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  1. Hello Keith,

    In your Introduction you state – Quimby called his system of belief alternately “Christian Science” and the “Science of Health,” which closely compare to Eddy’s term for her religion (Christian Science) and
    her main doctrinal work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

    TYPO: should be “…which closely compares…” (s at the end of compare).

    Reading with much fascination, and will let you know of any other typos I find.


    1. Hi John, in the second edition I will reword that. When I wrote that I was thinking of the two terms “Christian Science” and “Science of Health” rather than Quimby’s singular “system of belief” but the reworded version will make it clearer. My goal is to create a second edition that corrects typos and makes other changes. I am not sure yet when that edition will be ready. What I don’t want to do is make piecemeal changes that are unannounced, because I don’t want the reader to have to keep checking the text to see if any changes have been made.

      Thanks John and please let me know if you find anything else.


      1. Hi Keith,

        Actually, from a grammatical standpoint (after more analysis), I see that your original text is correct. So I stand corrected.


  2. Introduction, page xiv – “This is because
    modern historians have generally not been inclined to accept as real “miraculous” events,
    including mental healing, if the event was not possible outside of the realm of established
    medical or physical science.”

    Should it be: “…accept as real ‘miraculous’ events including mental healing, if the events were not possible…” (plural -> plural)?

    Fascinating to read your monumental work and proof at the same time!


  3. Introduction, page xv – “This definition is in comparison to the work of a psychiatrist who
    attempts to change the mind of a patient who believes he is being harmed by imaginary unicorns.”

    Should “comparison” be changed to “contrast”?


  4. Introduction, page xvi – “Thus in the limited number of cases where parenthetical information in contained
    within parenthetical text, I have used the parentheses in both cases and not brackets.”

    Did you mean “… parenthetical information is contained…”?


  5. Introduction, page xvii — “In general Quimby’s handwriting can be difficult to read, and it is especially difficult at times to determine whether he wrote an “e” or “i,” so the transcriptions made by me are made on a best efforts basis.”

    “i,” should be changed to “i”, (comma after “i”).


  6. Let me know if there is another channel to submit suggestions and corrections so I don’t monopolize the comments page 🙂


  7. Dear Keith,
    Congratulations on getting your opus out to humanity. I’ve just downloaded the entire volume and look forward to reading it over an extended period of time. I’m sure it will be absolutely mesmerizing!


  8. New material continues to be discovered and will go into the second edition of this book. For example, the book looks at the later life of Quimby’s assistant and subject in the 1840s, Lucius Edward “L.E.” Burkmar after he left Quimby in 1847. Just discovered is a notice from the Belfast, Maine Republican Journal, March 9, 1849, which noted that “L.E. Burkmar” was on his way to the “gold region” of California. That edition had a very interesting and lengthy article on the costs and rigors of traveling to California from the East Coast. Thus it is evident that Burkmar was one of the original “49ers.” Prior to this discovery the earliest record that we had for Burkmar in California was likely a reference in 1851 to an “L. E. Burkman.”


    1. As a follow up to that discovery, it should be remembered that Burkmar showed up in the 1850 census in Belfast, Maine. Thus either (1) he headed out for California, made it, but returned to Belfast for a relatively short time, and then returned to California, or (2) he never made it to California until after the census was taken in Belfast. In either case, it is clear that in 1849 he wanted to head out to the gold rush of California, which was such big news across the nation.


  9. Correction: page 616 of Chapter Four, reproduces an image of a building in Belfast. That building was selected due to a simple misreading by me of the source in the 1877 Williamson history of Belfast, Maine. Fortunately I have recently obtained a stereoview of the Daniel Haraden building in Belfast. That photograph will replace the incorrect one in the second edition.


  10. New information continues to come in, which will be added to the second edition. A clock repairer reported online last year of a banjo clock that appears to have been manufactured by P. P. Quimby and his brother William, presumably in the 1820s. This helps solidify the common statement that the two brothers worked as partners, even though the published statements in the press did not support that statement.

    Quimby closed his jewelry shop in 1834 but the first edition did not tie that to Quimby’s later autobiographical statement (which appears in the first edition) that about 1833 he had to close his business due to his having what he diagnosed as consumption. The second edition will do a better job of tying those two together.

    Readers with sharp eyes continue to point out occasional typographical errors, which is enormously helpful and very much appreciated.


  11. A stupendously ambitious and thoroughly comprehensive historical narrative of the core basic assumptions about the subject that have come to define what the author terms “conventional wisdom” (i.e. established norms): the calculated campaign to establish a thesis which has since influenced all subsequent historiography which has succeeded in parlaying revisionist history into shoddy scholarship and partisan standardized takes based solely on secondary sources, hit-and-miss research, and a dearth of critical thinking. That it takes an uncredentialed enthusiast to seize the initiative, conduct the rigorous travel and tedious research on personal time from the West Coast (at Boston University, the Library of Congress, and Harvard University just to exhaustively pour through the Quimby papers alone, let alone the dozens of other research facilities) (when New England-based scholars on stipend have presumably done little more than merely consult the published “conventional wisdom” without bothering to cross town to enter a library) and spend the many years of patient deciphering of musty holographic records to transcribe manuscripts for the ease of the reader—without being reliant on any previous scholars, without the benefit of underwriting or grants—is more than mind-boggling. The findings on Twain, Cather, and Haushalter alone are worth the price of admission. While not the first to leave a comment, I was the first to be priveleged to read this tome, take extensive notes, and profit from it more than I can say as one also conducting research of the subject matter. Those of us not part of the academic establishment need to come up with our own blue ribbon award for this amazing labor of love.


    1. Craig, thank you so much for your very kind comments. Yes it has been a labor of love, and I very much appreciate the editorial help that you have provided. The historiographical dictum that one should always start with original documents has been a guiding principle through out my research. Sometimes that is not always possible, but at a minimum it should be an overriding goal, I believe. By the way, I hope to get out later this month a somewhat revised 2nd edition of this work. It will have corrections of some typographical errors, a bit of new material, and some clarifications on some points.

      Thanks again for your kind words.


  12. In Intro page 9 you state “The differences are obvious and significant”, where I see them as functionally the same.

    The ailment is the result of the “error” created by false personal beliefs (‘worldly opinions’) about people.

    Healing comes from the truth sent by God. which “rids” or makes the aliment ‘disappear’,

    The differences is technique, Quimby with empathy and imagery, Eddy how to stop judging and explains the wisdom of God.


    1. Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your post and comments, and I look forward to any comments or observations that you might have as you get into the heart of the book. My observation is the difference between Eddy’s call to look away from the body and matter to Quimby’s very body-focused letters. That includes, for example, a comment that human coughing is one of “truth’s servants.” Whether these differences are significant to the reader will require I think that the reader read the entire book and see the issue in a larger historical context and then decide.

      Thanks again for your post.


      1. What you call “body focus” is method of empathy, he is body focused because the client it. The healer must understand the problem and solution, and clearly both Quimby and Eddy agree on this. Technique is personal, Eddy more Bible preach, Quimby more mesmerist. Making a case by compare them on technique would be missing the point.


    1. I can imagine Lucius was probably close to his brother Henry, whom he may have stayed in contact with? No record of death yet? I can imagine that he returned to the US at some point and kept a low profile, disenchanted with a career based on his clairvoyance after the SF episode. So young, talented, pure of heart, happy to help heal – when later being called a fraud, he was done. Maybe he went by his middle name Edward, same as another brother, yet Edward L Burkmar, when he returned?


      1. Diligent research on his date of death has turned up nothing (that includes using variant versions of his name). The trail ends in 1868 except for the comment by George Quimby some 15 years later. If he stayed in Central America, it is not surprising we would not have a death record for him. I will keep looking because you never know what new data will turn up.


      2. I find it interesting that you end your Lucius research on giving so much power to the SF fraud allegations, to the extent where they can bring into question whether he was clairvoyant, just because Lucius had to hold the book to read it. This most certainly indicates bias against the decades of overwhelming references you show earlier that point to the contrary,


  13. Remember my job in this book is to be a historian not an advocate. It was Quimby who questioned Burkmar’s credibility by Quimby’s public estimation that Burkmar read the mind of the patient and gave the patient what it expected and was not providing a true clairvoyant reading, despite what he promised. Specifically, Quimby in 1862 stated that Burkmar was taught by John Bovee Dods to “recommend such medicines as he got up himself in Latin, and as the boy did not know Latin, it looked very mysterious.” Quimby’s son wrote in 1888: “After a time Mr. Quimby became convinced that whenever the subject examined a patient his diagnosis of the case would be identical with what either the patient himself or someone present believed, instead of Lucius really looking into the patient, and giving the true condition of the organs; in fact, that he was reading the opinion in the mind of some one, rather than stating a truth acquired by himself.”

    Later Burkmar teamed up with son of John Bovee Dods and was widely accused of fraudulent actions (three years before Quimby made a much less inflammatory charge).

    It should be remembered that on p. 615 is given the text of Quimby’s 1847 advertisement for the reader to obtain a clairvoyant reading along with Burkmar’s letter to a Mrs. Niles with what he said was a clairvoyant reading of her deceased husband’s body—and this was at the time that Quimby said he was, at least at times, not providing real clairvoyance.

    My summary of the issue ends with this: “If he was a fraud in 1859 was he also a fraud in the 1840s? Or, instead, was the allegation unfair, from biased observers, and he was in fact a true clairvoyant (who according to Quimby sometimes only read the minds of those around him)? On this issue we have questions but no definite answers.” Given the above issues, I do not think my comments are unreasonable or biased. I attempt to be even handed in the book.


    1. And you are playing the point as hard as you can:) Quimby never questioned whether or not Lucius was Clairvoyant – yet you are now.


      1. In my book, I wrote: “We certainly have no record of Quimby ever alleging this kind of fraud [i.e., the allegations from the SF press] from his assistant [Burkmar].”

        While it is true that Quimby believed that Lucius had clairvoyant abilities, it is not accurate to say that Quimby believed he was always clairvoyant. See my earlier post as an example. (George Quimby was especially clear that his father believed that “whenever [Lucius] examined a patient his diagnosis [he did not use true clairvoyance].” Thus it was George who said that “whenever” Lucius examined a patient, P. P. Quimby believed Lucius was not using clairvoyance.)

        While I recount the available information on his career, I don’t decide for the reader what to make of the allegations. The reader must decide what to conclude on such questions based on the available information.


      2. Going back to the point of giving so much power to the SF allegations to the extent of bringing into question whether not Lucius was Clairvoyant, the logic is confusing. Someone can either be Telepathic, or Clairvoyant, not both?


  14. That is an interesting question. To the SF reporters probably and many other critics, then and now, both were mythological. However Quimby clearly believed in both, but the distinction between them was critical. He wrote a letter to the local press at the beginning of 1845:

    “It is impossible to go into a thorough discussion of this principle of true clairvoyance in distinction of thought reading and the principles of association of ideas as applied to mind, through the columns of a paper. I am now preparing a work which is nearly ready for publication, in which true clairvoyance, thought reading, association, &c. &c. are thoroughly discussed, and all phenomena arising from mind in its excited, somnambulic or mesmeric state fully explained.”

    Quimby in my opinion maintained a clear distinction the rest of his life between what he considered true clairvoyance versus thought reading— the latter he viewed as being much less important. That explains his comment in, 1862 about how Burkmar did not use real clairvoyance but instead only prescribed what the patient expected. While not clear, Quimby may have blamed John Bovee Dods for what he perhaps thought was the corruption of Burkmar in that regard (but that is speculation).

    I hope that helps.


    1. I can follow that reasoning when with regard to client healing, and this was one of, if not the most important discoveries by Quimby that eventually led to his New Thought principles.

      And shouldn’t your point above be made more clear to the reader? Currently you call into question whether or not Lucius was Clairvoyant.


    2. Clairvoyance is seeing beyond natural viewing, which Lucius, by whatever means, proved he could. No one can prescribe drugs clairvoyantly because its not a clairvoyant task. It would be more telepathic in nature, connecting with someone who believes he knows the cure.


      1. The reason that I wrote a 1,500+ page book is my interest in providing as much data and historical records as possible in the best-effort attempt at historical context. Everything about the subject matter of the book is at least controversial, with readers that might have a wide range of biases, preconceptions, and points of view. We are in a skeptical age, where past beliefs are disbelieved or at least challenged from a jaundiced point of view. My book is not designed to tell people what to believe but give them as much information to reach their own conclusions.

        Thus, as an example, I have as much as possible about clairvoyance, from the news reports that recounted the exhibitions of Quimby and Burkmar, along with others in the same era, including the comments of followers and critics of the day as well as later critics, doubters, and followers.

        One of the reasons that my site allows comments (which is certainly not universal among history-based websites) is to allow discussion and commentary. Your views make perfect sense to you but would be disagreed by someone else who read the same history.

        I think it is better if people reach their own conclusions. If readers want to make their comments along the way, they are free to do so.


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