and tuberculosis and turn out to be consequences of syphilis, either congenital or acquired; that is, you never fin blood in which there is either carcinoma, sarcoma, tuberculosis, or dementia, that you do not also find the reaction of some form of syphilis. This disease turns out to be the source of our worst troubles; lurking in our blood in forms hitherto unrecognized, and in places not accessible to other researchers. As Abrams phrases it, picturesquely: “Realized pathology is syphilized pathology. Our sainted ancestors were tainted ancestors.” He has obtained the reaction of syphilis, both congenital and acquired, from the bones of Egyptian mummies three thousand years old.
Human blood contains many vibratory rates; it contains not merely the vibratory rates of disease, it contains other rates dependent upon age and sex, others upon race, and others upon family. All these things Abrams has worked out by elaborate and painstaking experiment, and he provides you with tables so that by examining a drop of blood you can determine whether it contains a Negro strain, a Japanese, or Indian, or what you will. He has also an infallible method for determining paternity. He finds a number of different vibratory rates in the blood of the child and then he tests the blood of the father and finds the same rates. This aspect of his works brings him notoriety because it has to do with court proceedings, and scandals, appealing to the newspapers. It is a curious commentary upon our journalism that it telegraphs all over the country the news that Abrams has pronounced a certain child to be illegitimate, while it says not a word about the fact that there come to his clinic every day people who have been cured of all three of the dread of scourages of our race, syphilis, tuberculosis, and cancer.
I repeat disease in all its manifestations, its germs, the poisons produced by these germs, and the body tissues in which these germs have been active, all yield the same invariable vibratory rate. Abrams has specimens of all the various diseases in test-tubes bearing the label of a well-known laboratory. With his divine patience, he will stop his work and show you that if you place a tube near the instrument you get the same reaction that you get from the blood of a diseased person. He will take in his clinic a patient suffering from cancer and show you the reaction. He will show you that his reaction comes through at the number 50, and does not come through at the number 51. He will bring samples of healthy blood or will put the electrode upon a patient who has no cancer, and show you that no reaction comes through. He will show you that certain persons are immune to cancer; that is to say, samples of their blood place between the cancer specimen and the instrument, will cancel the cancer rate, and there will be no reaction. Abrams himself is one of these immune persons, and he proved it long ago. He was on of six physicians in a certain hospital who experimented with X-rays in the early days. All the other five died of cancer, and Abrams shows you the scars upon his hands, which would have turned to cancer had he not possessed the natural immunity. It happens that he has been twice married, and both his wives died of cancer, which accounts for some of the energy with which he has gone at the problem of the disease. He has undoubtedly conquered it. He can produce immunity in the blood and will demonstrate that immunity to you.
Now to continue: it is impossible as yet to measure these infinitely minute vibrations, millions of millions of times smaller than anything our sense can perceive. There had to be an instrument to sort them out and manifest them, and the most subtle instrument Abrams could find was the human body. That accounts for his curious practice of using a “subject.” He explains that the nervous system of the body consists of millions of minute fibers and lines of communications, and these apparently correspond to different vibratory rates. At any rate, he has observed that if he posses an electrode to the forehead of a human being, and admits to that body radio-activity of a certain vibratory rate, that activity will affect certain nerve channels and no others; it will travel through the body, and will manifest itself at certain nerve ends, locations which can be detected by patient search. Wherever the impulse goes, there will be a minute increase in the activity of the cells; a little more blood will flow to that spot, the cells will dilate, and there will be what physicians know as a “dull area,” to be discovered by percussion.
So here is Abram’s technique of exploring the human body; first, the specimen of blood, placed in a box connected with an electrode; second, an instrument which stops all electrical manifestations from this blood, except those at one certain rate; third, the body of the “subject,” which takes the vibrations coming through, and turns them into cell activity at a certain area. In Abrams’ practice, the subject first places the electrode upon his forehead, and the reactions appear upon the abdomen. He then places the electrode a little further upon his head, and the reactions appear upon the back. He then places the electrode upon the top of the head, just back of a line between the ears, and the reactions again appear upon the abdomen, but at a different area than when the electrode was upon the forehead.
The method of determining these reactions by percussion is an unsatisfactory one. Percussion is to some extent a lost art, and few physicians have the necessary skill to recognize the dull area. Abrams himself, I think, would never have made a mistake if he were not hurried, it the work piled upon him were not several times too much for one man. But it should be understood that if his facts are correct, there are not in the lease invalidated by errors in practice; any more than, for example, the method of wireless telegraphy is invalidated by sunspots or a drunken operator. What is wanted is an instrument that will record the reactions from the body automatically: perhaps by the minute increase of heat at the “dull area,” or the still more minute increase of moisture. If such an instrument can be contrived, the method will be “fool-proof” and Abrams can die in peace. He has been robbing his sleep in order to seek this instrument. He hoped to find it in the pith ball, but this depends too much upon the electrical conditions of the room and other accidental factors. He hoped to find it in a vibrating wire, but such wires have their “nodes”, their own “dull areas” not dependent upon the radio-activity of the blood. I carry in my mind the image of this devoted and heroic man staggering under his too heavy burden, and I feel like calling out to all the inventors of the world to come and help him solve this problem – to find some way of recording minute changes of vascular activity upon a dial.
Meantime, until the inventor comes, Albert Abrams must continue to spend his precious hours tapping, tapping, tapping upon the bare skin of a bored young man, and people in Boston, Toronto, and Mexico City waiting anxiously to know from what deadly disease they are suffering are dependent in part upon the fact that this young man may have eaten too many waffled for his breakfast. I see Abrams wrinkling up his forehead with exasperation and exclaiming, “Oh, your reactions are very poor this morning!” He takes the flat of his hand and pounds upon the seventh cervical vertebra of the bored young man. There will be perhaps twenty-five blood specimens to examine that morning, and as many patients to be interviewed, each one a desperate case demanding compassion from a man who is tender-hearted as a child; and if in the midst of all that pressure he should make one slip, and miss the reaction at 49, then some vulgar ridiculer will call the newspaper reporters and proclaim the fact he sent Abrams a specimen of his own blood and got a diagnosis of animal blood.
Up to a few years ago, Albert Abrams was one of the most eminent practitioners in San Francisco, the head physician of large hospitals, recognized as the author of important discoveries. But now, when you mention his name, the average San Francisco physician shakes his head and says, “Oh, Abrams! He’s crazy!” And if you ask why he is crazy, you will be told, first, he claims to locate disease from a drop of blood; second, he claims to tell paternity from a drop of blood; third, he claims that cattle have syphilis and that you can get it from vaccination. You see what has happened. He has gone ahead a little too fast, and so they say about him what they said about Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood, and about Lister, who discovered antisepsis –“He’s Crazy!”
Why should cattle not have syphilis? For nearly two centuries now we have been inoculating them with the virus of human smallpox. We know that cattle can take that disease; we know also that they can take tuberculosis. Why should they not have taken syphilis, and developed a form of this disease which can be re-inoculated in the human body? Whether or not this happens is purely a matter for experiment. Abrams finds that he gets a reaction of bovine syphilis, and he has the courage to say so; also he has the patience to take you in his clinic and show you the reaction. He will show it on your vaccination scar; he will have someone move the electrode up your arms and tell you when it gets to that spot. And you go to a drug store, and buy some vaccination points, and put them in front of the electrode, and Abrams will show you the vibratory rate of 57 in five cases out of six. If you want to have yourself inoculated by one of these points, he will show you the reactions some hours later in your own blood. If he is mistaken in all this – if, for example, it is some other disease which yields this rate – somebody is free to prove it, but that somebody will have to start on the basis of Abrams’ findings.
George Sterling said to me, “When the anti-vaccinationists get on to Abrams’s work, what a howl they will raise!” But Abrams has found a method of destroying the syphilitic proclivities of these vaccination points. All that is necessary to purify the virus is to expose it for five minutes to the influence of blue light, which destroys the activity of the spirochetes; and then to expose it to yellow lights, which destroys the tuberculosis factor. If you doubt this, Abrams has his ever-ready answer. He will put a tube of bovine syphilis to the electrode and show you the reaction; and then he will have his assistant throw a blue light on the tube – and behold the reaction is gone!
This brings us to the most important aspect of Abrams’ work – the cure. It means, of course, a great deal to physicians to be able to diagnose infallibly but to the patient, it is cold comfort to be told that he has some deadly disease, if he has to go on having it. Abrams claims to cure, and here again, we have two things to consider: first, the fact, and second, the theory. The theory may be wrong, but the facts are beyond dispute. Having ascertained the vibratory rate of cancer, it occurred to him in his grouping to find out what would be the effect upon a cancer specimen of continued exposure to that same vibratory rate. He constructed an instrument called the “oscilloclast,” which breaks up ordinary alternating current of electricity into various vibrations. He measured these by the same instrument that measures the radio-activity of the disease: and when he had got a rate which gave the same reaction as the cancer specimen, he applied this rate to the cancer specimen, and discovered that the effect was to destroy the cancer reaction. After such treatment had been given, you might put the cancer specimen near the electrode, but you would get no dull area. What could this mean? Could it mean that the cancer was no longer cancer? Imagine the state of mind of a physician who has seen two wives and many of his colleagues die of this hideous disease, and suddenly discover that he can destroy its vibratory rate! How quickly he would hasten to get some animal that was suffering from cancer and try the experiment upon it. And then to take some human subject, in the last stages of the disease, and make the final, all-important test!
What happens? I have just read a letter, written by Dr.Wm. G. Doern, of Milwaukee, describing a case of cancer of the pylorus, the opening from the stomach into the small intestine. This was a far advanced case, and the patient was treated by the oscilloclast, and the malignancy of the disease destroyed; but the digestive disturbances continued, because of the mass blocking the stomach, and so an operation was performed. It was found that this cancer had degenerated, and around the edges, the body had begun changing it into connective tissue, or what in everyday language is know as gristle. In a case of sarcoma of the leg bone, the size of two fists, it was found that the mass could be scooped out by the handful, and all around the edges, the body was turning it into fibrous tissue. As you may know, cancer and malignant tumors are the mysterious turning of human tissue into a lower form of unorganized cell life; those lower forms of cells begin to eat up the body. But here, suddenly, the process was reversed; the mysterious power of the evil cells was gone, and the body was eating up the cancer!
What happened in these cases of cancer happens with every form of germ infection. Ascertain in the vibratory rate of the disease, ascertain what current will cancel that reaction, and then pour into the body a current of that rate, and you destroy the activity of the germs. You can not, of course, always restore tissue: if a lung has been eaten up by tuberculosis, you cannot build a new lung. But arrest the course of the disease, and take good care of yourself, and often you will be astonished to see how far the healing forces of nature can rebuild what has been ruined. I have known this from ten years’ experience, watching what the body can do after the blood has been purified by a long fast. Here in Abrams’ clinic, you see it happening, and you feel as if you were watching the old-time Bible miracles. The blind begin to see, deaf begin to hear, the lame begin to walk! I speak the literal truth when I say that after I had sat for a week in Abram’s clinic I had lost all feeling of the horror of the three dread diseases, tuberculosis, syphilis, and cancer.
Why does the same vibratory rate destroy the disease activity? Abrams makes a guess, and the guess is interesting. He tells how he once saw a Caruso, at a dinner party, tap upon a wine glass and determine the musical note at which it vibrated, and then sign that musical note at the glass and shatter it to fragments. You can see how this happens. The vibration is reinforced by new energy, its violence is continually increased as a swing is made to go farther and farther by each additional shove. You know that soldiers marching over a bridge always have to break step, otherwise they would bring down the bridge. In my wife’s family, they tell a well-authenticated incident of an old gentleman who caused a stampede in a country church by his absent-minded habit of sitting with his legs crossed and one foot shaking persistently up and down. They thought it was the first earthquake in the history of Mississippi! Abrams believes that this is what happened to the disease germs, or rather to the millions upon millions of whirling electrons which compose the molecules of these germs. The vibrations are intensified, the electrons are flung apart, and that which was disease germ become something else. This guess may sound fantastic, but it happens to be closely in line with what we know about radio-activity. One of the first developments was the breaking down of the atom. The so-called “elements” were discovered not to be permanent; they could be changed into one another. Radium was a product of the degeneration of uranium and was degenerating into a form of lead. Scientists of eminence, such as Sir William Ramsey, announced that the transmutation of metals had become a fact. So do not be over-skeptical when Abrams suggests that by means of a current he can change the atoms of cancer into the atoms of some other substance.
I asked him if these same vibrations might not injure living tissue, but he answers that there is nothing in the normal body which yields the same vibratory rate as disease. He knows this because he has tried tens of thousands of experiments. He knows it because he has had many thousands of patients, sitting with the electrode of his oscilloclast pressed to some portion of their body, and he has yet to learn of anything being injured except the hostile invaders. You have no sensation whatever form the instrument; you can have it brought to your home, and take the treatment all night while e you sleep. I know of one case where it was used for eleven consecutive hours and completely cured a case of acute appendicitis. Dr. Abrams has ascertained that pain has a certain vibratory rate, and if you have a pain he can locate it; also he found the rate that cancels pain, and has taken the oscilloclast to a dentist’s office and demonstrated to several dentists that work otherwise agonizing could be done practically with no sensation. He has even made it possible to perform a surgical operation on the rectum, an extremely painful matter, without anesthetics. I asked him, “what about childbirth?” and he answered, “I should like to know, but I can’t get time to find out!”
For the last few years, a great part of the resources of modern science has been devoted to the destruction of human life in a way. If today any foreign enemy should invade our land, we have airplanes with which to fly over him, and bombs to drop upon him, releasing clouds of deadly gases which will poison and entirely destroy whole armies. Billions of dollars we have been spending upon this kind of activity, and how we feel that our country is safe from invasion. But meantime, here are these deadly germs which invade our individual bodies, multiplying to an extent we cannot express in figures and causing atrocious suffering, disfigurement, and death to whole populations. And here in a little laboratory in San Francisco, a lonely scientist has been working to give us the mastery of these germs. He tells us how we can destroy them once for all, rout them out of our systems and build barriers against them. He presents us with this knowledge, the fruit of many decades of toil, and for this service, he will take rank in future times among the greatest benefactors of the human race. I am one who believes in honoring men while they are alive, and I pay to this great scientist the tribute of my love and admiration.
There has been founded in San Francisco by some of Abram’s pupils an International Association for Racial Purification. Abrams, who happens by rare good fortune to be a man of independent means, has pledged the sum of fifty thousand dollars to its purpose which is to advocate that every child upon entering school shall be examined by the electronic blood test before the ravages of congenital syphilis have made headway in the body. The treatments which remove the hideous disease take only three of four hours and the child does not know what is happening. The “oscilloclast” costs about $200 to manufacture, and it can be used day and night without limit. I wrote to Dr. Abrams about the commercial aspect of this matter, explaining that I could not advertise a device which might be used for money-making. His reply was: “Any instrument in my possession will be donated freely to any institution that demands it. If I could get someone to establish an institution, I would give up all my present work and devote the rest of my life freely to further the work.” This statement is as satisfactory as anyone could ask, and on the basis of it, I urge all earnest men and women to find out about the Abrams blood test, so that its benefits may be spread without delay, and years of pain and misery spared our children.
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