Alois P. Swoboda was an Austrian born American who developed a body/mind training course that he called "Conscious Evolution" at the end of the 19th century. He and his father settled in Omaha, Nebraska where he quickly found work in the local bathhouses. Mr. Swoboda subsequently worked in Omaha meatpacking factories but did not receive medical training, etc., despite insinuations of a formal education.
Much like other cults and 'snake oil' frauds of the late 1800s and early 1900s, people from all walks of life and diverse occupations sent in for the "Conscious Evolution" correspondence course. One of the main claims Swoboda made was his program would regrow lost bodyparts and reverse damaged internal organs.
One of Swoboda's most enthusiastic backers was Elbert Hubbard, relative of L. Ron Hubbard, who turned many of Swoboda's teachings into what is now Scientology. They were the first exercises used by Legendary US Olympic Weighlifting Coach and Father Of World Weightlifting Bob Hoffman who said that his father developed the best build that he had ever seen using The Swoboda Course. Bodybuilding icon Charles Atlas said, "Everything that I know I learned from A.P. Swoboda.
In 1921 the American Medical Association investigated Swoboda and his various claims and called them "quackery". They also cited his advertising as being false and misleading. In 1901 President Woodrow Wilson received the Swoboda course, and according to the Woodrow Wilson House, "Wilson underwent a series of quack procedures as cures for what later would be recognized as the symptoms of hypertension"
From an article in TIME Magazine:
Alois P. Swoboda, mass-advertising "culture rhythm" man, was enjoined in Brooklyn from selling oil stock to members of his cult by a letter describing one "Dahlgran," alleged oil well locater. Eighteen months ago, Dr. Swoboda took in $70,000 for the stock; no oil has yet appeared. Said the letter: "This man Dahlgran through his power is to serve Swoboda and Swobodians. Dahlgran has located for me what he considers a very extensive oil pool ... and is positive that the first well will be an enormous gusher. ... I personally do not care for wealth for my own sake, but merely to aid Swobodians."
No oil was found.
- ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=8AVEAAAAIAAJ&dq=alois+p.+swoboda%3F%3F?&id=8AVEAAAAIAAJ&dq=alois+p.+swoboda%3F%3F&jtp=787&pgis=1,
- ^ http://www.woodrowwilsonhouse.org/index.asp?section=timeline&file=timelinesearch_day&id=1230
- ^ TIME magazine article, July 7, 1930 Accessed March 18, 2009