Why do people turn to alternative medicine? After posing this question last year, Steven Novella said it's not because western medicine is failing. Rather, he explained,
many people have personal experiences with illness and health care, and personal experience can have a powerful influence on our beliefs (even if we are generally science and evidence-based in our thinking). We are apparently hard-wired to find anecdotes compelling, and nothing is more compelling than our own personal anecdotes.
This is very much on display in yesterday's fascinating Wall Street Journalprofile of Kenneth Klee, a top U.S. bankruptcy lawyer who moonlights as a New Age-type healer:
By day, Mr. Klee inhabits the world of high-stakes bankruptcy cases, charging clients such as Jefferson County, Ala., about $1,000 an hour for legal advice. At night, Mr. Klee holds energy healings in a small room of his elegant, one-story home in the leafy Brentwood section of Los Angeles. Mr. Klee said he can talk to spirits, mend broken bodies and wounded souls and, if necessary, perform exorcisms. The suggested donation for a two-hour session is $300.
Testimony came from acquaintances of Klee's who were cured of hand and shoulder pain. Klee's wife, Doreen, was initially a skeptic.
But he overcame her doubts when, he said, she was "possessed by an earthbound spirit and I did an exorcism to get it out of her."
Doreen had developed a mysterious rash after a car accident.
She agreed to lie on Mr. Klee's table in his healing room, while he placed discs called "pulsors" on her. After a while, she went limp and had to be helped into bed. The next day, she said, the rash was gone. The spirit was gone, too, Mr. Klee said. "There are these spirits, and they look for warm bodies,'' Mr. Klee explained over dinner with his wife. "Some of them want to go to the light…This one went to the Astral plane. It was a really lowlife type of spirit."
Get off my cloud, lowlife spirits. [Image via wikipedia]