AUBURN — If you believe the advertising in the latter half of the 19th century, gulping down a bit of Dr. J.F. True’s Elixir offered the best possible treatment for everything from a headache to a lizard living in your stomach. Regardless of whether it really worked or not, the dark and somewhat alcoholic liquid that was shipped out to druggists across the country under True’s name put Auburn on the map.Nearly forgotten today, the Auburn-made mixture was once a staple for many families angling to “Keep Children Well” in an era when the medical profession had yet to find its bearings and sickness was striking down a hefty share of American youngsters. At a time when truth-in-advertising regulations essentially did not exist, True made staggering claims for his brew. “The best worm remedy made,” one ad claimed. “When True’s Elixir hits the worm, he knows it is useless to struggle and he must surrender.” He said his concoction would expel tapeworms “head and all in under three hours.” True insisted his elixir drove out a 70-foot tapeworm from Benjamin Hill of Auburn and a 60-foot one that had tormented “a child of John Ferguson of Lewiston.” Bad as those… Read full this story
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