Dr. W.H. Rafferty — Memphis Chiropractor



In our December issue, I included some questions from readers that I just didn't have the energy to answer. One of them concerned a faded business card promoting the services of Dr. W.H. Rafferty, a local chiropractor who offered "neurocalometer" readings, among other services.

Now, if I had just been born with more "gumption" I might have been able to look into the life of Dr. Rafferty on my own, but as luck would have it (all part of my clever plan, you see), one of my readers decided to do it by himself.

Hunter Johnson, a very nice fellow who knows a good deal about Memphis history, sent me a nice letter, and I'll include a portion of it here, for your reading pleasure:

"Although I did not know W.H. Rafferty, the last name certainly rang a bell in my mind because both I and my father were patients of a Dr. J.E. Rafferty back in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr. Joe Rafferty and his wife, Ruth, were both chiropractors with an office on Cleveland at Washington. I did some checking and discovered that he was the oldest son of William Henry Rafferty and his wife, Emma Wilson Rafferty.

"Dr. W.H. Rafferty and family are shown in the 1930 census living in Desoto County, Mississippi (near Horn Lake). He died here in Memphis on January 7, 1948, at Baptist Hospital. The death certificate says his residence at that time was in Corinth, Mississippi. He and his wife (and son Henry Lewis Rafferty, 1918-1930) are buried in New Bethlehem Cemetery in Desoto County (East Section, Row 10).

"The 'neurocalometer' was an invention of B.J. Palmer [often considered the 'father' of modern chiropractic medicine] and was supposed to locate pinched nerves. Its use was exclusive to those who attended the Palmer School of Chiropractic and was considered by many sources to be a 'fraud.'"

Many thanks, Hunter, for this information. I especially liked Dr. Rafferty's card, with a character on it who reminded me of the "Monopoly Man," and his slogan certainly makes sense: "If you are sick you are miserable, if you are well you are happy."

So true, so true.

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