Not so long ago, ailing souls were treated with mercury and other poisons to induce sweating and vomiting. A good blood-letting was though to release the ill humors, and a mesmerist might quicken the magnetic flow of your brain. These pseudo-scientific quackeries proliferated in the 19th century and inspired throngs of followers. Surprisingly, it was their struggles to fill in the gaps in knowledge that helped create the scientific enquiry essential to modern medicine and create the basis of what we now know as alternative medicine. Erika Janik covers the eccentric evolution in a her new book Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine.