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Clairvoyant Remedies bottle

Dublin Core


This rare bottle is embossed "MRS. J.H.R. MATTESON./CLAIRVOYANT REMEDIES./BUFFALO, N.Y." Of clear glass, it was blown in a two-piece mold and its neck finished by hand.
Antoinette Wealthy Matteson (1847-1913) was the widow of a blind musician, Judah H. R. Matteson. At his death in 1884, she was (according to his obituary) already "a well-known clairvoyant." Becoming the sole supporter of her children, she listed herself in the Buffalo City Directory as a "clairvoyant doctress."
Instead of offering a standard formula, like other nostrum sellers, she placed in each of her bottles a concoction custom-divined for the patient while she was in a "trance." In her book, The Occult Family Physician and Botanic Guide to Health (1894) she touted "remedies from the vegetable world." She was also a Spiritualist and claimed, "During the twenty years of my mediumistic experience, many hundreds, in fact I may say thousands of remarkable cures have been made through the aid of my spirit guides."

During her career, the Erie County (New York) Medical Board tried to end her "practice" but she prevailed. Interestingly, one of her daughters managed to graduate from the Buffalo Medical College, despite being the daughter of a quack.

A New Ager before her time, Mrs. Matteson would today be called a "medical intuitive" and would be recognized as having a fantasy-prone personality, said of a person who is sane and normal but with an exceptional tendency to, say, communicate with invisible beings or the like.

(See Joe Nickell, The Mystery Chronicles, Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2004.)


Mrs. J.H.R. Matteson


Mrs. J.H.R. Matteson


Digital image copyright 2014 Images in this collection are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the expressed written permission of the Center for Inquiry and Dr. Joe Nickell. Patrons of this digital museum are free to utilize materials from the museum for non-commercial and educational purposes.