News of the weird:

Horace Fletcher was an American food faddist who earned the nickname "The Great Masticator", by arguing that food should be chewed thoroughly until liquefied before swallowing: "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate."

The wild claims:

He believed that his mastication system could cure alcoholism, anaemia, appendicitis, colitis and insanity.

Fast money:

He promoted his theories for decades on lecture circuits, and became a millionaire.

His famous friends:

Upton Sinclair, Henry James and John D. Rockefeller were among those who gave his ideas a try. Henry James and Mark Twain were visitors to his palazzo in Venice.

Analogizing humans to X:

Fletcher saw many similarities between humans and functioning machines. He posited several analogies between machines and the human body. Just some of the comparisons that Fletcher drew included: fuel to food; steam to blood circulation; steam gauge to human pulse; and engine to heart.

The result, according to one doctor:

Physician Morris Fishbein noted that the result of Fletcher's system was a "thorough disturbance of the entire body and the development of intoxication and general disability."

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