The True Story Behind Snake Oil

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Ah, the snake oil salesman. We've all heard, used, or maybe even been called this most nefarious nomenclature for no-good swindlers and charlatans before. But what the hell is snake oil anyway that its peddlers are such quacks? Well back in the 1800s, Stanley "Rattlesnake King" Clark, a self-proclaimed "expert" in traditional Native American medicine, noticed Chinese railroad laborers rubbing snake oil on their skin to treat joint pain. A Boston druggist business partner and a sales-pitch stage show later, Clark had a product he was hawking to the public and banking a quick buck on. Some folks were mesmerized; others were skeptical. Then, THE FEDS came in...

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