Artifacts: Dr. Hurley’s Herbs

You can imagine our surprise and delight at receiving the following email late this afternoon from our Esteemed German Colleague.  She discovered several relics possibly connected to Dr. Hurley’s practice on display at a museum in London.  It seems Dr. Hurley’s secrets traversed the Irish Sea as well as hopping the Atlantic.

Figure 1. Snake Skins

Esteemed Colleagues,

I see that it is photography day on Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure. What better day is there than this one to report of the findings of my recent travels to the United Kingdom. On a study trip earlier this month, I came across some curious artifacts displayed at the British Museum. I believe they claim it’s something completely different, but I must be very mistaken if this is not one of the rare examples of Dr. Hurley’s herb cases.

When I saw them in the display in one of the front rooms, they immediately seemed familiar. Then I remembered: Before my departure I had just read one of the letters that I had found in the estate of my great-great-grandcousin Ankedine. In this letter, Antonia describes Dr. Hurley’s herbs and other remedies that she was not only given in order to cure her own illness but that she was later taught to prepare herself. It seems that Dr. Hurley initiated her to some of his cures the second summer she stayed in Skibbereen. I am not entirely sure how this came about but I am certain we will find out in one of the letters that are still unread in my drawer. I also hope to find more information as to what these herbs (and is that a snake skin?) really are. As soon as I have finished my recent project I will be sure to look at the remaining letters and send you as much information about Antonia’s stays at the Restorative Bath and Spa as I can.

I understand that I am very late in sending this in, photography day being almost over – at least in my time zone. I can understand if you’re unable to change your publication schedule this late. But as long as I can be of help in the research of Dr. Hurley’s life, I am more than happy to send you this rudimentary piece of information in form of my photographs, even if it shall not be published on photography day.



Figure 2. Tree bark

Figure 3. Roots

Figure 4. Bones

As always, any information or documentary evidence you have pertaining to Dr. Hurley, his spa, his journey to the States, his cures, or his background is very welcome.  Please send your research results to