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Al Lawson: pitcher, aviation pioneer, founder of his own religion

Al Lawson was quite a character, a combination of Luis Mendoza, Howard Hughes, and L. Ron Hubbard. He had only one season in the majors, 1890 (0-3, 6.63 ERA), but played several years in the minors. Then he became an aviation entrepreneur, but his big project crashed on its first flight. By the '20s he'd developed his own (useless) theories of physics, and was going around saying he'd discovered the secret to living to 200. (He hadn't.) From there he went to starting his own philosophy, Lawsonomy, which turned into a religion. He also had his own personal crackpot scheme to solve the Depression. Finally, of course, he opened the University of Lawsonology in Des Moines. The IRS shut him down, and he was investigated by a Senate committee before he died in 1954. I'd never heard of this guy before, but there's a book about him and his brother, who was mixed up in some of his schemes. I came across him while surveying the history of patent medicines in Wikipedia.

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