JenniferReiling, Editorial Assistant
The other day, in London, an American was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for swindling. The fellow was a palmist and had plied his trade in Chicago, New York and elsewhere in this country unmolested, and he thought he could do the same abroad, but he could not. Commenting on the occurrence, the Chicago Journal says: "There seems to be something in the social atmosphere of this country peculiarly favorable to impostors of the palmist and clairvoyant order. They flourish here. Foreign observers have been amused not a little to see their signs hung out like a physician's shingle and their columns of cards in the newspapers. They flourish elsewhere, it is true, but not to the same extent. This, among civilized countries, whose people are suspected of intelligence, is the real paradise of the palmist, the spirit rapper and the astrologist." . . . Just why this country is such a profitable field for every kind of humbug and delusion is a question on which we are not prepared at this time to hazard an opinion. The truth of Barnum's assertion, however, is more evident to-day than ever. . . .
QUACKERY IN AMERICA.. JAMA. 2000;283(14):1798. doi:10.1001/jama.283.14.1798