The mere expectation of illness or death appears to lead to illness and death in voodoo and other such belief systems. This may be similar to a patient in a modern hospital who is told that they only have six weeks to live, and as a result, they die exactly six weeks later.
Yet we all know someone who has been given a death sentence by a practitioner of Western medicine, and outlived it by years, even decades. Is it dumb luck, or a focused and strong belief that one will live, despite what one is told by those in charge?
Expecting Sickness Can Lead to Sickness
This concept leads to another interesting aspect of curses and spells. The more powerful the one who is casting the curse or spell is perceived to be by the patient, the more powerful the patient will manifest the curse or spell. A village medicine man or voodoo priest will have more ability to mold the belief of the villagers than someone with less spiritual authority. Even in our culture, we tend to look up to and trust our doctors and surgeons, and if they pronounce us terminally ill, many of us may “believe” them far more than we would if the same diagnosis happened to come from a neighbor or stranger on a subway.
That is the basic conclusion of a study by Richard R. Bootzin and Elaine T. Bailey of the University of Arizona. The study determined that psychological factors, such as fear of a heart attack, can be a risk factor for death. Expecting sickness can lead to sickness.
The Power of the Placebo
According to a April 2009 article in Psychology Today, basically all post-op patients who receive sugar pills are 50 percent just as likely to feel pain relief as those receiving real pain meds. Topical wart treatment can heal warts, but apparently so can colored water. The article author, Stephen Mason, MD, commented, “Indeed, with so many anthropological reports of Witch Doctors casting voodoo spells that kill, who could doubt the power of suggestion? Certainly not physicians!”
Though it seems there is an upside to lying to the patient by administering a placebo, Mason also agrees that there is a downside, as in telling patients the truth. To what extent might a negative prognosis actually create a negative outcome?
How much damage is done when a patient is told to put his affairs in order by an authority figure in a white coat?” Mason refers to a UCLA study that concluded that the AIDS virus spreads four times as fast in patients who give up hope of controlling the disease.
The medical community has long believed that the placebo effect would be effective in slightly less than a third of the cases in which it was utilized, but many clinical studies have shown result rates sometimes as high as 70 percent according to a Clinical Psychology Review paper.
When Mind Attacks Body
UK-based science writer Helen Pilcher looked at both sides of the placebo coin in her widely disseminated article “The Science of Voodoo: When Mind Attacks Body,” originally for the May 2009 Scientific American Mind magazine. She goes on to discuss a modern case of a man stricken with cancer who was given only a few months to live, and, yes, he died in months.
However, there was just one slight problem. The autopsy showed he should not have died at all; his tumor was very small, and had not spread to other parts of the body. The poor man died because he was told he would, yet the actual diagnosis was a mistake.
To Believe or Not to Believe
Pilcher also references a story about a man named Derek Adams, who tried to commit suicide after a particularly nasty break-up by taking all his 29 remaining anti-depressant pills at once, resulting in a drop in blood pressure and a trip to the hospital emergency room.
Turns out that Adams was part of a study involving an anti-depressant, but he was part of the control (placebo) group that took totally harmless pills! Once that little issue was cleared up, Adams cleared up, too, and was fully alert and had normal vital signs within 15 minutes of receiving the good news.
Some argue that if doctors could learn to choose their words carefully, some of these more dire cases may not happen. It may all be in the language and the attitude, and how they convey the diagnosis to the patient.
The Power of Unbelief
But the onus of responsibility falls upon the patient, even if the patient doesn’t realize it. The mind that is playing the game is the patient’s own mind. No voodoo priest, witch doctor, or surgeon has the power to kill solely with words. The patient kills him- or herself with the belief in those words. And they can heal themselves just as well.
Interestingly, hypnosis is one way to “unbelieve” a belief that one might die by changing the expectancies of the patient and ridding anxiety and associated stressors.
So the curse can be uncursed by the very same power used to place the curse.
Suggestion. You will die. You will be well.
It all depends on which statement your mind chooses to accept and believe.
By breaking the cause, or the cycle of belief, we see the physical result, the effects, change. By instead believing that we are more powerful than the suggestions and thoughts of others, perhaps we block their bad Mojo from sneaking into our brains like a viral disease, infecting us until we fall to our demise — even when we were never really sick to begin with.
This article was excerpted with permission from the book:
The Déjà Vu Enigma:
A Journey Through the Anomalies of Mind, Memory and Time
by Marie D. Jones & Larry Flaxman.
This article was reprinted with permission of the publisher, New Page Books a division of Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ. 800-227-3371. ©2010. All rights reserved.
About the Authors
Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman are the authors of 11:11 The Time Prompt Phenomenon and The Resonance Key. They are the founders of ParaExplorers.com. and have been featured on many radio shows, including Coast to Coast AM With George Noory.
Marie is the best-selling author of 2013: End of Days or A New Beginning? and PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena. She is a highly regarded and popular speaker on science, metaphysics, consciousness and the paranormal and has appeared at major conferences and events. She has also lectured to local and regional meet-up groups, networking organizations and libraries, bookstores and author events.
Larry Flaxman is the founder and senior researcher of ARPAST, the Arkansas Paranormal and Anomalous Studies Team, and serves as technical consultant to a number of paranormal research organizations. He has been actively involved in paranormal research and investigation for more than 10 years and has authored many articles and been featured in numerous newspaper, magazine, radio, and television interviews.