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Is There a Doctor in the House?
Another story on Channel 7’s local Western Australia’s ’Today Tonight’ programme focussed on supposed ’psychic/spiritual surgery’.
Miranda Eastman worked on the story and interviewed our Director, Adrian van Leen, for comments relating to the case. A tiny, but appropriate, fraction of Adrian’s recorded comments were aired as part of that programme segment shown on Monday 8th September.
The programme investigated the claims of Jim Booth, a spiritualist from the North of England who has been in Western Australia for quite a few years. In 1994 he was leading the Progressive Spiritualist Church, by 1996 he was leading the Aquarian Spiritualist Centre in Forrestdale (previously led by R and D Palmer). He later changed the name to the Aquarian Healing Centre.
He is one of the two Western Australian spiritualist leaders registered as a marriage celebrant under the umbrella of the International Council of Spiritualists, of which he is, apparently, the state representative.
Booth does it differently to the general healing activities of most spiritualist ’Faith’ healers. He has a list of supposed ’doctors’ with supposed expertise in various fields, who, he claims, enter his body and operate on patients — spiritually — through him.
Jim Booth’s wife, Joyce, claimed she had witnessed her husband successfully heal heart problems, bowel problems, blindness and even cancer. No supportive hard evidence of acceptable medical certification from medical practitioners, based on lab tests, x-rays, or anything else — stating that there WAS a serious medical condition and that such a condition HAD been successfully treated and cured — was produced to back up the dramatic claims.
Booth also attempted to cover himself by claiming he didn’t do anything — the healing operations came through the ’doctors’ who took over his body after he had gone into a trance (his trance shown on television was rather unconvincing). He supposedly is unable to remember what he did whilst in the supposed trance.
He stated: ’People ask me, “Can you cure this, can you cure that?” I can’t cure anything, and I don’t claim to. But, if they give the spirit a chance, then they’ve got a chance of getting better.’
With the two ’patients’ being ’operated’ on, shown on the television programme, it was a case of spiritual spinal surgery for both.
While Joyce Booth breathed out invisible ectoplasm, Jim Booth, taken over by an unnamed doctor, invisibly inserted invisible spiritual wedges between the 4and 5lumbar vertebrae, then took invisible ectoplasm from his wife’s mouth and made invisible cushions which he invisibly inserted in the invisible spiritual gaps between the invisible spiritual vertebrae before removing the invisible wedges and then invisibly suturing up the invisible spinal incision — all without the patient have to remove any part of the clothing.
Amazingly, both ’patients’ had exactly the same spinal problems, in exactly the same spot, and received exactly the same ’spiritual surgery’!
Booth declared: ’We do not cut into the body. It’s done spiritually. Everything is done from spirit to spirit, because you have a physical body and you have a spiritual body.’
There was no explanation as to how doing pretend surgery on the supposed spiritual body was supposed to heal physical problems — in these two cases, physical back pain.
The Booths have a scrappily presented list — partly typed up, with some handwritten additions — listing the ’medical authorities’ available through Jim Booth. Of these, Booth comments:
’There is one specific doctor who is the head one of what we call the team, and that is Dr Likter. But we have several doctors. We have Dr Johnson, who works on the eyes, and ah, we have many different doctors for different ailments.’
The Booths’ list of supposed ’visiting specialists’ who take Booth over, name the following [with their misspellings]:
- ’DR. W. LIKTER — ORTHAPEDIC & NEUROLOGIST.
- DR. PAYNE — GYNOCOLOGIST.
- DR. ANDREWS — NOSE EAR & THROAT. * ANAESTHATI[CS?].
- DR. JOHNSON — EYE SPECIALIST.
- DR. HUENG FAN SU — GENERAL.
- DR. RASHEED — HERBS.
- DR. WERNER CLAUS. — SPC. IN CEREBAL PALSY.
- DR. OTTO GRUMBACHER — DERMATOLOGIST.
- DR. MY LIN — SPEC. — CANCER.
- DR. ANTON MUELLERHEIMER — PLASTIC SURGERY.
- DR DAVID WILLIAM — DENTAL SURGEON.
- DR. SUE — MEDICAL MASSUER.
- DR. ANTHONY DE VRIESS — HEART SPECIALIST.
- HIS NAME. DR.? WOULDN’T GIVE HIS NAME
- MASSUER. SISTER HELENA — MASSAGE.
- SISTER DOROTHEA.
- NURSE ALMA COOK.
- PETER = MASSUER (PETER FROM PETERBOROUGH)
- DR. VICTOR GHAN — HEART SPECIALIST
- DR. JOHN PAUL — DENTAL SURGEON
- DR GERARD — VET.’
The last four ’team members’ were handwritten additions to the typed list provided to the interviewer and shown on television.
The third last listed person looks like ’Dr Victor Ghan’, but could have been ’Chan’ — but in fact, was meant to be Dr. Victor Chang — the famous Australian heart surgeon!
A grinning Joyce Booth informed the interviewer, Miranda Eastman, (and all television viewers):
’This doctor was murdered over in Sydney — not too many years ago — and he’s a heart specialist, and he comes through!’
When the interviewer asked, somewhat incredulously, if Booth channelled heart specialist, Dr Chang, Booth replied: ’Well he does it, through my material body…[that’s all?], but he does the operations now!’
Many people, especially the late Dr. Chang’s relatives and patients, would be absolutely disgusted with Booth’s claim that the spirit of the late Dr. Chang, recipient of the Order of Australia, would enter into the body of the virtually unknown Jim Booth to perform pretend heart surgery!
The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute states:
’21st November, 1936 - 4th July, 1991
Victor Chang was the outstanding cardiothoracic surgeon in Australia and South-East Asia, and he was one of the leading heart surgeons in the world. He was responsible for developing Australia’s National Heart Transplant Programme, which has seen almost 300 successful heart, heart-lung and single lung transplants performed since 1984. He was also working on the development of an artificial heart, which would be used to support seriously ill patients who were awaiting heart transplants, but for whom no donor was immediately available.
Victor’s shocking murder by assailants in a Sydney street on July 4th 1991 has robbed medicine and Australia of a great figure. He made an outstanding contribution to medicine, heart surgery, the Australian community and Australian-Asian relations.’
Read more details on: http://www.victorchang.com.au/drvictorchang/index.html
Jim Booth actually did a little bit of back massage in his supposed spiritual surgery on the two women who came to him for healing of their back pains. One of the women had been going to Booth for 20 years for help and relief!
The personal interest, human touch (including Booth’s hugs) and brief massage, unhurried time spent with ’patients’, warm assurance and encouragement, all add to the possible placebo effect and the general, if but temporary, sense of well-being or improvement.
Booth claims that people coming to him for supposed spiritual surgery are not at risk. He declared: ’There’s no danger whatsoever, because they’ve got absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.’
Dr. Brent Donovan, from the Australian Medical Association, watched the video of Booth’s performance, and saw things a little differently. He commented:
’This is like a charlatan, playing on the lives of innocent and vulnerable people.’
’If it wasn’t so serious, it would be a joke.’
’By doing, making this, what I consider false claim, they’re putting these vulnerable people, who are frustrated, who don’t know where to turn to, they’re putting their health, and indeed, maybe their lives, at risk.’
Our Director, Adrian van Leen, raised the question of the sincerity of Booth’s claims. If Jim and Joyce Booth are ’putting it all on’ and don’t really believe what they claim, they are guilty of fraud and deliberate deception. If, however, they really believe it all themselves, then, we believe, they are probably involved in self-deception and delusion.
Booth declared that what he was doing was ’a spiritual gift, and it’s a gift from God.’
We would strongly dispute this claim.
The Bible clearly declares that trying to make contact with the spirits of the dead is forbidden for God’s people. Nowhere in Scripture do we find Booth’s supposed healing method mentioned or endorsed. On top of all that, Booth is both syncretistic and eclectic in his religious beliefs.
Clearly displayed in his home and ’consulting room’ were the religious paraphernalia, pictures and icons of all sorts of belief systems. From Roman Catholic statutory and rosaries, to North American Indian statues, to garlanded pictures of Sai Baba — all supplemented with crosses, candles, and a Bible.
IF there are spiritual dimensions to Jim and Joyce Booth’s activities, they are not from the God of the Biblical faith, nor compatible with faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
(From TACL Vol 24 #4 Aug/Sep 2003)