Did Dr. Abrams’ work actually lead to the founding of NHF?
By Scott C. Tips
In late 2021, just before the fierce winter storms broke that year, the National Health Federation (NHF) moved its offices from southern California to central Washington State. Supervising and organizing the California end of the move was the NHF’s much-appreciated Art Director and general go-to-guy Ben Lizardi. Because of space limitations in the truck, some of NHF’s items ended up temporarily in Ben’s garage until they could be sent North.
Almost one year later, while reorganizing his garage, Ben came across an old, black scrapbook labeled “Exhibit C,” containing a large number of yellowing and fragile newspaper clippings from the early 1920s about a now largely forgotten doctor who had pioneered electromagnetic medicine. The scrapbook appears to have been intended for legal counsel, most probably for the legal fight over electromagnetic medicine that NHF Founder, Fred J. Hart, had had with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the year before Hart founded the NHF in 1955. Memories may fade, but they can also be revived, especially by a scrapbook that reveals an amazing story.
An Unusual Man
One hundred years ago, a San Francisco physician, Dr. Albert Abrams, became famous for the accurate diagnoses and treatments of his patients using a radio-wave device called the Reflexophone. With this device, Dr. Abrams said he could detect cancer, tuberculosis, and other diseases with just a drop of the patient’s blood. Even more, Dr. Abrams said, that a single drop of blood would also reveal the subject’s age, his race, his emotions at the time the blood sample was taken, and the probable length of his life. Because the blood carries all the body’s “radiations,” Dr. Abrams found that it could therefore be used in place of the actual presence of the patient in his examining room.
The enterprising and successful doctor established clinics in many cities in the United States as well as in London. An electric sign on London’s Trafalgar Square even advertised his clinic there. In 1922, he established the non-profit Electronic Medical College, later renamed the Electronic Medical Foundation.
Dr. Abrams based his work upon his theory that electrons are the foundation of life and health, and that we are all electromagnetic beings as much as we are biochemical beings. Curiously, Dr. Abrams discovered that a person’s lifespan can be predicted by the vitality of that person’s blood. Years before his own death, the doctor predicted his passing in early January 1924, which did happen when he died on January 13th of that year. Doubters at the time scoffed at this accuracy and one even claimed that “[h]e believed so thoroughly in his theory of ‘vital energy’ that he killed himself thinking about it.” (Sunday Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 16, 1924, at page 5)
Of course, before and after death, Dr. Abrams’ work was denounced just as NHF Founder Fred Hart’s work with electromagnetic cures was attacked by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thirty years later. The American Medical Association and the Scientific American both claimed that the Reflexophone did not work even though so many patients had been helped that when Dr. Abrams died, he had accumulated a huge estate of $2 million (in 1924 dollars) and bequeathed it to a hospital he had founded that used his treatments. As we all know, though, the FDA has never been about protecting Americans’ health but rather protecting their pharmaceutical masters’ profits and monopoly.
Other doctors across America replaced Dr. Abrams after his death and continued his work treating patients, but eventually they were picked off one-by-one by State medical boards and “life” returned to normal – at least for the pharmaceutical industry. Their competition had been eliminated.
Dr. Abrams, I Presume?
By the early 1920s, Fred Hart was already a successful businessman and organizer. He had been a core founder of the Monterey County Farm Bureau, the California Farm Bureau, and the American Farm Bureau Federation. He had operated ranches and was among the key players who started growing lettuce in the Salinas Valley, an agricultural business that has grown into a multi-million-dollar industry since.
In 1915, he married Eva Porter, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy pioneer ranching family in Salinas, California. The couple led a happy life together until she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mrs. Hart underwent surgery for the removal of a malignant tumor, but her health continued to decline and new symptoms appeared. In their search for a cure, the Harts’ eyes fell upon Dr. Abrams and his medical treatments in San Francisco.
They traveled there and, meeting Dr. Abrams, were first exposed to the theory of electronics in medicine and health. They found him to be a brilliant M.D. and researcher, and Mrs. Hart agreed to be tested and treated by him.
A blood test with the Reflexophone (otherwise deemed “worthless” by the FDA) revealed a lesion that had gone undetected during previous examinations by other doctors. Treatments were begun with another medical device called the Oscilloclast, which used shortwave pulsed energy, and this, together with spinal adjustments and changes to her diet, were credited with a recovery for Mrs. Hart that gave her 40 more years of life. But she would have lived even longer had it not been for the FDA.
The Electronic Medical Foundation
Convinced of the devices’ value, Mr. Hart sold his Hawaiian radio stations KGMB and KHBC and retired in 1938. He then dedicated his time and business skills to the non-profit Electronic Medical Foundation, which was continuing Dr. Abrams’ work by developing electronic medicine for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Becoming Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, Fred Hart held that position for more than 25 years. In exchange for a salary of $1.00 per year, he kept up on advancements in research, stayed in constant touch with doctors across the country who used the devices, submitted his own progress reports, monitored other users such as schools and individuals (some high in government), and lectured extensively.
As one observer put it, “the Electronic Medical Foundation built a substantial record of clinical experience proving the validity of its claims that low-power, pulsed shortwave energy can restore health to diseased or injured tissue.” By the year 1950 more than 1,600 doctors were using the Abrams devices. (From “The Truth About This Man, Fred J. Hart,” undated and unpublished.)
Finally, though, the Foundation realized that it was naive for them to believe that medical science had any interest in integrating electronic diagnostic techniques and treatments into orthodox medicine. In fact, roadblocks were deliberately put in place to prevent any research from being conducted to show the devices’ worth.
Oh Boy! It’s the FDA!
Still, for fifteen years, the Electronic Medical Foundation continued its work without interruption until one day, in mid-November 1953, the Foundation was visited by three FDA officials. One of them was a physicist from Washington, who stayed only one day, while the other two camped out for ten days at the Foundation’s offices. During that entire time Mr. Hart patiently answered all of their questions and produced documents about the Foundation’s work, structure, program, aims, history, and its desire to serve humanity.
“Most of the program of the organization was of no concern to the Food and Drug Administration,” said Mr. Hart at the time, “but because I was assured they were on a friendly visit, and that the Administration wanted a complete file and a proper understanding of the Foundation’s program, intentions, etc., I was extra liberal with my time and the literature and files. I reiterated to them the statement I had made time and again to their office in San Francisco as well as Washington, that if at any time we published anything which they felt made too broad a claim, if they would advise us, we would make the necessary changes, provided the changes did not put us in the position of denying the basic principles of electronics in medicine, and the value of low-power energies when applied to living tissue.” (From “The Truth About This Man, Fred J. Hart,” undated and unpublished.)
Within a month after the FDA agents’ visit in San Francisco, the Foundation faced an official FDA demand for an end to its activities. Three months later the FDA and the Foundation entered into a Consent Decree that stayed the action and sales of the devices outside of California pending further research. An oral agreement between the attorneys also stated that only a jointly approved press release on the Decree would be issued to the press.
But the FDA – being the rogue agency that it is even today – ignored the agreement and issued a unilateral press release that defamed the Foundation, destroying its business and reputation. Without any evidence, the FDA’s press release claimed that: “the devices are misbranded, are not capable of diagnosing or curing any disease … that the Radioscope was a device in a box containing dials, lights, and wires … that diagnostic reports in general consisted of a potpourri of medical jargon.”
Of course, newspapers around the country immediately picked up and published the FDA press release, with damaging headlines such as “Quacks Are Still Fooling You,” “Government Bans Medical Fakery,” “’Phony’ Medical Devices Banned,” and “Judge Classified Health Machine as Hoax.” Nothing in the Consent Decree said any such thing! And no judge or jury had ever found the Foundation’s devices to be “fakery” or a “hoax.” But, the FDA – utterly devoid of any sense of honor – destroyed the Foundation’s business, just as it has done to countless other businesses it does not like during the nearly 70 years since.
The Birth of the NHF
It was in that year 1954, and with a state of mind of increasing fury directed at an FDA that had ruthlessly betrayed his trust in the agency, that Mr. Hart first conceived the idea of creating a non-profit health-freedom organization to take on the FDA and protect ordinary citizens from its malicious and inept exercise of coercive power.
In January 1955, the National Health Federation was incorporated in California as a non-profit organization devoted to advancing health freedom. Soon thereafter, NHF received recognition from the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(4) public-advocacy organization. Fred Hart became NHF’s first President and thereafter played a leading role in its work until his death in March 1976. The NHF has remained active ever since and not only continued Fred Hart’s legacy and goals but expanded upon them.
Unfortunately, though, there was a tragic interlude. Almost eight years after the Consent Decree had been signed between the Electronic Medical Foundation and the FDA, the agency hired an undercover agent – a chiropractor from Reno, Nevada – to travel to California to persuade Mr. Hart to sell him an Oscilloclast. If this agent could make the purchase, then the FDA could and would argue that Mr. Hart had sold the device in interstate commerce and thus violated the Consent Decree. With one such device at his home in Salinas, Mr. Hart at first refused to sell it; but when the chiropractor pleaded that he wanted to use it for research and only research, he finally yielded.
That was enough for the FDA to spring their trap; and soon thereafter Mr. Hart was back in court where, among many other things, the FDA attorney mentioned the NHF’s harsh criticism of the FDA as a reason to stop Mr. Hart. But the contempt-of-court action meant something far worse than that, it meant no more devices; and without the devices available and at hand, his beloved Eva Hart soon died, in January 1962.
With both grief and anger in his heart, Mr. Hart dissolved the Electronic Medical Foundation and devoted all of his attention and energies to the National Health Federation. Sixty years later, the NHF is still going strong, thanks to its dedicated Founder, members, donors, and other supporters.
With the re-discovered scrapbook full of old and tattered newspaper clippings about Dr. Abrams and his electronic medical devices, the roots of NHF have been stretched back to 1922-1923 when Fred Hart first met Dr. Abrams in order to save his precious wife Eva’s life, and then embarked on a medical voyage that would lead directly to the founding of the National Health Federation.
Hopefully, NHF’s mission will one day soon be accomplished – in years maybe, not decades or a whole century – and everyone will soon be free to choose and do as they wish for their health and the health of their loved ones.