Biography of American Healer Francis Schlatter Part 3

About the American faith healer Francis Schlatter who is now largely forgotten, history and biography of the man.


FRANCIS SCHLATTER (1852?-1896?).


The number and effectiveness of Schlatter's cures were well documented by the newspapers and several self-appointed biographers and critics. On Nov, 13, 1895, the papers reported that a crowd of 5,000 had been received. This was more than the usual, because the 14th was to be Schlatter's last day in Denver. He had announced his intention to leave thereafter for Chicago, where he would continue his work.

But on the morning of the 14th Schlatter had disappeared. His only explanation was a note directed to his host: "Mr. Fox, my mission is done. The Father calls me away. Francis Schlatter."

At first, Schlater's disappearance was greeted with outrage and disbelief by the thousands who still awaited his cure. But as word of the disappearance spread, patent medicine men and carnival hucksters descended on a momentarily believing populace. "Schlatter" reappeared again and again to tout cheap nostrums.

Schlatter himself was seen by only a few persons after he left Denver. Riding south on horseback, he stopped at a ranch in Datil, N.M., to spend the winter. There, in uncharacteristic openness, he discoursed at length about his life, his thoughts, his work. His hostess, Agnes Morley, was asked by Schlatter to publish much of this material. In the early spring Schlatter moved on toward Mexico.

Several years later, an archaeological expedition identified Schlatter's remains in a grave on a canyon slope in Chihuahua, Mexico. He had apparently fasted to death, and his body had decomposed there. The few personal articles found with him were locked away in a museum vault. The record of his discourses in Datil was lost when Agnes Morley's ranch burned down; fires in the public offices in Denver and Albuquerque destroyed other pertinent records; a trunkful of Schlatter's own writings and the books he owned, left for safekeeping in a Denver train depot, was unaccountably lost.

The newspapers, the public, and most historians forgot Schlatter in the wake of bogus healers who used his name. Such events generally were lost in the flood of wonders and horrors ushered in by the 20th century. The tantalizing fragments of Francis Schlatter's life which remain are in many ways as mute and inexplicable as he himself was when alive; for some, they may be as instructive or inspiring as he was as well.

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