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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Arigó, José (1918-1971) Brazilian José Pedro de Freitas took the name Arigó when he achieved fame in 1950 as a native healer. He claimed to be able to operate on the human body without making incisions, though in some cases he did use a simple, unsterilized pocketknife. Arigó said he had the spirit of “Dr. Adolfus Fritz” whispering in his right ear. This German “medical student” is supposed to have died in the 1800s, though there is no trace of evidence that such a person ever existed.
      Arigó would hand out illegibly scribbled prescriptions to his patients. The only person who could read these was his brother-in-law, who fortunately owned the local pharmacy and thus filled all prescriptions produced by Arigó. A medical team headed by Dr. Andrija Puharich, admittedly unable to understand the prescriptions, issued a statement saying that Arigó——an uneducated man——had never made an error in the issuing of a prescription or in the name of a registered trade name of a drug. That incredible statement was offered as proof of the validity of Arigó's claims.
      Though it was reported that patients felt no pain or discomfort when operated on by Arigó, Puharich's own films show them reacting very strongly to incisions to excise simple boils and lipomas.
      Arigó was convicted in Brazil of the illegal practice of medicine in 1957, was then pardoned, and was again convicted in 1964. He died in a truck accident at the age of fifty-three.

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