Controversial Faith-Healer Schedules Atlanta Visit

ATLANTA — A Brazilian faith-healer who says spirits inhabit his body to perform surgery, and cure the incurable, is coming to Atlanta.

He is known as “John of God” to thousands. He claims a million people have flocked to him for cures from around the world.

Channel 2’s Jeff Dore went to Brazil to see what this healer is all about.

You can call them saints, or spirits, or entities. This man people call John of God says they take over his body and heal people who come before him.

Until he arrives in Atlanta, though, going before him means going a long, long way.

Phyllis Rogers took a break from her strength training business for seniors around Atlanta, to journey with a group 24 hours to the tiny town of Abadiania, in the central highlands of Brazil.

Rogers says, “I just had general health problems, and emotional problems and depression and all this stuff.”

She has joined people in pain and in wheelchairs, people carrying medical death sentences.

People come here from all over the world believing the spirits here cure them of cancer, AIDS, depression, you name it.

People like Matthew Ireland.

Ireland says, “I was diagnosed about three years ago with a brain tumor.”

In a way, this little town of Abadiania has become the Lourdes of South America.

People seeking healing are to dress all in white in the place called La Casa–the house. The man of the house Phyllis and all those people come to see is said to be inhabited by healing spirits.

They call him John of God.

He says the spirits–or entities–of dead people, ranging from physicians to King Solomon, inhabit his body and heal people.

Rogers says, “It’s not John sitting there, you know. It’s one of the entities.”

In the world of faith and spirit healers, he is a superstar.

The Brazil native, and now Atlanta spirit healer who introduced Phyllis to John of God–is Eva Crow.

Some people think this is pretty nutty stuff.

Crow even says, “I do too sometimes.”

But she firmly believes, as do countless seekers like Matthew Ireland, with the brain tumor.

Ireland says, “The long story short, it’s gone now.”

Some people with no anesthesia actually let John of God slice into them with a knife, to pull out what ails them.

For more information on John of God’s visit to Atlanta,

Part 2

A Brazilian faith-healer who says spirits guide his hand as he performs surgery on incurably ill patients is coming to the Atlanta area.

Some people claim the man known as “John of God” is the greatest healer since Jesus–a claim that makes him a controversial figure.

Jeff Dore traveled all the way to central Brazil to find out about this supposed healer.

We have video of a man doing what he calls surgeries on people who claim he is a miraculous healer. There have been no scientific studies to back up his claims of healing. Whatever the results–it’s an amazing sight.

It is astonishing. This man they call John of God, who says he’s inhabited by spirit entities, slices into people who’ve had no anesthesia. They say the spirits guide him to do surgery on people who are wide awake.

They stand still as he scrapes their eyeballs, and let him jam steel forceps up their nose and crank them around. People believe he’s healing them.

Cure-seeker Wayne Ellem, says, “People get well. It’s just absolutely unbelievable.”

We went to the little town of Abadiania, deep in central Brazil, with a group of Atlantans who’ve been there before–among them, Phyllis Rogers.

Rogers says, “Well, I had the invisible surgery.”

They say “invisible surgery” is when the spirit entities enter people and operate.

A translator helped us understand John of God. John of God says, “The entities are from God and he comes from these spirits to help the people because of God.”

We had a rare interview with John of God–limited by his people to approved questions only.

We asked, “Is this faith healing?” And John of God said, “Yes, because of faith.”

He did not do visible surgeries while we were there shooting video, nor when ABC tried videotaping. Instead, we’ve both used video supplied by him.

Is it healing or hoax?

Investigator of the paranormal, James Randi, calls what John of God does–common tricks, a swindle, a stunt, an old carney trick.

But what about people who swear it worked?

James Randi, says, “Remember, these people have gone for this kind of bizarre treatment. If they have to admit, ‘no, I’m not helped by this, I was swindled, they have to say I was pretty damned stupid to go in there and think that sticking something up my nose was gonna cure my back.’”

When John of God comes to Atlanta, he won’t be doing any surgery.

The man has a second grade education and no medical training or license. Anyway, he says, he doesn’t do surgery–the spirit entities in him do it.

John of God says, “I don’t heal anybody. Is God and the good spirits.”

We talked with a surgeon who said John of God’s incisions are superficial and wouldn’t be expected to bleed much or even hurt a lot at first–same with scraping the white part of your eye or putting something into a nasal cavity.

He doesn’t think any of this would do any good, but he doesn’t discount the importance of faith.

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Feb. 20-21, 2006

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