6 Psychic And Spiritual Healing

Non-medical healing takes many forms. In this chapter we shall consider three of them: divine healing, spirit healing and psychic healing. I have included divine and spirit healing not because they are established techniques but because  I intend to demonstrate that they are simply different names for the basic psychic healing process. Before reviewing the evidence which supports this line of reasoning, however, we should establish a clear picture of the belief systems which lie behind the different names.

Divine healing is perhaps best known as the healings which occasionally occur after prayers for the recovery of a sick person have been offered to God. Another form is the laying-on of hands practised by some priests in special healing services in church. In this procedure, the priest is supposedly a channel for the 'Power of God'. Thus, we can define a divine healing as any healing which is attributed to the intervention of God in human affairs.

There are those who maintain that God is 'above' events in the universe and therefore has no part in either causing, or curing disease or illness. Such individuals may attribute supernormal healing to saints if they operate within an established religion or to discarnate spirits of dead human beings if they do not. (Supernormal healings are those which cannot be accounted for by either the normal action of the body's own healing system or medical intervention.)

I would argue that it is necessary to be fully in one's power to be a good healer. This is a process which in my view results from being fully initiated into manhood or womanhood through initiation ceremonies such as described here - www.maleinitiation.org - Rites Of Passage being just as relevant to us in the 21st century as they were in tribal societies hundreds of years ago.

The late Harry Edwards was probably Britain's best known spirit healer of recent years. His huge following and the many cures which he brought about suggest that we should examine his beliefs very carefully.' Edwards' philosophy was based on the belief that we have a spirit body and mind as well as a physical body and mind; the spiritual body and mind pass on to the so-called astral plane when our physical existence on earth has ended. Edwards maintained that God is above all events in the universe and therefore cannot become involved in causing or curing illness. But no such limitations apply to spirits on the astral plane; they can, and do, intervene in human affairs, particularly in the field of healing. Spirits have more advanced knowledge and skills than we do, hence they can cure illness in a way which seems mysterious to us. But in order to heal they must be able to communicate with earth-bound humans. Just how do they do so?

Edwards repeatedly stated that the spirits can only communicate with the spirit mind of living people. Specifically, in fact, with the spirit mind of the healer. He acts as a link between the person being healed (the healee) and the spirit world in the following way: his spirit mind receives information from the spirit doctors. This information is then transmitted to the healer's consciousness - which is the overlapping of physical and spirit minds - and from there is passed to the 'bodily intelligence' of the healee. (The bodily intelligence is supposedly an organizing force of an unspecified nature which controls the distribution and organization of body chemicals and the organization of tissues and cells.) The healee's bodily intelligence uses the information provided in this way to correct any deficiency and thereby effect a cure.

You may say that the sheer volume of these circumstantial reports constitutes some valuable evidence in favour of healing. And so it does! Anecdotal accounts of healing phenomena include such events as the spontaneous healing of cold sores, recovery from cancer, suppression of acid reflux, inexplicable treatment for heartburn symptoms without intervention from the medical profession.

According to Harry Edwards, some cures are so dramatic and rapid - almost instantaneous - that they cannot be explained in any other way. It follows that the spirits must also be able to control some form of 'energy which can directly affect the structure of the human body. Just as the practitioners of divine healing have both a contact healing process (the laying on of hands) and a distant healing technique (prayer), so too did Harry Edwards. During a contact healing, the healer is necessary to pass on the spirits' advice and assistance to the bodily intelligence of the subject. Presumably in a distant healing, the healer's role is limited to drawing the spirits' attention to the sick individual so that they can influence his or her bodily intelligence directly.

Reading Harry Edwards' books gives one the impression that he was attempting to explain his undoubted gifts by constructing philosophy which he found personally acceptable and believable. To paraphrase one reviewer, it is a mixture of lay psychology, common sense and science of variable soundness. We can now see whether the techniques of psychic healers fall within a similar framework.

Psychic healers of illness or imbalance also heal either by physical contact with the sick subject or by a process of distant healing. And, rather like those who attribute supernormal healing to God or spirits, psychic healers do not believe that they are the source of the healing power. They talk instead of cosmic or psychic energy flowing through them. This may be a partial 'answer to the question of how contact healing actually works, but, as we shall see, it is probably a long way from the mark where distant healings are concerned. In general, however, most. healers prefer to talk about techniques rather than offer explanations of how they achieve results.

Thelma Moss analysed the characteristics of several healers and discovered that they had a number of features in common. 2 This is our first evidence that 'divine', 'spirit' and 'psychic' healing are nothing more than different labels for the same basic procedure.

(1) Genuine healers do not know how the healing process actually works. This is summed up in a statement of Katherine Kuhlman, one of America's best known divine healers: Sometimes I stand there and see all these wonderful things happen and I don't understand how the happen or what happened to cause them to happen ...

We shall consider this point at greater length in a moment.

(2) They are usually not taught to heal, but discover their ability for themselves. Two of the United States' most famous healers were 'the late Ambrose Worrall and his wife Olga, who independently discovered their healing abilities before they met each other. Ambrose Worrall did not suspect he had the ability to heal until he was a young man. Then,- one day, he felt an 'unknown power' impel him to place his hands on his sister's neck, which was paralysed after an accident. She was instantly cured. Olga Worrall, on the other hand, knew of her ability from childhood: she frequently alleviated pains and aches for her mother and other people by placing her hands on the painful area. Stories like these are commonplace amongst healers.

(3) They do not claim that the ability to heal is their own. This has, of course, already become clear from our review of healing.

(4) They do not heal everyone. Despite the fact that many healers have claimed almost a 100 per cent success rate in healing, there is no doubt that in reality a significant number of healings actually fail, and that in many cases the healee relapses after a short period of improvement. It is possible to analyse qualitatively the results of various healings. Sometimes a healee receives no physical benefit, but feels psychologically calm and peaceful. Sometimes physical improvements occur without any change in the psychology of the patient; these may be temporary or permanent, dramatic or moderate (a point which we shall discuss at length later). Sometimes psychological and physical changes of a long-lasting nature take place in the healee.

To this list, we can obviously add the observation that all healers use either contact or distant healing. The comparison between different types of healing can be extended by analysing healers' accounts of -their experiences while healing and the similarities in their healing techniques. Lawrence LeShan has done just that. Before we examine his work, however, there is another important point to consider.

Of course, there are those who would argue that sometimes healing can come from the person's own willpower. Indeed, I have seen some remarkable cures for cancer, hiatal hernia issues, and conditions which we tend to think of as caused by psychological issues such as acid reflux, which I can only explain by saying that the man or women concerned had a very high level of belief in their own recovery.

In the majority of supernormal healings, there is no medical evidence for any improvement in the subject's condition. This is because it is not available. The medical profession is made up of men and women who are dedicated to curing illness by well known scientific procedures. They are scornful of the possibility of any form of supernormal healing, and so do not regard it as something which they need to explain or co-operate with. This hostility has made it very difficult to obtain objective evidence for or against the reality of psychic healing. In fact, the problem is worse than that, because no genuine psychic healer would suggest that a healee foregoes medical advice. So a sick individual who turns to a psychic healer has nearly always been receiving medical care. Even if his or her recovery only begins when psychic healing is administered, who could say that the medical help was not responsible? Sometimes there are psychic cures which verge on the miraculous. In such cases, medical authorities generally offer one of two explanations: either that spontaneous remission has taken place, or that the patient has been cured through faith.

Spontaneous remissions do occur in cases where no form of non-medical healing has been applied and where the medical profession itself has given up all hope of recovery for the patient. There is no way of explaining how or why these spontaneous remissions occur in some cases and not others, but faith probably plays a part. This is not, of course, faith in a religious sense, but faith in the sense of an unshakeable belief; a belief, for example, that healing will occur naturally, or that doctors can cure any illness, or that psychic healers have a real and mysterious power.

This last statement may seem to suggest that the reality of psychic healing can never be 100 per cent proven. Such is not the case! First, we know that distant healing can be effective even when the healee is unaware that it is being applied. More importantly, however, there have been several objective scientific experiments which conclusively prove the reality of psychic healing. I shall describe these after we have considered the work of Lawrence LeShan.

LeShan analysed many healers' accounts of their techniques in an attempt to discover the 'secrets' of the healing process. He dismissed idiosyncratic behaviours or techniques, assuming, quite rightly in my opinion, that these were irrelevant to the healing process. His initial work seemed to confirm that the most obvious way of dividing all supernormal healing into different categories was to classify it as contact or distant healing.' Let us therefore examine some specific cases of contact and distant healing, beginning with three examples of contact healing. The first case is from a Christian healer's account of his work.

'... we prayed together, and I gave the laying-on of hands. Some days later, when he made his visit, the doctor noticed that the reflexes in one of her legs, till then non-existent, began to manifest themselves afresh. Pastoral care lasted for five months. Towards the end, the patient ... put her life entirely into the hands of God, in order that He should do with her what He would. Three days later, she walked on her own in the corridors of the hospital. She had broken her backbone three years previously (through a fall downstairs) and for two years she had been completely paralysed. This cure has now lasted for three years.'

The next is from Harry Edwards' account of his spiritual healing:

Mr Olsen had a 'spinal collapse'. After weeks of hospitalization he was worse and declared incurable. He had received all the usual hospital treatments. Finally ... he was encased in plaster from his neck to his thighs and sent home to endure his suffering. He was told he could have an unlimited number of pain-killing tablets. He could not eat or sleep and signs of paralysis were setting in.  Eventually his wife and son cut the plaster off and took him to see Edwards. Within five minutes, the back was adjusted and free mobility restored. He could walk easily and had no pain whatsoever ... Mr 0lsen has not had a twinge of pain since and has driven his car many thousands of miles.'

And the third is from Lawrence LeShan's own experience of psychic healing:

A woman known to me ... had intermittent, very large cold sores over twenty years. Two or three times a year she would get one on her lip and it would take approximately thirty days to heal ...  I held one hand on each side of her face, not touching the affected area, for about twenty minutes. Afterwards she reported that during the twenty minutes she had been conscious of several periods of heat, and one of 'tingling' in the lip area. About one half hour later she left my office to drive home (a drive of about an hour); en route she felt suddenly a strong 'tingling' in the lip area, she looked at it in the rear-view mirror, and in her words, 'I nearly had an accident I was so surprised. I pulled off the road and sat for ten minutes watching the new skin regrow. The dead skin in the centre did not seem to change, but new skin slowly grew over the whole raw pink area.' When she arrived home, her son and her husband both reacted in surprise to the complete unexpected change and almost complete healing of the cold sore. The next day it had returned about one-third the size it had been when she arrived in my office the day before, and disappeared over the next week.'

It would be wrong to assume that all healings of this sort are so dramatic. Many fail. Many produce only temporary improvement. Yet the number of successful cases reported is so large that one is certain something remarkable is happening. And the same is true of distant healing. The first example of distant healing which I have included was reported by Harry Edwards. It concerns a girl who was suffering from polio at such an advanced state that she had been put on a life-support machine: 'Medical opinion was that she could not live for more than three hours ... paralysis had affected the neck and top half of the body. The heart beats were becoming fainter and slower. The left lung had stopped operating altogether.' Edwards applied distant healing at the request of the girl's parents. He reported: 'The doctors attending her could not understand how it was that she lived through the night and the next day.' Over the next six days, we are told, the girl gradually recovered the ability to breathe. Three weeks later, her voice returned and she

To be continued....