Matthew Manning Mystifies Scientists. How Can He Heal Just by Touch?

Article excerpt

Byline: ANGELA LAMBERT

THERE have been two crucial events in Matthew Manning's life. The first occurred in 1976 when, aged 21, he watched the dawn break 10,000 ft up in the Himalayas and knew that, from then on, he would dedicate the rest of his life to healing.

The second happened during a busy London workshop. Matthew had been married for 12 years and had two children, but he and his wife had separated six weeks earlier.

It was a time of great personal unhappiness. Yet he found himself overwhelmingly drawn to a woman attending one of his own healing seminars and within weeks, Alexandra Barlow (known as Gig) had become his new partner. Now she provides the smooth-running domestic base he needs.

But the first event was far more momentous. Until then, he had been a psychic phenomenon - almost a freak. Hailed as `the British Uri Geller', his extraordinary and inexplicable energy had baffled scientists and television audiences alike.

Ever since the revelation of his life's purpose in the Himalayas, however, Matthew Manning has become this country's best-known and most respected healer (he doesn't call himself a faith healer because, in his own catchphrase, no faith is required).

He treats sick people by placing his hands on them. A force of energy then enters his subject, so powerfully that it can be felt as intense heat.

This energy works mysteriously, but in most cases, people's symptoms are alleviated, sometimes even entirely cured. He has travelled all over the world,lecturing and holding healing workshops.

Nevertheless, I set out full of scepticism. I do not believe in healers, gurus or UFOs. I have never undergone alternative therapy; I take my illnesses as they come and look to medical science to help me. I was curious to meet Matthew Manning and wondered whether I would `unmask' him or, even more interesting, believe in him.

The discovery of his powers, Matthew explained, goes back to his childhood. He enjoyed what he calls `a very straightforward, middle-class upbringing' in Cambridge with his parents and a younger brother and sister.

`When I was 11 - precisely 30 years ago this month - my father came downstairs one morning and found his Georgian silver tankard lying in the middle of the floor. At first he assumed we'd been burgled, but nothing was missing. Being very logical he checked the shelf it had been standing on, but it was absolutely level and anyway, the tankard wasn't lying below the shelf but in the centre of the floor.

`Three days later, exactly the same thing happened again. The following morning, a vase of flowers had moved to the place at table where my mother always sat. That was the outbreak of years of poltergeist activity.'

A poltergeist is defined as `a spirit which makes its presence known by noises', often accompanied by the unexplained moving of inanimate objects.

It is associated with the presence in the house of pre-adolescent or teenage children, usually girls.

`My father was eventually put in touch with George Owen at Trinity College, Cambridge, the world's leading expert on poltergeists. After Owen had satisfied himself that this activity wasn't being caused by trickery and wasn't due to any kind of demonic possession or intervention, he began to investigate.

`I wasn't frightened by what was going on - children are far less spooked by these things than adults - and in any case, the 1967 outbreak was relatively minor. Small objects would move about or there'd be tapping sounds. After a few weeks it all stopped. I was sent as a boarder to Oakham School in Rutland, Leicestershire.

`Early in 1971, things began to happen again. A book would fall off a shelf. A cushion might fly across the room. When I was at home for the Easter holidays it caused absolute mayhem. Sometimes the only things that didn't move were bolted to the floor or nailed to the walls. …