The Humbugs of the World

The Humbugs of the World

3.82 (45 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139176498
  • 9781139176491

Table of contents

Publisher's note; Introduction; Part I. Personal Reminiscences: 1. General view of the subject; 2. Definition of the word humbug; 3. Monsieur Mangin, the French humbug; 4. Old Grizzly Adams; 5. The golden pigeons; 6. The whales, the angel fish, and the golden pigeon; 7. Pease's horehound candy; 8. Brandreth's pills; Part II. The Spiritualists: 9. The Davenport brothers, their rise and progress; 10. The spirit-rapping and medium humbugs; 11. The 'Ballot-test'; 12. Spiritual 'letters on the arm'; 13. Demonstrations by 'Samson' under a table; 14. Spiritual photographing; 15. 'Banner of light'; 16. Spiritualist humbugs waking up; 17. The Davenport brothers shown up once more; Part III. Trade and Business Impositions: 18. Adulterations of food; 19. Adulteration in drinks; 20. The Peter Funks and their functions; 21. Lottery sharks; 22. Another lottery humbug; 23. A California coal mine; Part IV. Money Manias: 24. The petroleum humbug; 25. The tulipomania; 26. John Bull's great money humbug; 27. Business humbugs; Part V. Medicine and Quacks: 28. Doctors and imagination; 29. The consumptive remedy; 30. Monsignore Cristoforo Rischi, or Il Creso, the nostrum-vendor of Florence; Part VI. Hoaxes: 31. The Twenty-seventh-street ghost; 32. The moon hoax; 33. The miscegenation hoax; Part VII. Ghosts and Witchcrafts: 34. Haunted houses; 35. Haunted houses; 36. Magical humbugs; 37. Witchcraft; 38. Charms and incantations; Part VIII. Adventurers: 39. The Princess Cariboo, or, the Queen of the Isles; 40. Count Cagliostro, alias Joseph Balsamo, known also as 'Cursed Joe'; 41. The diamond necklace; 42. The Count de St Germain: sage, prophet, and magician; 43. Riza Bey, the Persian envoy to Louis XIV; Part IX. Religous Humbugs: 44. Diamond cut diamond, or, Yankee superstitions; 45. A religious humbug on John Bull; 46. The first humbug in the world; 47. Heathen humbugs; 48. Modern heathen humbugs; 49. Ordeals.
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Rating details

45 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 24% (11)
4 42% (19)
3 27% (12)
2 4% (2)
1 2% (1)
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