Friday, July 26, 2013

Electricity Cures Nervous Debility

Are you suffering from a acute or chronic disease? Are you nervous and weak, frightened by every little noise or shadow? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might find the cure to be quite shocking.

Electricity Cures When Everything Else Fails

Or so claimed Doctors John E. Scanlan and Mary Scanlan in a classified advertisement in the Erie Morning Dispatch on Sept. 9, 1878. The couple operated an "institution" at 163 East 12th Street in Erie, PA. It appears that they treated medical conditions and neurological disorders "by application of galvanism, magnetism and electricity in its various modifications." 

Medical Electricians were not taken seriously by actual Medical Doctors, or by many other educated people. Check out the book "The Medical Electricians: Dr. Scott and his Victorian Cohorts in Quackery" by Robert K. Waits for more information about this field of study.

I'll have to look through the old city directories and see how long John Scanlan's business venture lasted. The house where the Scanlan's practiced is now the parking lot of the Family Dollar store on East 12th and Holland St. in Erie.

Enjoy more random facts about Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie


  1. Do you have a date for this advertisement?

    1. Yes, the ad ran on September 9, 1878.