I’ve previously posted about William Rae, the bloodless surgeon, who gained fame in Blantyre in 1904 and 1905 as a “bone setter”. There are many tales of him fixing ailments and getting people to remove their crutches and walking sticks. This was done by setting bones back into position, when perhaps they had been out of their joints for some time. No doubt very painful for those involved.
One such miracle tale is the case of Clara Ann Webster, who had travelled to Station Road in Blantyre all the way from Batley in England. The young woman, who suffered badly from hip problems, travelled with her father to Blantyre to see William Raw in November 1904 after hearing that he could cure such things.
Clara Ann had been suffering for 4 years for what doctors called hip disease at the time. Her right hip was affected, her knee drawn up and stiff and her right foot curved inwards unable to be placed on the floor. She was compelled to wear an iron support on her boot and hobbled about on crutches. She needed help getting dressed and was unable to walk up and down stairs.
After she visited Mr Rae at his home at the top of Station Road, she was suddenly able to walk across the room with only the support of a stick and finally able to put her foot down on the floor. Crutches and iron supports were discarded!
Clara Ann and her father had come from England, via Glasgow to Blantyre in the hope that such a miracle cure could be achieved. Reaching Blantyre Station on the Monday morning, the snow was thick and the patient was carried from the station to the top of Station Road. After a brief examination, Mr Rae was confident she could be “put right”. Placing his own knee upon her, he put great pressure on her hip at a particular part and in a few minutes, there was an audible cracking noise. The constant pain Clara Ann had experienced suddenly lifted and as Mr Rae put four bones into position, she could suddenly straighten her knee. Her father screwed off the iron support from his daughters boot and to their amazement after a 10 minute rest, she was able to walk.
Subsequently she walked downstairs only with the support of her mother’s arm, something which had not been possible for 4 years.
Clara Ann had been under treatment at Leeds Hospital prior to her visit to Blantyre and had been told by doctors there was no cure, and that she would be in pain for her life. I’m sure she would always be grateful to Mr Rae and for her father’s insistence upon visiting Blantyre. William Rae is pictured around this time standing at his doorway.