• Cult of Antoine the Healer (Grey River Argus, 6 February 1911, Page 2)

    CULT OF ANTOINE THE HETLER [sic]

    GUM-CHEWING MYSTIC
        A message received in England from Brusells, dated December, states that a petition has been forwarded to the Chamber of Deputies, bearing '60.000 signatures, asking Parliament to recognise "Antoine worship" as legal. Whatever answer is given to this singular request, the personality of Antoine, called the "Healer" is very interesting, and his hold over thousands of Belgians is a singular instance of the faith of mankind in one of their number.
        Antoine was formerly a miner. Having inherited a little money, he abandoned his work and devoted himself to spiritualism. Ha proved to be an excellent medium, and he often received - according to his followers - visits from spirits.
        These spirits dictated long messages purporting to com from Heaven. One day they told him he was ordered to exercice the gift of healing. Antoine thereupon visited the poor of his parish, spoke to them of spiritualism, and is said to have effected several cures.
        Antoine was soon besieged by sufferers who begged hom to relieve their ills. He is now greatly popular in the valley of the Meuse, and especially in the valley of Jeuneppe, his native village.
        Two years ago Antoine said that he was ordered to preach, and he has thus become the centre of a new religion. A church was built at Jeuneppe, for which £4000 was raised in a week. Antoine lives near the church, which is overcrowded every day with folowers.
        The "Healer" refuses to accept money for his services, and he is as poor-to-day as when he began the strange missionary work.
        The doctrine of Antoine's religion is rather obscure. He teaches that goodness must govern the world. He believes that the human body is controlled by fluid magnetism, and that the magnetism of one person can overcome the evil magnetism of another.
        The services in Antoine's church are very simple in character. The 'Healer' and his congregation concentrate their thoughts, and Antoine gets into fluidic communication with the minds of the worshippers. When he feels that good influences predominate, he speaks under the power of the spirits.
        Antoine's followers obey him unhesitatingly in everything. In apparance he is a tall, rather round-shouldered man, with grey hair; he wears a black frock coat, but is always without a hat. He chews gum continually.

    source : Grey River Argus, 6 February 1911, Page 2
    www.paperpast.natlib.govt.nz


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