This page outlines the stories of 11 people who were healed after prayer, and whose stories have been well documented.
The source of the first story is the heart surgeon involved, Dr Chauncey Crandall of Florida, a respected cardiologist in the US (as this summary shows) with over twenty years experience. He has performed heart operations in many hospitals and holds professorships in several universities.
The other 10 case histories come from the book The Miracles by Dr H Richard Casdorph an experienced doctor and medical researcher who has published more than a hundred research papers in a career that has spanned almost 6 decades. In the mid 70s he undertook a research project with a difference. He interviewed ten people who claimed to have been miraculously healed of serious conditions. He examined all the case histories – X-rays, medical reports, etc – and also submitted them to medical specialists for review.
In 2006 Jeff suffered a massive heart attack and was taken to hospital where an emergency team of doctors and nurses tried for 40 minutes to re-start his heart without success. They called in Dr Crandall as a cardiac specialist, to confirm Jeff was dead.
“As I entered the ER [emergency room] it was like a war zone. Here was this lifeless body on a stretcher.” Dr Crandall said later. “His face, his arms, his legs were pitch black with death.”
Dr Crandall confirmed what the team already knew, Jeff was dead. However then a “voice” in his head told him to pray for the man. Dr Crandall was sure it was God, so he prayed for Jeff, then stopped the surprised medical team who were preparing the body for the morgue, and directed them to give him one more shock with the paddles. His heartbeat returned almost immediately and Jeff subsequently fully recovered.
This apparent miracle was first recorded by the International Press Association and on the World Christian Doctors Network (which gave no details), and the website of an organisation named ASSIST. It was shown on Fox News WSVN7 Florida, based on interviews with Jeff and Dr Crandall, and you can see a transcript of that video here. Wanting to further verify these stories, I found the same story reported by the American College of Radiology (but it is no longer available), on Fox News and Palm Beach Daily News archive (it was originally a feature story, but is now only in the archive).
The various accounts are not totally clear and consistent (the Fox News print reporter in particular seems to have got some of the facts a little garbled), but agree about all the main details.
Jeff Markin wasn’t exactly a believer before that day but this experience has made him believe there is a higher purpose for his life: “I want to get the right message across that miracles do happen….. I’m so happy I have a second chance.” Dr Crandall comments: “You are speaking to a scientist, a cardiologist, someone who loves medicine. I’ve never, ever seen this. There are always people that do not believe these events, and I will just tell them that it did happen. It was a real story, a real life that was restored.”
Lisa was diagnosed with cancer of the hip when she was 12, but thought it had been removed during the biopsy. The family decided chemotherapy was too traumatic and called it off after one dose, and Lisa was unable to walk unaided. The family were Catholic, though not very religious, and a family friend invited the family to a christian healing meeting conducted by ‘healing evangelist’ Kathryn Kuhlman. The friend fasted and prayed for a week beforehand.
During the service, Lisa felt a warm feeling in her stomach, and Kathryn Kuhlman said someone in her section was being healed from cancer and should stand up. Lisa, against her mother’s wishes, stood up and was able to walk without pain for the first time since the problem had appeared. Lisa was X-rayed several times after than, and it became clear that something strange had indeed occurred. Further X-rays (reproduced in the book) were taken and reviewed by several doctors, and it became clear that Lisa’s hip had been fully restored and the cancer was gone.
Elfrieda was ‘critically ill’ with chronic rheumatoid arthritis, and unable to alk or dress herself when she was taken to a healing meeting by her husband. She had avoided going because “she did not believe in that kind of thing”, but after much prayer by her husband and urging by some friends, she agreed to go. During the meeting she felt that parts of her body that had been in extreme pain were becoming pain-free, and she was able to move them. Dr Casdorph points out that gradual spontaneous remissions can occur with this disease, but “she emerged from this severe disability to complete normalcy within a matter of seconds or minutes. This is not spontaneous remission.”
In 1970, at age 44, Marie started suffering from severe headaches. She underwent brain surgery, and a tumour was removed, but the surgeons could not remove it all, and the biopsy showed is was malignant. The tumour began to grow back, and Marie was not expected to live. The family decided to spend an evening praying for her healing and her husband stayed up all night. He had a vision of the tumour being healed, but Marie seemed little improved when she woke. However she stopped taking her medication, and continued to improve, as visits to her neurosurgeon confirmed, with some amazement The book discusses the medical documentation and reproduces arteriograms.
When multiple sclerosis first affected Marion in 1958, she was not yet 30, pregnant, and she felt numbness in her hands, kept falling over, and generally started losing coordination. But it was not diagnosed for four years, and by then she was dteriorating steadily. Ten years later, she had bad headaches, a deformed forearm, was incontinent, had a marked loss of hearing and vision and was unable to eat or even hold her head up. A friend visited regularly to pray for her and invited her to a Kathryn Kuhlman healing meeting.
Marion at first refused to go, but eventually was taken in a wheel chair. She can’t remember exactly what happened, but during the service she found herself standing up, with her back and limbs straight for the first time in years. She began to walk immediately, and later her surprised doctor found she had been healed of all symptoms, including the deformities. She and her husband became strong believers in Jesus.
Arteriosclerotic heart disease was (and I assume still is) the most common cause of death in the western world.Marvin Bird had his first heat attack at age 46, and over the next 16 years was hospitalised because of his heart condition 17 times. One artery was completely blocked and the others were half blocked (as shown in angiograms reproduced in the book), but he declined a coronary artery bypass because, at age 60, he didn’t think he would survive surgery. He attended healing meeting even though he wasn’t then a believer, and an assistant, believing he had been healed, invited him to stand up. He couldn’t previously do on his own, but now was able to. Doctors later confirmed he was fully healed, and Marvin started to attend church and believe in Jesus.
In 1972, Ray Jackson had a kidney removed in the Duke University Medical Center because of cancer. He recovered well, but two years later doctors had to remove a finger because they found cancer had spread there. However shortly after, they found cancer in his spine, pelvis, breastbone and leg, and this time surgery was out of the question. (Two bone scans are reproduced in the book.) He was booked in for radiation treatment, but advised he could expect to live no more than a year.
Many friends were praying for his healing, and before he began the radiation treatment, he woke in the night to hear a voice tell him he would be healed. The next day he attended a ‘Kathryn Kuhlman miracle service’, during which the pain disappeared instantly. Tests the next day still showed the lesions, but subsequent tests showed that healthy new bone had filled in where the lesions had been. This case is notable because of the wealth of medical detail available from Duke to confirm the healing.
Pearl was a doctor of speech therapy who had suffered from a range of medical problems – arthritis, kidney, gall bladder and liver problems – for most of her life. By the time she was in her sixties she had to wear long-leg braces whenever she was out of bed because of weak knees and many falls. Other physical problems (fainting, headaches, nausea and digestrive problems) also worsened at this time. A devout christian, she began praying for healing in her late seventies, then finally managed to get to a healing meeting. During the meeting she felt an unusual ‘grinding’ sensation in her body, beginning with her left hip and gradually moving around her whole body and ending in her neck. She couldn’t take the leg braces off in public to test her healing, but next morning she was able to walk unaided and regained full movement. She was fully healed.
Over just a few weeks, Anne began to have serious problems reading, speaking and remembering. A series of brain scans (some of which are reproduced in the book) and visits to different specialists revealed she had a lesion that was increasing in size, consistent with a tumour. However following prayer from a prayer group and at a healing service, further scans showed no evidence of an abnormality. Dr Casdorph comments: “This lady’s brain abnormality was well documented by the standard diagnostic techniques and she was seen by many specialists.”
Paul, a successful businessman, was admitted to hospital with severe gastrointestinal bleeding after fainting several times. He required many blood transfusions over several days. he had only recently begun to attend church, and his minister visited one morning and prayed for him. The minister said that he had been healed, but doctors would not release him until his condition was re-tested. All tests showed the bleeding and ceased and there were no abnormalities. paul’s condition before and after were “well documented by medical records”.
Delores had severe spinal problems and pain for years, necessitating four spinal fusions and two cordotomies ( a procedure that disables part of the spinal cord to reduce pain but results in no feeling in the legs). For fourteen years she wore a body cast and neck brace to relieve the pain and enable her to walk. At the end of this time, the doctors told her there was little they could do for her, she had so many conditions, but that she could prolong her life by staying still in bed, advice she was unwilling to take.
Although she was a christian, she didn’t believe in divine healing, but she was persuaded to attend a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting. She experienced a burning sensation in her legs (the first thing she had felt in her legs for a time) and was completely healed. She was also strongly renewed in her faith. Dr Casdorph says he has medical records for Delores “an inch thick” showing seven serious spinal procedures and the increasingly desperate medical diagnoses, culminating in the doctor’s acceptance that she had “gotten an excellent result physically”.
What we can learn
It is a sad fact that many people we pray for are not healed, but these stories encourage us christians to continue to believe in the power of God to heal, and to continue to pray.
But what is the value of such stories for convincing non-believers that God is alive and active?
It is my experience that non-believers can have two quite different responses.
- Many have a general belief in God, and are happy to believe in miracle healings. Such stories encourage them, and may be useful in stirring them to seek God.
- Others are more sceptical. They say they will only believe in something when there is evidence. But when offered good evidence such as is in these case studies, they tend to take a different line and say miracles are unscientific and cannot possibly happen, so the stories cannot be true. This is a reflection of an argument by 18th century philosopher David Hume, who argued that, since a miracle is by definition a rare event, it is always more likely that there is another explanation than that the evidence should be believed. Hume’s argument has been refuted (some would say only ‘contested’) but it is still used. I think the evidence of healing miracles is still useful in discussion with these sceptics, but only if either (1) we have first hand knowledge of the healing, or (2) it is very well attested, as in the cases here.