Flim-Flam Adam on The Hour
with George Stroumboulopoulos
A few years ago the parents of a young teenage boy started a web site to raise the public's awareness of their son's healing powers. Over the last few years they have been able to convince the press that his powers are real, and yet they have failed to present any evidence that any of this is true. This blog is dedicated to set the record straight.
Here is a short list of other web sites, links and blogs about other Dreamhealers, or Dream Healers. They may not be in English. Dreamhealer - the movie
The opera is based on Timothy Findley’s PILGRIM. It will be performed at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Focused on Carl Jung at the Burghőlzli Clinic in Zűrich, it is a story about disintegration of the psyche. The opera will stimulate discussions of psychiatry and mental health. The collaboration of unusual partners will promote a cross-fertilization of ideas, a deepening of understanding, and solidarity across diverse segments of society.
On August 29, 2007 I received an e-mail with an attachment that threatened a lawsuit against me. The term "defendant" was used as if I had actually been served with legal papers by a court. If you really want to read about Adam Dreamhealer, his struggle to trademark his company's name, and the threats to free speech by his entourage, then I think you need to eliminate the confusion right now.
On August 29, 2007 I received an e-mail with an attachment from a Vancouver lawyer who said that he was acting on behalf of Dreamhealer Inc. The letter warned me not to make the contents of the attachments public.
The lawyer alleges that I am using the trademark "DreamHealer" without authorization as part of a domain name of a website that was started by me back in July 2005. It was then named "dreamhealer.blogspot.com". In every instance where the name dreamhealer appeared it was followed by a TM, indicating that it was indeed a Trademark.
Since this new lawyer is supposed to be an expert in internet law, you would expect him to know the difference between a domain name, a website and a blog.
He said that the name of the site in question had a "domain name" that would create "a likelihood of confusion", in part because it was "nearly identical to the plaintiff's mark".
In addition, the lawyer stated that, "...there was a high degree of competitive proximity as both the defendant and plaintiff had sites competing for Internet users searching for the plaintiff's mark, and because any confusion resulting from defendant's use of the plaintiff's mark as his domain name and home page address is likely to be destructive to the image of the plaintiff..."
The attorney stated that the plaintiff was the senior user of the mark, and that my site was likely to be destructive to the image that the plaintiff has established. Remember, the old blog was established in July 2005. In my opinion, any image that the holder of the trademark had developed over the years was absolutely his own doing.
If he wanted to protect his image, then over the last decade or so, he and his flock of true believers, including his parents, should have clearly been able to prove once and for all to the world that he indeed had cured cancer, multiple sclerosis, and a myriad of other terrible medical conditions. Unfortunately, his image has not established that he can do anything remarkable, or indeed that he has been able to enable others to do the same.
This recent attempt to silence me was not the first time that a lawyer has tried to intervene on behalf of Adam McLeod and his parents. In the Spring of 2005, my U.S. based ISP was threatened because I actually had the balls to just discuss Adam Dreamhealer. Since the issue was one of the freedom of speech and opinion the issue went no further than a letter or two between myself and their attorney.
Over the years, Adam McLeod and his family has been clearly exposed in the media by journalists and scientific experts. Their claims have never been supported by science. Now, why is it that they have to raise the trademark again?
Is the Dreamhealer organization really afraid of this two-year-old blog?
Does it have something to do with the fact that it has taken them years to get their trademark recognized in the United States Patent and Trademark office? A visit to the web site of the USPTO will reveal when they originally applied for the trademark, and how many stumbling blocks and changes of lawyers that occurred.
"pre-packaged, pre-recorded videotapes and DVD's featuring visualizations for self empowerment, lectures and workshops on healing, self-empowerment and wellness."
It may not be obvious to their new lawyer, who I had personally contacted in November 2006 when I heard him on the CBC discuss defamation on the internet, that their trademark in the U.S. in no way removes my right to operate a web site, blog, or even use the name dreamhealer. There is no confusion at all to anyone who can read English.
Nobody who does a Google search for Dreamhealer, could possibly be confused.
I suggest that the lawyer may want to ask Adam McLeod or his parents if they know who may be responsible for healthwatcher.wordpress.com
Anyone who needs to actually reach Adam McLeod and his family's web sites or blogs can link to one of the following:Anyone who would like to leave their feedback please contact me.
By Andrew MacLeod
May 23 2007
Does his presence boost, or discredit, a UVic alternative health conference?
Simon Fraser University psychology professor Barry Beyerstein once organized a test for Adam McLeod, who until recently used only a first name for his public appearances and who now goes by Adam Dreamhealer.
It was about six years ago, when Dreamhealer was still in high school and building a reputation as a healer who connects to people's "holographic energy fields" to help them heal themselves. Now 20, Dreamhealer is a popular alternative therapist and the author of three books. His six-hour workshop this weekend at the Body Heals conference at the University of Victoria sold out weeks ago at $110 a ticket, an admission separate from the rest of the conference.
Dreamhealer has many fans who attest that he is doing something special. Others, including Beyerstein, call him a likely fraud. His presence is a knock against the credibility of the conference on integrated health care, the university and the other presenters, they say.
"At first I wasn't interested," says Beyerstein, recalling the invitation to test Dreamhealer's abilities. Dreamhealer's father kept trying to arrange a meeting between the professor and Dreamhealer, however, and eventually Beyerstein agreed to talk with the boy.
Having been told Dreamhealer could tell people what illnesses they have even over great distances, Beyerstein asked Dreamhealer to diagnose him over the phone. "He tried to diagnose me and it bombed horribly," he says. "He told me stuff that was not true and missed stuff that was true."
Still, Beyerstein agreed to organize a more thorough test. He would gather a room full of people, each with some kind of illness. Dreamhealer would have gone around the room and said what he believed each person had. The professor would keep track of how many Dreamhealer got right and wrong, and would have been able to say whether Dreamhealer could really do what he claimed.
The next step would have been to have Dreamhealer attempt to heal each of the people, then to later measure whether their health had improved at all. The researcher wouldn't have been able to say how Dreamhealer's magic worked, but he would have been able to say if it worked.
"It was a fair test," says Beyerstein. "We would have told the world if he passed."
But with the test all ready to go, Dreamhealer's parents pulled him out of it. Beyerstein says, "It was such a simple test I can only assume the reason they backed out was he couldn't pass it."
Asked why he decided not to put his powers to Beyerstein's test, Dreamhealer says he was 14 at the time and trying to understand what it was he could do. "I can't remember exactly what happened," he says, but in the end he and his family decided Beyerstein was too closed minded to evaluate Dreamhealer's gift.
"I'm a very scientifically minded person," Dreamhealer says. He's in his third year of a molecular biology degree at a Lower Mainland university he asks not to have named in the article. "I'm participating in many different scientific studies now. I just don't do it with skeptics who aren't going to change their mind."
Beyerstein says his mind is open, but he's also committed to what's known as evidence-based medicine, supporting treatments that can be shown to work. "We're not hostile to any of these things. If they worked it would be medical malpractice not to provide them." Warren Bell is a Salmon Arm family doctor and the president of the Association of Complementary and Integrative Physicians of B.C., the organization behind the second Body Heals conference at UVic. Dreamhealer is a "lightning rod" who draws criticism, Bell says. "It's funny. It muddies the water. [Critics] are not totally wrong. There is flim-flam involved in some of the models that are used." He adds, "They forget what we are trying to do, all of us, is just help our patients."
Others think Dreamhealer's "the best manifestation of what healing's about," Bell says, and it makes sense to include him in a conference aimed at encouraging people to integrate different therapies in a holistic approach to their own health.
"There's something inherently logical in using all therapeutic options that you feel comfortable with," says Bell. "That doesn't mean one abandons reason," he adds. When his patients come to him wanting to try some untested therapy, he asks if there's any evidence that it's harmful and whether or not the treatment is exorbitantly overpriced. If it passes on both counts, he says, "The only thing you can do, because nobody's going to spend much money on research on this . . . I say try it, see if it makes a difference."
Alternatives might include nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, vitamins and chiropractic care, says Bell. "The conference is based around one primary issue, the notion of an integrated health care system, meaning a system where all therapeutic options have a place."
Western medicine's chemical approach to health is too simplistic, he says. "It's an illusion of exactitude as opposed to the reality of complexity."
The conference will also look at the relationship between individual health and environmental health, including a keynote talk by geneticist and environmentalist David Suzuki. Says Bell, "If we don't make decisions about our ecosystems that are sensible, then we suffer the consequences."
With B.C. engaged in a government-led "Conversation on Health," he adds, it's a good time to be adding a holistic perspective to the public discussion. "I think the real underlying reason why we're doing it is there's a sense there's enough momentum both within professional and public circles that a conference like this will potentially have a catalytic effect," he says. "We're not here to be a flash in the pan. We believe these issues are serious issues."
Royal Roads University is a partner in the conference, which meets the accreditation requirements of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Doctors who attend the conference can use it to show they are staying up to date in their field.
Daniel Loxton, a journalist who writes for Skeptic magazine, says for him Dreamhealer's presence drags down the rest of the conference, much of which is likely legitimate. "It does impair the ability of people like the panelists at a conference like this to gain acceptance of the treatments they're promoting," he says. It may even detract from keynote speaker Suzuki's message. "It does a little bit colour his ecological views to be associated with something that's almost certainly fraudulent. That's too bad, because his views are important."
As it happens, Dreamhealer has been working to bring an air of scientific legitamacy to his work. He has been doing electroencephalographic, or EEG, tests, where he's managed to change a person's brain waves. According to a passage posted on his website in January based on four EEG readings, "There were no remarkable changes when Adam was not active but there was a very specific increase in Theta brainwave amplitude in the frontal brain regions when Adam directed his energy toward the target person."
Diagnosing a disease, with all its cultural variables, is subjective, Dreamhealer says, so he sticks to mathematical things that can be measured, such as the patterns a person's brain waves make when he's working on them. "There's an enormous amount of scientific proof behind it," he says. "The only real debate is we don't understand all the mechanisms behind this."
But what about proof that he can actually do what he says he can do? There are countless testimonials, both written and on video, on his website, he says, where people say he influenced their health. "Anyone who is looking at that, very clearly people are being helped," he says. And there are more that aren't up on the website yet. "There are so many I don't have time to upload them."
Loxton says that while some people say Dreamhealer has helped them, without testing nobody can be sure why somebody's health improved. "Correlation is not causation," he says. "That's why these anecdotal cases are so limited in their value."
Promoting a treatment that's not evidence-based comes with a big dose of responsibility, says Loxton. "[Dreamhealer] does get under my skin. It's not him in particular. He's no more despicable than anyone else in this line of work . . . For anyone to have the gall to meddle with someone's life like that, its really low down."
While there are doubts about Dreamhealer's medical success, there's no doubt he's done well financially. He made heaps of money while still in his teens, and continues to get rich. He no longer gives individual help, which critics note has more opportunity for error or failure, but he says he does about one workshop a month. This weekend's workshop at UVic will gross over $30,000. Last July, a television reporter asked Dreamhealer if he's a millionaire. He said, "Yeah. You know, with three best-selling books and doing workshops across North America, yeah."
SFU's Beyerstein says there are times the lines between alternative health treatments and mainstream medicine blur. Many drugs have been developed from plants, for instance. Still people should be cautious about counting on untested treatments. "If it really worked it wouldn't be alternative anymore," he says. "Feeling better is not the same as getting better. What all alternative medicine does is it treats the feeling of illness not the symptoms of disease."
Dreamhealer cautions on his website that his services aren't a replacement for seeing a health professional, but Beyerstein worries some people will put more faith in Dreamhealer than they should. "I've seen many cases where medical quacks and faith healers have strung people on who had serious conditions that were treatable," he says, citing the example of Tyrell Dueck, a Saskatchewan boy who didn't get a mainstream treatment for his bone cancer. "He died at 14 because of the belief system of his parents," says Beyerstein. "I have a stack of stories like that."
People like Dreamhealer prey on people at a time when they are desperate. "People will suspend disbelief when they're told something they really want to believe," he says. "He's selling hope. The will to believe is very strong and he's re-enforcing a whole cosmology or world view that's the antithesis to the scientific beliefs I hold."
The Body Heals Conference runs May 25-27 at the University of Victoria, full program $535. See www.bodyheals.ca for more information.
Curezone.com's web site is one of the finest examples of the promotion of medical quackery today. Somebody claiming to be the parent of a 16 year old boy called themselves flmcl. They made a series of bizarre posts clearly aimed to procure business for their son. Their original web site was registered in 2000, when Adam about 14 years old. The story about Ronnnie Hawkins and his alleged pancreatic "cancer cure" wasn't made public until 2003 in an issue of Rolling Stone, and the Globe and Mail.
Thread entitled Inoperable Tumors - December 2002. Here are just a few posts made by flmcl
1. My 16 year old son is a healer. He just recently cured someone of inoperable pancreatic cancer. When he treats someone he does it long distance (quantum theory). All he needs is a clear face picture of the person with cancer. All they have to do is sit still for the 15 minute treatment. It will take about 5 treatments (one per day) to determine if the treatment is working. I also need someone with an email so I can monitor the results. No money required, just honest people to relay the results. He can only work on one person at a time so I will take the first one who comes along. He would prefer someone who is not presently on chemo or who's cancer hasn't spread. Before you become too skeptical about this, just think about all that he required of you to find out if it works. [They are looking for honest people. But, what about them?]
2. Your situation sounds perfect for my son. If we can get some treatments done before your next ctscan that would be great. Send me a clear color face picture.
I need an email address so we can monitor the changes. [It's clear that the poster was telling people that their son could cure cancer. This e-mail address belongs to Frank McLeod, who in fact is Adam McLeod's father. But, we don't know if it was his mother who may have actually posted it, or even Adam himself. ]
[A copy of the text of a letter that Mrs. Elizabeth McLeod sent to the British Columbia MS Society using Frank's e-mail address in 1996 about the need to include references to alternative health treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. She stated that "mainstream medicine has nothing to offer"].
3. Send a clear colr face photo and I will let you know if we can help. We are already working on a number of people. You will be the last one we try for a couple of weeks. Don't delay because I have a waiting list of people with other illnesses. I would like to try you because it sounds doable. We have good success with people who aren't on chemo and the cancer hasn't spread. [This is utter and complete rubbish. Yes, "complete success" my ass. Lies, lies, and more lies.]
4. Hello Libby,
There are a lot of people out there who claim they have similiar abilities (mostly frauds) and that is why people are so skeptical. This included me before I witnessed what my son can do. To really get some sort of an understanding of what is is all about one should try and read Edgar Mitchell's Quantum Hologram
It is very complex but if I try and simplify it there will be a lot lost. Don't be fooled by the many claimed distant healers on the net. There are only a few people in the world who truly have this ability. We all have the potential when we are born but we never develop it for various reasons. There are a lot of people and organizations who actively critizise it with out actualy reading about it. You will even get very educated people who poo poo it even though they know nothing about it. [Now get this - they ask readers to be wary of other distant healers. They are the ones who are frauds. This is totally delusional thinking.]
Adam Dreamhealer unveiled
One of the most outstanding examples of flim flam artistry that has been widely promoted by the press and media are the claims made by the followers of a teenage boy from suburban Vancouver, Canada. Articles in Rolling Stone, MacLean's Magazine, and several in the Toronto Star have failed to present the other side of the story. In fact, a recent Toronto Star article by John Goddard is clearly in violation of the Canadian Association of Journalists' Statements of Principles and Ethics Guidelines. When articles like this appear in the mainstream press the CAJ gets very upset because journalists have behaved badly. They recently issued a press release announcing a "Ethics Advisory Committee" to address this kind of lousy journalism. CTV and Discovery Health have also helped to promote this "miracle" maker without a single bit of evidence. These TV shows have been widely circulated and used to promote Adam to the world. Unfortunately for the people who produced these shows there seem to be no reasonable avenue of appeal to regulators at the CRTC or the cable TV industry. They don't seem to care about things like this. There are some pressing questions and issues that need to be discusssed:
There have been no real miracles, no confirmed healings of any kind, and the scams go on and on. The main problem is that the media, particulary a recent article in the Toronto Star by entertainment reporter John Goddard, has been totally void of journalistic standards. The full page article was NOT in the entertainment section. It appeared on page A-9 on Sunday, July 10, 2005, and included a baby picture of Adam. Patients with cancer and or who suffer extreme pain may have delayed or avoided therapy altogether. Does Adam believe that he is doing a service to humanity or is he just out for the money and the glory? Adam's presentation even became part of an alternative medical group's meeting in British Columbia, and the doctors who attended this meeting received continuing medical education credits. Unfortunately the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the accrediting body for those credits, was never told that Adam would be part of the meeting. In other words, the Association of Complementary Physicians of BC apparently failed to inform the CFPC that he would be there.