Andrija Puharich and Miraculous Trance Healer Pachita

some photos of Pachita
This may be one of the most bizarre of all paranormal case chronologies that have ever been documented.  A biographical book about scientist/inventor/paranormal researcher Dr. Andrija Puharich (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)—author of Uri: A Journal of the Mystery of Uri Geller (1974)—is Memories of a Maverick written by his second wife, H. G. M. Hermans.  The book provides some information about one of the amazing individuals who became a research subject for Puharich, Pachita of Mexico.  What may be learned about her may seem nearly beyond belief to readers who are unfamiliar with nonfiction case chronologies of people who've become channelers to facilitate spiritual healing.  These people include Ray Brown of England (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and the Brazilian healers Arigo (1, 2), who surgically removed a lipoma from Puharich's right elbow during his research; Rubens de Faria, Jr. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5); and John of God (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Squeamish readers should be forewarned that this article reports about Pachita's spiritual healing surgical procedures that may be disturbing to them.  Other books written by Puharich are The Sacred Mushroom (1959) and Beyond Telepathy (1962).
Pachita lived in Tepoztlan in the state of Morelos, Mexico.  Hermans provided some details about her life.  In 1977 Pachita had worked as a healer for 47 years, since she was 30 years old.  She was born in 1899 in Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico out of wedlock.  A black man who was a former slave adopted her.  She passed some of her early years traveling with him as he worked as a rastabout with a Mexican circus.  Her early life experiences included serving as a soldier and nurse in the Mexican Revolution.  She resided in a convent for one year before marrying, having children and living as a housewife.

During Puharich’s visit in November 1977, she gave him permission to lead a group of scientists to study her "instant surgery" methods.  This led to a group of nine traveling to Tepoztlan in January 1978: ". . . as with Arigo, Andrija underwent surgery himself, this time on his ears.  He had for the previous two years been suffering the gradual onset of otosclerosis (spongy bone growth) in both ears, causing progressive loss of hearing.  The operation was to correct this."

The surgery lasted only three minutes.  Pachita instructed Puharich to put one drop in each ear daily of a tincture of unknown contents as a treatment for noise sensitivity.  One month later, he declared himself to have normal pure tone hearing in both ears.  The many operations performed by Pachita that were witnessed by Puharich included human organ transplants.

Hermans included his report on one case of a kidney transplant in a thirty-four-year-old female patient brought by Puharich from the United States to Pachita: "Pachita diagnosed the problem correctly, and opined that the patient needed new kidneys . . . She had been able to obtain a human kidney from a post mortem examination.  It was brought to her placed in an unsterile jar, suspended in ordinary water, and was stored in a kitchen refrigerator."  Describing the operation, Puharich wrote that Pachita sliced the kidney in two longitudinally and transplanted each half separately.  "Next she plunged the knife deeply into one side of the back, twisted the knife around, and asked me to drop one kidney half into the hole.  I was utterly surprised to find that the kidney in my hand was literally 'sucked' into the body of the patient.  When I palpitated the spot where the kidney had been 'sucked' in, I found that the tissue had closed immediately, there was no hole in the skin.  It was awesome!"  The other half was transplanted in the same manner.  The length of the entire operation was 92 seconds.

Hermans attested that a Mexican doctor of philosophy, Dr. Andrés Mateo, was another witness to a wide range of Pachita’s instant surgery including "breathtaking transplantations."  Mateo had written to Puharich about witnessing Pachita "extracting tumors, exchanging whole femurs, or stomachs . . . and transplanting whole brains (!), both kidneys, or a whole uterus.  I personally, with my own hands, have helped to keep open both sides of a woman's skull while Pachita extirpated the woman’s whole brain, and put in its place a whole new one, with bulb hanging and all . . . Something Frankensteinian indeed."

Two other books with eyewitness testimonials to Pachita’s work are The Realms of Healing (1976) by Stanley Krippner and Alberto Villoldo; and Other Healers, Other Cures (1974) by Helen Kruger.  Hermans mentioned about Puharich: "1947 was the year that Andrija was finishing his internship at the Kaiser Permanente Foundation Hospital in Oakland, California" and that he became a commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Medical Corps of the Army in 1943.  The Planetary Association for Clean Energy President Andrew Michrowski observed about him in the Foreword of Memories of a Maverick:
Andrija was an independent agent working in the field of science, essentially self-financed.  His situation fostered a freedom of spirit and an attitude (coupled with high standards) that made him a “maverick.”
He appeared irreparably “unruly” when compared to those run-of-the-mill, “paid-off’, slaving colleagues he laughingly brushed off as “robotniks.”  His hard-won freedom generated and nurtured a conscientiously self-developed pro-humanity, pro-planetary environment political posture.  His politics were unshackled, free from the contemporary technocratic policies based on institutional convenience or rationale.  It was a most natural thing for him, when he felt it necessary, to go straight to a world leader with the facts as he knew them.  With the same esprit, he could undergo no end of physical misery in inhospitable human or natural environments just to get to the gist of a scientific question.  The goal was the same: help others to the greatest extent possible.
The Realms of Healing chronicles Alberto Villoldo’s 1971 introduction to Dona Pachita at her home on the outskirts of Mexico City.  The 'spirit guide' working through Pachita to perform 'psychic operations' was identified as the last great Aztec prince Cuahutémoc (as the name is spelled in this book) who died in 1525.  Villoldo wrote about how she became a healer.
One night she dreamed about a "spirit guide." This "spirit" told her that she would develop as an instrument of the Divine Will. Different "spirits" would come to her, in her dreams as well as when she was awake, to teach her about medicinal plants and herbs, about "spiritual purification," and about "magnetic passes" used in healing.
Villoldo learned that occasionally police officers would arrest her: "Pachita would spend a few days in jail, point out to the authorities that she has never had a casualty, and would be released."  When Cuahutémoc is in control of her body, others no longer address her as 'doña Pachita' but as 'El Hermanito,' 'the little brother.'
Describing procedures that recall the techniques of Arigo, The Realms of Healing provides accounts by Villoldo of brief operations performed by Pachita where a brain tumor the size of a ping-pong ball is removed from an adolescent girl; and in 1974 a cancerous tumor is removed from the urinary bladder of a woman from Texas.  The latter operation is also described in a separate account by another eyewitness, Dr. Gabriel Cousens.  The observations by Cousens includes:

At this point Pachita asked Alberto to help her.  During all this process I noticed a very strong "aura" over Pachita's head.  It was bright white, going up maybe four feet, and then there was another "Aura," extending maybe two or three inches and surrounding her head and neck.  I was perhaps three feet from her, at the foot of the bed.

During this "operation," Pachita cut into the lady's abdomen with the large knife.  I think she might have wiped it clean after the last "operation," but I'm not sure.  She cut the skin while Alberto was assisting.  All this time there was a kind of white glow around the area she was "operating" on.  She removed the bladder and took the replacement bladder one of her attendants had brought in.  She brought it up to her mouth and blew it up with air, then gave it to Alberto, asking him to put it in, with her guidance.

Dr. Cousens also reported observing an operation "of a vertebra being replaced in which I saw the vertebra taken out and a new one pounded in . . . I was very thankful for having been permitted to see that ‘psychic surgery’ really happens."

There is a Spanish language biography of Pachita entitled Curaciones Chamánicas: Pachita, el Milagro de México (1994) by Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum.  I explained the subject of the book to a friend, Nick, who agreed to consider the proposal because he regarded the subject with an open mind.  Nick had lived in Mexico City during his childhood and his mother had occasionally spoken about ‘chamanes.’  When we discussed the book after he read it, he indicated a single case study wouldn't be enough to reach any possible conclusions about the healing phenomena described; this would only become possible upon evaluating a collection of evidence.  He found it intriguing that the spirit of a wise Aztec emperor would choose Bárbara Guerrero nicknamed 'Pachita' to be his instrument.  On the surface, the case presented in the book seemed to evade all rational beliefs of what is commonly considered 'normal.'  Nick appraised, "In the world of chamanes anything is possible if you believe in it."

Nick indicated that Pachita chronicled how Cuauhtémoc 'El Hermano' could materialize living tissues and organs.  The most sensational operations were the heart and brain surgeries.  According to Grinberg-Zylberbaum, Pachita/Cuauhtémoc made it possible for a diseased brain to be successfully replaced with one newly materialized.  Working only with fingers and a rustic knife, Pachita/Cuahutémoc whispered something to the new organ and then without any hesitation placed it inside the skull only with the use of a rustic mountain knife.  Amazingly, the new brain began to work without any complications for the rejuvenated patient.

In the summer of 2006, I scheduled an appointment with a local interpreting company.  A Spanish interpreter with some medical experience named Suzanne read selected portions from the book to me that I recorded on microcassette.  When I eventually listened to the tapes, occasional EVP was audible.  The accounts of the human organ materializations and transplants were what especially intrigued me.  A back cover blurb announced that "Bárbara Guerrero, Pachita, operated with an old rusty knife on patients who were considered without recourse by modern medicine.  She carried out transplants and she materialized organs in front of her surprised assistants."  Suzanne also read a front cover blurb: "The most revealing testimony ever published about the strength of mind over matter."  Listening to a tape of the translation session, at the end of this sentence I heard an EVP "YEAH."

The author’s prologue stated that the book had been reedited for the current edition. Grinberg-Zylerbaum described watching Pachita go into a trance and Cuauhtémoc take control of her body — a complete change of personality that presented a male of unarguable authority demonstrating characteristics expressed by words such as aristocratic, integrity, royalty, peace and certainty.  This "alternative presence received ill people and carried out impressive cures on them, impossible surgeries and transmissions of absolute fantastic energy."  The author wrote further (as translated):
In this book I will describe what I felt, what I experienced during these operations and the different moments that I spent together with Pachita.  There is no phrase in this book that has been invented or imagined. Everything that is described happened exactly as it is described here.  As a matter of fact, after each session and in order not to forget the details of the procedures I dedicated myself to write down what had happened each time what I heard, what I experienced and what I felt during the session.
Although Grinberg-Zylerbaum was the author of more than 40 books, he admitted that he found himself ostracized and regarded as crazy after the publication of the first edition of his book about Pachita.  He expressed that he didn't blame his university colleagues "because only whoever would've had the opportunity to have been with Pachita and see what she did would've been able to accept my descriptions as the witness of what really happened."

The author mentioned that prior to encountering Pachita he'd begun forming what he called "the syntergetic theory."  What he learned observing Pachita brought him the realization that the fundamental structure and base of all reality has the attribute of consciousness. He was shown "within reality there are no limits."

Grinberg-Zylerbaum’s experience with Pachita included participating in the operations when Cuauhtémoc was in control of her body.  One brain operation was described where 'the Brothe' treated a little girl in a vegetative condition.  After the cranium bone was opened, a section of human cortex appeared in Pachita's hand.  The Brother breathed upon it and shouted, "Come alive, come alive."  The piece of cortex was introduced into the girl's cranium and with a series of strange movements was left there.  The wound was closed and at one point the author was invited to place his hands on top of it for a procedure called saturation.  The girl was bandaged and then returned to her parents. Grinberg-Zylerbaum commented:

The operation was carried out with no anesthesia and no antibiotic and considering the magnitude of the seriousness of the operation one would've expected her to get meningitis; however, instead of that, the girl reappeared fifteen days later from the operation with no infection, without having died from postoperative shock and with symptoms of improvement.  As a matter of fact, after four surgeries similar to the one I just described I saw that girl begin to have voluntary movement, vocabulary speech and to start complaining about pain and smiling.

Grinberg-Zylerbaum also witnessed the materialization of a bladder and when 'the Brother' decided the bladder wasn't needed, it disappeared.  The author wrote that he witnessed thousands of operations.  I listened to sections of the book where a small bone was materialized during a femur operation; where cartilage was inserted into a woman's spinal column; and where an optic nerve was replaced; yet the most complex series of events were described during a heart transplant.  The patient José never lost consciousness during the operation.  Grinberg-Zylerbaum watched as the new heart began beating placed on top of the wound.  When two transfusions were needed, two assistants clasped their arms over the patient to deliver an "instant transfusion."  At this instant there was thunder and lightning.  The body of Pachita was observed to become unconscious and two minutes later, as the heart continued beating, a weak voice was heard from Pachita’s body stating "Good night."  Soon the Brother returned to Pachita's body and reassured those gathered, "Everything's fine now. Take care of this man."  At the end of the session, one of Pachita's assistants explained to the author that, "The patient was going to die and so the Brother had to take time, leave Pachita's body completely in order to ask the Lord for the life of the patient.  At that moment the death came and greeted us by saying, 'Good night.'  After that Brother returned and everything was fine."

Among the other details about Pachita that I learned from Pachita, el Milagro de México is that her adoptive father from Africa, Charles, was identified as having taught her the curing profession during the 14 years that they lived together; and that some patients received pre-operation injections of herbal and natural medicines.  An Internet search for information about Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum brought the unexpected discovery that the author disappeared in December, 1994 not long after the new edition of his book about Pachita was published.

In Other Healers, Other Cures (1974) Helen Kruger described her unsuccessful attempt to locate Pachita in the summer of 1972 when she visited Mexico.  While not having been able to locate Pachita in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City, Kruger described being accompanied by two friends and a Mexican physician named Dr. Flores when she met a curendera named Rosa.  Kruger inquired about an allergy that dried her skin and Rosa gave her a brief treatment that included body rubbing and chanting.  Her friends told her that at the beginning of the chant there was a loud clap of thunder and a dog with long red hair wandered in, circled the room, and left.  Rosa prescribed her to take a bath with a branch of roses in warm water every day for seven days.  Kruger didn't follow her advice but admitted, ". . . there have been signs."  She explained:
They began the evening after I saw Rosa.  As I left my hotel, a man carrying a huge basket of roses blocked my path.  Then, at dinner, the maître d’ sent Joanne and me each a lovely rose.  Of course, Rosa’s name means Rose, not to mention Dr. Flores, whose name means flowers.  And what about that red-haired dog who materialized with a clap of thunder?  And just recently, a man who had never brought me flowers before, turned up with . . . a rose.  Maybe the spirits are trying to tell me something.
Roses are a recurring symbol throughout the annals of transcendental communication (incl. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
After interviewing a dozen people who visited Pachita, Kruger wrote about Pachita, "I subsequently learned she'd gone underground when officials began dropping by for their mordidas (bribes) to overlook the not insignificant matter of her practicing surgery without a license." 

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