In times of stress "miracle men" have a habit of bobbing up with "messages" for a world in search of signs and wonders. Some swallow swords, some are buried alive, some sleep on tacks. Others—the more conservative kind—merely possess "supernatural powers."

Last week Zurich was agog over the latest miracle man. Nightly at the Corso, the city's largest music hall, a 35-year-old Dutchman named Mirin Dajo stood stoically while an assistant seemed to push swords and spears through his chest. "I am no artist," Dajo said, "but a prophet. If you believe in God, your will can dominate your body....

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