Here's a miracle story that sounds too good to be true. An 84-year-old man had been travelling overseas when he suddenly became extremely weak and exhausted, struck down by a mysterious, unknown condition.
He was hospitalised, and doctors tried for days to help him, but neither medications nor antibiotics seemed to have any effect. That's when his family turned to MD In Your Hand: an eRemedy using advanced patent-pending homeopathic technology.
The family had been preparing for the worst, but within 20 minutes of listening to the unique signals embedded in the eRemedy audio recording, the old man woke up, asking for food and water. His fevers and fatigue were gone within two days.
This insane story is just one of many detailed in the user reviews at the MD In Your Hand website, run by Stanford-trained MD William Edwin Gray III, who practises homeopathy in Los Gatos, California, and sells these US$5 eRemedy clips.
Dr. Gray was this month the subject of an accusation of gross negligence and unprofessional conduct – filed by the California Medical Board – for selling his allegedly untested, unsubstantiated, and unregulated eRemedy products to unseen patients he doesn't actually examine.
The extent of their diagnosis, if you can call it that, is typing their symptoms into a search field on the MD In Your Hand web site, which sells treatments for almost as many sicknesses as the site itself has exclamation points.
"What to do! Turn on your cellphone or computer! … Play the unique signal on your cellphone or computer chosen by the expert system to rapidly relieve your symptoms!"
The site lists 23 distinct illnesses the eRemedies can relieve, but elsewhere on the site, as the medical board's complaint reveals, Gray implies the same technology can treat Ebola, swine flu, and SARS - a dangerous allegation.
They sound pretty wacky, but according to Gray, his eRemedies are "electronic extractions of homeopathic remedies obtained directly from FDA approved pharmacies".
Homeopathy itself is a thoroughly debunked pseudoscience, but Gray takes this alternative medicine into a new territory, claiming that 'nanoclusters' of substances used in traditional homeopathic remedies can be converted into healing sound waves.
"The important principle is that these nanoclusters are radiating energy," the site explains. "This is detectable in a coil, then amplified, and finally digitised into MP3 files – the same format as music."
You probably won't be surprised to hear that the California Medical Board does not agree, and is threatening to revoke his medical licence given there is "no well-documented evidence in the peer reviewed scientific literature that homeopathic remedies can be transmitted electronically via sound waves".
For his part, Gray maintains the eRemedies are completely effective, and says he is still looking for investors to bring on board to help market and promote the homeopathic sound waves – which are available in 263 different 13-second clips, each of which sounds like the same kind of (perhaps subtly different) hissing.
"There's a bunch of people in Sierra Leone that have been using it recently for a big malaria outbreak," Gray told The Mercury News.
Given everything we know about the effectiveness of homeopathy, if these clips really have been sold to people who need things like malaria treatment, that's alarming to say the least. But Gray could be restricted from selling anything if authorities determine to revoke his licence, with their decision expected in the coming weeks.
Others meanwhile have already made their mind up about Gray – and even mainstream homeopaths want nothing to do with his practices.
"It is clear to me that what he is doing has nothing to do with homeopathy," the founder of the New York School of Homeopathy, Robert Stewart, told the Los Angeles Times.
"He's on his own in this."
That isolation – and the costs of fronting a legal defence – mean Gray won't be contesting the California Medical Board's accusation.
"Frankly, I think we'd lose anyway," he said.
Even if his medical licence is revoked, Gray reasons he would still be able to practise as a homeopath – although, depending on what the board decides, this could well be the end of MD In Your Hand.
Gray himself estimates his online business has had about 500 paying customers in the past four years, and if the site gets shuttered, those people will be the last patients to receive his unique brand of hissy medical treatments.