I want to tell you about the ironic death of Norman Baker.
Norman was a colorful character. During the 1920-30s, he was known for his white suit and purple shirt. In a time when cars were either black or black, he drove an orchid-colored car. But it was the arrival of radio that helped him earn his notoriety.
In 1925, he started KTNT (Know The Naked Truth). What was the naked truth? He continually gave “news reports” attacking the American Medical Association. He called the AMA the American Meatcutters Association. He preached that aluminum caused cancer and physicians were pedophiles.
But when he started promoting his own cancer cure, the government stepped in and shut him down.
Norman was not deterred. Somewhere along the way, he got the title “Doctor,” even though he only went through the 10th grade. He opened a cancer hospital, which he moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas in 1937.
Eureka Springs is an incredibly beautiful and fascinating town in the Ozarks. Built at one of the highest points of the town is the Crescent Hotel. The hotel has been called “the grand old lady of the Ozarks.” I love this hotel. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in this hotel in 1982.
Norman Baker also loved this hotel. The depression and hard times had hit this resort town, so Norman was able to secure the Crescent Hotel, which he turned into a cancer hospital.
And people came. After all, Norman Baker was heavily advertising that he could cure cancer. Here’s his secret cure (which he learned from a South American witch doctor):
- Mix watermelon, clover seeds, and corn silk.
- Boil those in alcohol and carbolic.
- Inject into the patient.
It seemed his cure worked. Routinely, a patient at the hospital would make friends with another patient, but then the staff would announce that the friend had been cured and had hurried home in the middle of the night.
The truth is that, during the night, the staff would remove deceased patients. Other patients who were in the final throes of dying were moved to the basement, so no one could hear their screams of pain.
Norman kept this up for two years. He was convicted in 1940 for mail fraud. His cancer cure was deemed pure hoax, and the court determined his treatment actually hastened the death of cancer patients.
Eighteen years later, on September 10, 1958, Baker himself died. He claimed to have the ultimate cure, but in the end, he couldn’t cure himself.
Only one Person has ever been able to offer a cure that works. Jesus Christ—the Great Physician—offers us life. His death on the cross secured for us what we could not gain on our own: life. Eternal life.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
For the one who looks to the cross of Christ for salvation, physical death is nothing to fear. Physical death becomes nothing more than a transition into Christ’s presence and Christ’s kingdom. Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to, and this “cure” for our sin and heartache is guaranteed by God Himself. He guaranteed it by raising Jesus from the dead. We will live eternally because Jesus lives.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
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