João de Deus (medium)

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João Teixeira de Faria.

João Teixeira de Faria (born June 24, 1942), known also as João de Deus ("John of God"), is a medium and psychic surgeon. He is based in Abadiânia, Brazil, where he runs the Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola, a spiritual healing center where he sees thousands of visitors every week from all over the world.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

João Teixeira de Faria was born in Cachoeira da Fumaça, Goiás (now Cachoeira de Goiás [1]). There are no records of his early life and De Faria has not provided precise details.[2] His best known biography is The Miracle Man, written by Robert Pellegrino-Estrich, who runs tours to Abadiânia.[3]

De Faria has no medical training and describes himself as a 'simple farmer.'[4] He completed two years of education and spent a number of years travelling from village to village in the states of Goias and Minas Gerais.

Abadiânia[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Claims of spiritual healing powers[edit]

João on stage after performing a "psychic surgery".

De Faria claims to act as a vehicle for God's healing, and to have absolutely no recollection of anything during the procedures. He states:

"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.[citation needed] Up to 3,000 people per day stand and wait in line to see him individually.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] At the Casa de Dom Inácio, where treatments take place, De Faria invites medical doctors to come onto the stage to observe his work.[citation needed] De Faria also regularly prescribes meditation and walks to a nearby waterfall as part of treatment. The Casa also sells herbs, blessed items and artefacts such as magic triangles.

When called for a 'spiritual surgery' 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.[7]

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.[citation needed]

De Faria has undergone trials and scrutiny of his work. He has been arrested several times for practicing medicine without a licence and has been jailed once.[6]

Media coverage[edit]

ABC news report[edit]

On July 14, 2005, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) ran a news report about de Faria on Primetime Live.[6] 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,[6] 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.[8]

Skeptic James Randi, spent about an hour in New York being interviewed and taped for the report. James Randi later critiqued ABC for having cherry picked his comments to show more credibility for the 'faith-healer' than justified. Randi went gone on to have given scientific explanations for all the activities observed.[9] Randi revealed the natural explanations for activities ranging from putting forceps in the nose, random cutting of the flesh, 'scraping' of the eyeball, the subsequent absence of infection, and other activities one by one as age old parlor tricks. However, he was dismayed that none of his critical comments were shown in the final segment. This was cut down to under 20 seconds of screen time.[10]

The Oprah Winfrey Show[edit]

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 stated 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 stated that she was a neutral observer.[11] Jeff Rediger, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School in Boston, was provided as a skeptic.[12] Rediger was astonished to discover bleeding from his torso after "invisible" surgery. The show did not provide scientific or medical explanations for the procedures performed. There is no established medical or scientific reasoning for these procedures.[13]

CNN coverage[edit]

On the December 22, 2010, episode of CNN's AC360, Sanjay Gupta interviewed two of the researchers Oprah Winfrey had sent to meet de Faria.[14][15][16]

60 Minutes (Australia)[edit]

In 1998, the Australian television program 60 Minutes took a skeptical look at de Faria.[17] After revisiting Brazil, the program aired a highly critical report on October 26, 2014.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://biblioteca.ibge.gov.br/visualizacao/dtbs/goias/cachoeiradegoias.pdf
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Walker, Gary (October 5, 2008). "Assistance". www.johnofgodhealng.com. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  4. ^ "John of God: Investigating a Brazilian faith healer". Beliefnet.com. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b c d "Is John of God a Healer or a Charlatan". ABC News. July 14, 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  7. ^ http://www.friendsofthecasa.info/index.php?page=intervention
  8. ^ "AMES, David Carver". San Francisco Chronicle. September 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  9. ^ http://www.randi.org/jr/021805a.html
  10. ^ http://skepdic.com/johnofgod.html
  11. ^ "Leap of Faith: Meet John of God". Oprah.com. November 17, 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  12. ^ http://www.drrediger.com/%7C date=December 10, 2010 |
  13. ^ "How Low Can Oprah Go?". ScienceBasedMedicine.org. November 22, 2010. 
  14. ^ John Of God "The Miracle Man" on YouTube
  15. ^ http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/22/o-magazine-meet-john-of-god/ O Magazine: Meet John of God
  16. ^ http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/23/video-john-of-god-a-faith-healer/ Video: 'John of God' a faith healer?
  17. ^ http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/extraminutes/3859303296001/. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  18. ^ http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/stories/2014/october/john-of-god/. Retrieved November 26, 2014.

External links[edit]

Criticism[edit]

Media[edit]