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Database: John Elliotson

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ACS DB John Elliotson

Date of Birth: 29 October 1791.

The son of a chemist and apothecary, John Elliotson attended Jesus College at Cambridge, which might explain his panache as a prophet. Unfortunately, he chose mesmerism to preach. Forget the Virgin Mary, he cavorted around with mesmerised twin sisters who he believed could see diseases inside others. They sound fun. Suffice it to say, he was not long for respected medicine, which, might I add, at that time thought leeches were surgical instruments. One had to really try hard to be outside that box of horrors.

Although he tried to weather the bumps with phrenology, Elliotson's practice declined until he was virtually penniless. At which point, Mr. Starrick approached him with an offer he couldn't refuse.

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