JOHN QUIQONES TRAVELS TO BRAZIL TO MEET "JOHN OF GOD," THE MAN SOME CLAIM IS THE MOST POWERFUL SPIRITUAL HEALER SINCE JESUS -- AND OTHERS SAY IS SIMPLY A CHARLATAN -- ON "PRIMETIME LIVE," THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10 ON ABC
For more than thirty years, millions of desperate people from around the world - the sick, the crippled, the terminally ill -- have made a pilgrimage to the remote high plateaus of central Brazil in search of a cure. They travel to see a man who is said to have miraculous healing powers and can supposedly perform surgeries without pain or even anesthesia. His acolytes call him "Joco de Deus" or "John of God." In an hour-long report, "Primetime Live" co-anchor John Quiqones travels to Brazil to find out whether these incredible stories can possibly be true, whether "John of God" is, as his believers claim, a miracle man or, as his detractors argue, a charlatan. "Primetime Live" airs THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Quiqones comes face-to-face with "John of God," who claims that, through him, God heals believers through "visible" surgeries, using some startling and unorthodox techniques -- including sticking long forceps up the nostrils and twisting them violently. Other "visible" surgeries involve cutting believers with scalpels, using no anesthesia. "John of God" claims his hands are guided by the spirits of more than thirty dead doctors, some of whom have been dead for centuries. He also performs so-called "invisible" surgeries without even laying hands on people. The medium performs such a procedure on Quiqones, in an effort to see if he can heal an old shoulder injury.
"Primetime" follows some hopeful pilgrims as they make their emotional journeys: Matthew Ireland of Brattleboro, VT, seeking a cure for the rapidly growing brain tumor that threatens his life; Annabel Sclippa from Boulder, CO, who wants to walk again after being paralyzed in a car accident 17 years ago; Mary Hendrickson, who wants relief from the chronic fatigue syndrome and severe allergies that have made her life miserable; San Francisco attorney David Ames, hoping for a reprieve from his debilitating and terminal Lou Gehrig's Disease; and South African actress Lisa Melman, who has refused traditional surgery to treat her breast cancer.
Later, in a sit-down interview, Quiqones questions "John of God" about his claim that people are healed by his channeling of energy from the spirits. Quiqones talks with a noted skeptic, who says the whole enterprise is a front for a money-making scheme - even though "John of God" charges no fee for treatment. "Primetime" examined the medical records of the patients followed in this hour, and also consulted one of the world's most respected surgeons, Dr. Mehmet Oz. He has some surprising things to say about whether there could be real medical merit to "John of God's" controversial healing methods.
DIANE SAWYER, CHRIS CUOMO, CYNTHIA MCFADDEN and JOHN QUINONES are the anchors of "Primetime Live." SHELLEY ROSS is the executive producer.