Today will be another contribution to our continuing Guest Blog series, brought to you by quack-busting doctor, Terry Polevoy. Over the next few weeks we’ll have some more guest blogs on the docket, but I’d like to remind you that if you’re interested in contributing a guest-blog entry, to email the editor, skepticnorth [at] gmail [dot] com.
Adam Dreamhealer – Are his Intentions Valid?
By Dr. Terry Polevoy, MD
When Adam McLeod (aka The Dreamhealer) began on his dubious path as an acclaimed energy healer in his mid-teens, he was guided by his parents. The bizarre story began when Adam claimed to see auras. He then claimed the power to move objects, including flying pencils and bicycles that did 360 degree flips while he was on it. Then there was the touching moment when he took the pain away from his mother who had multiple sclerosis.
One of the pivotal events in his young life was when he claimed to have a “vision” of a big black bird. His family launched an expedition to Nootka Island off the coast of Vancouver, B.C. where they claim to have encountered a four-foot tall black bird. In fact, he even published the bird’s picture in his third book “The Path of the Dreamhealer”.
The bird supposedly telepathically delivered complex scientific information to Adam. Following this mind-bending experience, his family evidently came up with a brilliant idea: Instead of asking that proper medical or psychiatric consults be arranged, they launched his career as a distant healer that has sustained him to this day. His family established a web site called distancehealing.com to promote their son in June 2000. At that time, Adam would have been about 15 years old. Why would they do that?
Over the years they tried to protect his identity. In the early days he would never appear on-camera or allow his face to be shown outside of his workshops that filled hotel and university auditoriums. His career as a “healer” reached its peak when in September 2002, after looking at what he called a “hologram” of a picture of Ronnie Hawkins, he claimed to have cured him of what was supposedly a very nasty pancreatic cancer. By the way – no cancer was ever found!
But, that hasn’t stopped Adam from still dragging Hawkins’ name around and pointing it out in the series of articles and media appearances over that last half-decade.
I started posting on my healthwatcher.net web site about Adam in 2004 and I’ve been able to gather a lot of information on him, including his real name, and his parents names. Once I posted this information, others helped in exposing the family on the internet. In 2005 Adam and his family hired a Vancouver lawyer to try to stop my site, including the threats of a lawsuit. This failed miserably, but he did try to shut down the website several times over the next four years.
Rolling Stone Magazine picked up Adam’s story, as did a number of other magazines. A prominent Toronto Star article by John Goddard was one of the most difficult for skeptics to digest, as it was a puff piece for cancer quackery. TV crews headed to the Vancouver area and documentary film crews devoured the story as if it was real. Not a single skeptical mainstream media outlet questioned any of this. Not one.
ABC’s PrimeTime, a mainstream American show, profiled Adam in a John Quinones Special in 2006. The videos appeared regularly on the Dreamhealer’s websites. It seemed to be a clear violation of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Did ABC news care?
In December 2007 he appeared in the Vancouver studios of CBC-TV on a primetime show called “The Hour” with George Stroumboulopoulos. The CBC has since taken the show down, but you can still see it on YouTube. Again, this is a clear violation of copyright laws.
Adam McLeod was enrolled at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. and graduated in 2009 with an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology / Biochemistry. He proudly calls himself a “molecular biologist” on all of his web sites, press releases and appearances. He claims to be enrolled in a naturopathic college, but the two most logical ones in Seattle and in the Vancouver area deny that he is a student there.
In early October 2009 he once again tried to get my websites shut down by claiming that a picture of his DVD was placed on the healthwatcher.net website which he claimed was a violation of the U.S. law, the DMCA. Without any warning, my websites, all of them, were shut down. An appeal was filed immediately, but my ISP, Bluehost.com, located in Provo, Utah was not going to budge.
My medical office web site was shut down, and the other health-related web sites that I managed were finally restored after three weeks. Friends and supporters of Adam McLeod didn’t have much to say when the web site reappeared. It is unlikely that McLeod will ever try to remove the web site again.
My blogs about Adam remain untouched on Google because they refuse to take action against bloggers unless there is a court order.
Meanwhile, Adam seems to have grown fond of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, where he holds regular workshops at the naturopathic college’s main auditoriums. His latest ventures have been his Global Intention Heals Project. The most recent one in early November 2009 was quite interesting. A subject named Christine was hooked up to an EEG and video taped to see if people around the world could influence her brain waves, etc. You can read what she has to say on this blog inRepose.com.
McLeod’s supporters rally around their guru, just waiting for him to reveal the results of project. As of November 22, 2009 there are no results.
Those who want to visit Adam’s web site can sign-up for his newsletter and follow his career. In my opinion, he intends to continue these workshops because people will always want to feel that they are in control of their health, and they don’t mind spending a few hundred dollars to do that. But, what does Adam’s conscience tell him when he’s done with his hard work for the day, waving his hands around his head, going in and out of trances, and giving back all of the secrets of the universe that was bestowed upon him by the big black bird?
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Dr. Terry Polevoy is a medical doctor who lives and works in the Kitchener-Waterloo, and London, Ontario area. He graduated from Michigan State University where he obtained his B.S., and then completed his medical degree at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Western Ontario, and at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He became interested in alternative medicine early on in his practice in both the United States and in Canada. After many years of experience he became totally disillusioned with the growth of blatant quackery in medicine, and the acceptance of bogus practices by mainstream medical organizations, and government funded institutions.
Steve is a professional music teacher living in Kitchener, Ontario. He studied recorded music production at Fanshawe College, and Political Studies/History at Trent University, where he specialized in political economy and global politics. He is an amateur astronomer, and an award-winning astro-photographer. Steve also runs the blog, Oot and Aboot with Some Canadian Skeptic." can can be followed on Twitter, @SomeCndnSkeptic.