From the Archive: Will You Believe It?

Americans in the 1920s prided themselves on their skepticism, but their political opinions were often shaped by fantastic claims, wild theories, or flimsy evidence.

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!


—“Will You Believe It?” by Richard Washburn Child, from the May 3, 1924, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

If a stranger came to the average human being and handed him a lot of shiny green leaves covered with a blue powder and said “Eat this!” the average human being would at least inquire where the stranger obtained this oddity and what it was, before it was taken and swallowed. Our stomachs are held precious.

But if a casual acquaintance came to the average man and said, “By all means keep a parrot in your house! A parrot has on its feathers a certain germ that destroys rheumatism and infantile paralysis,” then a lot of us, with bright, glad faces, hungry for knowledge, will chorus, “Is that so? I must tell the neighbors.”

The same degree of caution about swallowing for the stomach does not extend to the things we gulp into our minds.

Read the entire article “Will You Believe It?” from the May 3, 1924 issue of The Saturday Evening Post

This article is featured in the May/June 2024 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now


  1. Thank you for this, Jeff. It took awhile to read the entire 1924 article, but definitely worth it. So much here that is politically incorrect forbidden fruit, that that alone makes it even more timely and just as beneficial now as it was back then.

    The word moron is priceless and so applicable to the human ‘sheep’ mentality that it’s not even funny. People have definitely devolved from the time this was written, and are in no way entitled to feel superior at all. The article wasn’t afraid to shine a light on the faults of some past Presidents, including being drunk! So it is possible we may have had a President back then that also spoke in nonsensical gibberish, albeit for different reasons.

    We have to be on our guards all the time from those wanting us to believe this or that for their own selfish reasons, not for the good of the individual, the nation, or just the common good in general. Excellent feature.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *