Hoax: Psychic Surgeons

In the last post, we talked about quack doctors, and how their fraudulent methods trick people out of their hard-earned money and send their patients home none the healthier. Today, we’ll focus on one type of charlatan that you’d best stay clear of.

small__15150147Psychic surgeons practice a type of pseudoscience that can be seen in the Philippines and Brazil as “the last resort” of people desperate for a cure. It allegedly has the faith healer slice into the patient with his fingers or a non-surgical knife, fish out and remove the diseased tissue or tumors, and seal up the wound all by divine intervention or mind powers.

One of this practice’s most famous and unfortunate patients was Andy Kaufman. It was later in his career that he was diagnosed with a rare type of lung cancer. He had checked into hospitals and received palliative radiotherapy, but the cancer had already spread from his lungs to his brain. He sought a last-ditch cure from a faith healer in the Philippines who performed psychic surgery on him and claimed to have removed all the tumors in his lungs. Kaufman went home, and soon after, died of kidney failure as an effect of his metastasized lung cancer.

photo credit: Nick Douglas via photopin cc

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