The Humbugs of the World

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-22
  • Publisher: Cambridge Univ Pr
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Ebenezer Scrooge's cry of 'Humbug!' is well known throughout the English-speaking world. But what did he mean? In this entertaining book, P. T. Barnum (1810-91), defines 'humbug' as 'glittering appearances by which to suddenly arrest public attention, and attract the public eye and ear'. A showman himself and the creator of 'The Greatest Show on Earth', Barnum was famous for his own tricks, and describes here some of the most fascinating and outrageous examples perpetrated in his time. He explores the cases of Mr Warren, who wrote an advertisement in enormous letters on the pyramids of Giza, and the Fox daughters, who caused a stir among spiritualists in New York when they held seances with tapping spirits - in fact their own cracking knee joints. First published in 1866, this tour of Victorian humbug, fraud, superstition and quackery will appeal to social historians and readers interested in nineteenth-century popular culture.

Table of Contents

Publisher's note
Personal Reminiscences
General view of the subject
Definition of the word humbug
Monsieur Mangin, the French humbug
Old Grizzly Adams
The golden pigeons
The whales, the angel fish, and the golden pigeon
Pease's horehound candy
Brandreth's pills
The Spiritualists
The Davenport brothers, their rise and progress
The spirit-rapping and medium humbugs
The 'Ballot-test'
Spiritual 'letters on the arm'
Demonstrations by 'Samson' under a table
Spiritual photographing
'Banner of light'
Spiritualist humbugs waking up
The Davenport brothers shown up once more
Trade and Business Impositions
Adulterations of food
Adulteration in drinks
The Peter Funks and their functions
Lottery sharks
Another lottery humbug
A California coal mine
Money Manias
The petroleum humbug
The tulipomania
John Bull's great money humbug
Business humbugs
Medicine and Quacks
Doctors and imagination
The consumptive remedy
Monsignore Cristoforo Rischi, or Il Créso, the nostrum-vendor of Florence
The Twenty-seventh-street ghost
The moon hoax
The miscegenation hoax
Ghosts and Witchcrafts
Haunted houses
Haunted houses
Magical humbugs
Charms and incantations
The Princess Cariboo, or, the Queen of the Isles
Count Cagliostro, alias Joseph Balsamo, known also as 'Cursed Joe'
The diamond necklace
The Count de St Germain: sage, prophet, and magician
Riza Bey, the Persian envoy to Louis XIV
Religous Humbugs
Diamond cut diamond, or, Yankee superstitions
A religious humbug on John Bull
The first humbug in the world
Heathen humbugs
Modern heathen humbugs
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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