Accused charlatan “healer” ‘John of God’ coming to Australia

Infamous, so-called faith healer John of God is coming to Australia – a prospect that has alarmed the Australian Medical Association.

Critics show little faith in healing powers of Brazilian ‘trickster’.

THE website video shows Brazilian Joao Teixeira de Faria, a self-described “simple farmer” with no medical training, as he exposes the breast of a woman, possibly a cancer sufferer.

She’s standing up, dressed in white, as de Faria takes a scalpel from an assistant, cuts into her breast, then puts his naked finger in the wound, as the woman, eyes closed, remains quiet but winces.

As the blood flows, the woman is laid down to rest by assistants, and de Faria moves on.

Other videos show him slice open the abdomen of another woman, and shove, to the hilt, a pair of forceps up the nose of a third and twist them, in all cases drawing blood.

In another of his “visible” healing techniques, de Faria takes a knife and uses it to scrape the eyeball of a man.

Medical doctors and mythbusters such as retired magician-turned-investigator James Randi claim de Faria is a complete charlatan who uses well-known tricks from carnivals and sideshows to con gullible people for profit.

John of God” is well-known to skeptic advocates for his psychic surgeries and his claim to channel doctor “entities” to heal the sick using the power of God. Endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz and Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, he was featured on ABC News in 2005 where they gave valid critical views VERY short shrift.

Joe Nickell explains some of the questionable techniques here.

Certainly, his procedures are a sham. The twisting of forceps up a pilgrim’s nose is an old circus and carnival sideshow stunt, explained in my book Secrets of the Sideshows. Looking far more tortuous than it is, the feat depends on the fact that, unknown to many people, there is a sinus cavity that extends horizontally from the nostrils over the roof of the mouth to a surprising distance—enough to accommodate a spike, icepick, or other implement used in the “Human Blockhead” act.

The ABC News piece from 2005 reports that Brazilian authorities have prosecuted and briefly jailed de Faria previously for practicing medicine without license. Will Australia authorities take action?

He is appearing for three days next month at Sydney Olympic Park, with tickets selling for $295 per performance, or $795 for three sessions. He will only do “invisible” sessions, so no cutting. AMA vice president Stephen Parnis said he is very skeptical (“sceptical”) and sees a motive for profit, that’s all. It seems that he will be watched with a sharp eye by medical professionals.

Addition: James Randi’s extensive writeup about the ABC News program on John of God is not currently available on the web due to archiving of the 2005 JREF site. But I am working on reposting it on the new site which should happen soon so that Google searchers can find this important information.

UPDATE: Done. From the Archives: Randi’s inside scoop into ABC News’ ‘John of God’ investigation (2005) – JREF.

  13 comments for “Accused charlatan “healer” ‘John of God’ coming to Australia

  1. Tony
    October 4, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Ay carumba, this guy is right out of a Luis Bunuel movie.

  2. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 5, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Standard Psychic Surgeon Act.

    And if you’re staring a sure-kill (like Stage IV Cancer) in the face, you’ll pony up AU$800 for the hope of a cure after the docs have given up.

  3. Sara
    October 5, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    That man reminds me of Jomanda, a dutch self-proclaimed healer who lays her hand on a person and says they’re healed. She nearly got locked up after giving dutch late celebrity Sylvia Millekamp a ‘healing session’ after which Millekamp refused to go to a real doctor, dying later of cancer. She narrowly escaped through loopholes, but seems to have been banned from practising for a while.

  4. busterggi
    October 5, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    And like all faith healers he is ignoring the ebola outbreak.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 5, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    No money in Africa.
    Plus the chance of catching Ebola himself when he lays on hands.

  6. kiljoy616
    October 6, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    As much as I can’t stand people like this, I think I detest the people that follow them even more. Australia is not a 3rd world backward country so I feel little for those who put their lives on this man’s BS.

    Guessing we will be awarding some Darwin Awards next year in Australia.

    I know I have become cynical in my old age.

  7. October 6, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    Belief is complicated. I do not agree that we should blame people for being taken in by charlatans. They often do not have the tools or skills needed to make good judgement. This is why DN is here and why promoting critical thinking is so important.

  8. Bill T.
    October 6, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Lots of folks don’t. I would be willing to bet the majority. There are lots of other doubtful “treatments” that folks also don’t waste their money on.

  9. October 29, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    Great Post. idoubtit! Faith healer ‘John of God’ is still going strong with the promoting of TV’s Oprah and similar infocommercial news shows. And what is it with Australia, he has really found a second home there!!!
    BTW, Did you ever see John of God perform…Brazilian Dentristy or his ‘Up your nose’ surgery? Please feel free to check my post and reuse whatever. Mine is in a lighter, trivial manner but the basic fact(disbelieve) is there.

  10. November 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    I don’t know what’s worse. These charlatans or the greedy people that promote them. Here’s a so called ‘investigative report’ dated 10/4/2014 by Tim Elliot of The Sydney Morning Herald that’s more like a promo. But, finely crafted!!! I especially like his line..”Despite what i’d always proudly assumed to be my fellow countrymen’s minutely sensitive bullshit detectors, there are many Australians at the casa”…Are you kidding!!! Why is Tim Elliot now investigating john of God at this moment. Duh!! if not to promote John of God’s ‘tour’ in Australia!!!

  11. Anita
    November 6, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Perhaps a team of these charlatans could be organised as a task force. At their refusal they could be discredited ‘en masse’.

  12. DeeDee
    November 11, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    The news show 60 Minutes with Michael Usher, just did an scathing investigative report of John of God on 10/26/2014, prior to his arrival to Australia in Nov 2014. Calling John of God’s pretend medical treatment horrendous and barbaric! And grilling him about his sexual molestation charges and the great deal of money he makes(in the millions) by fooling sick and desperate people with absolutely no creditable records of healing treatments! A must see for all who consider going.

  13. Amy
    November 17, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    At one point in my life I spent alot of time in Brasil with John of God. I went for healing from a brain tumor and also a severe accident that left me in terrible chronic pain. I never was healed nor do I know anyone who can seriously prove they were either.

    The only thing that will come is that you will meet other sick people who are very nice and trying to help each other through their time in Brasil. You may make friends and enjoy a waterfall and wonderful fresh fruit but you can do all those things in a more relaxing and peaceful place for alot less.

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