Hasted, Professor John – Psychic healing
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Metal-Benders By Professor John B. Hasted
The usual reaction of scientifically educated people to psychic healing phenomena is one of great caution. No one doubts the common occurrence of psychologically-induced illness, and it also seems that hypnotically-induced anaesthesia, and even hypnotically-induced wounding and healing, are well established.
The so-called ‘spirit healing’ or ‘faith healing’ is widely practised, but is perhaps less universally accepted, largely because it is difficult although not impossible89 to assess its value accurately. Temporary relief and sometimes permanent cure of arthritis and similar conditions are claimed to have been produced by many healers on their friends and others. In Britain this activity is legal, although in many countries it is not. Some hospital nurses are supposed to possess the ability, and medical tests have been made in United States hospitals on quite a large scale. The question of whether the activity might be described as ‘paranormal action on molecular structure’ or as ‘entering parallel universes’ has been raised but not answered.
The more extreme techniques of ‘Psychic surgery’ are not at all well understood and are largely rejected by medical scientists. The connections between the Filipino, Brazilian and Mexican psychic surgery and psychic phenomena seem to be close. Genuine Filipino psychic surgeons (some of the more prominent are Tony Agpaoa, Alex Orbito, Josephine Sison and David Elizalde)90 perform their ‘operations’ with their bare hands, passing them over the skin and flesh of the patient, who feels very little. There is sometimes what might be termed an ‘entering’ of the body, without any surgical cut being made. The hands feel ‘inside’; there is blood and even flesh to be seen; often, something is removed. Since there is no cut, no healing is necessary; after he has been wiped up, the patient is allowed to get up and walk away. Sometimes, perhaps often, there is some cure.
All manner of things have been ‘taken out’: tissue, but not always human tissue: sometimes sheep tissue, although the nearest sheep to the Philippines are in Australia. Sometimes the things which are taken out are not animal tissue but pieces of paper, metal, wood, etc. Naturally, conjurors have learned to imitate these curious happenings; I have as yet had no personal opportunity to make first-hand assessments.
Similar curious items appeared in the psychic surgery of the late José Arigo of Brazil; the difference was that he used a knife – not a surgeon’s knife but any handy sharp instrument, such as a penknife borrowed from a spectator; there was no attempt to obtain aseptic conditions, and Arigo felt compelled to act in the way he did, being in something of a trance. The operations were little more than crude, rapid probes of the affected organs (especially the eyes) and often some real flesh was cut out. When Dr Andrija Puharich was with Arigo, the psychic surgeon thrust a knife into Puharich’s hand and pointed to where he was to cut. But Puharich claims that when he cut he did not feel the flesh under the knife; rather, the flesh appeared to part while the air resisted the knife.
The best-authenticated feature of psychic surgery appears to be the ‘psychic injection’, by which the surgeon can cause a local pricking pain in the patient merely by pointing his finger at, or sometimes lightly stroking, the area of skin to be injected. I have suffered this being carried out on myself, and several investigators have found that one or more thicknesses of mylar or other plastic sheet are punctured by the psychic injection; sometimes blood is drawn.
We are now familiar with such phenomena as ‘apports’ and teleportations. We are not so familiar with paranormal ‘entering’ of the body, but some years ago two of the metal-bending children reported being able to ‘feel inside’ the neck and limbs of their bodies: so far as I know, these two children had not heard of psychic surgery, although it is impossible to be certain. Might it be that there are several ‘parallel universes’ involved, and that a surface of action covers the psychic’s fingers, and moves inside the patient’s body? The ‘apports’ are in the nature of symbols of success; the role they play would seem to be psychological – to give confidence to both the healer and patient that psychic events are taking place. The patient is taken mentally into a new universe, one in which he has become healed.
Probably such speculations about healing do not represent a realadvance in our knowledge, but they contain a seed by the cultivation of which medicine could extend its branches.