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. Othersthe more conservative kindmerely 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. People wouldn't believe me if I started to talk. But after seeing my invulnerability they will." The act was a great success. So many people fainted that waiters demanded payment of checks before each performance.
As a vaudeville act, this was fine. But what really set Zurich tongues wagging was a story that Dajo had "proved" to Zurich doctors that his act was not based on fakery. At Zurich University, Dajo's assistant ("He used to be a butcher but I don't mind that") pierced him with a spear which, said Dajo, touched his heart, lungs & kidneys. The doctors, said the perforated Dutchman, were mystified. But to Dajo it was all very simple. "I'm invulnerable. I just don't exist," he chortled.
Zurich's police were not quite so happy. Last week they stopped his show at the Corso. Now Dajo plans to take his "message" all over the world. "My invulnerability," he claims, "has been tested with burning irons, boiling water, and stabbing through the chest. Twice I have been shot through the head [he shows visitors two scars allegedly from the shots, one in the center of the forehead, the other above his right eye] from half a yard distance."
Dajo gets angry at people who exaggerate: "In Holland, they said the Germans sent a volley of machine-gun fire through my body in a concentration camp. I've never been in a camp."