João de Deus (medium)
João Teixeira de Faria (born June 24, 1942), known also as João de Deus ("John of God"), is a self-described medium and "psychic surgeon" from Brazil. He is based in Abadiânia, a small town in the state of Goiás, southwest of Brasília.
João Teixeira de Faria was born in Cachoeira da Fumaça, Goiás (now Cachoeira de Goiás ). There are no records of his early life and De Faria himself has not provided precise details. His best known biography is The Miracle Man, written by Robert Pellegrino-Estrich, who runs tours to Abadiânia.
De Faria has no medical training and describes himself as a 'simple farmer.' He completed only two years of education and spent a number of years travelling from village to village in the states of Goias and Minas Gerais.
De Faria says he was told by his spirit guides that he must expand his work to reach more people and spiritist medium Chico Xavier told him he should go to the small Goiás town of Abadiânia to fulfill his healing mission. Around 1978, when João first performed 'healings' there, he just sat outdoors in a chair near the main road where people began to arrive seeking cures for their various illnesses and conditions. Gradually the numbers increased to thousands per day and he developed his centre, Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola. The Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola has since been visited by millions of people seeking healing. He also owns a nearby cattle ranch, which covers about 1,000 acres..
Claims of ´spiritual healing´ powers
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De Faria claims to act as a vehicle for God's healing, and to have absolutely no recollection of anything during the procedures. "I do not cure anybody. God heals, and in his infinite goodness permits the Entities to heal and console my brothers. I am merely an instrument in God's divine hands". Millions of people have consulted with de Faria since 1965. Up to 3,000 people per day stand and wait in line to see him individually. De Faria claims to encourage research into his healing abilities in the hope that medical science can make use of his success in the treatment of humankind. At the Casa de Dom Inácio, where treatments take place, De Faria invites medical doctors to come onto the stage to observe his work. De Faria also regularly prescribes meditation and walks to a nearby waterfall as part of treatment.
When called for a 'surgical operation' by De Faria, patients are offered the choice of 'visible' or 'invisible' operations. If they select an 'invisible' operation (or are younger than 18 or older than 52) they are directed to sit in a room and meditate. De Faria also claims that spiritual physicians can perform surgery on the actual patient via a surrogate when the actual patient is unable to make the trip.
A very small percentage of people choose a 'visible' operation where De Faria operates without traditional anesthetic. Instead he says he uses 'spiritual anesthetic' involving energized mineral water and the spiritual energies present, the latter which are provided by groups of volunteers who meditate in a separate room called the 'current room'.
De Faria tells people not to stop taking their medicine and says not everyone he serves will be cured. Often the treatment includes capsules containing pure passion flower that are claimed to carry special blessed spiritual energy to support the individual's healing process.
Visitors talk of their healings being not purely physical but also 'spiritual', emotional and psychological.
De Faria has undergone trials and scrutiny for his work. He has been arrested several times for practicing medicine without a licence and has been jailed once.
ABC news report
On July 14, 2005, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) ran a news report about de Faria on Primetime Live. The programme featured five people with various medical conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, Lou Gehrig's disease and an inoperable brain tumour. Each patient saw de Faria and ABC claimed that in three of the cases there had been an improvement. A young female athlete who had been paraplegic was shown beginning to move her legs.
ABC's update on the five subjects, while not mentioning one of the subjects, indicated that two are making either slow progress or none at all, one is worse, and one is much better. According to other sources, Matthew Ireland is now free of his brain tumour and one has since died.
The Oprah Winfrey Show
On November 17, 2010, Susan Casey wrote in O Magazine about her trip to see de Faria in Brazil and was subsequently covered on the The Oprah Winfrey Show. The article was entitled "Leap of Faith: Meet John of God" while the show was entitled "Do You Believe in Miracles?" In both she discusses her need to deal with the traumatic loss of her father. After he suddenly died in 2008, Casey experienced a "tsunami of grief" that she says she couldn't escape from. She wondered if de Faria could help heal her grief. She met him twice and later stated, "Three hours went by like 20 minutes, and it was blissful--it was like I was floating." Casey claims she was able to speak with her dead father. "It was very real," she says. "More of a vision than I had ever had before. ... I got this feeling like I shouldn't be sad, that everything was okay."
While Casey acknowledges that the whole experience sounds unusual, she claimed that she is "not a woo-woo person" and that de Faria helped her find healing. Casey claimed that she was a neutral observer. The show also advertised that they would interview skeptics, but no scientific experts were interviewed on the show, such as an oncologist or other medical or scientific expert. Jeff Rediger, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School in Boston, was provided as a skeptic. No scientific analysis was provided in the show nor in the article by Rediger nor anyone else. Rediger was, however, astonished to discover bleeding from his torso after "invisible" surgery. The procedures involving the insertion of scissors into the nasal cavity were clearly shown. On the show and in Casey's article, no conventional explanation is provided as to why an untrained and medically unlicensed individual scraping a cornea or inserting foreign objects into the nose would be advisable. There is no established medical or scientific reasoning for these procedures.
Notable people who claim to have been treated by De Faria include Shirley Maclaine, Ram Dass and Wayne Dyer.
- Pellegrino-Estrich, Robert (February - March 1998). "The Amazing Cures of a Brazilian Miracle Man". Nexus magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- Walker, Gary (October 5, 2008). "Assistance". www.johnofgodhealng.com. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- "John of God: Investigating a Brazilian faith healer". Beliefnet.com. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- "Is John of God a Healer or a Charlatan". ABC News. July 14, 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- "AMES, David Carver". San Francisco Chronicle. September 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "Leap of Faith: Meet John of God". Oprah.com. November 17, 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- http://www.drrediger.com/%7C date=December 10, 2010 |
- | url= url= http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=8349 | date=November 22, 2010 |
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxF8ROlrDSs John Of God "The Miracle Man"
- http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/22/o-magazine-meet-john-of-god/ O Magazine: Meet John of God
- http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/23/video-john-of-god-a-faith-healer/ Video: 'John of God' a faith healer?
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- "Skeptic Dictionary: João de Deus". The Skeptic's Dictionary. November 5, 2006.
- "John of God: Investigating a Brazilian faith healer". Beliefnet.com. 2006.
- "Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira". Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. July/Sept. 2000. (Concludes there is no medical effect.)
- Swift-Online Newsletter of the James Randi Educational Foundation
- For shame! Oprah Winfrey shills for faith healer John of God
- "Is John of God a Healer or a Charlatan". ABC News. July 14, 2005.
- Pellegrino-Estrich, Robert (February - March 1998). "The Amazing Cures of a Brazilian Miracle Man". Nexus magazine. Retrieved December 10,2010.
- "John of God" a Guardian Films documentary by Irish director Fergus Tighe. http://www.johnofgoddvd.com
- Do You Believe in Miracles? Video
- Leap of Faith: Meet John of God