Self-published in 1915, this was William Pratt's stab at getting rich by telling other people how they can get rich, in this case, by raising skunks for their fur.
The trend still continues. As of this writing, various self-publishing houses are selling reprints of Pratt's 15-page pamphlet on Amazon.com for outlandish prices and one company is actually selling a reprint (not the original document, mind you) for a whopping $710.00!
And, the information is horrendous. Health issues are listed in this order: greed, cannibalism, murder, distemper, mange, and worms and this will come as a surprise to those who never thought greed and murder were illnesses. Oh, and of course he mentions rabies, right? A disease so deadly and insidious that the mortality rate dances close to 100% and as skunks are the predominant rabies reservoirs in the United State, there should be a whole chapter on this disease, right?
Nope. Not a word.
And what about the skunk's most famous attribute, their ability to spray you down with a musk so potent that it can make your eyes water? Well, we're advised that as long as you hold the animal "by the tail" you're okay.
I wonder if Mr. Pratt even ever raised a skunk by himself?
Nobody will ever know how many bought Pratt's book with stars in their eyes and dreams of swelling bank accounts, but I suspect only Mr. Pratt got rich off of this business venture.
C. Alan Loewen