A Message from the Spirit World

I have received a personal message from beyond the grave, in the form of an audio file. It was posted at http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/showtopic.php?threadid=5229 under the heading American Chiropractors apply for the Zerobrainer Award.

It seems that D. D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, has been monitoring the Quackwatch Healthfraud discussion list and the Science-Based Medicine blog from wherever departed spirits reside, and he is pissed. He singles me out for criticism and addresses me as Harriet.

He says I should be devoting my retirement to ladylike pursuits: knitting, ladies’ clubs, baking cookies and the like. Thinking is not a woman’s game. He says he had 5 wives himself and they knew their place.

But it seems his anger is directed not just at me, but at those who exposed chiropractic to scientific criticism in the first place. He asks, “Do you think I knew anything about science? I didn’t have time for science, I was busy healing people.”

“I told my son not to go off on this science tangent – that it would be the death of chiropractic. You can’t prove this stuff. I told him that taking the religious tangent was a much better choice. The Christian Scientists did it. I don’t even believe in God. I’m not a stupid man.”

“Chiropractic is a religion, Harriet, you know that and I know that. Get out of health care and make no claims…I told them in 1913, but no, they had to do the white coat thing. I knew sooner or later it would catch up with them.”

He deplores modern medical care based on science and yearns for the good old days of health care based on intuition and witches’ brews.

I don’t believe in the afterlife; but if I did, I would be tempted to think this message was real. The voice on the clip sounds very much like I imagine the real D.D. Palmer would sound. His irascible nature shines through. His comments are interlarded with profanity and with Ho-ho-ho’s reminiscent of Santa Claus. He really did consider making chiropractic a religion and he had a feud with his son BJ over the direction chiropractic should take. BJ essentially took over chiropractic from his father and eased him out. When BJ held a parade, DD showed up and wanted to lead it. In the ensuing dispute, BJ’s automobile apparently struck his father. DD died two months later of typhoid fever, but some said his injuries contributed to his death.  The DA sought a murder indictment against B.J., but two grand juries refused to act.

My thanks to the anonymous creator of this excellent parody. I’m proud to have been singled out – it shows I have made an impact.

This article was originally published in Swift, the online newsletter of the James Randi Educational Foundation.



Dr. Hall is a contributing editor to both Skeptic magazine and the Skeptical Inquirer. She is a weekly contributor to the Science-Based Medicine Blog and is one of its editors. She has also contributed to Quackwatch and to a number of other respected journals and publications. She is the author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon and co-author of the textbook, Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions.

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