Requiem for a quack

What can one say about a woman who wrote books with titles such as The Cure For All Cancers, The Cure For All Advanced Cancers, The Cure for HIV and AIDS, The Cure For All Diseases, and, most recently, The Cure and Prevention of All Cancers (with bonus DVD)? A woman who stated that a liver fluke is the cause of all cancer and that she could cure all cancer by zapping the liver fluke with a device that looks as though it’s constructed from spare parts purchased at Radio Shack? What can one say about a woman who can make a video like the one below?

In brief, what can one say about “Dr.” Hulda Regehr Clark?

I call her a quack, because that’s what she was. I say “was” because I have recently learned that on September 3, 2009 Hulda Clark died.

In other words, this quack has quacked her last quack and killed her last patient. This quack is no more! She has ceased to be! She’s expired and gone to meet ‘er maker! She’s a stiff! Bereft of life, she rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed her to the perch she’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘er metabolic processes are now ‘istory! She’s off the twig! She’s kicked the bucket. She’s shuffled off ‘er mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! This is an ex-quack!!

I guess “Dr.” Clark didn’t have the “cure for all diseases,” after all.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I even feel slightly guilty about indulging in such a rant, the taboo against speaking ill of the dead being a strong one. No doubt, Hulda Clark’s family and friends are devastated, and I can even feel sympathy for them–even the ones who supported her “research” and “treatments.” Clark may even have been a very nice and loving woman. I even realize that such a rant is a bit unseemly and may even offend a few readers who detest cancer quackery as much as I do. However, if there’s anyone whose natural demise leads me to such a reaction, Hulda Clark is the one. Although I don’t wish death upon anyone or even hope for anyone’s death, far be it from me to be hypocritical and feign much in the way of sorrow when a woman who has done so much harm to so many patients for so many years is finally, through the fate that awaits each and every one of us sooner or later, rendered unable to do any further harm. And, make no mistake, this is a woman who for over two decades has, in the guise of helping, preyed upon the fears, desperation, and scientific ignorance of many cancer patients in order to sell them useless “cures.” She was one of the most infamous of quacks of the sort that I wrote about yesterday and a few years ago, the kind whose blandishments lure the unwitting into giving up the best shot they have at beating their cancer. Indeed, she could rightly be called the Dark Lord of Quackery.

In a way, Hulda Clark is linked to this blog. Although I haven’t written posts about her that often (maybe only a handful over the last five years), to me her name has become shorthand for exceedingly bizarre medical claims, and the very first substantive post I ever wrote for this blog, now nearly five years ago, was largely about Hulda Clark and her outright wacky medical claims, all in the context of asking why intelligent people choose “alternative medicine” instead of scientific medicine. In that post, I listed a number of Clark’s claims, as documented by Quackwatch:

  • The adult liver fluke — which she misspells as Faciolopsis buskii — “stays stuck to our intestine, (or liver, causing cancer, or uterus, causing endometriosis, or thymus, causing AIDS, or kidney, causing Hodgkin’s disease).” Or the pancreas, causing diabetes; the brain, causing Alzheimer’s disease; the prostate (causing prostatitis; or the skin if you have Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • As soon as there are adults in the liver. . . . a growth factor, called ortho-phospho-tyrosine appears. Growth factors make cells divide. Now YOUR cells will begin to divide too! Now you have cancer. . . . Having propyl alcohol in your body allows the fluke to develop outside of the intestine.
  • When the fluke and all its stages have been killed, the ortho-phospho-tyrosine is gone! Your cancer is gone.
  • Clearly, you must do 3 things: (1) Kill the parasite and all its stages; (2) stop letting propyl alcohol into your body; and (3) flush out the metals and common toxins from your body so you can get well.
  • It is not unusual for someone to have a dozen (or more) of the parasites I have samples of. You can assume that you, too, have a dozen different parasites.
  • Three herbs, used together, can rid you of over 100 types of parasites: black walnut hulls, wormwood, and common cloves. But the amino acids ornithine and arginine improve this recipe.
  • Use of these five products will kill the cancer-causing fluke in the first five days and the remaining parasites in another two weeks.
  • It takes 5 days to be cured of cancer regardless of the type you have. Surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy can be canceled because, after Clark’s recipe cures the cancer, it cannot come back.
  • All metal (fillings, crowns, bridges, etc.) should be removed from the mouth, and all teeth with root canals should be extracted, because their presence damages the immune system.
  • To prevent recurrence, stay on a maintenance program of killing parasites and give yourself a high-dose program at least twice a year. Also treat all family members and household pets.
  • The method is 100% effective in stopping cancer regardless of the type of cancer or how terminal it may be. It follows that this method must work for you, too, if you are able to carry out the instructions.
  • No matter what kind of cancer you have (or HIV or pains or weakness), a complete program of lifting the burdens on your immune system will miraculously clear it up.

Clark was a particularly bold quack, wasn’t she? Even the woo-iest of woo-meisters usually doesn’t promise “100% cure” and tell patients that they can cancel their surgery or chemotherapy. Moreover, whenever I hear “alt-med” mavens complaining about how brutal chemotherapy is or how hard “conventional” therapies are, I think of Hulda Clark’s requiring that people with fillings have them removed and people with root canals have those teeth removed as part of her “therapy.” Talk about all pain and no gain! She also had developed a series of devices that even a Scientologist would scoff at, so chintzy did they look. As I said before, they really did look as though they were cobbled together from parts Radio Shack. Discarded parts from Radio Shack. Her devices included:

  • The Syncrometer: This is a device invented by Clark. She claimed it could detect “contaminants” in substances up to one part per trillion, including mercury, viruses, and–of course!–“toxins.” It is described thusly: “The Syncrometer works on the principle of matching resonance frequencies within the body. The electrical circuit made when the client is connected to the Syncrometer has three parts: (1) the audio oscillator (Syncrometer unit), (2) the Syncrometer Test Plate apparatus, and (3) the client. The test plates form platforms for testing compounds, such as flu virus. When a sample is on the test plate will be emitting its own resonance frequency, and that specific frequency becomes part of the circuit. The practitioner then listens for a resonance sound generated by the Syncrometer audio oscillator when the client is connected. If a resonance frequency is detected form the Syncrometer unit, the tested virus is present in the client. If there is no resonance then the client is either not infected by that particular virus, or exists in only a very small quantity.” Pure woo.
  • The Zapper: “The zapper is a device invented by Dr. Clark. It kills parasites, bacteria, viruses, molds and fungi electrically.  Viruses and bacteria disappear in three minutes; tapeworm stages, flukes, roundworms in five; and mites in seven. A battery-operated, positive offset with a very low voltage from 5 to 10 volts is sufficient. It kills parasites and bacteria wherever the current reaches them. But it does not reach the eyes, the appendix, the testes, the inner ear bones. The current travels along the stomach or intestinal wall, not through its content.  It does not reach into the gallstones or into the living cells. The current does not pass uniformly through the body. With regular zapping, the current passes mainly through our liquids, i. e  our lymphatic and vascular system, a small fraction reaches every organ and tissue of our body. Blood and lymph are the most important locations to zap.”
  • Homeography: Clark called this a “new science … which is the electronic analog of homeopathy.” (Oh, goody, just what we need.) Through “homoegraphy, Clark fantasized that an “electronic signature” of a substance could be transferred into bottles making a “bottle copy” of the original substance, a process that can then be continued in definitely without any need to buy more of the original substance. Supposedly these “electronic signatures” could be recorded and transferred using The Zapper.

Truly, the arrogance and delusion behind these claims never ceased to amaze me. But that’s not the reason why I am only mildly sorry to see that Clark is gone, a generic sorry that comes from the empathy I have with a fellow human being facing her demise. no matter how much evil that human being has done in her lifetime. Of course, her followers and believers are quite unhappy. For example, witness the over 300 (as of this writing) glowing testimonials at the Hulda Clark Memorial Website. A sampling:

  • Dr. Erich A. Wolley: “I have the honor, to colaborate with Dr. Clark for many years. I have train by her in her protocols and healing modalities. She was a brilliant reseacher and most compasionate health provider. Her findings and research have change many people’s life, certainlly mine. The world of alternative medicine have lost one of the most briliant and devoted providers. My condolences for all the people that benefit on her work. We are going to miss her. Rest in peace, my mentor and friend.”
  • bruce e: “Very few Doctors have a desire for knowledge, and the willingness to examine areas, which the drug lords and their governments work to destroy. She offered to people real health science and technology. Her book ‘the cure for all diseases’ is a breakthrough book. Everyone should have a zapper for emergency illnesses.”
  • G. von Hilsheimer: “Hulda came to my boarding school right after earning her Ph.D., I knew her mostly as a teacher of reading to difficult if not impossible kids. For some years I published her Three Owls Reading Kit as MODERN READING, with a guarantee! Kid can’t read, here’s your money back. Clark’s reading method works, its like pouring reading into young heads. Hulda! What wonderful person. I knew as well of her biological work and found my own life enriched by knowing her and her work. R.I.P. Hulda, genius of biology, and genius of education, wow! You shall be missed.”
  • Jefferson: “If not for Dr Clark, I would still be at the mercy of Big Pharma and the doctors who do their bidding and distribute their drugs for profit. She taught me to be aware of my surroundings and assess the toxicity of my environment in order to heal myself naturally. She taught me to take back the responsibility for my health. She showed us that there are simple remedies for health while we had been brainwashed into thinking that there were only expensive medicines available through the Disease Establishment. Who will take up the torch?”

Unfortunately, there are a lot of quacks out there who have already taken the torch. I do find it interesting how bruce e refers to needing a Zapper for “emergency illnesses.” Indeed, one admirer wrote:

The big impact of Dr. Clark to my health education came from her books, Cure for All Cancers, Cure for All Diseases and Cure for AIDS, Cure for All Advanced Cancers. Although with my further education into health literacy I would later disagree with the complete de-parasitization of food and the use of artificial vitamins and supplements, I now understand that these were recommendations of Dr. Clark not for longevity health seekers but for her emergency cases in her clinic.

I sense a bit of spin here to counteract the very reasonable (albeit snarky) question regarding Hulda Clark’s death, namely: If she had the cure for “all diseases,” why is she dead? After all, her “publicist’ and attack poodle Tim Bolen described her death as being due to complications from a spinal injury, which were not described further or elaborated upon enough for me to figure out what they might have been. However, the most common complications from spinal injuries that lead to death are septic, either from respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, or from bedsores that become infected. Indeed, even with the best science-based care this can happen; it was an infected bedsore that claimed Christopher Reeve’s life, for example. Surely, if Dr. Clark had the “cure for all diseases,” she should have been able to treat herself for any infectious complications that may have arisen from her spinal injury, shouldn’t she? Or is it too crass of me even to raise that question?

At least Dr. Clark was apparently fortunate enough to have passed away quietly in her sleep. How lucky for her! I hope that’s the way I go when it’s time, nice and peacefully. Unfortunately, all too many of her clients weren’t so lucky. Take, for example, Mercedes Ponzanelli, who sought Clark’s help at her Century Nutrition clinic in 2007 for an osteosarcoma and whose story is told by her daughter, Patricia Chavez:

Based on my mother’s saliva sample, Clark determined that she had traces of polonium, uranium, and clorox in her mouth. Therefore, all metal must be removed from her mouth in order to cleanse her of these toxins. She was told that a digital X-ray and a panoramic X-ray were going to be needed. She was told to go to a specific place they recommended. After the X-rays were reviewed, she was informed that 10 teeth should be removed by the dentist. After the 10 extractions, she provided another saliva sample. She was told she still had polonium, uranium, and clorox in teeth 29 and 30. She was told again that a digital X-ray and a panoramic X-ray were going to be needed. To rid her from these alleged contaminants, she was then asked to go to a dental surgeon, who, of course, Clark recommended, and have cavitations scraped out and cleansed. After the scraping, she provided another saliva sample. She was then told that she still had polonium, uranium, and clorox in tooth 29. Clark instructed my mother to go back to the surgeon and have her cavitations filed and scraped out again to get rid of the toxins in her mouth once and for all. The dental surgeon removed the stitches, reopened the incisions, and scraped. You can only imagine how painful that must have been. After the 2nd scraping, Hulda analyzed another saliva sample and told my mother that tooth 29 was now clear but that due to the scrapings, the surrounding teeth had been contaminated and she still had traces of polonium, uranium, and clorox in her mouth. She was told to keep rinsing her mouth with dental bleach, a product sold at the Self Health Resource Center in Chula Vista, Calfornia. (I understand that it is run by Clark’s son.) My mother was also instructed to purchase all of her “individually tailored” supplements there. Another week went by in which she had to keep rinsing her mouth with dental bleach. Clark said they could not move to the next stage of her treatment until my mother’s saliva test showed that her mouth no longer had polonium, uranium, and clorox. Then she was told that her saliva test was clear and that she could start taking the supplements that would kill her malignancy. Once the malignancy is killed, she is now cured of cancer. My mother was told that once they have completed the program that she will not see an immediate size reduction of the size of her tumor; but that it would occur because she will have been cured by then.

That’s on top of using the Zapper, the Ozonator, and the Syncrometer. The result, alas, was predictable. After completing the treatment, Clark told Ponzanelli (Chavez’ mother) that her tumor was dead and gone but that its shrinkage to nothing might not be evident for a while, which is why Clark discouraged her from obtaining a post-“treatment” MRI of her tumor. It took a few weeks, but Chavez ultimately persuaded her mother to get an MRI, and this was what it showed:

When she picked up her MRI results, my worst fears came true. She did lose valuable time. While under Clark’s treatment, her tumor grew to two-and-a-half times its initial size. My mother was devastated. Shortly after that, she started chemo.

Unfortunately, although she responded to the chemotherapy, Ponzanelli was so thin and debilitated from the nutritional regimen to which she had submitted and likely due to her tumor’s progression that she did not do well with the chemotherapy and died of what sounds like neutropenic sepsis.

The cruelty inherent in the methods advocated and promoted by Hulda Clark weren’t limited to physical pain, either, as this story of a woman treated by a follower of Hulda Clark’s protocols shows:

The practitioner told her that her beloved pets maybe were the cause of her cancer by infecting her with the parasite! He urged her to get the animals (5 dogs, 4 cats and birds) out of the house. She managed to place all the animals with others, except 2 dogs, which were also treated with the zapper! I must tell that she was single, and her pets were her whole life and heart. She had a limited circle of friends, whom all have dogs, cats and other animals. She therefore could not visit them, nor ask them to visit her, because she was afraid of being re-infected! Even her mother, who took care of her, could not bring her dogs, they had to be placed with others too. She and her mother ended up sitting very much alone – and THAT I find to be really cruel! Taking away a terminal person’s last joy of life, and placing a false hope for full recovery.

Now that’s seriously cruel.

Now that Hulda Clark’s life is apparently over, what can we say about her 80 years on this planet? Was she evil? Probably not consciously so. My guess is that she probably truly did believe in all the woo that she peddled. Although it probably took an extreme act of self-delusion to do so, Clark most likely even believed that she was helping people, even as she subjected them to indignities such as having many teeth pulled for no good reason and her protocols led to the recommendation that cancer patients get rid of their pets to avoid being “reinfected” by imaginary parasites that supposedly gave them cancer. Motivation aside, though, there is no doubt at all that Clark, who, given her real scientific training early in her life and 20 years as a government scientist of some sort, both of which should allowed her to know better, did great evil. We can feel sympathy for her family and friends, especially any who had nothing to do with Clark’s “medical practice,” because they have lost a mother, a sister, a grandmother, but we should not forget those who were denied their best hope of beating their cancers by relying on the quackery spread by Hulda Clark.

I think the best memorial for Hulda Clark comes from Albin Kirsty, who several years ago asked this about Hulda Clark’s methods:

Where are all of the people who have been cured of cancer by following Hulda Clark’s parasite cleansing program? One would think their numbers would be very high by now because Hulda Clark and others have been promoting her ‘cure’ for many years. She first published her book “A Cure For All Cancers” in 1993. That’s over ten years ago.

Is it not reasonable to believe that someone who has been cured of the disease would tell other people who are also sick, so that they too could be spared from death? Hulda Clark has posted testimonials on her website. Did these cured cancer patients keep their miraculous recovery to themselves, and not tell others?

In other words, where are all the cured people?

Or is it that they do not exist? Where are all of these hundreds, if not thousands, of people whom Hulda Clark has supposedly “cured” of advanced cancer or AIDS over the last 25 years or so, conditions so advanced that modern scientific medicine had little to offer them?

The deafening silence in response to that question is Clark’s true legacy. It is a silence as profound as the grave where Clark will spend the rest of eternity.

ADDENDUM:

To what should my wondering eyes appear early this morning but this e-mail:

In Memory of Dr. Hulda Clark
by David P. Amrein

Dr. Clark passed away last Thursday, 3 September, as a result of complications from a spinal cord injury.

The first time I heard of Dr. Hulda Clark was in 1995, when I came across her book about cancer. This sparked my interest and gave my whole life a new perspective. I met Dr. Clark personally in the summer of 1996. She immediately came across as an energetic woman whose only interest is her work and her patients. Dr. Clark would work every minute that she did not spend with her grandchildren, either at the clinic or doing more research at home.

What amazed me about Dr. Clark was her complete disinterest in material things. Often enough I was a bit worried when I saw her driving around in her old clunker. She just had no needs that went beyond just the basic needs. That mindset led Dr. Clark to share her research freely with the whole world. Except for the books themselves, Dr. Clark never had any commercial interests, but published her findings in her books for everyone to use. She even allowed anyone to freely make copies of her books, if they were not sold. I remember a time when someone illegally published one of her books in Mexico and when she was asked if she did not want to do something about that, she said: “oh well, at least the public can read my books”.

Dr. Clark’s interest in her research became apparent the many times I saw her speak in public. Even to audiences who had little knowledge of her findings, she would prefer to speak about her latest research, rather than give a general overview. Her research took her down many avenues: she can be called a true pioneer in a number of areas. Her frequency approach to cancer was unique, but in the last couple of years low intensity electric field treatments for cancer have been rather well studied and shown to work. Though parasites were an issue in holistic medicine among the bio-resonance testers especially, it was Dr. Clark who made this a major topic starting with the publication of her first book in 1993. She also focused on the importance of dental health, as well as environmental factors. Those topics had already been recognized as important in holistic medicine, but her major contribution was the proposition of a complete protocol that included all the important factors, namely environmental factors, dental health, nutrition, herbal approaches and cleansing, and frequencies.

Dr. Clark has not only given my life a new slant, but has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands around the globe who have been able to help themselves with the knowledge that she has brought forth. Dr. Clark has suffered severe attacks from adversaries and Government and has nevertheless carried on, for the benefit of health and mankind. I feel that the world loses a great find, and so do I. We are thankful for Dr. Clark’s dedication and contribution and she will always be in our hearts. Thank you, Dr. Clark, for everything!

We will continue our efforts in her spirit and keep bringing her wisdom to the world.

According to her wishes, Dr. Clark will be cremated and her ashes given to the Pacific Ocean, which she so loved, in a private ceremony.

Condolence cards can be sent to:
New Century Press
1055 Bay Blvd #B
Chula Vista, CA 91911
USA

Amrein makes it all sound so benign. “Dental health”? Clark required patients to have fillings removed, sockets scraped, and any teeth with a root canal pulled. If you didn’t know just how quacky her methods were and how many patients were potentially harmed by Clark, you might even think she was a respectable “researcher.”