Spiritual healing is, of course, ‘humbug’ to the mainstream medical fraternity. I know of only one qualified doctor who entertains the possibility, and he quit practising mainstream medicine over a decade ago.
Spiritual healing covers a wide range of methods, but is most closely associated in the public consciousness with the laying on of hands. Practitioners believe they channel healing energy from a Higher Power into the affected area. They offer this energy to the body as a whole, believing that the body, the energy, or both know where it needs to go. The healer’s hands often become hot – sometimes burning hot – during sessions.
The hands-on method is not the whole story, though. Some claim to pray for people and they got well. Some claim to heal at a distance (the healer and recipient are not physically present in the same place). Some say that merely sending an intention to heal can be effective, and research increasingly backs this up. Psychic surgeons claim to be able to carry out surgery at a distance, while others use crude instruments to carry out what is often described as ‘psychic surgery’.
Some of the greatest spiritual healers came from Brazil:
Dr Adolf Fritz and Zé Arigo
Dr Fritz is not an embodied human being, but a disincarnate entity. He claims to be a German doctor who died in a field hospital during the First World War.
He first made himself known to a young Brazilian miner named Zé Arigo (b 1921) around 1950. Arigo was suffering from headaches, insomnia and hallucinations, and frequently heard voices in his head. One day he felt something taking over his body and had a vision of a bald man in a white coat supervising a team of doctors and nurses in an operating theatre.
Arigo began to perform operations with scalpels and needles. Despite having no medical knowledge, he opened a clinic in his home town of Congonhas do Campo. Operations were swift and, by any standards, unhygienic. He used his hands and crude instruments such as kitchen knives and scissors, without the luxury of sterilisation, while speaking in a heavy German accent. The patients felt nothing and rarely bled. Wounds healed rapidly so there was no need for stitching, and despite the unsanitary conditions there was no record of any patient becoming infected.
Arigo became well-known in his native country after removing a cancerous tumour from the lung of a senator. From 1951 to 1971 he treated an estimated million people without charge; he had to earn a living as a miner to support his family. Operations generally took less than a minute, with the patient fully conscious. He was twice jailed for the crimes of quackery and witchcraft despite no-one being willing to testify against him. Even so, he was warmly received by two Brazilian presidents and was reputed to have cured the daughter of one.
Arigo claimed that it was not he, but Dr Fritz, who carried out the operations, and that he, Arigo, was in a trance state and unaware of what his hands were doing. He met a violent death in a road accident in 1971.
Wilde, Queiroz and Farias
Arigo’s death did not spell the end for Dr Fritz. Shortly after, a man named Oscar Wilde (not the writer) began channelling him, then Dr Edson Queiroz, a gynaecologist. Both men came to violent ends.
Today he continues to practice through Rubens Farias Jr, an telecommunications engineer, in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Like his predecessors, Farias enters a trance-like state from which he emerges speaking with a heavy German accent. Knives, scissors and syringes are frequently used, none of them sterilised. At the time of writing, he is still seeing hundreds of patients a week, presumably awaiting the violent and untimely death that has been predicted for him.
Joao Teixera de Faria
Dr Fritz and his channels are certainly equalled, possibly surpassed, by a man known throughout the world as ‘John of God,’ João de Teixeira de Faria. For nearly half a century this remarkable man has seen thousands of people a week and performed remarkable acts of healing. Some say he is the most powerful healer since Yeshua bar Yehosef; others, that he is a charlatan.
As a boy, João suffered blackouts. When he came round he was told he had carried out miraculous healings, although he couldn’t remember a thing. For years he wandered Brazil offering healings. Then the entities working through him (there are said to be more than thirty) told him to buy a piece of land and build a healing centre on it, the Casa de Dom Inácio in Abadina.
Ever since he has held six healing sessions a week. He makes his diagnoses at a glance. Some entities work through him, entering his body. When this happens, it is instantaneous. His body suddenly jerks, he goes into a trance and takes on the appearance of the entity working through him. Other entities work directly on the patient.
Entities have been known to follow patients home from the Casa de Dom Inácio and continue to work on them. Many reported healings have been verified scientifically, including lifelong cripples who have been helped to walk.
Not all patients require an operation, but when they do Joáo’s operations are as dramatic as Dr Fritz’s. Some patients are pronounced healed ‘in the name of Jesus’ and immediately healed. Some have to take to their beds for a short period. Sometimes the surgery is visible, sometimes invisible (healing takes place without breaking the skin). He uses his fingers, scissors and a scalpel to make incisions and cotton to stich the wounds, and like Dr Fritz, uses no anaesthetics or antiseptics. Often he removes diseased tissue from the body without drawing blood.
Most operations take place with the patient standing and in front of the people waiting to see him. Afterwards, they are taken to a room to rest. They may have to return a week later to have their stitches removed. All are given strict rules for the next forty days – no sex, pork, alcohol or pepper, which he says weaken the body’s energy field.
Joáo does not charge for his services, although there is a nominal charge for prescribed herbs. Donations are warmly welcomed, as are sales through the souvenir shop.
João has frequently been condemned by religious leaders, charged and thrown into jail. He insists, though, that it is not he, but the entities that does the work. He is unconscious when he works and has no memory of what happens.
The authorities in Abadina still find João’s presence threatening although they have to admit that no-one has ever been harmed by him and many have benefitted. Critics accuse him of exploiting people to become rich. Some claim his healings are bogus, which he strongly denies. ‘You can fool people for one or two years,’ he says correctly, ‘But you cannot fool people for forty-five years.’
Spiritual healing is a reality. It happens. However, like most things, if scientists can’t explain it using conventional experimental methods they mistrust it, and the religious authorities roundly denounce it.
BUT ANY SCIENCE OR RELIGIOUS VIEWPOINT THAT CANNOT EXPLAIN WHAT SO OBVIOUSLY CAN BE OBSERVED IS OBVIOUSLY FLAWED!
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How to Books 2007