Miracles for Sale
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Films and TV
Miracles for Sale is a documentary featuring Derren Brown. It was first broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK in April 2011. Brown wants to stage a fake, live faith healing show on purpose (unlike the usual ones you see on TV, where
they pretend nothing is fake) to show the dangers of this multi-million dollar scam industry. He can't do it himself, as he risks being recognized. Thus, he decides to choose someone else to act as the scammer. A British man named Nathan is given six months of training before performing live in Dallas, Texas as "Pastor James". A website is set up in the name of the fake Gifts of the Spirit Ministry.
The whole idea is to stage a fake faith healing show to help show people that the "healing" is little more than a temporary placebo effect. However, Derren, the whole production team and especially Nathan have moments where they have trouble coping with the whole "trick people into deeply believing that they are healed just to show that they, in fact, were not" idea.
At one point, they want to hire a PR company to help them advertise the pretend pastor. They decided to drop the idea because, given the true nature of their endeavor, it could severely hurt the company's image. On the day before the big performance, "Pastor James" (Nathan) and Derren walk around the city, looking for people feeling pains so Nathan can "heal" them. All subjects that agree to participate report not feeling pain any more. Derren comes clean, explaining exactly what was happening to them.
At the end of Nathan's performance, he reads a text, carefully worded so that it won't conflict directly with the present people's beliefs. It is pretty much a short explanation of adrenaline as a temporary painkiller. There is also a good part about how those that charge money for healing are evil, especially when they ask the "healed" to stop taking any medications they were prescribed.