John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer (2021) s01e01 Episode Script

The Healer

- [man speaking Portuguese]
- [translator] God, our Father
who is all power and kindness,
give strength to those
who face tribulations.
Give light to those who seek the truth.
And fill the human heart
with compassion and charity.
[breathes deeply]
[quiet piano music plays]
[woman] Abadiânia is a small town
located near Goiânia,
but the things that happen here
in the field of paranormality,
have brought a lot of fame to this city.
[man in English] A faith healer
who calls himself John of God
offers alternative treatments
for spiritual and physical ailments.
People from all over the world
come to see him.
[guitar music plays]
[man 2] Incredible miracles happened.
People received healings.
There were many buses
coming from São Paulo, Bahia,
from Rio Grande do Sul
for people to get healed.
[guitar music continues]
[woman in Portuguese]
For more than 40 years now,
the medium known as John of God
claims to channel healing spirits
and to perform spiritual surgeries.
[man] How are you?
[man 2 in English]
John of God claims to be Catholic,
but his healing center
is open to people from all faiths.
[John in Portuguese] God, our Father,
who is all power and kindness.
[woman] If the spirit takes him,
he might be King Solomon one day
and a surgeon the next.
[guitar music continues]
We feel the strength of this entity
because it is a strength
that comes from God.
Today, he is known in Brazil
as a saint.
[John] Carry her, please.
[woman in French]
John of God performs surgeries
without asepsis or anesthesia,
using kitchen knives,
scalpels, and scissors.
[John in Portuguese] I'm not a doctor.
I'm a medium.
[man] I've seen many people
with cancer and terminal illnesses
that were cured in the first intervention.
[John] Lean on your right leg.
Throw your crutches away.
Walk a little faster now.
It was so strong, I had to sit down.
I thought I was gonna pass out.
[John] It's a gift from God.
I was given this mission by God
and I will accomplish it.
[woman] But as much light
and miracles that there are,
there's also the dark side.
[woman 2] He used to say,
"I'm reaching rock bottom for you,
and you don't want to cooperate."
He stared at me. He looked me in the eye
He normally doesn't look
at people in the eye.
He does not.
This place is not a healing place.
This is a corrupted place.
This place isn't going to stay that way.
[man] I call him "Dad" or "Father John."
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure." "Do you trust me with your life?"
I said, "With my life and soul."
[woman] He told us there would be a day
when we'd see the medium getting arrested.
[woman 2] There's nothing of God
about John of God.
I don't tolerate people saying
he is of God.
Mr. João
Are you guilty?
Where was God when I was in that room?
[mysterious music plays]
[theme music plays]
[woman] When I was 22 years old,
I started to have fainting episodes.
And after the second or third time,
I was admitted.
We found out that I had a brain tumor.
I had severe headaches.
It felt like I had a helmet on my head
that kept getting tighter and tighter.
I couldn't see anymore.
I heard my baby crying,
but I couldn't leave the dark room
because I would get a terrible headache.
At that point the doctor told me
I had about 40 days to live
and that my family should take advantage
of that time to say their goodbyes.
I remember my mother-in-law
giving my seven-month baby
to my mom to be raised.
Then my father-in-law came to our house
and told us something he'd heard.
About this medium in Goiás
who performed spiritual surgeries.
"You must have faith," he said.
And then I thought,
"These people are crazy."
"Let me die in peace."
"I want to rest.
I can't take this anymore."
[solemn music plays]
They were suffering
so much with that whole situation,
that they believed
that some healer across the country
would be able to do something for me.
Something that even doctors couldn't do.
So, seeing how desperate he
and my husband were,
I agreed to come.
[guitar music plays]
We arrived here in Goiás on a Wednesday
and he was working early in the morning.
We stayed in the yard
because the Home was too small.
There were a lot of buses
and a lot of people.
We were all together there.
This was around 8:00 a.m.
when the medium, John,
came up to the group
and asked my husband to take me in,
because he had been waiting for me
so he could operate on me and heal me.
My husband picked me up in his arms
and took me inside.
Then my husband told him,
"She can't stand up. She's too weak."
He held me like this,
as if I was on a chair.
He started letting me go
and I stood up against that wall
held by the hand of the entity.
He talked about the tumor,
where it was located.
He explained why the earth doctors
were not able to remove it.
Because If they did, I would die.
Then he grabbed that instrument.
Those long scissors.
The entity, without even looking at me,
put the scissors inside my right nostril.
I couldn't feel the scissors.
Then I heard him say to me,
"Child, count with me."
Holding my head like this,
he rotated the scissors 21 times.
At the end of the 21st rotation,
I felt pressure on this part of my head
and something breaking.
And I could hear in my head
what sounded like a cracking bone.
Then I blacked out.
With the help of two people,
he took me to this room.
He took me to a sink
which was outside the bathroom.
Behind me he put one hand here
and another here
and pulled back this part of my body.
When he did that,
I puked blood in the sink.
There was so much blood
that it got stuck in the sink.
And when the spiritual guide
took it in her hand,
it looked like a steak.
The person who got there on Wednesday,
in her husband's arms, blind,
and the Ângela who got out on Friday
I was walking with no help at all.
[man] Brothers and sisters,
let's raise our thoughts
to the greatest Architect of the Universe.
Our Father
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
[man 2] The there's John, the man,
the human being,
and there's John, the medium,
who channels the entity.
You can see the difference.
When he channels one of our brethren,
enlightened entities,
he falls asleep and does not see a thing.
This the moment when the spirituality
of Don Ignatius,
Saint John the Baptist, Dr. Augusto
It's the moment when John channels them
and all the divine work takes place.
All rise, here comes Jesus ♪
Weighed down while bearing the cross ♪
He goes from door to door ♪
He goes street by street ♪
He came to save your soul
For it is not to blame ♪
[Wagner] He comes in,
stands before all of us.
He often asks someone to take his hand,
and then he starts praying.
This is when the entity approaches him.
[mysterious music plays]
Some entities were a little stiffer.
Some entities were very talkative.
Send us from your limpid fountain.
Bezerra de Menezes,
André Luiz with your whole phalanx.
My name is Xavier.
I'm Oswaldo Cruz.
[Wagner] Entities are enlightened
and evolved spirits
that come here
to serve people in the name of God.
[man] Hooray, Don Ignatius of Loyola!
[Wagner] And they serve
as an instrument or a tool to our brother,
John of God.
I'd like to read something very quickly
something our dear King Solomon,
the great entity that our medium
has channeled for many years.
The first entity
to be channeled by our medium.
King Solomon.
Once the work was complete,
the entity,
as we normally say, the entity would rise
and he was back to normal.
He was Mr. John again.
He was himself again.
And he had no clue of what had happened.
May God be praised.
[man] Forever and ever.
This is not a center of Spiritism.
It's a spiritual hospital.
People come here
for cleansing or spiritual treatment.
Don Ignatius, the Home's patron.
"For those who believe it,
words are not necessary."
"For those who don't,
there's no possible word."
Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
This is the main hall.
There's the main entrance.
[guitar music plays]
[man] There are three lines here:
first time, second time, and follow-up.
The first people to be seen
will be the ones with the red token.
Then the green token.
They always follow the same order
to get to the entity.
[Wagner] It's like a medical treatment.
You go to the doctor
and get some medication.
You then take those medicines
or maybe get a surgery in the hospital.
Then you need to follow up.
That's how we work here.
[guitar music continues]
While we are here,
the medium has already channeled
the spirit there,
but the treatment
keeps happening outside as well.
The entities, our enlightened brothers,
are among us doing their job.
So many people got healed outside.
People scheduled
with the entity must arrive on time.
You'll be treated for your infection
in the surgery
or you'll get a scraping.
If that's your case,
please raise your right hand.
You'll follow me quietly this way, okay?
Carry her, please.
This is the infirmary ward.
where people who get sick,
either the ones outside
or those who get the intervention,
are placed in the infirmary room.
[woman] For those who went through surgery
for the first time
at Home of Don Ignatius,
we advise and see as a necessity
for you to be quarantined.
What does that mean?
Sexual abstinence for 40 days.
Because this treatment, this surgery,
if performed through
the energy of your bodies.
Sexual intercourse
releases too much energy.
And this energy
is necessary for the treatment.
[Wagner] When the channeling sessions
were over,
he'd come to this room.
There's a bathroom, an armchair.
It's where he receives
the Home's directors,
some people,
the volunteers, employees.
He also has his meetings in this room.
It's the medium's room.
[piano music plays]
[woman] Ten years ago, I was 30 years old.
I was married. I was a severe workaholic.
I used to spend my days at work.
My family has always been one
of the most important pillars.
In order to understand my story,
we need to talk a little
about this part of my life.
My mom has always been a fortress.
I never saw her get sick.
She always took care of me,
and of my father, and my sister.
Then, in August 2010,
my mom,
for the first time, complained of pain.
We started consulting several doctors.
We went to a specialist,
then on to another and another.
Then we heard the word "cancer."
It is a scary word.
The whole situation was disheartening.
We were devastated
when we came back from the doctor.
We were all crying: my dad, Mom, me.
And my sister says,
"I've just attended a lecture
of this holistic therapist, Anna Sharp,
and she mentioned a medium
who performs miracles
in the countryside of Brazil."
Then we ask her,
"Mom, would you like to go there?"
And she answers, "Yes,
I would because I wanna live."
And who doesn't?
The second my mom agreed to go,
we started arranging everything.
You are all welcome
to this enlightened house.
We invite all of you to keep silent
and focus,
because the entities
are already operating in this room.
[Mannelli] I think that the Home
has an atmosphere
that feels like a peaceful place.
Then the volunteers of the Home guide you.
They say some prayers.
They explain how the Home works
and call some people up
to share their testimonials.
So you look at all that
and think to yourself,
"Wow, I can trust this place."
[woman] I suffered from a disease
called subacute lupus erythematosus
and the doctor said,
"You have less than two months."
And I'm being direct
because you're an open-minded person."
I'm very happy to be here today
because I had
a genetic disease in the muscle.
I suffer from multiple sclerosis.
Doctors said I'd be a quadriplegic.
I have a two-year-old son who's here.
Doctors had diagnosed him with cancer.
[man] This is called multiple sclerosis.
It was diagnosed in April.
In February, I got a new result.
Here it is.
No sign of disease.
I'm here to thank, Don Ignatius,
for giving me another chance to walk.
Because the doctors at the hospital
thought I was a hopeless case
with a bone marrow infection.
[man] I can stand up.
[woman] I've known John for 30 years.
I visited every guru
out there in this world.
The number of miracles
that I've actually seen
and can prove that this man has performed
is absolutely amazing.
Amazing things.
I brought in
so many people dying of cancer,
hopeless cases
that he would heal just by touching them.
I'm taking it out.
[interviewer] Your husband cured there?
- Not at John's.
- [interviewer] Not at John's.
He was cured in Antônio de Palmelo.
My husband suffered
a violent heart attack.
Then I asked my husband,
"Would you go see this man,
Antônio de Palmelo?"
He replied, "Anywhere but staying here,
just sitting and taking medicine."
This man operated on 200 people a day.
And things were really crude.
When we got there,
he was dressed as a doctor,
with all the surgical instruments
and it was filthy.
He looked at my husband,
patted his heart, and said,
"You're dead if I don't operate on you."
My husband lied down,
and the man took a circular saw
that was all rusty.
It lasted five minutes
And we walked back to the inn.
Sixteen hours later
- [man] How are you, Billy?
- I'm okay.
I feel good.
No pain at all.
[Sharp] Three months later,
we returned to a doctor
and he said, "That's preposterous!"
"What have you done? You're crazy!"
"Let's run some tests."
He was absolutely embarrassed
when he came back.
He said, "These are two different hearts."
"He had a transplant."
"I have nothing else to say."
[guitar music plays]
[woman] Goiás was a place
of so-called devotional Catholicism.
The old Brazilian Catholicism,
the Baroque type, in which people have
a direct and personal relation
with the saints.
Like, you put Saint Anthony's image
upside down, make your wish, and say,
"I'll put you in the right position
if you make it come true."
This kind of thing.
And Mr. John's family
are feverish Catholics.
As he declares himself a Catholic,
a Saint Rita of Cascia devotee.
And this icon
will bring protection with all its energy.
- It'll cover this house.
- [crowd applauds]
Mr. John's mother was a feverish Catholic,
and apparently she used
to see the Virgin Mary
and practice card-reading.
But his father was an herbalist.
What's an herbalist?
A person who harvests plants
and prepares the so-called garrafada.
Garrafada is natural medicine in a bottle.
That's why I say that this
is part of Brazilian culture.
That's how I see it.
This mix of a great number of traditions,
of healing proceedings,
the freedom to create new ways of,
you know,
connecting with the world.
It's Brazil in its purest state.
["Vale do Juca" by Siba plays]
It was a dance ♪
Almost a mirage ♪
Each gesture, each image ♪
For the spellbound ones ♪
A movement ♪
A strong practice ♪
Outlined, traced, and cut ♪
The curtain was pulled ♪
A seed amid the dust ♪
The ground of the first crop ♪
My grandparents danced ♪
A blow, a rumble, a pop ♪
A multitude and one horse ♪
Playful warriors ♪
It was a celebration
Arriving and departing ♪
Greetings and goodbyes ♪
My grandparents cried ♪
[Machado] You see
that this traditional world still exists.
The witchcraft,
the unbreakable body,
the giving of blessings.
All of these come from this world.
Brazil is the main
Spiritist country in the world.
It's the only place where Spiritism
created roots and became a religion.
- [camera shutter clicks]
- [quiet music plays]
Then the Spiritist societies
started to emerge
with a medium who prescribes,
because of a lack of physicians.
So the mediums channels a spirit
and prescribes medicine.
This is the basis of Spiritism in Brazil.
This is the work
of the Home of Don Ignatius.
Take this medicine.
I'll wait for you in Abadiânia.
You can go.
You don't need this anymore. You can go.
Go. I'll help you.
[Wagner] The only thing
we charge for is the passiflora.
He prescribes a passiflora bottle
that costs 50 reais.
Passiflora is a medicine produced
by the Home,
and it's made with passion fruit.
Brothers, while in line
waiting to be seen by the entity,
someone says,
"I didn't even talk to them."
"They prescribed me something
and told me to go home."
"I got to the pharmacy,
and that woman was handing
the same box to everyone."
For each case,
there is a specific, spiritual dosage
of that medication.
The person opens it and puts their mind
into the purpose of those pills.
The cure for cancer, the cure for AIDS
Some health problem.
When the person is going
to open the medicine,
when they take the first pill,
they must think of its purpose,
because the energy
is on the tip of their fingers.
When you take the pill,
then it will be ready
for the treatment you asked for.
[John] Some people asked me
to tell them a little bit of my story.
For a time I had no place to live.
João Teixeira's place was a car.
I took the seats off,
put the roots instead,
and drove around the world.
There was a time when this spiritual work
could not happen out in the open.
It had to be done secretly.
And even so, I needed
to bribe authorities to help people there.
The first criminal code of the Republic,
in 1892,
established three articles.
The illegal practice of medicine,
very traditional in Brazil
in the 19th century.
There were no doctors.
Faith healing and charlatanism.
So it's very easy.
Anyone who's not accredited
can end up in jail.
John of God used to
go to jail all the time
for charlatanism and faith healing.
Also tooth extractions,
as there weren't any dentists
in the countryside.
He got beat up in the police station,
and at that point
I have the feeling that he starts
to understand that he needs protection.
When John the Medium
wandered through the world,
there was a lawyer
in the city where John the Medium arrived
and he was there to arrest him.
And he got surgery
and became a medium at the Home.
[Machado] He was persecuted
in every possible way.
He got in trouble.
There are charges from this period,
in which he was pronounced not guilty.
And at this time, from 1976 on,
he starts moving to Abadiânia,
but he really
settles down there in the '80s.
[man] Abadiânia at that time
had a population of about 6,000 people.
The main economic activity
was eminently rural.
When I was mayor of Abadiânia,
I had never heard of John of God.
I didn't know who John the healer was.
One day,
a friend of mine calls me and says, "Braz,
there's this healer
who performs healing activities,
cures diseases, etc."
Then he mentioned that for Abadiânia,
it could promote the hotel
and lodging sector.
He said that a place
that attracts many people,
makes the hotel sector increase a lot.
Then he invited John and myself over.
And we agreed
that John should come to Abadiânia.
- [guitar music plays]
- [horn honks]
[Wagner] Just a few people used to come,
but this number got bigger and bigger.
Imagine a town
that started off by getting 12 tourists,
then it turned to 100,
and then to 5,000.
[guitar music continues]
We traveled 436 miles
to the Home of Don Ignatius.
Six hundred miles on the road,
but we're here safe and sound.
Thank God, the Home is full of people.
There are 13 buses in total.
They come from all around Brazil.
[guitar music continues]
[Da Silva] Lots of business segments
profited from John's presence,
due to the huge inflow of tourists.
This brought a lot of money.
Taxi drivers, the local stores.
The butcher's shop, for example,
that supplied 660 lbs. of meat
just for one restaurant.
They had to slaughter
almost five oxen a day.
See how it grew economically.
Construction, building those places,
demanded more material.
There were 80-something inns
so this helped increase the land value.
Abadiânia is a place that attracts energy.
Those who come here
are either sick or crazy.
And there's many, just like me,
who are both crazy and sick.
[people chanting]
[Kist] I'm nobody,
but the entity said I am important.
My cards read "Norberto Kist."
My nickname was Giggle.
And I worked as a medium.
Please do something for me.
Smile at two people.
At the person to your right
and at the person to your left.
Show them your teeth.
If there's no tooth,
show them your gum, but smile.
May I?
On our first road trips, in three days
we saw more than 20,000 people.
And I was their guide on the bus.
When we left here,
it already smelled like ether.
Some surgeries were performed.
We prayed and people said,
"I feel better.
I'm like this. I'm like that."
Got it?
[man] No one who comes here
should expect miracles. No.
There won't be a miracle as we know of it,
Things happen
because we're spirits in debt.
We're on a farm
which is three miles away from Ituiutaba.
The place where
the operations takes place is rustic.
I'll operate here,
then later I'll take you to Abadiânia.
[man] At this place,
the cutting surgeries will be performed.
In this type of work,
faith is really important.
If we have faith,
we can achieve everything.
I'm leaving to Goiás,
but my heart will stay here in this state.
[woman] Our mayor.
All together under
the divine protection and of King Solomon,
I believe that the Home of Don Ignatius
will be built in this state.
All rise, here comes Jesus ♪
Weighed down while bearing the cross ♪
He goes from door to door ♪
He goes street by street ♪
He came to save your soul
For it is not to blame ♪
[quiet guitar music plays]
[woman] In Spiritism,
we always say that you seek it
either out of pain or out of love.
There is no other way.
My search was out of pain.
I come from a Kardecist family
so I was raised in a Spiritist home.
When I was two years old,
my mom used to channel spirits.
And every time I got closer to her
They say children
are more sensitive to it.
I would say,
"Leave my mom alone. Go away!"
So mediumship and spirituality
have always been present in my house.
It wasn't something
I learned later on in life.
When I went to Abadiânia,
my dad had gone to the Home for ten years.
It was part
of my family's everyday conversation.
So I knew about this place through my dad.
My mom went through
several spiritual surgeries at the Home.
and the results were very good.
I never doubted
that the cure really existed,
especially in Abadiânia.
When I went to Abadiânia,
I was looking for my spiritual healing.
I got harassed a lot in my life.
I was frequently harassed at work,
by my bosses, the companies, directors.
I had excellent positions.
I worked in government agencies,
in the House of Representatives.
At some point,
a boss or a manager harassed me,
I refused it, and would lose my job.
The reason I went to Abadiânia
was because of this harassment.
It wasn't something physical,
but psychological and spiritual.
When you first arrive,
they welcome you very well.
Everyone has the same purpose.
The purpose of faith, cure, love.
People of many religions went there.
Buddhists, atheists, everything.
It was an abundant universe,
and that's the universe I believe in.
That's why I went there.
[man singing]
I remember when I entered the main room,
which is called "the current room."
This spiritual chain made of mediums
normally isn't for people
with a specific treatment.
Open your eyes.
[Araújo] They go there to heal others.
So now I'm using you.
The chain was always very strong.
The main thing is understanding
that you have to give it your all.
If you don't, nothing will happen.
Focus. You who are here in the chain
are responsible for this work.
Elevate your thoughts to your protector.
[Machado] The chain experience
is something really deep.
The way Spiritism sees it,
as you galvanize this chain,
you call upon the spirits for healing.
It was really something to behold.
The first time I went there,
I said, "Wow!"
The electricity was almost visible.
The good line, the line of good, of love.
[Sharp] Around 99 percent
of psychics I've researched
were manipulative cons looking for money
or power.
I found very few
of them to be the real deal.
But In every single one of them,
John included,
as much light
and miraculous work there is in them,
there is also darkness.
Our planet is made of opposites,
so they also have a dark side.
Every one of us has a dark side.
When we find the dark side of someone,
their darkness becomes
much more important than their light.
[Mannelli] We arrived
in Abadiânia on a Tuesday
And we went there very early
on the following day
to be seen by the entity,
searching for the much-dreamed-of cure
for my mom.
Please, bothers in the first-timers line,
keep waiting.
You will be seen by the entity.
[Mannelli] When it was our turn
to go to the entity's line,
I realized that the medium looked
at the people who were lining up
and, at some point, I felt he saw me.
He looked at me.
He grabbed my forearm with both hands
and stood up.
And that caused me
to be kind of afraid of him.
This may be the best word to define it
because his reaction
scared me a little bit.
And he asked me,
"Child, why are you here?"
Before I could answer him,
before I could even have the time
to say something,
he did it for me.
He said, "You're here
because your mother has cancer."
"Isn't that right?"
It was a real shock to me
and I started to cry.
[gentle piano music plays]
[Mannelli] Right after that,
he looked at me and said,
"You have a strong mediumship in you,
and you can save your mother."
And that was a mix
of joy and surprise and awe
because no one had ever told me that.
I didn't even know it was a possibility.
And then he said,
"The medium wants
to talk to you after this session."
When I got in line,
I was looking forward to my answers.
I wanted to know what he had to say to me.
What I should work on inside me.
So, it was a moment of anxiety.
A lot of anxiety.
And I remember it clearly.
This was very obvious to me
that when I'm standing in line,
I realize he sees me among these people.
I saw he kept a low voice with everyone.
When it was my turn, he raised his voice.
I was scared because he asked me
in a loud voice
what I was doing in that line.
And I said,
"Well, I'm standing in line. Everyone is!"
"So I am here as well."
To which he replied,
"But you're a medium."
"You shouldn't be in line."
"You should be sitting
in the mediums' chairs."
After that morning session,
he told me to go see him in his room.
[mysterious music plays]
[Mannelli] When we came back to São Paulo,
we were really hopeful.
My mom was convinced she was cured.
She had this strong idea in her mind
that the tumor had disappeared.
She said, "It's gone.
I felt something and the tumor is gone."
She did the medical exams again
and the tumor was there.
Same size, same proportions, same shape.
Then we went to the hospital.
She was admitted in the morning
and went to the surgical center.
An hour and a half later,
the room phone rang.
It was her doctor.
He said, "Andreia,
I don't know what saint you pray to,
but I've just witnessed a miracle."
He used these very words.
"Your mother does not have cancer."
"She has a benign tumor."
"We've repeated the tests three times."
"She does not have cancer."
And everyone said
that the person
who was responsible for transforming
the malignant tumor in my mom
into a benign tumor was John of God.
At that moment,
I couldn't see how serious
all of that was.
I just couldn't because
when you live in ignorance,
there is no suffering.
The pain comes when you understand
what happened to you.
[Araújo] I waited for about two hours,
then it was my turn.
And I was able to go in.
[menacing music plays]
When he looked at me once more,
he stared at me.
He looked me in the eye
He normally doesn't look
at people in the eye.
He does not.
Especially when he's channeling a spirit.
He looked at me and said,
"You've got to cure me."
"Do I have to cure you?" I thought.
"Who am I?" And I told him,
"Who am I? I'm no one."
"Yes, I need your energy."
And that was it.
He unbuttoned his pants.
When I recall it,
I don't know what happened.
But if I say I don't know what happened,
it wouldn't be true.
I know what happened.
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