Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Folks: Francis Schlatter

all photos from Pop Art Machine

I am fascinated by the story of Francis Schlatter. Schlatter was born in Alsace in 1855, and after his parents passed away, he moved to England, then New York, and finally settled in Denver.

There is a story that the French-American immigrant was troubled by his friend and roommate’s sudden death in New York and he began to see visions, have strange dreams about white-robed figures. He started corresponding with a faith healer in Florida and set off for Denver.

He started to hone his healing powers by exercise and meditation and fasting, and the breakthrough came when he was sitting at work, as a cobbler, the voice of the “Father” came to him and told him to begin healing.

He gave everything away and began walking, what would become a 3,000 mile journey across the western states, and devoted himself to healing the sick. One of the town fathers of Denver went and saw him for deafness, and he was so impressed with his healing powers that he brought him back to Denver to heal their people.

This was written about the man, Alderman E. L. Fox, sending for him:
“He invited Schlatter to come to Denver and sent him a ticket for the train. Schlatter arrived in Denver in the night of August 23. He started his healing sessions and treated between 700 and 2000 persons a day. His method mainly was to take the help-seeking people’s hands into his and to hold them for a short while. When he did that, the patients felt a slight electric shock and a tickle, followed by heat in one hand and cold in the other one. He gave healings for all sorts of illnesses. The news about his successes were spread all over the country, the newspapers published lots of articles and help-seekers came in crowds from everywhere in the US. Schlatter held non-stop healing sessions during six hours every day.” - Pioneers of Spiritual Healing

He worked with Native American tribes, with crippled and diseased in Denver, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and eventually he took a forty-day fast and long after, disappeared leaving only a note saying, “Mr. Fox, my mission is done. The Father calls me away. Francis Schlatter," (according to Trivia Library). He rode off toward Datil, NM and spent the winter, spoke to a woman there named Agnes Morley about his past travails and she wrote some of it down. He left again when it was warm, onto Mexico.

His remains were supposedly found later in Chihuahua, Mexico by an expedition, but people claimed to be him for years until his memory vanished into obscurity. For some reason, his story is intriguing to me. I enjoy tales of mystics and prophets. But, accounts report he healed thousands a day! How come he’s not a figure of history we still talk about? Who was Francis Schlatter?

Want to learn more about Francis Schlatter? A book here, from Amazon, or get it local through Indie Bound:
The Healer: the Story of Francis Schlatter

I used these websites for reference:
Pioneers of Spiritual Healing
New York Times article from 1895
Trivia Library


Georgia (AKA g-bug) said...

Wow. I had never heard of him. What an interesting story. Imagine if everyone was that passionate and compassionate, what a world we would live in.

Knows-His-Pen said...

Look for the most recent book on Schlatter, by Conger Beasley, Jr., entitled Messiah: The Life and Times of Francis Schlatter (Santa Fe, N.M.: Sunstone Press, 2008). It offers the main elements of Schlatter's known life, even though it unfortunately contains fictional elements. Still, Schlatter's full story isn't half known.