Depressing. One of the fakest faith-healers of all, Peter Popoff, who was so memorably exposed for a fraud by James Randi back in the 1980s when Randi caught him using a small radio receiver to be fed information on people he was “healing” from his wife, who was reading them off of prayer cards, is back:

And here’s Randi’s original takedown of Popoff from the 1980s:

Scum always rises again, I guess.


  1. #1 tim gueguen
    December 3, 2007

    I don’t in the end Randi’s expose had much effect on Poppoff. I think he just laid low for a while and once attention drifted to others went back to fleecing the sheep all over again.

  2. #2 wolfwalker
    December 3, 2007

    Faith healers like Popoff make me despair for humanity’s future perhaps more than any other breed of con man. They clearly have no ethics, no honor, and no respect for the religion they claim to belong to. And their victims — yeesh! How could there be so many so-gullible people left in the world?

    Popoff and his filthy ilk are perfect examples of why I think the crime of “defrauding the elderly” should carry a death sentence.

  3. #3 GDwarf
    December 3, 2007

    “yeesh! How could there be so many so-gullible people left in the world?”

    Try reading “The Faith Healers” by James Randi. He explains quite well why so many people continue to believe these frauds:

    -They’re charismatic.
    -They seem to actually cause miracles (through the wonders of cold reading, TV editing, and selecting people with minor injuries that seem severe to others.)
    -Peer pressure is a big one, people are encouraged to trust these people by others.

    The list goes on, but I find it really hard to blame most of the people who fall for these schemes.

    The con-artists themselves I have zero tolerance for, they should all be locked up.

  4. #4 JHarris
    December 3, 2007

    IMO, there is no difference between what Popoff is doing, and those you spout miracle cures with magic sugar pills, “natural and holistic” supplements, etc, etc. They both take advantage of the desperate and naive. Sad.

  5. #5 Paige
    December 3, 2007

    Another reason why people fall for con men like Peter Popoff is that our school system has done an absolutely terrible job of teaching science. So when someone like Popoff makes a ridiculous claim, a lot of people simply don’t have the background to question the claim.

  6. #6 CanadianChick
    December 3, 2007

    oh, he’s NEVER been gone – he just stuck to Canadian network TV early morning broadcasts – selling vials of holy annointing oil and that sort of dreck…

  7. #7 Janine
    December 4, 2007

    There is always a new generation of sheep to shear. And there are plenty of people who think that James Randi is just attacking those who are doing the big sky daddy’s work. Are some people are just plain stupid.

    And there are those who are willing to take advantage of the stupid and the desperate.

    I am afraid I am not giving their religion any respect.

  8. #8 DLC
    December 4, 2007

    Not satisfied with being an ordinary witch-doctor, Popoff has to bilk innocent schlemiels out of their hard-earned dollars.
    If there was a Just god, he would smite Popoff.

  9. #9 Clare
    December 4, 2007

    Another reason for the enduring appeal of Peter Popoff and his ilk is that they connect the magical parts of their performance (the bogus healing; the uncanny ability to know the names of the afflicted) to truths about the faith that believers are very unlikely to reject. In Popoff’s case, when the audience witnesses these “cures,” they probably feel they are seeing the miraculous cures of the Bible restaged in front of them, and it confirms to them the vitality of their religion. If a given faith healer turns out to be con man (and yes, of course, they all are, it’s simply a matter of when and how they get caught out), the faithful simply move on to another healer who can give them a satisfactory performance rather than ditch the entire edifice upon which miraculous healing is based.

  10. #10 Michele
    December 4, 2007

    Proof positive that there truly is one born every minute, or are we down to some fraction of seconds now?

  11. #11 Luzid
    December 8, 2007

    Michele – or, as a wise friend once said, “there’s a sucker born-again every minute”!

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