‘Miracle’: a marvellous event occurring within human experience which cannot have been brought about by human power or by the operation of any natural agency, and must therefore be ascribed to the special intervention of the Deity or of some supernatural being: chiefly an act (e.g. of healing) exhibiting control over the laws of nature, and serving as evidence that the agent is either divine or is specially favoured by God.


The word ‘healing’ is derived from an ancient Anglo-Saxon term meaning ‘to make whole’. Many healers believe that this wholeness is comprised of the four aspects of the human being -the physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual. In this view, all of these aspects interact and not until they are all in balance and harmony with each other and their environment is ‘healing’ or ‘wholeness’ achieved.

Many other people believe that we are merely physical beings, the highest order of the animals in a mechanical world, and that our mental, emotional and even spiritual capabilities are derived from our bio-chemical systems and processes in a way that is yet to be fully understood.

Irrespective of their views, it is amazing the number of people who will declare an interest in healing miracles in general, and psychic surgery in particular, given half a chance. When I suggested to my brother-in-law, Rob Bennett, that he and his wife Veronica might like to have an evening of psychic surgery videos, I was fairly tentative and expected ‘You must be joking’ or, knowing Rob, something rather less polite.

‘Why not?’ he said. ‘There’s got to be more to life than we understand. It should be interesting.’

Picking myself up off the floor, I went home and a few hours later my wife Jane and I went back to their house with a Tesco’s bag full of videos and got settled in with a beer and a take-away curry. Excepting the rather graphic eye-operations, which they just could not continue to watch, both Robbie and Ronnie were fascinated.

Next morning, we were having tea at Jane’s parents’ house and were told that Robbie had been describing the videos to one of the customers in his shop. To his surprise the customer said she had actually had psychic surgery performed by Brazilian Lourival de Freitas many years before. She had never needed any further treatment for the problem.

This made me wonder how many more closet psychic surgery enthusiasts there might be out there, people who would be interested in treatment if a reliable friend or relative said it was worth a try. After all, it is an attractive idea – no hospital waiting list, no anaesthetic, no drugs, little or no blood, relatively little pain, no side-effects, no disfiguring scars, no long recuperation and no time off work. Despite all these advantages, however, it might be some time before people routinely choose to complement their orthodox medical treatment with healing and/or psychic surgery. One reason for this might be the attitude of many in the medical establishment.

As mentioned previously, all the healing and other phenomena surrounding Stephen Turoff and his clinic are open to scrutiny by anyone who cares to take a look. It seems unfortunate that some medical people, including Nobel prize winners, choose not to investigate healing and other ‘holistic’ therapies but nevertheless speak out against them.

Nobel prizes, comprehensive research facilities and huge industry and governmental funding continue to be awarded to orthodox scientists, while less conventional ideas and methods of alleviating human sickness and suffering have not, in recent history at least, been afforded the same advantages. A great deal of research is, however, being done into complementary medicine in general and healing in particular. As already mentioned, in the early seventies, when Stephen was first developing his healing work, the efficacy of healing was being scientifically investigated by Professor Krieger in the United States. In 1993, the UK’s respected Nursing Times outlined Professor Krieger’s Therapeutic Touch:

Therapeutic Touch has a theoretical framework devised by Martha Rogers, also a nurse. It was … based on well-documented research by biochemists, who examined the inexplicable results that ‘healers’ produced in wounded animals, and the growth of barley under strictly controlled conditions. (Dr Robert Miller was astounded to discover that when ‘healers’ concentrated on barley from 600 miles away, it grew 840% faster than the control barley.)

Practitioners … consider that human beings are energy fields, and an integral part of a ‘universal life force’ that extends beyond the physical body and interacts with everything in the environment. They believe that health is a manifestation of the free flow of this vital energy through the body, and that, conversely, ill-health results when there are problems with the energy flow. Therapeutic Touch practitioners claim to be able to attune themselves to this energy and to be able to help alter its flow to restore health. Although the word ‘touch’ is used … skin-to-skin contact is not necessary for the fields to interact, as they extend beyond the skin’s surface.

After Professor Krieger’s first study, which, as already mentioned, appeared to demonstrate that Therapeutic Touch raised haemoglobin levels, she went on to publish another study in 1975. Her first study had been criticized to some extent in its design and controls by other scientists and the second study took account of their suggestions. It also showed the efficacy of Therapeutic Touch. In her book, The Therapeutic Touch (Prentice-Hall, 1979), Krieger gives case histories that feature conditions as varied as ‘pain owing to a fractured ankle’, ‘rheumatoid arthritis’, ‘crying babies’ and ‘raised temperature’. Other research studies have looked at the value of Therapeutic Touch in relieving anxiety, post-operative pain, tension headaches, stress in newborn infants (who are, presumably, incapable of faith in the healing process) and in adults, and also its use in mental health nursing.

Professor Krieger went on to investigate whether it was necessary for a healer to be born with the ability or whether it might be taught. Eventually she proved that nurses could be trained to do healing but some were naturally better than others. Therapeutic Touch has caught the imagination of nurses in the USA and is now in mainstream practice. It has been slower to find favour in the UK and most other Western countries and many doctors and scientists appear to be unaware of the work that has been done.

In the course of researching this book, I have come across numerous examples of doctors and scientists – and a wide variety of self-appointed ‘sceptics’ – prepared to state categorically that there is no evidence that healing works. And if this condemnation before investigation is the case in the medical profession, what of the general population?

You may be one of those people who think that miracles are responsible for the results achieved by healers. You may believe that healing is just the operation of a natural science which we do not yet understand or that we have forgotten how to use. You may dismiss everything outside your knowledge or experience, or that you cannot easily and immediately comprehend, and decide that healing cannot work before reviewing any evidence. Alternatively, the whole idea of healing may offend some deeply held conviction or belief. Jesus is reported as saying, ‘These things I do, so shall you do, and more.’ This is not really open to much misinterpretation, but many Christians reject the idea that anyone other than Jesus could potentially be a healer of the mind, body and soul of others.

However, beliefs are not necessarily truths. And surely the best chance of arriving at truths is to consider the evidence with an open mind. So, whatever your initial position, I can only ask that you read the following brief introduction to healers and their work with an open mind.


Harry Edwards was considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest spiritual healers and was certainly an influential one. White-haired and stocky, in his smart dark suit he gave the impression of a city businessman. However, he was, by all accounts, something very different.

Harry was apparently guided by the spirits of Lord Lister, the founder of antiseptic surgery, and by Louis Pasteur, the famous French scientist. His patients ranged from the very poor to royalty, foreign rulers, cabinet ministers, army commanders, judges and bishops. Lady Baden-Powell, wife of the founder of the Boy Scout movement, was a regular visitor to his spiritual healing sanctuary at Shere, deep in the Surrey countryside. So too was Princess Marie Louise, grand-daughter of Queen Victoria. The famous conductor Sir Adrian Boult received healing from him, as did an ex-Queen of Spain.

Harry seemed to achieve miracles by soothing away pain, remoulding twisted limbs and restoring both sight and hearing. Sometimes he had results with what he called ‘absent healing’, when he was hundreds of miles away from the patient. He had absolutely no medical or surgical training.

Harry was born into humble surroundings in Islington in 1893 and began work as an apprentice in the publishing industry at the age of 14. In the First World War he served with the Royal Sussex Regiment and was promoted to acting major. Whilst stationed in Persia (now Iran) building railways and other projects he witnessed accidents and illness amongst his workers. His first aid kit consisted of little more than iodine, bandages and castor oil, but nevertheless he found that he was able to cure even the most terrible conditions by merely administering a mixture of first aid and quiet encouragement.

One day a local sheikh decided to bring his aged mother for treatment. Harry could see she was dying but dare not tell the sheikh. Instead, he prayed for guidance, prepared a potion from carbolic toothpowder and gave it to the woman. When the sheikh returned a few days later, with his guard of tribesmen shrieking and firing into the air, Edwards thought he was in big trouble. However, the old woman had completely recovered and the sheikh was bringing lavish gifts. Harry had to refuse them, but when pressed to accept something, said ‘a few eggs’ would be welcomed. Next day, 300 arrived!

After the war, Harry returned home, but maintained his interest in healing. His first contact with Spiritualism was at a church in Clements Road, Ilford. He was by no means an easy convert, but his psychic and healing powers soon began to develop more fully and in 1946 he bought a house at Shere in order to set up a healing centre. Within two years he was receiving around 3,500 letters a week and, as the number rose to over 9,000, he had to take on extra staff. His public demonstrations grew to fill the Royal Albert Hall.

Harry was instrumental in the formation of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (NFSH) which now has over 7,000 members. The NFSH has long been developing and establishing a relationship with orthodox medicine and has been very successful. There is now a national doctor/healer referral network and many doctors have healers in their surgeries. In the light of their other activities, psychic surgery is still, perhaps, a little too controversial for the NFSH, however. Trance psychic surgery is explicitly forbidden in the NFSH Code of Conduct.

Harry Edwards continued healing until his passing on 7 December 1976. In his book, Life in Spirit (The Healer Publishing Co. Ltd, 1976), he outlines some of his thoughts on psychic surgery:

In this life, if we try to take one step out of our dimension of life, we cannot experience anything about it for it is ‘not of this world’. A very wise doctor once appeared with the author on a television programme when films were shown of psychic surgery as practised in the Philippines. In these the Filipino healer was able to make an incision with his finger into the patient’s body and to place his hand inside it, withdrawing a growth or some other fleshy substance. When the surgery was completed the healer would take his hands away from the body and the aperture was seen to be healed over without any sign of it having been opened at all … The fleshy substance was available for inspection. After this the wound healed up as if by magic. There was not even a seam in the skin … The doctor, observing this, said, ‘I have seen this, but I cannot believe it, because if I did, it would be counter to all the knowledge and experience I have in medicine and surgery during my lifetime. I dare not accept it.’

The doctor’s attitude is typical of so many. Betty Shine, the well-known author and healer, gives another example in her book Mind Waves: The ultimate energy that could change the world (Bantam Press, 1993):

There have been some incredible psychic surgeons. I was privileged to watch one of them performing an operation in London, during a public demonstration.

… I was standing beside a group of doctors who were talking amongst themselves. One of them remarked that if she had performed the same operation without anaesthetic, the patient would have been in agony. Nevertheless, they still did not believe what they had seen; I am sure they dismissed it as group hypnosis.

I have heard it said that some people are so attached to the ‘Limitation Land’ of their earthly experience that if a UFO full of aliens landed on their front lawn and a scouting party knocked on the door asking for directions, they would not believe it. If people really do limit their perceptions to this extent, it might prove impossible to convince them to broaden their horizons. Such people may, of course, have chosen this limitation at their higher self level, so that it is right for them to have this experience.

Here’s the story of a woman whose experience was very different.


Rose Gladden was only 19 when she walked into a dry-cleaning shop in London to find the owner slumped over the counter. He managed a cry for help: ‘I have an ulcer.’

Rose had a strong desire to help him but had no idea what to do. A voice said, ‘Put your hand there,’ but she did not know where the problem was. Then she saw a tiny light, like a star, appear over his left shoulder and float down on to the right side of his stomach. She placed her hand on the light and then felt another unseen hand cover her own and hold it steady. A tremendous heat developed under her hand and she just could not pull it away. After a few seconds, the man recovered and told her the pain had gone. He rushed next door to tell people.

Rose had been born in Edmonton, London, in 1919 and had been having unusual experiences since she was seven years old. It now became clear that she was to use her talents for healing. She sought advice from another psychic and gradually developed her gift until she became one of the most dedicated and successful healers in Britain.

Early on, Rose saw everyone who turned up at her door. Later, she travelled thousands of miles on both sides of the Atlantic. In America and Canada, she lectured to medical specialists as well as to members of the public. She was asked by professors at several American universities to cooperate with them in tests and researchers at the University of California devised a system whereby she was wired up to a patient, a boy with a very serious nervous disorder, so that they could record what took place during the healing process. ‘I am willing to submit to any test if it helps people to understand,’ Rose said.

Maxwell Cade, a psychologist who has carried out pioneering work in meditation, relaxation and altered states of consciousness, also asked Rose to work with him. He reported finding distinctive brainwave patterns in healers. The research demonstrated that healers had a measurable effect on their patients, who after a few minutes picked up and imitated the same brainwave patterns. Rose Gladden was fascinated by this. For her it confirmed the importance of being ‘attuned’ to her patient.

As a natural psychic, Rose claimed to be able to see the aura, which she described as ‘the protective circle of light and colour surrounding each human being’. She could apparently read the aura for ill health. One day she found she could also see silver spots and lines all over the surface of the body. It was not until some years later that she reaised that these were the points and meridians used in acupuncture. People would describe their symptoms to her but she often felt their trouble was not where they thought it was. She often saw the ‘real’ trouble pinpointed by light. ‘I’d put my hand in the light and the pain would go.’

As a sensible, practical woman, Rose was full of all sorts of advice. She once told a conference of nurses they must be sure to treat the dead with dignity as they often stayed with their discarded bodies for some time. She would also give patients advice on how to avoid repetition of their problem.

Rose knew that many doctors were not interested or even antagonistic towards her form of healing. She was, nevertheless, always quick to point out to her patients that healing is not a substitute for medicine, only a complement to it.

Chris Cole, a contemporary Australian healer and psychic surgeon, likewise comments: ‘I always ask [my patients] if they have had a medical diagnosis.’ She also says, ‘It is not good for anyone to refuse orthodox treatment. Healing and psychic surgery are complementary, not alternative. The medical profession do a wonderful job but sometimes a different type of help is needed.’

Who could argue with that?


One of the best known modern healers is Matthew Manning. From an early age he experienced voices, apparitions, objects (such as large metal beds) hurling themselves out of windows and a whole range of other psychic phenomena. He consented to all manner of scientific tests, but eventually tired of each new researcher – from countries as diverse as Sweden and Japan – wanting to conduct the same tests as others before them, because they just could not believe the results reported by their peers.

After a few unhappy years as a scientific and media curiosity, Matthew felt he should be doing something more positive with his unusual abilities. He left everything behind for a time, took a trip to India and made a pilgrimage to the Himalayas. It was there, looking out over the great mountains as the sun rose, that he started to reaise that he had a capacity for healing and decided to devote his life to helping others. Thousands of people have benefited from his healing gift.

On television recently, when asked what he thought was behind the healing power, he simply said, ‘Love.’

All genuine psychic surgeons seem to be agreed that the power of God, or love, works through them and that they are purely the instrument.

Such healers have been at work throughout history, but psychic surgery drew international attention in the 1960s with the work of a Brazilian, José Arigo.


I saw him pick up what looked like a pair of nail scissors. He wiped them on his sports shirt and used no disinfectant of any kind. Then I saw him cut straight into the cornea of the patient’s eye. She did not blench, although she was fully conscious. The cataract was out in a matter of seconds … she was cured!

This was the remarkable testimony of judge Immesi, witness to one of the many thousands of miracle cures performed by Brazilian psychic surgeon José Arigo – or rather Dr Adolphus Fritz, a German physician who, though dead since 1917, ‘operated’ directly through him.

Journalist Roy Stemman told Psychic News how it began. A priest had arrived to administer extreme unction to a dying woman:

Candles were lit and relatives and friends were gathered around her bedside in the town of Congonhas do Campo, Brazil. Her death, from cancer of the uterus, was expected at any moment. Suddenly, one of those present rushed from the room, returning moments later with a large knife from the kitchen. He ordered everyone to stand back. Then, without warning, he pulled the sheets from the woman and plunged the knife into her vagina. After several brutal twists of the blade he removed the knife and inserted his hand into the woman, withdrawing a huge tumour the size of a grapefruit. He dropped the knife and the bloody tumour in the kitchen sink, sat down on a chair and began to sob.

A relative rushed off to fetch a doctor; the rest stood silently as if transfixed … The patient was unperturbed: she had felt no pain during the ‘operation’ and the doctor confirmed that no haemorrhaging or other ill-effects had occurred. He also confirmed that the growth in the kitchen sink was a uterine tumour.

… The man who performed the ‘surgery, José Arigo, found himself in great demand … yet he could not remember ‘operating’ on the woman.

Later, when such startling surgery became a daily occurrence … it was reaised that he was in a trance when he treated the sick…

On most days, when Arigo’s clinic opened at 7 a.m., there was already a queue of 200 people waiting. Some he would treat in a rapid and often brutal fashion, pushing them against a wall, jabbing an unsteriised knife into them, then wiping it clean on his shirt. Yet they felt no pain or fear. There was very little blood, and the wound would knit together and heal within a matter of days.

Not everyone received psychic surgery. For many he would simply glance at them, diagnose their problems without any questions, then write a prescription rapidly. The medicines prescribed were usually well-known drugs made by leading companies, but in large doses and combinations that were surprising according to conventional medical doctors.

José Arigo died in 1971 and Stephen believes he has now joined his healing team. As he explained to Psychic News in 1987:

I saw clairvoyantly a man standing by my bed. The only words he spoke were, ‘Surgeon with a rusty knife,’ and he showed me the letter W. When Dr Kahn was questioned he replied: ‘There is a new helper who has joined the healing band.’

None of this really made sense to me – until I chanced to read an article about José Arigo. This Brazilian healer, dubbed ‘surgeon of the rusty knife’, was once jailed for 16 months for illegally practising medicine. He used unsteriised scissors, knives or scalpels – yet cured many thousands.

Perhaps he is still curing many thousands …

As for Dr Fritz, he moved on to using a practising medical doctor as his instrument.



Working in Brazil in the 1970s, Dr Edson Cavalliho, a fully qualified obstetrician and gynaecologist, also practised deep-trance psychic surgery with Dr Fritz. A documentary series, The Psychic Connection, written, produced and directed by Alan Neuman, shows the surgery which took place on a daily basis whilst qualified radiologists, eye surgeons and pathologists (on hand for the biopsies of tissues removed) looked on.

Dr Fritz seems to be enjoying himself on the film. He produces a foot-long hunting knife, removing it slowly from its sheath in front of the next patient. The man seems a little uneasy.

‘I will use this little knife for demonstration purposes,’ the surgeon says with just a trace of a smile.

He runs the point of the knife approximately 8 inches (20 cm) down the man’s spine. For a few seconds, nothing. Then, a small amount of blood comes out as the wound opens up along the length of the cut. The surgeon takes a surgical scalpel. He motions for the sound man to bring the microphone nearer.

Viewers are treated to the squelching, gurgling sound of metal rotating, rubbing and scraping on flesh and bone. The patient seems oblivious. After removing the scalpel, Dr Fritz shows the flexibility of the wafer-thin instrument by breaking it between his finger and thumb. ‘Look, it breaks easily,’ he declares, ‘but under the spiritual magnetic influence, it was as strong as wire cutters.’

Interviewed on the film about these events, Dr Lee Poulos, at the time assistant clinical professor at the Department of Psychiatry, University of British Colombia, offers an important reminder: ‘I would warn against becoming totally enamoured with traditional, spiritual or psychic healing methods. Likewise modern medicine does not have all the answers. I would much prefer to suggest that each has its place.’


Another healer working in Brazil in the 1970s was Donna Cicera, a Negro woman whom many believed to be a saint. Using an old pair of scissors and no antiseptic or anaesthetic, she would minister to two or three patients simultaneously. Then, after a day of healing, she would go home to begin looking after the 14 mentally and physically handicapped children who had been left on her doorstep at various times. She had adopted each of these children as her own.

Donna never refused anyone in need. Her clinic was paid for by donations. Flies were everywhere, dogs sauntered in and went to sleep under the operating tables, and patients who had been cured came back to help others. Donna could neither read nor write but nevertheless would perform complex, open-wound surgery on a daily basis. And it worked.

Donna’s technique was to open very wide wounds in order to operate. She never sutured. Instead she would go into a deeper trance, put one hand either side of the incision and the two pieces of skin would come together. Then she would simply say, ‘You can go now.’ The wounds would only take a few days to heal instead of the more usual five or six weeks. Her trademark was a plastic tube. She used it in every operation, claiming that when she drew diseased material through it was when the real healing took place. In another Alan Neuman documentary, Dr Beverly Morgan, a registered ophthalmological surgeon from California who had studied the healer’s work, comments:

Donna would always insist that a prayer was read first by an assistant. She always behaved in a very reverent way. She explained to me that she heard a voice in her ear and this voice told her what was wrong. Someone said a team of doctors were helping her from another dimension. I watched her perform thoracic surgery, neuro-surgery, orthopaedic surgery and much more with the aid of this ‘spiritual’ guidance.

She told me: ‘This is a very short incarnation for me. Make sure, if you are going to film, that you get good film.’ One year to the day after saying this, she died of a cerebral aneurysm.

The most startling thing that struck me and others about Donna Cicera was her love and compassion for all who came her way.

As Alan Neuman himself added, ‘Perhaps this is the lesson we can learn from her and others like her.’


A South American healer practising in the 1960s was Lourival de Freitas. In the Christmas 1993 issue of Psychic News, journalist Tim Haigh recalled the visit of this famous psychic surgeon to Britain in July 1966:

This South American psychic astounded a 50 strong audience at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain with some very graphic spirit surgery.

PN’s assistant editor of the time, Roy Stemman, felt his stomach turn over as he watched proceedings.

‘I had just seen a knife apparently plunged by [de Freitas] into the eye of a woman with a cataract,’ he wrote.

‘I steeled myself and watched in astonishment as, after pressing on the eyelid, he squeezed a tiny object out into his hand. It was handed to a doctor, who identified it [as a cataract].’

People may question the working practices of Stephen Turoff, but compared to de Freitas, they seem rather tame.

Not only was the latter in full possession of his faculties, i.e. not entranced, but he was also in the habit of drinking generous quantities of whisky before beginning operations!

As well as South America, the Philippines are known internationally for their healers. During my research, I have been fortunate to come into ‘coincidental’ contact with many people to whom I am indebted for their help, and one of these, Edna Drake from Canada, was kind enough to send me an article about a Filipino healer known to her simply as Benji, but to many others as Brother Benji Belacano.


The article was written by an initially sceptical Western journalist called Clare Downs. She had a rare liver condition but was initially seeking an interview with Benji, not an operation:

Almost before I had time to become really terrified, Benji looked up and stated simply: ‘We make an operation.’ This was not what I wanted. I was about to speak out when I reaised that something had entered my body. Benji’s hand had penetrated my skin so easily that I could not conceive what was happening … I held back. And just lay there. Terrified. Then it came to me. Faith healing – I must have faith … At this point my intellect reminded me that I did not believe in God …

I glanced down, and my worst fears were confirmed. Benji was drawing out a mass of tissue from around my liver. The tissue was deposited into a glass and the opening in my stomach was wiped down with a dampened piece of toilet paper. Finally Benji pressed gently but firmly on the opening and the next time I glanced down all that remained was a pinkish colour in the skin …

Benji left soon after, saying that he would be back to perform another operation the next morning… During this operation I noticed Benji stuffing a lot of cotton wool inside me (at least I thought I saw it, I was too terrified to look down for too long). Next morning, after using the toilet, I looked down into the bowl and there was the cotton wool! Instantly I thought of the cynics, and wondered how they might explain this one.

Clare had studied both Latin and Greek and reported that Benji spoke both these languages fluently when under the control of different spirits. He apparently had no conscious knowledge of these languages. She and her colleagues also took convincing photographs of operations. Clare concludes: ‘in Manila I saw things I thought I would never see, and felt things I had not conceived of. Only now can I see how limited were my visions of the world before.’

A brief review of psychic surgery around the world illustrates that it appears to be very different depending on the time and the place. This might have something to do with the target audience. As Dr Linda Chard says in her book Dr Kahn: The Spirit Surgeon:

The rural Filipino lives in a … basic environment… His water probably comes from a lake within sight of his village.

Europeans and Americans are often far removed from the source of their amenities … Science in Europe and America has reached the stage where its therapeutic and diagnostic equipment scans and treats with invisible rays and without touching the patient. Our minds can readily accept things which we do not see.

We are all advanced in some ways and vulnerable in others. The Spirit World chooses treatment appropriate to the cultural, mental and emotional background of each patient. A Westerner … can accept … unseen energies because his world already includes services provided by unseen sources. The Brazilian or Filipino would respond better if the diseased tissue were removed and laid aside for him to inspect. The Spirit World responds to the needs of each culture; psychic surgery in the Philippines is extremely physical whereas Western psychic surgery is less physical.


On the other side of the coin, Alex Orbito, a Filipino psychic surgeon says that it is Westerners who need to see the blood and other tissues in order to be convinced.

I interviewed Elisabeth Freeman, a nurse and naturopath from the United States, about her experiences with Alex. She told me that he used to visit healing centres and carry out demonstrations and healing sessions.

Orbito opened every day with a prayer and would break off at various times in the day to give little speeches about God’s healing mission. He was never in full trance. If a patient asked a question, they could be sure that they were speaking to him rather than a spirit guide. His wife and one other helper generally assisted. Interestingly, Orbito’s niece is also a psychic surgeon. Family members of healers may be more likely to become instruments themselves.

Elisabeth explained Orbito’s technique:

Alex would enter the body with his fingers, at three points on the body. Initially there was a firm pressure on the skin and then suddenly the hands would slip inside. It didn’t hurt. I had and watched many, many operations. Sometimes, large pieces of tissue would be removed. He explained that we Westerners needed to see in order to believe. The same result could be achieved just by looking at the patient.

Originally she went along to Alex:

… with a hardened lymph node under my arm. After one session, it had disappeared. A lump the size of a Brazil nut had been removed in a few seconds. As a nurse, I found this difficult to explain. But after a while I decided I didn’t need to explain, I needed to believe.

An interesting thought …

Alex Orbito has spent time in jail for performing psychic surgery in the US, where it is illegal.


Elisabeth Freeman also told me about another Filipino who works in the US. His name is Joseph Martinez and he performs ‘mental psychic surgery’. This keeps him clear of any threat of prosecution, as he does not touch the patient. When people have treatment with him, they report that ‘the room fills with energy and you can feel the walls closing in around you’. He apparently has 13 Kahunas – Hawaiian medicine men – in his spirit team and it is they who perform the surgery whilst the patient sits next to Martinez. Elisabeth says:

Patients either give him their symptoms or they don’t. He doesn’t mind either way. He is clairsentient, which means that he feels the patient’s problem in his own body. In some cases he tells the patient to avoid stressing the area that has been treated for up to six months, as this might affect the healing process. He also talks a great deal about magnetic healing and the forces that control the ‘special magic’ of psychic surgery.

Martinez has travelled all over the world. At one time, in Iran in the days of the Shah, he says he was kidnapped and taken to see a ‘princess’ who needed attention. It was made very clear to him that his surgery had better be successful!

Regarding ‘magnetic healing’, an interesting point is made by Richard Gerber, an American medical doctor who studied what he calls ‘vibrational medicine’ for 12 years before writing a book, Vibrational Medicine (Bear & Co., 1988), in which he explains:

An example of the lack of long-term benefit from magnetic types of healing can be seen with certain healings done by the ‘psychic surgeons’ of the Philippines. In some cases, cancer patients have returned with objective laboratory and clinical evidence of complete remission. However, some of these individuals have later returned to the same psychic surgeon several years later with a new tumour in a different organ system. Although a case may be made that the recurrent tumour was merely a metastatic [secondary] lesion which was microscopic at the time of the original healing, there is a suggestion that the emotional/mental patterns of these patients which may have originally contributed to tumour formation were never addressed by the magnetic healer who worked primarily at the physical/etheric level.

Dr Gerber appears to be reiterating that dis-ease in the human body has its root in all levels of the self: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Dr Fritz holds a similar view – that illness develops on another plane of existence and filters down to the physical plane. True healing is achieved when all levels of self are treated simultaneously. Accordingly, to clear the physical level of the problem might leave it open to recurrence if the essential cause is not addressed at the original healing session. Many of the Filipino and other psychic surgeons do claim to be working at all levels, including the spiritual. Given this, they may not agree with Dr Gerber’s interpretation.

However, it is not necessarily fair to say that the healer has ‘failed’ if full and total recovery is not achieved , especially if the patient goes back to old habits once the healer has tried to put right the results of previous bad habits.

The Brazilian and Filipino healers have generated a lot of publicity. Dr Kahn has said that, sometimes, influential people, like journalists and celebrities, are drawn to the healing work, often by their own or family health problems, in order that they might write or speak about it and thereby encourage others to try it for themselves.

An example of this can be found in the work of a British healer, George Chapman.


George Chapman was the healer that Kathy Turoff used to visit before she met Stephen. A former Aylesbury fireman, he claimed to be controlled by the spirit of William Lang, FRCS, late of the Middlesex and Moorfields Eye Hospital. Michael Chapman, George’s son, is also a psychic surgeon.

Joe Bernard Hutton, a journalist threatened with blindness, was cured by George Chapman and went on to investigate further. He conducted many tape-recorded interviews with Dr Lang, both entranced and in his waking state. He cross-examined, stubbornly questioned and requested proof of any statement made. His findings are published in Healing Hands: The amazing true story of a spirit doctor (W. H. Allen, 1966; Virgin, 1995), in which he writes:

I travelled thousands of miles in Britain to interview those of Lang’s patients I had picked out at random from Chapman’s bulging case history files. As time went by, I had reel upon reel of tape-recorded statements from people who said that Lang had cured them. Some people claimed they had been cured completely by Lang, from diseases which hospital doctors had said were incurable.

Apart from interviewing patients, I also checked their statements and medical histories. I wanted to be fully satisfied that I was in possession of facts and not highly coloured (and possibly inaccurate) emotional accounts.

… I wish to make it abundantly clear that I have not the slightest intention of trying to influence or convert anyone to a new way of thinking, [merely to present] an objective account of the truth of the subject in question.

What is Stephen’s view of it all? He says simply:

My work is … bringing people closer to God by showing them that what they think is science can be transcended by God whenever he chooses. Psychic surgery is spiritual science in action!


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