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Episode 4 - Ear Candling and 10:23


Audio Tour

Welcome to the OfQuack HQ Audio Tour. We hope that you will find this an enjoyable and informative introduction to Buckfast Hall and our work here at OfQuack. First, make sure that your headset is comfortable, and we'll begin.

To your left, you will see the historic Audio Tour Guide concession stand, dating back to the middle of last year. Behind it you will see the historic Nigel, who dates back considerably further. Smile uncomfortably at Nigel and make your way around to the left into the drawing room.

* You are now in the drawing room. As you can see, here is where we do design drawings for various OfQuack-approved devices. It was in this room that the blueprints for the OMG-561 not-a-dowsing-rod-at-all device were initially created, and where our draftsman is currently reworking the design to add some flashing lights. Please keep children with you at all times, since crayons can be sharp.

Despite the apparent connection, this work was not the original reason for the name of the room. The rather eccentrically positioned well is situated in the north-east corner, from which we draw the health-giving Buckfast Spring Miracle Health Water. If you are visiting on the first Thursday of the month, you will see the oiled nubian water girls at work. Otherwise, you will see the oily Nissan water pump at work. Follow the original lead pipes through to...

* The kitchen. It is here that we use time-honoured methods to bottle the life-giving Miracle Health Water, with no dubious modern practices such as purification or filtering. This has been found to remove the characteristic flavour of diesel fumes (except for the first-Thursday batches of course). It is here that Cook also produces our incredibly profitable range of herbal teas, fetching the ingredients from the many kitchen gardens on the estate in her old white VW Beetle, "Herby". Proceeding up the steps, we come to...

* The Library. Here we store all the most contemporary publications, because we are big fans of properly conducted research. Homeopathy Tomorrow, Chiropractic Yesterday, Reiki Next Week, and The Journal of Nasal-Digital Manipulation are all available here. We also have a wide variety of ancient manuscripts, because we are acutely distrustful of modern so-called research. We have the famous Mogwai Papyrus from Egypt, the last existing copy of the Fleem Dyke Leeching Pamphlet, and Samuel Hahnemann's long-lost first letter to his publisher, dated April 1, 1810.

Now, we proceed briskly through...

* The West Wing. Briskly, please. Faster. If Lady Buckfast catches us here there'll be hell to pay. Hurry up. Come on. Quick, through the double doors at the end...

* Here we are in the penultimate destination, the viewing gallery for OfQuack laboratories. As you can see, we have a crack team of research chi-physicists, energy field manipulators, bio-etheric adjusto-wizards and an open area for just general tinkerers and dabblers. If you are lucky, you will see one of the beatiful moments when the hand-waving all synchronizes and it looks like a Busby Berkley number with white coats.

The heavily reinforced doors at the back mark the entrance to Professor Blast's private therapy area. Anyone who wishes to volunteer as a test subject should see our legal representative at the end of the tour. And possibly a priest.

Finally, we proceed on to...

* The tea shop. Here you can select from a range of herbal teas (two drink minimum), organic cakes, and Dodgy Originals Biscuits, and relax and listen to the OfQuack Podcast.

Intro Music


Good morning, and welcome to the fourth electic radio transmission of OfQuack, the Government's watchdog for Quack Medicine. If it's quackery, we'll certify it for you.

We have a packed broadcast for you tonight, with loud reports from OfQuack Labs, and a rebuttal of the 10:23 campaign.

But first, back to Buckfast Hall for a lecture by Lady Anatidae Buckfast on the nature of evidence.

Tonight, I will be talking to you on the nature of evidence. Many opponents of OfQuack seem to be wedded to the idea that "evidence" is in some way exclusively their purview, and is tied in with things like measuring outcomes. What rubbish!

All of us here at OfQuack subscribe to the fundamental tenets of quack evidence - anecdote, experience, antiquity, theory and expense.

Everyone knows someone who has had a Rainbow Reiki massage and then had their boils clear up... what? Maybe that's just Nigel then. Anyway, the power of this anecdote to override any silly objections based on mathematics cannot be underestimated. It feels like this should be correct, so it is.

And how can these skeptics doubt the experience of someone who has studied Rainbow Reiki Therapy for four decades? It is an ancient therapy, handed down from generation to generation, and of great antiquity. Surely so many people over all those years can't have been wrong. The theory of balancing the interactions between the Seven Rainbow Ponies that ride around the body's spectral Gymkhana is self-consistent and explains every known disease, cure, ailment and (oddly) the tattoos of Rudyard Kipling.

Hmm. That's a good idea. Nearly tea-time. I must summon Cook.

And at £75 a session, there must be something in it, or people would not keep coming back week after week. So, I believe that... Ah, Cook. That was quick. What cake do we have today?

Lemon drizzle cake, ma'am.

Lovely. That should go well with a nice cup of Orange and Tamarind tea. (slurp) Ahhh. (rattles plate). Bleah! Cook! What is this?

Lemon drizzle cake, ma'am.

More like just drizzle cake if you ask me. It tastes terrible.

But ma'am, my old mum used to love this, god bless her soul.

So what? She's not having to eat it. I am.

And I've been cook here for 15 years; it's how I've always made it before. It's an ancient family recipe, handed down from genration to generation, and of great antiquity. Surely so many people over all those years can't have been wrong.

It's just awful.

All the ingredients are fine - it should be a lovely cake according to "How To Make Lovely Cakes 100% of the Time" by Delia Otterthwaite. The ingredients cost a fortune.

Enough of your irrelevant rubbish! Out of my sight with your awful cake! Get me some toast and marmoset instead.

Yes, ma'am.

Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yes. Don't forget the five-pointed star of quack evidence - anecdote, experience, antiquity, theory and expense. Unlike skeptics, we don't believe that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.


Thank you, Lady Buckfast.

Recently, the 10:23 campaign struck a feeble blow at the heart of OfQuack's own water memory therapists. To explain what went on, here is Doctor Hanneman on the line from Germany, at the prestigious the (and I apologise for my poor german) Wassergedächtnis-Forschungskeller:

Dr Hanneman Responds to the 10:23 Campaign

Good evening. Many people have written to me asking about the 10:23 campaign overdose that happened recently. My first letter is from Mr Thomas Elkington, in Pratts Bottom. He writes:

"When the silly people overdosed, why didn't they die? Also, what is the correct dosage?" The answer is simple. Water memory does not depend on dosage, or even water. The number of pills is irrelevant, and any number will have the same effect. The correct dose is two.

Mrs Elsie Porkchop, of Tel Aviv, asks "What about all that evidence they talked about then?" The answer is simple. They are cherry picking their evidence by deliberately including all of it. If you select the evidence properly, by excluding the low-quality studies that do not confirm what you know, then the effect is clear.

Janie and Bertie Flymo, of Bowling Green, ask "No, really, look at all this evidence?" The answer is simple. La la, la la. I cannot hear you. La la.


Most informative. Those silly skeptics, when will they learn?

And now another report from my most recent visit to OfQuack Laboratories.

OfQuack Labs Investigates - Ear Candling

Hello and welcome to OfQuack Laboratories. For some time we have been looking at ear candles. The ordinary ear andles available from your friendly neighbourhood quackery outlet work, as we all know, by gently sucking toxins out of your ears by the use of fire. For many people, these are very effective, but some people have a particularly heavy buildup of wax in their ears... particularly those who regularly have their ears candled.

We have looked back further in time, to gather ancient wisdom, and have dicovered the related technique of Roman Ear Candling. This is a much more vigorous procedure, but with spectacular results.

May I have a try?

Certainly. If you would like to lie down here... and place your head in this bucket of damp sand. Thank you. Now I carefully place the Roman Candle in your ear, light the blue touch paper, stand back... and...

A series of loud reports is heard

Spectacular results, I think you agree. We will hopefully be staging a mass candling event in November, to which observers are invited. £4 each, £12 for a family ticket. Packet of sparklers £1.50.

Next week, we will be looking at the problem of uncontrollable vomiting.

Closing Comments

As usual, that wraps up both my hearing and the podcast for this week. Next time, we will be bringing you news, interviews and special features as usual. We hope that you will join us then for more adventures in quackery.

And remember, if it's Quackery, OfQuack will certify it for £45.

Closing Music

The OfQuack podcast was brought to you by OfQuack, in association with Caesar's Beacon Roman Ear Candles, available now at all branches of Boots.

Sounds were from FreeSFX, and music was "Last Dance" by Oleg Galkin.

* Please return the audio player to the Visitor Centre before you leave. Thank you.