Bulgaria Miracle Healers - Cashing in on Downturn, Despair
Dimitar Zahariev, dressed up in a white suit, walks, quite rudely, a patient out of his consulting room as dozens of people wait in a corridor with a an old worn out parquet floor, shabby sofas and numerous photos of people with red marks in the nape of their neck.
”Questions are forbidden during consultations,” he warns them.
His face is well known even to those who come here for the first time. Dimitar Zahariev has already paraded his self-touted healing skills at a number of local television channels, to preach about what he has described as his “born in heavy labor” doctrine or even science – egology. People often call him Bulgaria’s Zhirinovsky for his radical statements and the propensity to brag about his magical gift.
“This is not a service, this is a privilege,”says Zahariev, when asked about booking an appointment at his private office. Here he provides cure for what he has tagged as the Emotional Breakdown Syndrome, which manifests itself on the human body though a flashy red spot on the neck. The healing procedures often include dubious body contacts, but candidate patients come in droves.
“We have been married for six years but we could not have a baby. We have met with all kinds of doctors, we have done all kinds of tests and we knew the problem was infertility. Thanks to the science of egology and our visits here for the last three and a half years, things have changed. We are expecting our first baby in four months,” the Dechevis say.
The meetings with Dimitar Zahariev, at his office or via the television screen, will protect them from new disasters, they believe.
The television one-man show, hosted by this man, is just one of the numerous psychic programs of clairvoyants, soothsayers, fortune-tellers and astrologers with special powers, which have turned into a social phenomenon in Bulgaria.
The business of miracle healers is booming in Bulgaria as never before on the back of the economic crisis, Bulgarians’ despair and their predilection for mysticism and superstitions. These pushy women can be seen standing in front of hospitals, their ads feature in newspapers and on the internet. It is hard to avoid meeting them even in downtown Sofia.
More often than not, following these sessions, the patients end up with double-digit bills, rather than a solution to their problems. The promise to solve virtually any problem whether it's regarding love, career, finance, stress or illness however have made the miracle healers so popular in Bulgaria that they successfully compete with the medics from the health care sector, left in tatters after the collapse of the communist regime.
Once banned by Bulgaria's communist authorities and seen as a revolt against the regime, today clairvoyants, soothsayers, fortune-tellers, astrologers and universal saviors show enviable skills for survival in the globalized world. They lift a curse via e-mails, say what the future will bring via ICQ and lead online studies for candidate witches.
”Get in touch with me on Skype in about two weeks. I am sure you will feel much better. If you still have a problem, I can melt the bullet while you are on the phone or online,” Daniela tells her next client. A 40-year-old widow with platinum blond hair, hypnotizing manicure, obese body and voice of a messiah, she has the same oriental flavor that distinguishes every self-proclaimed “shaman” in the Balkan country.
In her modest house at the end of a street in the suburbs of a small Bulgarian town Daniela welcomes many desperate people every day. Today a dozen have lined up waiting for their turn, braving the scorching sun. Most of them are women with children.
One can feel in the air the despair of the people, helpless to cope with unemployment, family dramas and health problems. To keep away the evil powers, the “clients” bring a piece of lead, which Daniela melts and pours into a cup over their heads, stomachs and legs. The people are told to keep the lead in their beds for fifteen days and throw it into the river on the morning after.
Until recently the criticism in Bulgarian society against these self-proclaimed healers went no further than the comments on late night TV shows. Now however the government wants to distinguish this charlatanism from psychotherapy. Irena Sokolova, an MP from the ruling GERB party, has initiated a bill to translate this into a law.
”Psychotherapy should be practiced only by people who have been educated in this field” says she.
But experts fear that the legislation wouldn't do much to put an end to the booming business of clairvoyants and miracle healers because too many Bulgarians believe in their services.
”The fear of the unknown, the feeling for being helpless when faced with corruption, the insecurity and instability that marked the period of big changes in the country, makes people look for refuge in superstitions,” says sociologist Iva Todorova.
Daniela scribbles on a piece of paper the name of her new client. Once again in a bid to drive away the evil powers. She explains that her only goal is to help people and half-heartedly admits that she charges money, which should be left on the floor. The cost however is fixed.
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Please be aware of the fact Dimitar Zahariev does not recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of Mankind. If memory serves, Dimitar Zahariev thinks Jesus was an earthly person with a gift, had a lover and progeny.
Consider things carefully and please read the New Testament.
As far as Mr Zahariev is concerned, I have a number of points to make.
1. Has the author of this article ever visited Mr. Zahariev's office? The information she has provided can be termed 'subjective' (for instance - walks quite rudely, Bulgaria's Zhirinovsky, doctrine or even science, paraded his self-touted healing skills, include dubious body contacts) and 'incorrect' ( for instance - an old worn out parquet floor, shabby sofas, when asked about booking an appointment at his private office).
Would the author substantiate on her claims about the dubious body contacts - has she experienced this personally, does she know someone who has experienced this or is everything in this article pretty much based on
anonymous forum posts?
2. Here is the short version of the Decehevis video opinion
Would the author explain me and the other readers where do they state their visits have lasted 'the last three and a half years'?
If the author is referring to the Dechevis in this paragraph, -
'The meetings with Dimitar Zahariev, at his office or via the television screen, will
protect them from new disasters, they believe.' -
this is not mentioned in their video opinion. If the author is referring to the people who visit Dimitar Zahariev's office, then the paragraph may be true for some of them.
3.The author wrote:
“This is not a service, this is a privilege,”says Zahariev, when asked about booking an appointment at his private office.
May I ask the author what the source of this information is. As far as I know, Dimitar Zahariev does not book any appointments.
In fact, when it somes to direct contacts with him, there are no appointments at Egology center. However, there are appointments for 'Zonotherapy' and 'Personal Protection'. To my knowledge, these appointments fall within the duties of the secretary.
4. Where are the shabby sofas and the old worn out parquet floor?
time frame 5:10 - 8:32
5. Would the author care to explain the medical documentation shown in this video opinion -
time frame 08:36 - 19:28
Overall, my impression is that the author may have used Google to gather some information from forums. Each of you can decide how credible this information is.
“Once banned by Bulgaria's communist authorities and seen as a revolt against the regime, today clairvoyants, soothsayers, fortune-tellers, astrologers and universal saviors show enviable skills for survival in the globalized world.”
Where did this come from? Banned by the communists authorities because they were seen as a revolt against the regime???WOW! Aren’t you confusing superstition with religion here, Milena? As a matter of fact, all that was promoted by the communists’ authority. It was a well known fact that many of the Party’s big shots were often consulting with some of the most prominent of the above mentioned in search of advice on variety of matters—like the clairvoyant Vanga who was elevated to the high rank of a deity. There was a rumour that even a church was build in her name. Or do you think Vanga was a saint of Christianity?
The communists were only too happy to promote all those alternatives to religion and clairvoyance was even studies as a science in some universities in the Soviet Union in conjunctions with the subject of physics...
The article says: "The business of miracle healers is booming in Bulgaria as never before on the back of the economic crisis, Bulgarians’ despair and their predilection for mysticism and superstitions.".
Nah, not only Bulgarians.
We all live in a world where "the good old values", whatever they might be, are under pressure.
Times are changing.
Some get confused and spend money on the above mentioned bull. Others start observing, navigating, deciding and, act in a wise way.
Anyway, let the superstisious spend their leva, as they like. No harm done.