For many years, this story has held a certain fascination for me; but in order to share the story of Harry Hoxsey, I first need to tell you about the horse owned by his great grandfather, John...
It was the farm's prize horse... cancer had spread from its rear hock (kind of like an ankle in humans) into its hoof and through the bone. As the crippled stallion grew weaker, he was barely able to limp around the pasture.
"It's cancer," the local vet said. "There's no cure for it. Guess you'll have to shoot him."
Not willing to destroy such a valuable animal, he opted to let nature take its course and put the horse out to pasture. Then a remarkable thing happened. The oozing, cancerous sore had begun to dry and turn black. Soon it began to pull away from the healthy tissue around it. Then a few months later, John carefully cut away at it, and the black mass fell to the ground. Shortly after that, the horse made a full, miraculous recovery!
From the time the stallion began to improve, Hoxsey began to observe its behavior. Each morning, when he loosed the horses to pasture, he noticed something peculiar. The stallion made a bee line for a remote corner of the field. Standing knee deep in plants, flowers and shrubs, the horse would carefully graze for hours. But they were just weeds! Alfalfa, red clover, buckthorn, and a host of others he couldn't distinguish, grew wild in that corner. John began to reason that one of these, or perhaps a number of them together were responsible for the miraculous cure of the cancer-ridden horse.
Picking samples of every plant growing in that corner, John set to work. Boiling, grinding and crushing, he experimented for months. Calling in sick horses in the area, he tried the combinations, studying old home remedies, adding, subtracting...watching and waiting with eager anticipation. Soon he possessed three formulas that seemed to do the job. Word spread rapidly across the midwest. As breeders brought their sick, cancer-ridden animals, John cured many of them.
Unwilling to reveal his secret formulas, John passed them on to his son on his death bed, who then passed them to his son as well. John Hoxsey III became a vet who spent winters healing circus horses for the Ringling brothers and others in the area. His heart for people, however, eventually led him to try his formulas on human beings. Soon, he began his own medical practice, and this is where Harry Hoxsey's journey began...
From the age of eight, Harry became his father's assistant in the barn that had become something of a lab. He recalls his first patient in vivid detail. A walnut-sized lump protruded from the man's nose, and another quite large lump rested on his neck. Cancerous and incurable was his prognosis. Harry assisted in externally treating the man's cancer, making a sort of harness for the man's nose that wrapped around both ears. Six months later, the ailing man was pronounced cured. He put his hand on Harry's head and declared, "Doc, it was Harry and his halters that got me well!" At that very moment, Harry determined to help people just like his father had done.
"Son," his father told him repeatedly, "Cancer don't pick and choose. It hits rich and poor, black and white, Catholic, Protestant, and Jew. All of them have a right to be treated whether they can pay for it or not. Healing the sick and saving lives isn't a business, it's a duty and a privilege."
Harry worked hard with his father until an unfortunate turn of events temporarily steered him off of his course. His dad took a terrible fall, which eventually led to a blood infection that proved fatal. On his death bed, John passed his formulas on to Harry, making him promise to treat anyone who came to him, regardless of whether or not they could pay.
Before he could even get his medical license, however, people who knew his father began flocking to him for a cure. Harry tried to refuse, but the stakes were high. "Son," an old man warned him, "If you don't treat me now, I'll surely die, and you'll be guilty of murder." These solemn words compelled him to aid and then cure the dying man. Word of his success in curing people spread rapidly, and soon he had made powerful enemies. Harry's life proved to be an adventure, full of twists and turns. He was arrested more times than any other person in human history, carrying thousands of dollars in his pocket at all times to bail himself out of jail. Remarkably, the man responsible for having him arrested more than 100 times soon became his greatest ally and lawyer after his brother secretly went to Harry and was cured of his cancer.
Harry Hoxsey made a mark on this world, helping thousands of people afflicted with cancer. Perhaps the most fascinating part of this amazing story for me lies in the thought that if you trace it to its beginning...it was really a horse who discovered the cure!Sources:
Hoxsey, Dvd documentary
You Don't Have to Die, by Harry Hoxsey
When Healing Becomes a Crime, The Amazing story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies by Kenny Ausubel