E. Virgil Neal

From Kook Science

E. Virgil Neal
E Virgil Neal - 1921 passport.jpg

E. Virgil Neal in profile, 1921 passport

Alias(es) X. LaMotte Sage
Born 25 September 1868(1868-09-25) [1]
Georgetown, Missouri
Died 30 June 1949 (80) [2]
Geneva, Switzerland
Nationality American
Alma mater Central Business College, Sedalia, Mo.
Known for Tokalon
E. Virgil Neal in profile from A Souvenir of New York, Old and New (1919).

Ewing Virgil Neal (September 25, 1868 - June 30, 1949), also known as Xenophon LaMotte Sage, was an American stage hypnotist, publisher and author, a peddler of mail-order correspondence courses and medical nostrums (including Force of Life and Nuxated Iron), and, ultimately, a cosmetics magnate.

Business Associations

Selected Bibliography

as X. La Motte Sage

  • La Motte Sage, X. (1900), A Correspondence Course in Personal Magnetism, Hypnotism, Mesmerism, Magnetic Healing, Suggestive Therapeutics, Psycho-Therapeutics, Etc., Rochester, N.Y.: New York Institute of Science 
  • La Motte Sage, X. (1901), A Scientific Treatise on the Uses and Possibilities of Personal Magnetism, Hypnotism, Mesmerism, Suggestive Therapeutics, Magnetic Healing and Allied Phenomena: Together with a Chapter on "How to Acquire the Power.", Rochester, N.Y.: New York Institute of Science 


Press Coverage

  • "ROOSEVELT CAUSES ARRESTS IN BIG MEDICAL SCANDAL. Up-State Republicans Likely to be Involved in Affairs of 'Force of Life' Company Officials Held.", Evening World (New York, NY): 10, 13 Jan. 1906, 
  • "BEST IN THE WORLD - TRIBUTE PAID CENTRAL BUSINESS COLLEGE BY SUCCESSFUL EX-STUDENT. E. VIRGIL NEAL, NOW WEALTHY Says His Immense Holdings Are Due to the Training and Inspiration Received in a Sedalia College.", Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, MO): 7, 16 Jan. 1910, 
  • "Tribune's Answer in Libel Suit Calls E. Virgil Neal a Quack - Newspaper's Pleading to Patent Medicine Proprietor's Action for Damages Set Up Justification as Defence and Denies the Article Sued On Was False, Malicious or Did the Plaintiff Any Damage - Papers On File Traced Complainant's Career in Selling to the Public", New York Tribune (New York, NY): 18, 23 June 1919, 

    The New York Tribune served and filed yesterday in the Supreme Court its answer to the $100,000 libel suit of E. Virgil Neal, exploiter of the widely advertised patent medicine concoction "Nuxated Iron."

    The main defence of The Tribune is that of justification, opening with these words:

    "The defendant alleges that all of the statements of fact contained" in the article in the suit "were and are in all material and substantial respect true in so far as the same related to or were published of or concerning the plaintiff."

    The answer denies in general that the article published in The Tribune was false or malicious and that it damages the plaintiff.

    The Tribune pleading reviews the history of E. Virgil Neal for years past and of his associates in business. In other words, having related the story of Neal and his business partners in the course of its series of articles dealing with patent medicine, The Tribune has now come before the Supreme Court with a "defence in justification" of the statements complained of.

    The answer quotes at length an article published in The Tribune on April 11, 1918, telling of the arraignment of Neal, "alias X. La Motte Sage," before the Federal Court in Buffalo, N. Y., on several indictments charging fraudulent use of the mails. In the libel complaint Neal's attorneys, Barber, Watson & Gibboney, make no reference to the criminal prosecution related in the article of April 11.

    The article quoted by the defendant appeared under the following "Headlines" and is, in part, as follows:

    "New Yorker, Once Known as 'Dr. La Motte Sage,' Gives Bail in U.S. Court
    "Long Career of Quackery Exposed by Tribune Bureau of Investigations
    (Special Correspondence)

    "BUFFALO, April 10.— E. Virgil Neal, wealthy New Yorker, alias 'Dr. La Motte Sage,' one of the exploiters of 'Nuxated Iron,' was arraigned before Judge Hazel in the United States Court to-day and held in $5,000 bail, after he had pleaded not guilty to a charge of using the mails to defraud. He came into court voluntarily, accompanied by his lawyer, former United States Attorney Lyman M. Bass.

    "The government had Neal indicted five years ago in Rochester, where he conducted the New York Institute of Science, which, it is charged, he advertised widely as an institution with learned scholars and a large faculty, teaching almost everything, from overcoming bashfulness to performing surgical operations without pain.

    "Prominent in the world of charlatans, E. Virgil Neal boasts a career which, until his exposure by the Bureau of Investigations of The New York Tribune last year, produced for him and his associates in quackery thousands of dollars from unsuspecting persons.

    "While Neal was arrested on an indictment returned against the New York Institute of Science, an organization of which he was president and which is said to have mulcted the public of $1,500,000, it was in his 'Nuxated Iron' adventure that he probably reached his highest mark in patent medicine swindles. The New York Institute of Science 'taught' its students 'magnetic influence' and 'hypnotic power.'

    "But Neal conceived a new and more daring scheme in his exploitation of 'Nuxated Iron,' electing to dispense with the usual stimulant found in the proprietary itself and apply it to the public's imagination through cunningly persuasive forms of advertising.

    "So he took the concoction, whose chief ingredients were supposed to be organic iron in the form of iron peptonate, nux vomica and glycero-phosphate of calcium, branded it a restorer of lost vitality, and marketed it with unfounded claims, faked indorsements and the cunning of himself and his partner as the real ingredients."

    The article also gave a brief sketch of Neal's career, stating that he had "made quackery his life's calling." It stated that previous to 1900 he travelled over the country as X. La Motte Sage, giving alleged exhibitions of hypnotism. The article continues:

    "In 1904 he was connected with the Columbia Scientific Academy, which 'taught' palmistry. In 1905, with Thomas F. Adkin, who was his partner in other ventures, he conducted the New York Institute of Physicians and Surgeons, which was put out of business by a government fraud order, issued on August 2 of that year.

    "In 1906 it was the Force of Life Chemical Company that occupied the charlatan's time. This fraudulent concern sold pills or tablets and operated what 'The New York Times,' at that time, described as a 'grotesquely obvious swindle.'"

    The Tribune's answer then quotes the article in enumerating other concerns with which Neal was reputed to have been connected, either directly or indirectly, as follows:

    "To-Kalon Manufacturing Company — A beauty treatment.
    "Cartilage Company — guaranteed to increase the height.
    "Harriett Meta-Wrinkle eradicator.
    "Everett Wood — Cure for baldness
    "Roman Solvene Laboratory — Superfluous hair remover.
    "Okola Laboratory — Eye treatment.
    "Paris Academy of Beauty Arts — Bust developer.
    "Dr. Turner Company — Obesity cure."

    The defendant alleges that none of the words and matter, published as aforesaid, was published maliciously.

    It is pointed out in the answer filed by The Tribune's attorneys, Sackett, Chapman & Stevens, that, while much of the article from which the above excerpts are taken has not been challenged, the complaint, drawn by Neal's counsel, interprets that portion of the article to which Neal takes exception as charging "that the plaintiff was lacking in integrity, uprightness and honesty; that he was associated with impotent and fraudulent pretenders to medical skill and knavish practitioners of medicine; that the plaintiff himself was an impotent and fraudulent pretender to medical skill and a knavish practitioner of medicine and one who pretends to skill and knowledge which he does not possess," and that "the plaintiff had made his life occupation the dealing in false and fraudulent preparations, and had lived his life as a false and fraudulent pretender, to the benefit of himself and to the detriment of the public at large."

    In answer to this, The Tribune's pleading, after setting forth that complaints had been received from the public generally that the "Nuxated Iron" advertisement appeared to be mendacious, states:

    "A charlatan is one who makes unwarranted or extravagant pretensions to the possession of knowledge and skill and in particular one who makes unwarranted or extravagant representations as to the curative or therapeutic values of medical compounds which he makes or vends or recommends for use.

    "A quack is one who ignorantly or falsely pretends to medical skill which he does not possess or to effect the cure of diseases by means of preparations which he prescribes or recommends therefor."

    The answer relates at length the campaign which The Tribune through its Bureau of Investigations has conducted during the last several years, "in the exposure of deceptive and misleading advertising and other business practices; in the prevention of the injurious effects thereof, and the protection of buyers and prospective buyers of such pretended cures and the public generally."

    For a long period, prior to April 11, 1918, boards of health, other health authorities and governmental agencies and departments and the regular organizations of reputable physicians had been engaged in exposing and nullifying the vicious practice of manufacturers and venders of quack medicines or nostrums, advertised as having curative effect, according to The Tribune's answer. It is further stated that the evils resulting from these bad practices, particularly those used by large concerns or individuals of substantial financial resources, who advertised widely in the public press and elsewhere, became so great as to call for public exposure as one of the most efficient means of abatement. Complaints against these misleading advertisements and other bad business methods of individuals and corporations exploiting pretended cures came to the defendant, it is asserted, from buyers of nostrums, readers of the advertisements, from health authorities, from reputable physicians and from the public at large. The Tribune, the answer states, published the first of a series of articles combating these false advertisements in or about the month of December, 1914.

    In this batch of complaints, The Tribune answer declares, came letters relative to "Nuxated Iron." The substance of these communications was to the general effect that "Nuxated Iron" advertisements "appeared to be mendacious or misleading and deceptive." The defendant, thereupon, undertook an investigation of "Nuxated Iron," as a result of which there appeared in The Tribune on December 16, 1917, an article by Samuel Hopkins Adams, setting forth the facts disclosed by the investigation.

    "Said investigation conducted by the defendant prior to April 11, 1918," the answer continues, "showed the facts to be as stated in the published words and matter set forth, that the plaintiff (Neal) was a quack and had made quackery his life calling, and that the plaintif (Neal) was a charlatan and had become and had been made prominent in the world of charlatanry. His prominence as a charlatan was due to the nature and extent of his charlatanry and to the fact that his charlatanry had been frequently exposed in the public press and had received the judicial or other public and official attention of many agencies and departments of the government, including particularly the United States Postoffice Department, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States district courts, the United States attorneys and Federal grand juries."

    The Tribune's answer then continues by reasserting the truth of its published statement that Neal had been arraigned before the United States District Court in Buffalo on charges "contained in three indictments found on or about June 18, 1913, by the Federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, against the New York Institute of Science, a corporation, Charles S. Clark, Thomas F. Adkin and the plaintiff, E. Virgil Neal, alias X. La Motte Sage."

    Each of the indictments charged in substance that said defendants did "knowingly, wrongfully, unlawfully and feloniously devise and intend to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretences, representations and premises" in violation of the criminal code of the United States.

    Each of the indictments in question charged substantially that these schemes to defraud were to be effected by misuse of the United States mails, and that the defendants, Clark, Adkin and Neal, alias X. La Motte Sage, represented in advertisements and in correspondence to the public:

    "That the New York Institute of Science was a noted institute of learning, a leading college of the country devoted to the teaching of science for the development of character such as personal magnetism, hypnotism, suggestive therapeutics, vitaopathy and kindred subjects, havng a large faculty composed of reputable and widely known scholars; that visitors could not fail to be impressed by the air of learning which permeated the place; that one 'Dr. Sage,' meaning the plaintiff (Neal) in this action, had a study with well-filled book shelves bristling with works on psychology and subjects akin to the higher branches of learning; that said 'Institute of Science' was giving instructions to several hundred; that said 'Institute of Science' had a library, laboratory and clinical department and had offices devoted to the faculty and their assistants; that said 'Institute' would furnish a course of instruction and teaching in personal magnetism, hypnotism and hypnotic influence; that by post-hypnotic suggestion the said 'Institute' would teach its students to cure drunkenness, the morphine habit, restore the affection of those who had been estranged, make a stingy person liberal, would teach magnetic and mental healing, cure diseases, epileptic fits and rheumatism; that said 'Institute' could teach a student to hypnotize a room full of people at once, to abstract a tooth and painlessly perform any surgical operation, and by telephone, telegraph and mail produce the cataleptic state."

    The indictments charged that all these representations were false and had fraudulent intent. To carry out their fraud, the indictment asserted that the defendants had mailed in the Rochester postoffice letter addressed to certain persons with the intent to obtain their money and property "by means of fraudulent pretence."

    The many things which Neal himself pretended to be able to accomplish in his varied career as hypnotist, scientist and discoverer and exploiter of nostrums are enumerated in detail in The Tribune's answer to the libel suit. This catalogue of pretensions has a familiar ring, recalling the phraseology of the circus poster or the sideshow barker. Thus when Neal, prior to 1900, travelled over the country under the name of "Professor" or "Dr. X. La Motte Sage," giving exhibitions of what he represented to be hypnotism, he is alleged by The Tribune's answer in court to have claimed to be able to "hypnotize a subject at a distance of 1,000 miles, and awaken the subject at the same distance; put people into a trance so that they could locate lost and hidden articles and ferret out murders, thefts and similar matters; hypnotize people instantaneously, quick as a flash of lightning; hypnotize a person in his natural sleep and acquire that peculiar magnetic personality which gives a charm of manner and a power of fascination to the individual that is sure to win and hold the respect and admiration of those with whom you come in contact."

    The Tribune alleges that many of these representations were false, misleading or deceptive, and others were unwarranted or extravagant, and "in making these same or permitting the same to be made with his knowledge the plaintiff was a quack and a charlatan."

    The whole career of the "New York Institute of Science," organized in 1899 in Rochester, N. Y., by "X. La Motte Sage," Thomas F. Adkin and M. F. Neal, is reviewed in the answer. In the advertisements promulgated by this "institute" "Dr. Sage" was represented as being a scholar and scientist of world renown, who was consulted by wealthy people in New York and various parts of the country, who paid him large sums of money for instruction in the unconscious use of hypnotism or personal magnetism.

    The Tribune alleges that these representations were made with the knowledge and approval and apon the authority of the plaintiff, and in making these representations the plaintiff, Neal, "was a charlatan and a quack."

    In March, 1914, the pleading avers, the Postmaster General of the united States issued a fraud order, prohibiting the transmission of mail fron this concern. The fraud order was issued on these findings:

    1. That the so-called "free book" of the "Institute," instead of being a scientific treatise, as had been represented, was only an advertising pamphlet.

    2. That the "Dr. Sage" concern was not an institute of science or learning, that it had no faculty and was nothing but a "mail order" scheme in which pamphlets and books were being sold under false and fraudulent representations.

    3. That the representations of said corporation were clearly designed to create the false impression that said corporation would teach readers how to accomplish the various things named, regardless of sex, education or personality.

    4. That the impression sought to be conveyed by said representations that these courses of instructions would provide one with personal magnetism was an absurdity.

    5. That certain representations of the said corporation were calculated to give the impression that the purchaser would get something infinitely more valuable than the matter actually received, and that the representations were extravagant, absurd and untenable.

    6. That certain other representations were of a very extravagant nature, misleading and indicative of fraud.

    Paragraphs 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Postmaster General's findings state that the extravagant promises held forth by the "Institute" were made merely for the purpose of gaining subscribers, and that some of the representations were absolutely untrue.

    11. That for years said Postoffice Department had been flooded with complaints against said corporation from people claiming to have been defrauded, and that it was estimated that said concern had mulcted the public to the extent of $1,500,000.

    The Tribune pleading states that the defendant in the Neal libel suit has a reasonable cause to believe that these findings of the Postmaster General of the United States were substantially true.

    The Tribune answer then takes up the history of the "New York Institute of Physicians and Surgeons," organized under the laws of the State of New York in 1900 by Neal under the alias "X. La Motte Sage," Thomas F. Adkin and N. M. Adkin.

    In the certificate of incorporation this "Institute" was founded for the objects of "treating disease, manufacturing remedies and giving instruction in medicinal subjects." The principal place of business was Rochester, N. Y. The principal business, it is alleged, was the sale through the mails of a "magnetic or psychic treatment" of disease, called "Vitaopathy."

    The past performances, or claims of performances, of Neal, alias "X. La Motte Sage," set forth in the answer, were humble indeed compared to the pleaded pretensions of "Professor" Adkin, of the "New York Institute of Physicians and Surgeons." Adkin was advertised as the Edison and Marconi of "Vital Magnetism" and "Psychic Force." A woman on her way to the grave had been rescued by "that world famous savant," Adkin.

    The Tribune's pleading asserts the "Institute" advertised that this "cure" caused Adkin to be credited with the possession of divine power. Here is a sample of the advertisements of the "Institute," to which Neal was Interested, alluding to Adkin:

    "The blind made to see, the lame to walk, and helpless individuals restored to health when given up to die by doctors. No disease he may not cure. Stops pains, heals sores, removes cancers and tumors and performs marvels that upset modern medical practice and defy explanation."

    In August, 1905, The Tribune pleading states, the United States Postmaster General issued a fraud order against the "New York Institute of Physicians and Surgeons," prohibiting it from using the mails for transmitting its advertising matter. The reasons given for this order were substantially the same as in the case of the "New York Institute of Science."

    But Neal had many interests, and the issuing of a fraud order against the "Institute of Physicians and Surgeons" did not stop his activities, the answer declares. In October, 1900, he had founded with the same Adkin and one Charles S. Clark the "Columbia Academy of Science," a corporation organized under the laws of New Jersey, and doing business in 1981 Broadway. The purpose of the "Columbia Academy of Science," as stated in the certificate of Incorporation, was as follows:

    "To give instruction in, or teach either by correspondence, in person or otherwise, chirology, physiognomy, phrenology, graphology and any or all scientific subjects." The Tribune alleges that one of the chief courses of instruction was the "Ki-Magi System" of physical culture or human development, proclaimed as being the greatest discovery of the age.

    One of the products of this corporation was a book, entitled "Secret of Power." The "Columbia Academy of Science" advertised it as revealing startling secrets, which enabled persons who read it to make great fortunes, develop will power, improve the memory and eradicate all bad habits. Morgan, Vanderbilt and Rockefeller and other multimillionaires had read "Secret of Power" from cover to cover and used its formulas daily in amassing wealth and influence. Here is a paragraph of advertisement telling just what the "Ki-Magi System," of which Neal was one of the sponsors, could do for you, as quoted in The Tribune's defence:

    "A course that develops the nerves, muscles and brain simultaneously. It gives you a most beautiful physique and symmetrical form; it gives you rosy cheeks; it makes you cheerful and happy; it brings to you a healthy flow of blood; a healthy action of each member of the body; it brings back lost vitality; it makes pale, bloodless women who lack vitality and strength attractive, fascinating young ladies or strong, vigorous, happy and healthy wives who love their husbands and make their husbands love them."

    In addition to this rather full programme the "Columbia Academy of Science" offered a course in "character reading," enabling students to read a man's character at a glance. It also advertised instruction in "personal magnetism and magnetic healing."

    About the same time that the "Columbia Academy of Science" was founded Neal, with his partners, Adkin and Clark, organized the "American College of Sciences," incorporated under the laws of New Jersey, to give "instruction in personal magnetism, hypnotism, suggestive therapeutics, magnetic healing and other kindred subjects throughout the United States and foreign countries." This institution was located in 416 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. The pleading alleges that the "American College of Sciences" was a fake, and Neal in his connection with it a faker.

    Neal's next institution was "The Force of Life Chemical Company," incorporated under the laws of Delaware in 1903, by S. S. Adams, jr., C. C. Pierce and L. Irving Handy, of Wilmington, Del. The Tribune alleges that the incorporators were dummies, that Neal was instrumental in organizing the corporation and that he soon became its president and managed its business affairs.

    "The Force of Life Company" dispensed through the United States mails "Force of Life" remedies and "Life Ray Capsules."

    It was this corporation which was denounced in an article published on the editorial page of "The New York Times," on January 15, 1906, as a fraudulent concern, which had operated what was "a grotesquely obvious swindle," the answer declares.

    The genius behind "The Force of Life" was said to be one William Walace Hadley, widely advertised in daily newspapers and magazines as an "eminent thaumaturgie panopathist," who had discovered a rare combination of concentrated extracts which might truly be called "Life Force." As described In The Tribune's pleading, quoted from advertisements, the circumstances of the discovery were dramatic. "The combination (of concentrated extracts) gleamed in the glare of a midnight light in its sheen of ruby red, while the retort containing the substance seemed to quiver and vibrate as if in the effort to restrain the tremendous dynamic force it held."

    Hadley, The Tribune alleges, was credited with "power over disease and death, not given to ordinary mortals." He was said to be able "to combat any and all maladies, make hopeless individuals well," and "unclasp the remorseless fingers of death and stop the rush with which Father Time hurried humans to the grave."

    The "Life Ray Capsules" were exploited as being charged with radium, and Hadley was quoted as saying that he believed this remarkable substance was the "Fountain of Youth" for which Ponce de Leon searched in vain. There was practically nothing which the "Life Ray Capsules" and the "Force of Life" remedies could not cure, if one credited the publicity man of the parent corporation.

    "The American Health Products Company," manufacturing and selling "Neal's Biscuits and Neal's Fig Chocolates," was incorporated in 1906 by James L. Ratchford. The Tribune alleges that these products were advertised to "stop the sharp pangs of dyspepsia in two minutes by the watch." The biscuits were advertised as "a food that made an adult feel like a two-year-old in a clover pasture; a food that makes brains in five hours and blood in four hours; a highly nutritious stomachic food, made from the pineapple, the paw-paw melon, figs, oranges, celery and a few other good things for the nerves, stomach and bowels; a food one package of which would cure the consumer of the blues, make the old world laugh in merry glee and put vigor and vim in life."

    The Tribune alleges that these representations were made with the knowledge and approval of the plaintiff, Neal, and that in making these representations the plaintiff was a quack and a charlatan.

    Neal is alleged by The Tribune to have been instrumental in organizing the "To-Kalon Manufacturing Company" in 1907, a corporation manufacturing and selling drugs, soaps, toilet articles, perfumeries and general merchandise. Among other articles this company produced "Neal's Olivine Soap," advertised as containing olive oil and borax, and being both an antiseptic and a germicide. The Bureau of Chemistry of the Department of Agriculture, according to The Tribune's answer, analyzed the soap and found it to be misbranded. The corporation was charged with violating the Federal Food and Drug Act, and pleaded guilty at a trial, was convicted and sentenced by the court.

    The story of the "Dr. Turner Company," another Neal product, differs slightly from these already outlined. The Tribune answer alleges that this "treatment," founded by Neal, and exploited as an obesity cure made use of an article written in good faith by Francis M. Turner, of Pittsburgh, on the subject of weight reduction. The obesity cure was exposed by The Journal of the American Medical Association in 1912. Mr. Turner repudiated the article after it had been changed and used as advertising copy, the pleading says.

    Prior to April 11, 1918, the date of the article published in The Tribune telling of Neal's arraignment in the Federal Court in Buffalo. Neal was one of the chief exploiters or backers of "Nuxated Iron," according to the allegations made by The Tribune. This concoction was widely advertised as possessing miraculous curative or therapeutic powers for many diseases of the human body. Those found by Tribune investigators as chiefly responsible for the extravagant claims made in behalf of "Nuxated Iron" were the plaintiff, Neal, and Wylie B. Jones. The latter had been engaged in placing the advertisements prior to April 11, 1918. Subsequently he was succeeded by the William H. Rankin Company, an advertising agency in 104 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, and in 25 East Twenty-sixth Street, New York City, the answer alleges.

    The Tribune alleges that these exploiters, with full knowledge and consent of the plaintiff, advertised that "Nuxated Iron" possessed qualities as a tonic, strength and blood builder and restorer of lost vitality superior to any other known form of iron; that it excelled any other preparation used for creating red blood, building up the nerves and strengthening the muscles; that it often quickly transformed flabby flesh, toneless tissues and pallid cheeks of weak, anaemic men and women into a glow of health by enriching the blood and creating thousands of new blood cells; that it would increase the strength and endurance of delicate, nervous folk 200 per cent in two weeks' time.

    These advertisements, The Tribune points out, stated that Jess Willard, the champion heavyweight prizefighter, had often taken "Nuxated Iron," and "felt sure that without it. he would never have been able to defeat Jack Johnson and Frank Moran."

    These advertisements further stated that Sarah Bernhardt, the great actress, had sent a large quantity of "Nuxated Iron" to the French soldiers to help give them power and endurance in their struggle with the military forces of Germany; and that Tyrus Cobb, the baseball player, took this concoction to help give him renewed energy and great staying power.

    The principal ingredients of "Nuxated Iron" are said to be organic iron in the form of iron peptonate, nux vomica and glycero-phosphate of calcium. The Tribune's answer states that each of these ingredients, properly used, has therapeutic value in certain cases, but that in "Nuxated Iron" the amount of iron was small and the amount of nux vomica substantially negligible. The Tribune alleges that neither "Nuxated Iron" nor any other drug in the known pharmacopoeia would or could produce the results claimed for it in the advertisements.

    "The chief danger," The Tribune's answer continues, "of said 'Nuxated Iron,' of said unfounded representations made regarding the same and of the indiscriminate use of said concoction, was not so much the injurious effects of the drugs contained in the medicine as in the effect which said advertisements and medicines were calculated to have in lulling large numbers of credulous victims into a false sense of security, that said preparation was a marvellous food that builds up the body and nervous system."

    As for the indorsements, many of them are alleged to be fakes and others are alleged to be from ignorant persons. Among the physicians named as indorsers were Dr. Ferdinand King, represented as "a noted New York physician and author" and "medical lecturer": Dr. Howard James, represented as "formerly resident physician of a New York City hospital," as "Assistant Physician of the Manhattan State Hospital of New York" and as "formerly Assistant Physician of the Brooklyn State Hospital," and others.

    The Tribune alleges that King was a quack without any connection with any known reputable medical association, whose chief notoriety arose from the fact that he had advertised in the public press that "I guarantee to cure the following male diseases" of a venereal nature.

    Neither the Manhattan State Hospital nor the Brooklyn State Hospital had any record of Dr. James, but The Tribune found records of him in the police and Federal courts in New York City, for he had applied to the police court under the state laws for a rescue from addiction to the use of narcotics. He had been convicted in the Federal court and sentenced to a term of imprisonment in the Atlanta, Ga., Federal penitentiary for prescribing and dispensing narcotic drugs.

    The Tribune also pleaded that Neal had become prominent and generally known to the public, prior to April 11, 1918, as a quack by reason of the fact that many journals and newspapers of high reputation had published articles about him. Among these journals which had commented on him are the following:

    "The Journal of the American Medical Association."
    "Truth," a periodical published in London, England.
    "The New York Sun."
    "The New York World."
    "The New York Times."
    "The New York Globe."
    "The Chicago Tribune."

    In its issue of August 8, 1914, "The Journal of the American Medical Association" published the following article, quoted in The Tribune's pleading:

    "One more of the Neal-Adkin syndicate of frauds was denied the use of the United States mails when a fraud order was issued against the 'New York Institute of Science,' Rochester, N.Y. E. Virgil Neal, the original president of this concern, has made quackery his life work. Although some of 'The Journal's' readers may remember what has been said about Neal in the past, it is worth while briefly summarizing this arch-faker's meteoric career.

    Then follows a brief summary of Neal's activities in the field of patent medicine.

    "The Chicago Tribune" published about, Neal an article on January 16, 1906, headed "Suckers by the Million," telling the story of "The Force of Life Chemical Company." It is the same one of Neal's many corporations which is dealt with rather sharply in "The New York Globe" under the heading "Ghouls of Medicine," and published on January 16, 1906, according to the answer.

    The Tribune has thus pleaded justification as to all its past and present utterances relative to E. Virgil Neal and his associates and his corporations complained of in the suit.


  1. "United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 June 2015), E Virgil Neal, 1909; citing Passport Application, New York, United States, source certificate #2111, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 968, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm.
  2. "E. Virgil Neal Passes Away at Geneva June 30 -- Former Sedalian Amassed Fortune On Perfumes", The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri): 7, 3 July 1949