Alternative medical practitioner Dr Macaura’s Lecture and Demonstration in 1911 must rank among the most bizarre events the Royal Albert Hall has hosted.
This advert for Dr Macaura’s display at the Hall claims he would make the ‘lame walk and the deaf hear.’
G J Macaura’s mechanical massager, called a pulsocon, was claimed to cure many ailments including gout, rheumatism and even deafness. The device was rather like an egg whisk, with changeable rubber tips that could be applied to the affected areas of the body. It was then cranked using the handle to cause vibrations. Macaura hired the Hall on 11 May 1911 to demonstrate the device and persuade the public to buy it.
The doctor he received a frosty welcome as he took to the stage. A group of medical students from London hospitals assembled at the back of the Hall, jeering at him. As they were led out of the auditorium they burst animal bladders full of gas and strewed chemicals over the seats. They then marched in procession to Knightsbridge, singing and cheering, with a fake coffin held overhead.
The students’ protests turned out to be well-founded – Macaura wasn’t a doctor at all, and was exposed as a fraud and imprisoned in Paris in 1914. There was no evidence that this blood ‘vibrator’ had any beneficial effects, however it was sold in large numbers and continued to be produced into the 1950’s.