According to the Muscatine Journal front-page feature story (Friday, July 7), Muscatine filmmaker Chad Bishop wants to portray Norman Baker as "the father of modern-day wellness" because he introduced people to alternative medicine before it became mainstream. That is complete rubbish and should be treated as such. Baker took advantage of people who believed he could cure cancer with a "concoction of watermelon seeds, clover, corn silk and water." That is not alternative medicine and he never cured cancer in anyone.

Baker was a showman who convinced people he could cure cancer, when all he wanted was their money. It is beyond belief that Bishop thinks Baker should be immortalized as a Muscatine tourist attraction.

The only believable part of the story was where Max Churchill was quoted as saying that Baker was a crook. Churchill, who has studied Baker's life extensively, said Baker was "bad." I am sure Churchill had a lot more to say in the interview with the Journal reporter.

This all happened many years before my time at the Journal, but it is my understanding that the Journal played a strong role with others in getting Baker run out of Muscatine. Baker should be remembered for the dubious quack that he was, and nothing more. He could have made money with his invention of the Tangley calliaphone, but he chose to be a crooked fraud instead.

Gil Dietz


Editor's note: Gil Dietz was the editor of the Muscatine Journal from 1958-1990.

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