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By William M. London
On October 25th, the Australian 60 Minutes television program featured a follow-up to Liz Hayes’s 1998 skeptical investigation of João Teixeira de Faria, who is better known as “João de deus” or “John of god.” João has been credulously promoted by Oprah Winfrey as a medium who channels the spirits of dead doctors and saints to perform miraculous healings for people from around the world who visit him each week at his “Casa” in Abadiânia, Brazil.
Here is a summary of what was revealed in this airing – though the title sort of gives it away…
Part 1 of “John of God” Report
In Part 1 of the follow-up, reporter Michael Usher revealed that a woman declared as cured of breast cancer by a spirit entity channeled by João died in 2003. A woman in a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis who, in the 1998 report said she visited to João with the expectation of walking again didn’t feel any effect, is still in a wheelchair, and her condition deteriorated. Her trip to the Casa cost $5,000. Usher said that none of the other people [forty Australians] who made the pilgrimage that Hayes joined for investigation improved.
Usher’s report mentioned that some of the thousands in João’s audience three days per week hope to receive “spiritual surgery” from him. These practices such as inserting scissors (or forceps) deep into a nose and scraping an eye without an anesthetic have been shown in previous stories about João. I was disappointed that Usher did not point out that James Randi and Joe Nickell have described these procedures as old carnival tricks.
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