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Watching Hudson's videos, it's easy to see how he managed to convince so many people--including Payne--that his material is genuine. He is conversant in the lexicon of physics and chemistry and seems to earnestly believe in what he says. The source who has known Hudson since childhood also believes Hudson is convinced of his rectitude. "I don't think he would have spent all his time and money on it if he didn't believe," the source says.
But had Payne made even the vaguest effort to verify any of Hudson's claims, he likely would have reached a troubling conclusion:
Hudson either cannot or simply refuses to provide concrete proof to back up his claims. Like a poker player who can win the pot with an empty hand, Hudson, it seems, has mastered the art of the bluff.
For example, Hudson has yet to respond to written questions from New Times. He has not provided the names of researchers who he claims can verify his work. He repeatedly has claimed that his material has been tested by researchers at Argon National Laboratory, and that their research backs up his own. But when asked during a brief telephone interview to name anyone at Argon who could support his assertions, Hudson spoke of other matters.
"I don't need credibility . . . what I'm doing is at a level so far above what anyone here can understand, there's no point in even trying to convince people," he says. "No matter what I say, I'm always going to be this poor dirt farmer from Laveen, and that's fine with me."
Dr. Quindus Fernando, a chemist at the University of Arizona, tested the substance administered to Leslie Burroughs. Fernando could find no trace of iridium or rhodium, the two elements Hudson claimed his substance contained, in the sample.
Hudson claims Fernando wasn't using the right method to detect the two elements in their unique "monoatomic" state.
Fernando says that's nonsense.
"Just supposing he has made this great discovery, what does it mean to me? It means nothing," Fernando says. "He has not offered any proof. He has not published any of his procedures, and he has not given anyone the chance to duplicate his procedures. Unless he does, everything he says is meaningless."
Sol Green, a retired cancer researcher from New York, is an acknowledged expert at debunking miracle cures. Before the Hudson case is even described to Green, he asks, "Does he claim his material perfects the body? Does he claim it evokes the 'vital essence,' or something similar?"
Green continues to list attributes he views as common to miracle healers: The government is out to smother their work or, worse yet, steal it; they are unconcerned with proving anything because "as far as they're concerned, they couldn't care less about the doubters."
The litany sounds eerily familiar. For example, during one lecture, Hudson claims that the Department of Defense squelched his attempt to patent his discovery because it wanted it for military applications.
Hudson has also claimed that his material is being tested as an AIDS therapy by the National Institute of Health. The NIH does sponsor research into alternative AIDS therapies at Seattle's Bastyr University, but Dr. Leanna Standish, who heads the research there, says she has never heard of Hudson or his work.
In short, no one has stepped forward to substantiate anything Hudson says.
Except for Dr. David Payne.
Despite what happened to Leslie Burroughs--and despite a dearth of scientific inquiry into the substance--Payne maintains that Hudson's material offers miraculous benefits to both man and beast.
Payne first administered Hudson's elixir to a golden retriever that had a massive abscess. After a short time, the abscess had subsided and the dog was on its feet again. It later died, after treatment with the elixir was discontinued.
Impressed by the dog's recovery, and after seeing sterilization equipment in the "research barn" located at Hudson's farm, Payne was satisfied that the material was safe.
He prescribed it to two patients suffering through the advanced stages of AIDS. Both have since died, but Payne says the material, administered intravenously, brought incredible reversals in their conditions--a claim that is backed up by one of the men's companions in a letter to the osteopathic board.
Payne, however, was never able to show the board any evidence in the form of charts or test results showing that Hudson's substance was even used, let alone used successfully. Likewise, Burroughs' treatment went completely undocumented.
According to court records, Payne told Leslie Burroughs about the good results with Hudson's substance and he gave her some of it. She took it in capsule form for several weeks with no noticeable effects. After that, Burroughs decided to try the medication intravenously. Payne's nurse installed a line in Leslie's arm through which her husband could inject the potion.
Back at home in Flagstaff, Bill Burroughs took one of two vials that Payne had provided and shook it until the fine, grayish material that had settled to the bottom turned the water milky white.
(The substance would later be described with disgust by hospital staffers in Flagstaff. "It had this whitish-looking stuff in it that looked like you might have gotten it from a dirty pond or something," a lab technician would testify. "It was really scary.")