Meet Drayton Doherty, a doctor who cured a dying man by pretending to undo a voodoo hex in a last ditch effort after modern medicine didn’t work. The man believed he was cured and lived for ten more years.

A Near Death from Voodoo Hexing

In the spring of 1938, Dr. Drayton Doherty admitted a sixty-year-old African –American man to the hospital. The small hospital was located at the edge of town in an old house that had been converted into a fifteen-bed hospital. Six of the beds were located upstairs at the rear of the house in what previously served as a sleeping porch. The patient was admitted to that porch.

Dr. Doherty went on to tell me that the patient, Vance Vanders, had been ill for many weeks and had lost over fifty pounds. He looked extremely wasted and near death. His eyes were sunken and resigned to death. The clinical suspicions in those days for anyone with a wasting disease were either tuberculosis or widespread cancer. Repeated tests and chest x-rays for bo… Continue Reading (7 minute read)

10 thoughts on “Meet Drayton Doherty, a doctor who cured a dying man by pretending to undo a voodoo hex in a last ditch effort after modern medicine didn’t work. The man believed he was cured and lived for ten more years.”

  1. -4twenty-

    Can someone undo my hex? I’m too young to be popping and locking like an antique.

  2. CleatusVandamn

    Psssh 10 years. I’ve lived longer than that.

  3. NotTheBelt

    “I don’t understand, Doctor. I thought you said you were searching for a cure.”

    “Did I say cure? I meant curse. I always forget to pronounce the ‘S’. Anyway, I found the curse in your, uh… knees. Yeah, someone cursed your knees. That’s the source of all that ails you. Lemme just-“

    *searches room, grabs tongue depressor, taps each knee three times*

    “There, all gone.”

    “Wow… I feel better already!”

  4. labbykun

    Plot twist: doctor was actually voodoo. He panicked and undid his spell before others could find out.

  5. catsasss

    I read a book written by a doctor in the 70s that said there were some patients he simply couldn’t help because their mindset was on death. I think the quote was “you could almost see the vultures circling” around those patients.

    The human mind is extremely powerful, and an overriding idea or fear can be lethal.

  6. honestgoing

    My dad was a cop.

    One time he got a call from a guy with tin foil around everything. Quite a crazy, paranoid guy. He had called multiple times that evening. The guy called because he was sure there was something monitoring him from his TV.

    My dad approached the TV and pretended to scan it with his radio talky thing, and turned up the volume so the static went off for a bit; it looked like he had scanned it and found something.

    He pretended to be surprised, as if he found something he hadn’t expected. Then, he played with some dials on his radio and pointed at the TV, pretending to adjust some kind of setting.

    The tin foil guy was just staring in awe the whole time.

    Finally by dad repeated his first step – he scanned the TV with his radio again, but this time without static playing, so it looked like he had fixed the issue that he faked.

    Tin foil guy was amazed and relieved and they left without receiving a call back that night.

  7. jcd1974

    Hi doctor Nick!

    Hi everybody!

  8. wjbc

    Sometimes placebos (or prayer, or voodoo, or alternative medicine, or psychics) work. That’s not about the power of placebos, or about the power of con artist faith healers. That’s about the power of the human mind to make us think we are sick or make us think we are well, regardless of whether we are, in fact, physically sick or well.

    But if our problem is physical, life-threatening, and doesn’t care about our subjective opinion, no amount of positive thinking will make it better. Steve Jobs would be alive today if he had listened to his doctors instead of seeking an alternative to surgery. Plus, putting yourself in the hands of a con artist who says you can be cured by donating all your earthly possessions is dangerous in a different way.

    Edit: I edited the above paragraphs because u/nowyouseemenowyoudo2 has convinced me that when placebos “work” it’s not because our mind is making our body heal. It’s because it alleviates subjective self-reported symptoms like pain.

    In other words, yes, the patient subjectively feels better. But it’s not because the placebo changed the patient’s body, or the mind changed the patient’s body.

    It’s because the placebo effect has changed the patient’s mind, meaning his opinions and perceptions. The placebo effect made the patient subjectively feel better, at least for the duration of the test. But it does not have an objective benefit to the body.

    Furthermore, rather than lying to the patient about the effectiveness of a placebo, whether it’s a sugar pill or a faith healing or acupuncture, it’s quite possible to produce the same subjective effect transparently — and relatively cheaply if you have health insurance — through ordinary therapy and treatment.

    As u/nowyouseemenowyoudo2 notes:

    > Where health insurance companies provide cover for treatments which are not supported by evidence, it actually causes real harm by adding legitimacy to the alternative medicine pushers. When you take into account the increase in mortality caused by use of alternative treatments, any use of treatments which are “placebo based” really do cause more harm than good.

  9. spellred

    That’ll be $40,000 please!

  10. a1001ku

    The placebo is strong with this one.

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