Three short documentary films of paranormal surgeon healers

Lucius Werthmüller is a Swiss writer and parapsychologist with a life-long research interest in the paranormal. Together with Dieter Hagenbach he is co-author of the definitive biography of Albert Hofmann (Albert Hofmann und sein LSD – AT Verlag, 2011). This biography has recently appeared in English translation, published by Synergetic Press in Santa Fe (Mystic Chemist, 2013).

On a recent visit to the United States, including the SF Bay Area, Lucius presented a workshop on parapsychology at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), during which he showed documentary films of paranormal healers, sometimes also called “psychic surgeons”,  from the Philippines and from Brazil,  which he has given me permission to show on my website. Since the films were made by Swiss documentarians, the soundtrack commentaries are in German. I should warn viewers also that the films contain graphic images of blood-drenched, though clearly painless, physical interventions.

  • Romilda, a 15 minute film, shows a Brazilian woman, in her late twenties or early thirties, performing surgery to remove a cyst the size of a golf ball from Lucius Werthmüller’s neck. She uses a surgical knife to make the initial incision but then uses her gloved hands to remove the cyst. As in the other procedures shown in these films, there is no use of anaesthetics to stop pain or antibiotics to stop infection. Lucius is awake during the whole operation, is talking and cracking jokes with the surgeon-healer and other family members and observers. The incision is manually closed after the procedure, the skin pulled together, and the area wiped clean. In the middle of the procedure, Romilda the surgeon, responding to some inner intuition, breaks into a lilting Brazilian lullaby. Lucius told us that Romilda was a foundling: she had been abandoned by her mother in a trash can in Rio de Janeiro after her birth, and has only elementary school education.  She discovered her healing abilities as a teen-ager and has been practicing ever since.

  • Philippine surgeon, is an 18 minute film made by two Swiss physicians, Dr. Schiebeler and Dr. Naegli,  who visited the Philippines to research and document the phenomenon. There are literally hundreds of psychic healers in the Philippines and about a dozen or so psychic surgeons. They mostly belong to the Philippine branch of the Spiritist church (a non-denominational international religious network – see previous blog). According to the documentary, these healers and surgeons, who work without pay,  serve mostly impoverished rural communities, who can’t afford modern medical care anyway. The healers,  who often seem to have only elementary education and discovered their gift and calling in their  youth, mostly affiliate with the Spiritist church and attend those meetings regularly to develop their contact with Spirit. In the film, one of them has an open Bible lying on the body of the patient while he is working on it. The healers start their procedures with intense praying and hold their pointing fingers above the patient’s body, as if wielding an invisible instrument, but not in contact. Once the skin is opened they seem to be actively massaging the inside organs, often removing small masses which are discarded. Here too, the patient is wide awake and experiences no pain or discomfort during or afterwards. In an interview with the Swiss doctors, one of the psychic surgeons says he can’t explain what he does and quotes the Bible.

  • Dr. Fritz, is a 1-hour film about a Brazilian gynecologist Dr. Edson Queiroz, who is also a trance-surgeon. “Dr. Fritz” was a World War I German military field surgeon who first became known in the 1960s as the spirit-being coming through Arrigo, the “surgeon with the rusty knife.”  Dr. Fritz has since been the inspiring discarnate guide for one or two other Brazilian mediumistic surgeons.  The film was made by Claude Gacon and Lucius Werthmüller, on the occasion of Dr. Queiroz first visit to Switzerland in 1986, where he allowed about twenty or thirty witnesses to attend the healings and operations. In the film you see Dr. Queiroz tuning himself in to the spirit world, first with music, then with prayer, until eventually his head drops down and after some minutes of silence he starts speaking in a loud and distinctly different tone of voice. He makes incisions with a surgical knife, and then enlarges the wound and probes with his hands inside the body, sometimes removing large masses. Here too the patients are fully alert and painfree – though one woman reports discomfort initially, as he places a surgical instrument with cotton swab deeply up inside her nose. In trance, Dr. Queiroz as Dr. Fritz addresses the audience, both those present in the room and those seeing the film. He speaks sincerely and powerfully about how our lack of spiritual focus and practice makes us vulnerable to spirit possessions, obsessions and serious illnesses.

For many people,  accepting the possible reality of healings through such unusual methods is perhaps more threatening than the mere sight of blood lying around. Looking for explanations in terms of “faking” is the cheap way out. I recommend watching the films to allow our minds to digest the reality of phenomena of spiritual healings that go far beyond what our present sciences can explain.

3 Responses

  1. Quite a few years ago, the BBC did a documentary about this subject of “psychic surgeons in the Philippines. It was aiming at debunking, and did show slight of hand via undercover close-up camera techniques etc.

    When I came to read The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram, I read that in many indigenous healing contexts, sleight of hand was not separated FROM an understanding of deeper dimensions of experience, and that it was seen as a way to induce that sense in people so that deeper healing could be accomplished.

    However, in the Western context with major debunkers like James Randi–who is a stage magician–etc, this is not so, and the trickery is assumed to mean it is ALL a con. It would have been good if you had gone into this a bit more?

  2. Thanks for these recommendations, Ralph. I’ll check your website to watch and refer folk.

  3. Absolutely fascinating…

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