DFA Staff Pick - An Electric Elixir for Youth, 1966

DFA Staff Pick - An Electric Elixir for Youth, 1966

Date: 02/09/2022 09:40
In these times of rising inflation and tightening purse strings it is perhaps luxury goods which will be the first to be cut from our weekly budgets. Among these might be the potions, lotions and super foods we are told help us to ward off Father Time and keep us feeling young and healthy. If so, perhaps an alternative can be found from this UTV report from 1966 showcasing an unusual approach to youthfulness, claiming not only to dam the tides of time but to actually rejuvenate those who follow the instructions.

Much loved UTV reporter Charles Witherspoon visits the village of Annsborough , near Castlewellan in County Down, to meet with Jim Staples who swears by his own particular method of vitality. Jim reveals to Charles that he is 62 years old but that he feels he’s ready to go out and play a game of football, cricket or anything else thanks to the instructions he follows. Not for Jim the old country wives’ tales, homemade ointments or rituals by moonlight. His means of staying young are brought firmly into the modern world via battery power! 

Jim explains that you first obtain a large 12v battery and attach a length of flex to both the positive and negative terminals. One of these flexes ends in a loop which must be put over your left big toe and the other is soldered onto a steel comb. It is very important that you then cross the current across your body and use your right hand to comb your hair (the toe and hand can be reversed for left-handed folk) for five minutes, twice a day. Continue with this course of action and your body will soon be feeling energetic in defiance of its years. 

Witherspoon is an engaging veteran of these offbeat reports for the UTV news during the 1960s and he decides at the end of the piece that he may as well try it out, combing his famously luxuriant hair with the loop firmly in place around his big toe.

You can also watch the full-length version of the report below where Jim’s wife also explains how she has taken up the electric comb for the last seven weeks and is already feeling its regenerative effects after having suffered two coronaries two years previously. Perhaps the future of wellbeing is to be found in this piece from the past… 

Watch more from the archive here