The soldier, boxer, blackbelt, who healed people through God


Healer and clairvoyant John Cain stood in the local civic hall with his hands on a patient, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and a bottle of whiskey nearby. As you can imagine, he was not typical of many involved in the spiritualist movement, whose attitude at times can tend towards holier than thou. Cain was born in 1931 in the village of Eastham, Merseyside, near Liverpool. During his national service in the Army he was a physical training instructor, and he was also a boxer and black belt in Judo. In 1956 he started his own business as a blacksmith and he became incredibly successful, employing thirty people and driving a Rolls Royce; but he would soon give it all up to devote himself to giving spiritual healing for free to anyone in need. One day, he’d been sitting in the pub with his wife, as he did most evenings, when he noticed he could see something out of the corner of his eye that looked like shimmering mist. Instinctively, he believed this had to be some kind of ‘energy,’ and he felt suddenly inclined to place his hands on a nearby person in the pub who he felt was in need of healing. As he did so, the person’s pain, that they’d been feeling for a long while, suddenly disappeared. Cain is interviewed on an old radio show called ‘Beyond Belief’ for Radio Merseyside, and presenter Kieran Devay says, “Cain smokes up to 50 cigarette a day, swears like a trooper, and is more than partial to Scotch Whisky. He works twelve hours a day, seven days a week. His wife Audrey acts as his secretary, dealing with the hundreds of letters he receives each week asking for his help.” Cain says, “Going back to when I was about five years old my mother suffered with migraines. I just used to rub her temples and the pain would disappear.  At the age of 14 I joined a boxing club. Later on, I practiced Judo for 25 years.” When members of his sports clubs would suffer sprains or other injuries, Cain found he could take away the pain by massaging and manipulating the injured areas of the body. “I found I could take the pain away – but didn’t realise it was the gift of healing.” Cain says he was brought up in the Church of England but as a young man, his interest turned to Spiritualism and what spiritualists call a development circle, where people attempt to make communication with the dead. However, Cain didn’t last long in the circle at his local spiritualist church, for understandable reasons; “We sat in the silence for an hour, and then you say what happened in that hour. Well, the lady sitting opposite me said, “You’ll never believe whose been with me tonight John.” I said, “Well, go on, try me.” She said, “Well, I’ve had Long John Silver with me, and we’ve been walking for hours along the beach.” So, I said to her, “Did he tell you where the treasure’s buried?” She said, “No,” so I said, “Well, let’s go back into the silence, find out where he buried the treasure, and we’ll all go and have a bloody good holiday in the Bahamas.” Then the lady sitting next to her said, “Isn’t that funny Nancy, I’ve had his parrot sitting on my shoulder all night.” Well, I thought to myself, this is the time you bail out John!” After such nonsense, Cain decided he would leave the circle that night, but when he went back the following week to tell them this, one of the ladies in the group became upset and asked him how she would get her healing if he left the group. Cain didn’t understand what she meant and so she explained that since he’d been attending the circle, her back pain had vanished. Then another lady in the group chipped in, telling Cain that she was in a lot of pain that evening and would he be kind enough to put his hands on her. Cain did as she asked, and her pain vanished. This was before Cain had become a healer, and he couldn’t understand how this could be happening. At the same time, his daughter was suffering with a huge number of warts on one of her legs. “Not just a couple of warts, they were like fish scales,” said his wife. “When John came home, he put his hands on her leg. Within a week, there was just marks left, and within ten days the leg was just like anybody else’s.” After this, Cain started to believe he really might be getting help from the Spirits. “I started getting torn between the healing and my business. I completely lost interest in the business. I’d only been going in on Fridays to pay the wages. I was very worried about it – because I was away from it for so much. I wanted to start healing full-time. I went to bed one night very worried as to what I was going to do. I knew what I wanted to do – all I wanted to do was heal, and to hell with the business. So, I went to bed this night and three o’clock in the morning, I sat on the edge of the bed, and I cried, because I didn’t know what to do. Next morning, I got up very early and I’d just sat down with a cup of tea, and then I just felt a wonderful presence around me; you could say a God-like presence, and then I heard my (deceased) father’s voice say, “Don’t worry – born to heal.”   This feeling stayed with me for half an hour, and there; my mind was made up and I’ve been full-time healing ever since.” In 1979, a lady called Pat Sykes was inspired to write a book about Cain. She was a teacher who’d had to give up her part-time job at a local school to look after her 2- year-old daughter who had recently been diagnosed with brain damage. To make ends meet, Sykes wrote freelance articles now and then for the Liverpool Daily Post; a job she could fit around looking after her daughter. One day, a friend suggested she write an article about a local man called John Cain. Sykes had never heard of John Cain, but from her friend’s description of him, he sounded interesting, so she arranged to meet up with him. Sykes was hugely sceptical as she listened to Cain relating examples of patients he had healed. Cain could sense her disbelief, and so he suggested she have a healing session with him there and then. Sykes agreed, and as she lay there, Cain pointed out a place on her spine that he said was causing her pain, as well as a problem with her right ankle. Both were correct, although Sykes had told him about none of this. Both areas on her body were healed by the time Cain took his hands away. Sykes describes what Cain was like; a natural rebel always true to himself and stubbornly refusing to conform to the formalities and rules of spiritualist organisations and what he saw as the inflated egos of those who were involved in them. He often found their mannerisms phoney, and their attitudes higher than mighty, with many of them adopting speech that elevated themselves to appear more important and talented than they really were, he said. He couldn’t abide pretence or self-delusion, and he was not impressed by the many spiritualists he met who claimed to be in trance or guided by doctors in the spirit world – when he could see that they were simply deluding themselves, or more commonly, faking it. He refused to put on airs and graces or adhere to the rigid rules of the spiritualist churches and psychic colleges he visited. He didn’t see the need for it, found it arrogant, and he simply would not comply. When Cain went to the Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Sciences in Stanstead, Essex, he was openly criticised. “Just look at him with a cigarette in his mouth whilst healing” was the carp from two healers at Stanstead…’ Cain was a plain speaking Liverpudlian who never changed who he was, and he didn’t mince his words. His father was a postman and his beginnings very humble. When he discovered he could heal people, he longed to move to a larger house so that he could set up treatment rooms for all the patients who wanted to visit him. He was living with his wife and two children in a small bungalow and there simply wasn’t enough room there for people to be treated. One day, while visiting a child at her home to give her healing, he walked past a house with a ‘For Sale’ sign outside. Instantly, he knew that was where he wanted to move to, and in fact, when he got home, he even told his family that he knew the sale would go through and the man who would purchase their bungalow would be “not a young man, and he has a lame leg.” This turned out to be completely correct, and the sale went through unusually speedily. When they moved in, he immediately assigned some of the larger rooms as his healing sanctuary. His wife became his unpaid secretary and Cain himself never charged his patients a penny.  As word spread locally through Merseyside, his wife would field all the phone calls and the hundreds of letters he received, while Cain treated up to 80 patients a day. Despite being offered huge sums of money by wealthy people living in foreign countries, Cain always refused to take their money and go abroad to work. In one local case, Sykes mentions a man called Arthur Knowles, who was at home one day and becoming increasingly irritated that his wife had not thrown out an old magazine that was hanging around in the living room. As he went to pick it up to put it in the bin, he found himself drawn to an article that had been written about Cain. His wife Eileen was seriously ill with three inoperable tumours. She’d been told that the tumours could not be removed by an operation as the risk was too great. She had received radium treatment at hospital, but her condition was getting even worse. She had burns now too all over her body after the treatment, and the pain was awful. After reading the article, her husband decided to take her to see John Cain. Eileen only went along because she felt she had nothing left to lose. “Time was running out for me,” she told Sykes. She continued to visit Cain twice a week for healing, and soon her pain began to disappear, her diabetes vanished, and all of her burns healed. At the time of speaking to Sykes, Eileen had lived two years longer than the medical professionals had told her she would do so. Cain even healed a blind dog once. According to Sykes, the two-year-old sheep dog “Shep” had gone blind in 1973. His owner Marie Adams heard about Cain and decided she had nothing to lose by taking her dog to see him. When Cain met the dog, he placed his hands on it, and then told Marie, “He will see in about 10 days-time.“ Fourteen days later, Shep suddenly began to see again. Baffled, Marie phoned her vet and, without telling him what had happened, asked him, “Do you think my dog will ever get his sight back?” to which the Vet replied, “It would be a miracle if he did.” Marie then confessed that Shep had already fully regained his sight after paying a visit to Cain. That was six years before she spoke to Sykes, and the dog had continued to have perfect vision ever since. Sykes says, ‘Cain is often criticised for his lifestyle. He still enjoys a drink, speaks plainly as he has always done. He is still basically the tough army PT instructor, the blacksmith in a shipyard.’ Back in the winter of 1977, Fleet Street Journalist for over 20 years and a writer for national newspapers, Alan Whittaker decided to write a series of articles on unorthodox healers. When he told a publisher friend about his intention, the friend told him he’d better meet John Cain then! Whittaker had never heard of him, but just days later he caught a train to Liverpool intent on meeting Cain. Whittaker had interviewed other healers in the past, some of whom called themselves faith healers, others said they were spiritual healers, or Divine healers, but when he met John Cain, Cain simply told him, “I don’t know what I am. I haven’t given it a lot of thought. As long as it works, that’s all that matters. I’ll let others try to figure it out.” Whittaker says, ‘It was typical of John Cain. Although he believes passionately that whatever gifts he possesses are from God, he does not cloak his work in mysticism or religious mumbo-jumbo,’ and he describes Cain as ‘a former blacksmith as tough and uncompromising as the tools of his trade – the anvil, the glowing forge and raw metal.’ Whittaker didn’t simply take Cain’s word for it; he spoke to about 40 of Cain’s patients, all of whom told him that Cain had healed them; one of inoperable cancer, another of blindness, one who could not stand without an aid. Then, Whittaker waited 6 months and interviewed them all again. They were still healed. It hadn’t been self-delusion or any kind of trickery. After Whittaker published the story in the newspaper, the switchboard of the newspaper office was jammed with readers enquiring how they could contact the healer themselves. ‘Letters arrived by every post. Thousands and thousands of them.’ The newspaper office had to hire a secretary just to deal with them. When Radio Merseyside interviewed Cain, the presenter Kieran Devay also interviewed a physician.  “What makes Him different is that while most doctors scorn the work of John Cain the Healer, for Dr. Michael Ozurdia, a general practitioner and worldwide leading researcher on cancer, he actually shares his patients with him.” Dr. Orzurdia says, “Many patients have said that they go to him either regularly or irregularly and they do seem to derive an awful lot of relief and solace from his help. This came to a head more or less about six months or so ago when a patient of mine who I really didn’t know what to do with, she’d reached the end of the line as far as I was concerned, with investigations and treatments, and I was honest and said I didn’t feel I could help her anymore, but I did feel that perhaps she would be helped by someone like John Cain, and that on the basis that she had nothing to lose she really ought to go along and see him. She was quite horrified at this suggestion, but fair play to her she did go along and see him, and unbelievably the very next day she rang me and said how much better she was feeling as a result of her visit to him. And since that time, I’ve seen her on one occasion for a very minor ailment and I understand that she is deriving enormous help from him and has been very well. I suppose I’ve got quite a number of patients that have been going to him in various numbers and for various measures for a while and a lot of them do find that he is very helpful and a lot of them inevitably are people that don’t believe in him and don’t think he can help them; but I must say after this particular episode six months ago, since then I have sent a number of patients to him and in almost every case he has been enormously helpful to them.” The interviewer explains that Dr. Orzurdia had only met John Cain once, when he was sent to Cain’s bedside after Cain had a heart attack, two years previously. “The doctor has not seen how he operates; however, he does know that Cain’s reputation is a healer who is able to perform miracles.” Orzurdia says, “I think he’s a remarkable man. I can’t, like everybody else, understand how it works, and I don’t really believe that he understands how it works, but he has got a gift to help people and he does seem to be able to, and a definite improvement in the health is as a result of his interference. He’s never hurt anybody as far as I’m aware, he doesn’t ask for money, and whilst being a rather larger than life character himself and not stinting himself, and his behaviour with regards to cigarettes and whatever else, he does seem to be able to help with patients, and I would certainly say he’s a tremendous force for good for medicine in my opinion.” A local woman, Sheila Spiers is also interviewed on the show, and she explains that before she sought Cain’s help, she was in a terrible state. “I was bedridden and on Pethidine, a heroin based drug, sleeping tablets, and a very strong nerve tablet and no way could I ever sleep. I was just like an animal, that’s the only way to describe me. I looked 140 years old.” Seven years earlier, she had been diagnosed with incurable, terminal cancer. She’d been bed-bound in agony for the last 18 months. Her doctor had told her husband that at most, she had 6 months to live. He spoke on the radio show too, saying he had been totally shattered by this information and could not bring himself to tell her. “I just didn’t know what to do – there was nothing left to do. They told me she was finished, and that was it.” However, Sheila’s sister had heard about the amazing work John Cain was doing at the local Civic Hall, and Sheila reluctantly agreed to go to along to one of his evening clinics. But when she got there, she was in so much pain that she insisted her sister take her home before she met Cain. Just as they were leaving, someone said, “Go and get John!” Sheila explains, “So John comes over and kneels beside me, and he asked me to close my eyes. I swore at him, I just said “Bugger off, get away from me.” I said, “You and no one else can help me.” He said would you just close your eyes, because I was crying with the pain. So, my sister Maureen, she said “Look kid just close your eyes, for a minute,” so to please her I closed my eyes, and all John did was kneel at my side. He asked my sister where the pain was, and she said well basically at the bottom of her back and in her left side, but now it’s all through her body, so with that, John just placed his one hand on my back, and one hand on my left side, and within the most I could think 60 seconds it was just like a finger entered my spine and it was like a light switch being switched off. I just said, “It’s gone, it’s gone!” I said, “Mate, what the bloody hell has happened here tonight!” I immediately started to get out of my chair and my sister screamed. I’m still amazed, I can’t talk about it, anyone asks me to repeat what happened and no way can I do it without getting choked up. If I die tomorrow, I’ve had seven years from this man which I never would’ve had.” For the first time in months, Sheila was able to stand on her own two feet. “I walked out of that hall and I got into my sister’s car. I got in and out four times, just for the novelty of being able to get in and out of the car on my own!” For her husband who had been waiting at home, he could not believe it when she walked through the front door. Sheila says “I’ve still got the bottle of Pethidine upstairs and all the other drugs. They’ve still got the date on them, and you can enquire from any doctor if I have ever had them since. I never took one from that minute. Now can you imagine, my doctor would only give me four days’ supply, and when we stopped going to the chemist that I used to get them from, the chemist, Mr Swift, he said to Dougie, “Mr Speirs, I’m frightened to ask you. How ill is Mrs Speirs?“ So Dougie says, “Oh she’s fine.” Mr Swift said, “What do you mean she’s fine?” So, Dougie told him what happened, to which Mr Swift replied, “Well, I was so worried, because you haven’t been coming in for your drugs,” so he thought I’d died you see.” The radio show visits Cain’s healing sanctuary at his home where they’re met by psychotherapist Ted Simpson, who places electrodes on the head of one of Cain’s new patients, Elaine Vickers, a bank clerk who suffers with rheumatoid arthritis. The electrodes are a “Mind-mirror” developed by scientists in London; a device that gives a visual representation of brain activity. They are attempting to find out what happens in Cain’s mind when he is healing. Ordinary thinking and analysing shows different results to when a person is in a meditative state and this machine reads the theta and delta waves of the brain. It’s a rectangular box with parallel tubes which display moving dots of red light showing activity in the left and right hemispheres of the brain.  Cain is sitting watching, smoking a cigarette before the experiment starts, and then he is attached to a skin sensitivity metre. Cain then gets up and places a hand on Elaine, and his breathing begins to get deeper. The machine shows that Elaine’s brain is extremely active in a beta state, but Cain’s brain shows slower activity and there’s a symmetry between both hemispheres of his brain. Elaine’s brain then goes into a somewhat trance state and begins to match the brain activity of Cain’s. Their metabolic rate becomes the same. “Whatever Cain is doing with his mind, somehow there’s a matching of her nervous system to his,” says Simpson. He can’t explain how or why, and neither can Cain. A lady called Valerie Jones, who worked in Theatre, was also interviewed on the Radio Merseyside show. She’d developed multiple sclerosis, while also suffering long-lasting injuries from a car-crash. She says, “I had nothing left to fight with. I had run out of all emotional energy. I had no faith, I had no hope.” She was paralyzed down one side of her body. “MS eats energy, so it doesn’t matter how much energy you put into the system, such as eating well or fresh air, the energy drains away, and so I didn’t have any energy to fight or to cope or to do anything at all, and I just emotionally curled up into a ball and thought, Ok, well let’s hope we this gets over with quick.” She was confined to a wheelchair and had lost the will to live. Her mother meanwhile had looked everywhere for a cure for the disease which doctors said was incurable. She tells the radio presenter, “One day there was a newspaper article about John passed to me and I read it with great interest, and instinctively I felt that this was the answer I was searching for; that I wanted to take my daughter along to see John Cain. But my husband was a great sceptic at that point. At the end of the day, I got the paper out and I said to him, look would you just please read this article about this man who is a healer, and he said, well you know my feelings on this sort of thing, I just don’t believe in it, but if you feel that you want to go I will drive you there providing Valerie herself wants to go.” Valerie says, “I didn’t have any faith in God, I didn’t have any faith in this peculiar thing called Healing, and at that point in time it didn’t believe it was in any way possible for me to get better. I thought I’d come to the end of the road, but my mother was suffering from angina and she’d been rushed into hospital and had a sequence of bad attacks and I figured in a sort of strange way that if I stopped arguing with her and just went, to save some of the stress in our relationship, then just possibly it might do her some good, and that was the situation. I spoke to my father before we went into the healing hall and said to him, don’t make any trouble, I know it’s not going to work for me, so we both went in and we sat there and sort of looked at each other, and the first thing I noticed was that it was not like a hospital – everyone was really cheerful, a room full of about 300 -350 people in the Civic hall, and everyone was chatting away quite merrily, and I thought, well, this is a good sign, and then John came in. He didn’t strike me as the sort of person I’d been expecting. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was not this quite natural man who went around smiling and shaking hands with people and laughing and joking. I found that I couldn’t take my attention away from him.” In fact in this instance, because there were so many people waiting to be treated, it was not John Cain who came over to Valerie and her mother but one of his assistants, who simply placed one of their hands on Valerie’s forehead and their other hand on the back of her neck, and suddenly she felt so relaxed that she wanted to lie down, so she did. “The pain and the tension in my muscles was being drawn out; that’s the only way that I can really describe it.” Then Cain himself came over and placed his hands on her. “I didn’t know what was happening to me; all I knew was that something was happening to me, that all the doctors and all the drugs had not had any effect on me, and by the time I left that evening I knew I would get better.” Seven years on and Valerie says she has continued to visit Cain for treatment and her transformation has been remarkable. “I have no symptoms of MS now. I have no paralysis, no extreme energy loss. I have no symptoms of MS – haven’t had for years.” The interviewer asks her where she would be without John Cain, to which she replies, “I’d be dead.” At another patient’s home, the radio interviewer watches as Cain tells the patient to simply relax as he places his hands on her. This time Cain has travelled to the patient’s home, in the London suburb of Chingford. Today he’s treating a lady called Violet Broomfield who is suffering with a case of bad nerves due to her diagnosis of terminal bowel cancer. Her doctor told her she would be dead within 12 months. The interviewer points out that they have obtained evidence that supports this claim. He reads out a letter from her surgeon at Whipps Cross hospital. “With reference to Violet Bloomfield, date of birth 26 7 1941, of 74 Chingford Avenue, London E4, this patient was seen in June this year. She had a laparotomy on the 5th of July and was found to have carcinoma. We discussed this with our surgical colleagues, and they feel that this is inoperable. We discussed this with the patient and her husband Rodney, with the prognosis that we feel must be less than one year. Your sincerely MPS, registrar Dr Sullivan.” The shock of her diagnosis had set her nerves aflame. Her doctors expected her to begin losing weight, become incontinent, unable to eat, and soon die in agony. But then Violet read about John Cain and persuaded her greengrocer husband to take her to see him. “I felt a lot happier when I came back.  We started going up there about once every month, whenever we could make it, for about three or four days at a time, and everyone said to me each time I came home that looked better, and I started putting on weight. I was nine stone at the time and I’m now over 12 stone.” Two years later and she’s still alive.