The Curious Cures of Dr. Graham

Natural public speaker: Dr. James Graham lecturing
from a podium, to a crowd of ladies and gentlemen

In 1781, childless London couples were invited to cure their unfortunate state by spending a night together in the Celestial Bed (for fees up to £500). The proprieter of this remarkable device was Dr. John Graham, who was an Edinburgh, Scotland physician, who had created a fashionable cult of cures by magnetism and electricity.

His bizarre treatments became the rage of fashionable London, and he opened a Temple of Health in the Royal Terrace of the Adelphi. There, attended by Negro servants, he administered special baths, sat his gullible patients on “magnetic thrones,” or gave them mild shocks in an electric chair.

At the Temple of Health, his chief assistant was none other than the beautiful Emma Hart, who later became Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson’s mistress. Dressed in scanty robes, she entertained the patients as “The Rosy Goddess of Health.”

Of all of Graham’s equipment, the Celestial Bed was the most splendidly-gorgeous. An ornate couch standing on eight brass pillars, it owed its curative powers, he said in his advertisements, to “about 15 cwt of compound magnets . . . continually pouring forth in an everlasting circle.”

The treatment does not appear to have worked, for he was obliged to return to Edinburgh, where he was sent to prison as a lunatic.

Dr. James Grahams Celestial Bed

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