The Brazillian Healer with a Kitchen Knife

subsequently published as “Mystics and Healers”

Sandy Johnson explores with curiosity and a measure of healthy skepticism the work of healers, miracle-makers, and transformers of the mind, body, and soul. She travels the world– from a beachside compound in Hawaii to a remote village in Brazil– to meet face-to-face with the most acclaimed healers. She experiences their work first-hand and reports, with fascinating detail, the story of their real-life miracles and incredible feats. She also writes about the wonder of the “placebo effect,” which seems to give some patients the faith they need to begin healing on their own.


Among the healers you’ll meet is Katie Engelhardt, a young woman from Tennessee, who is able to intuit and then often heal the ailments of people while in a trancelike state. Sometimes, after entering her trance, goldlike metal flakes appear on her face, neck, back, and hands. Another is “Bundji,” an Australian man with Aboriginal ancestors, who tells how he was led to resurrect the healing methods of his people and now travels the world to heal those in need with “love, light, and energy.” Dr. Ruth Ziemba, a traditionally trained nurse and chiropractor, explains why her treatments require only the lightest pressure with hands her patients say emanate an intense, healing heat.


And the famous John of God, the Brazilian with the kitchen knife, who treats as many as 3,000 people at a time, excising tumors, ending blindness, and curing arthritis and cancer at his Casa de San Inacio in a remote Brazilian village.


The Brazilian Healer with the Kitchen Knife grants an unprecedented view of this simultaneously ancient and modern phenomenon, and its most compelling practitioners. Sandy Johnson allows the reader an up-close look at these spiritual magicians to better understand their gifts and motivations, and witness the best and worst of their work.

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