Healings on YouTube: Legs Growing Out

Recently I roamed YouTube looking for videos of legs growing out in response to prayer.  Here are three:

(1 ) Fire Of Faith Church in Denmark (www.troens-ild.dk)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7vgpf_q50I&feature=related

At the start, about a 1 inch difference in length can be seen. Between times 1:10 and 1:35 in the video, this difference vanishes. The rest of the video of little interest unless you understand Danish. The subject is wearing boots (which presumably remain firmly anchored to the feet) and there are lines on the floor for visual alignment.

(2) Healing on the Streets, Reading, England  June 12, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3yKGtvFrMw

This video shows two leg-growing episodes. The first occurs between 1:30 and 2:00 in the video. The light for the videography was not great here, but it looks like about an inch of growth occurred.  The second one is more dramatic, with about 2 inches of growth between 4:06 and 4:26. The shoes there are fairly high-topped and tightly laced, so they could not easily be slid off and on the healee’s feet. (The nasty negative comments made about this video in YouTube are unfounded – - they stem from a recent UK TV broadcast by illusionist Darren Brown which exposed some truly phony faith-healers).

(3) Bethel Church, in Redding, CA   Nov. 28, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_mXHnpYOgo

This is only 55 seconds long. There is a dramatic, sudden growth spurt of about 2 inches at about the 27 second mark. The filming here is not as rigorous as might be desired – there are no clear shots from above of the heels side by side. But this is largely because of how spontaneous this thing was.  Apparently much growth had taken place already, and then someone with a video camera came over to see what the uproar was about.  The reaction of the on-scene witnesses speaks for itself. I happen to know people who know the people at Bethel, and it is not credible that they would have staged this whole episode. Here is the descriptive blurb from the person who originally posted this on YouTube:

This happened today (11-28-09) at Bethel’s healing rooms. I had met the girl earlier and her tailbone had a growth on it that made it too long so we prayed and the growth disappeared and we also found that her one leg was about an inch and a half shorter than the other. So we prayed and it grew out right in front of our eyes!

At this point, she was about 4 feet 9 inches tall.  The lady she stands next to at the end of the video is 4 feet 11 inches tall. After we prayed the first time I just felt like asking, So do you want to be taller? and she excitedly agreed. We prayed several times and this is the result that happened. As you can plainly see at the end of the video, she is now a good 2 inches or so taller than her friend.  She GREW FOUR INCHES in a matter of 15 minutes in front of at least a dozen people.

The even more amazing thing is that doctors had told her when she was much younger that her bones were fused in a way that she would never grow another inch. So Jesus grew her four!

Cheers and Jeers

These and related video posts have called forth both favorable and unfavorable comments. Here are some corroborating messages:

We saw something like this when this pastor ministered in India. A man with a hand that was very small like the hand of a child. It grew out when the congregation watched it!!  -mrstormwind 5 months ago

My friend’s leg grew like this in church and i was there. I can’t deny it, i’ve known her for years and she genuinely walks differently now. I’ve prayed for people on the streets who don’t even believe in a God. I’ve been told ‘you can if you like mate but nothing will happen’. I’ve seen them healed from cancer, broken bones and more. Again, affirmable by their doctors and I still see many of them and the results are permanent. More importantly relationship with God is available to you  -9thsquare 10 months ago

Skeptical comments also abound in response to these and similar clips. Most of the objections fall into two categories. First, they claim that this is an easy thing to fake, e.g. by pulling on shoes, or by straightening out a bent knee, or by shifting the feet to one side.  This is a fair point, and something to bear in mind in evaluating these incidents.   If the person doing the praying were a big-time evangelist who had rented an expensive hall and had a reputation to promote in front of thousands of viewers, that would provide strong motivation to fake a miracle.  For instance, this c. 1960 video of faith healer A. A. Allen shows him apparently tugging on the woman’s right shoe to pull it out, then later shoving it back in to create the “miracle” between times 2:18 and 2:27.

The viewer can weigh the motives and circumstances in the three videos above. For instance, in the second video (Healing on the Streets), the shoes are supported gently from beneath; after the first healing is complete in that video, the pray-er does tug on the healee’s foot (at about 2 minute mark) to confirm that that was not done during the healing proper.  Also, it doesn’t look like any of the pray-ers are getting rich from their activities.

Apart from charlatans deliberately faking this effect, some believers may fool themselves into thinking a healing has occurred by unconsciously moving the pair of feet to the left or right. Shifting the feet three inches to the side can give the appearance of about an inch of relative growth. In the case of the Danish church above, the feet get shifted to the side about an inch, which would account for about a third of the claimed full inch of growth. There is no apparent sideways movement in the two healings in the Healing on the Streets video above from Reading, but a Healing on the Streets leg-growing at Harrowgate (video here  ) was more controversial. The apparent growth there is about 1.5 inches, but  the feet get moved to the side (can track by position relative to yellow dots on red carpet) enough to call into question the authenticity of the healing. Skeptics have siezed on this Harrowgate video to try to discredit all such healings. This sideways shifting is so easy to do (intentionally or not) that it would be best when praying for this sort of healing to let the feet rest on a stool, not on someone’s hands, especially if the starting length difference is only an inch.

The other common objection is, “Why don’t we see more impressive miracles, like new legs growing on amputees ?” .  This response seems mainly a manifestation of closed-mindedness. The skeptic asks for visual proof of the supernatural, is given it quantitatively in videos which can be paused or played back, but instead of questioning his anti-supernatural assumptions, he turns around and says that these were not dramatic enough for his taste.   If it were YOUR leg growing out and YOUR back thereby getting untwisted, you would likely appreciate this healing instead of minimizing it.

That said, most miracles in the Bible do not involve ab initio creation of anything. Jesus revived some dead people, but did not make people appear out of thin air. When abundant wine was needed, he made it from existing water. When food for thousands was needed, he took existing chunks of bread and fish and just kept them coming. Thus, healing or adjustment of existing body parts (e.g. legs growing out or tumors disappearing) seems more consistent with Biblical paradigms than creation of whole new limbs. That may help calibrate our expectations.

For healings of blindness and deafness in response to prayer as documented in a medical journal, see Healing Miracles in Mozambique .   Also, the Healing of Nearly-Deaf Boy on YouTube  post links to a clear video of a boy’s hearing getting healed  in Brazil.

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About ScottBuchanan

Long-time evangelical Christian, interested in everything, including science, miracles, gardening, and macro-economics. Background: B.A. in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, a year at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a year working as a plumber and a lab technician. Then a B.S.E. from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, both in chemical engineering. Since then, have conducted research in an industrial laboratory. Published a number of papers on heterogeneous catalysis, and am an inventor on over 70 U.S. patents in diverse technical areas.
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23 Responses to Healings on YouTube: Legs Growing Out

  1. Iain Duncan says:

    The first time I came across this was at a John Wimber conference in 1988 where a group of people were praying for someone.The onlookers testified to seeing the persons leg grow before their eyes. My wife on hearing this was not overly impressed as she was in the middle of her orthopaedic training and was well acquainted with the medical proceedures involved in measuring a short leg.This usually involves x-rays to determine the disrepancy in bone length which can not alway be assesed by a merely visual examination or by lining up the limbs.

    But the leg lengthening spectacle is a lot older than we had thought. The evangelist A.A Allen is known to have performed this back in the 1950′s and more recently W.V Grant has also used it to great effect. Both of these men were charltans.
    The latest wave of leg lengthening (in the UK) is being promoted by a franchise called ‘Healing On The Streets’. And in the USA, Todd White is often seen to be using this technique.
    But its not only a Christian craze. Chiropracters also do leg lengthening in a similar way.
    A careful look at some of the videos (there are many on Youtube) will reveal how it is done. And indeed it is no miracle at all. Basically the healer can create the disrepancy by holding the legs so it looks like one is shorter,then slowly moving the short one toward the longer one until they look the same.
    Unfortunatly this is clearly seen on some of the videos due to patterns on the floors which can be used as a grid to plot the movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzqU3_ZaEr4

    It would be wrong to claim that the people who do Healing On The Steets are charlatans and fakes, they are not.But leg lengthening is part and parcel of the training they receive and is the flagship ‘miracle’ of this franchise.
    But there are simpler explanations. They are manipulating the situation and blind to the fact that it is they that who creating the illusion.

    • Scott Buchanan says:

      Iain,
      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Your point that this can be easily faked (consciously or not) by moving the feet to the side is a good one. I have seen the video you linked. I agree that in that case (it was a Healing on the Streets event) the approx. 1 inch “growth” was entirely due to the healer moving the feet to the side. I have tested this out and found, as noted in the original post, that a 1 inch “growth” is obtained with about a 3 inch side movement. You suggest that this is a wide-spread phenomenon with the Healing on the Streets movement, so to err on the side of integrity I will remove the Healing on the Streets video from the post here.

      For the healing or “healing” in the Danish church, the lines on the floor show that the feet were shifted only about an inch to the left, which gets us only 1/3 inch of apparent lengthening, while the apparent growth was about an inch (e.g. compare 1:10 to 1:41). So the leg-shifting cannot account for the amount of apparent growth here. I suppose there could have been some bending of the ankle to account for the other 2/3 inch, but it wasn’t apparent to me.

      All this suggests that if someone is going to pray for this type of healing, instead of holding the feet in their hands, they should let the prayee’s feet rest on the ground.

      • Scott Buchanan says:

        Iain, I did some more digging on the Healing on the Streets videos. I agree that the Harrowgate leg-healing (which is what you linked to) is dodgy, and call attention to that in my revised blog. But I did find a Healing on the Streets video from Reading (June, 2010) which seemed to have essentially no sideways shifting, so I at this point I don’t have grounds to write them all off. Again, thanks for your comments. If a healing is real, it can stand scrutiny.

  2. Iain Duncan says:

    Scott, here is an example from the 1950′s.

    • Scott Buchanan says:

      Iain,
      Wow, that clip is a classic. I’ll reference it in the post. Thx.

    • mygoatybeard says:

      If you sit down and then someone swivels your feet to the side as here, then your pelvis will not be perpendicular to your legs so the leg nearest the front (of the stage, as here) will appear shorter.

      If you then jiggle and shuffle then your pelvis may move. The lady in the video was clearly skewed when first sat with her legs on the stage, but clearly comfortable and straight when finished.

      I’m not saying she wasn’t healed, but I’m offering a mechanism which may not have involved growing bones.

  3. Dennis Lloyd says:

    there will always be doubters and sceotics never the less God remains faithful be a sceptic of our videos too at Evang. Dennis Lloyd. Let God get the glory blind eyes open, deaf ears hear, lame walk. by the way im third generation from A.A. Allen.

  4. Dennis Lloyd says:

    you can go to short leg grows out and check us out there as we pray for a short leg and God performs a miracle

  5. mygoatybeard says:

    An orthopeadic surgeon would always be extremely careful in measuring leg length because a slight tilt of the pelvis can generate a significant difference in length between the two. It is very easy to change your leg length by tilting your hips slightly. Try it.

    Hence they will not compare leg lengths as done in these videos, but they will measure from the heel bone (malleolus) to a specific lump (tuberosity) on the pelvis. Medical students who measure by comparing legs as here are sternly told off!

  6. For Shame says:

    You should be ashamed of yourselves. This kind of falsehood is why people hate us. Stop your lies, it leads people away from the truth and in the end you will have to answer for it.

    These videos show only common scams used by other charlatans that are already discredited. There will always be someone ready to take advantage of the ignorant. Proof of any of this requires better measures and third party documenting, which conveniently has never been allowed. The Rani Paranormal Challenge awaits if any of you are for real. Simply hold your services under standardized third party observations and if an unexplainable event happens then you can win 1 million dollars from a disbelieving activist. Don’t say that you can’t test God, that’s what you have already done and claimed success in doing. If it’s real, simply do this again but measure leg length correctly.

  7. Dennis Lloyd says:

    let God be true and every man a liar. you are like thomas.. a doubter of God !!! thats why you dont see. what is your excuse for the blind eyes that openned , the deaf that hear, and the lame that walk. there will always be doubters like you that will never see. your the one that should be ashamed. powerless because you fail to take God at His word.

  8. Pingback: Healing of Nearly-Deaf Boy on YouTube | Letters to Creationists

  9. Pingback: Healing Miracles in Mozambique: Medical Journal | Letters to Creationists

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  11. Martin says:

    Hi guys , I do believe God heals and there are probably more fake healings on video than real miracles. Uncanny the convenient number of leg growing miracles that abound. In most cases the person keeps their shoes on? Why does the short leg usually matches to the long leg? A shortened leg has to use a built-up sole for the person to walk normally. ie the sole should therefore extend beyond the long leg once the healing occurs! It’s the same as the “lame” person jumping out of a brand new wheelchair they clearly have never sat in before.

  12. Dennis lloyd says:

    I’ll take you up on the million dollar challenge. The wealth of the sinner is layed up for the just. Before its over I will have your million dollars in my pocket. 1 when I pray for short legs I always have them take there shoes off. 2 what about the blind eyes that open or the deaf ears we see miracles everyday. Last night a deaf ear opened. Question is not if I’m up for the challenge Gods the one that does the miracles and He remains faithful are you up for the challenge. I will be in Ocala Florida under a gospel tent in two weeks bring your cameras, doctors, tape measure and don’t forget the million dollars. Before its over you will look like the fool you are for doubting God and I will have your million dollars in my pocket.
    Evang. Dennis Lloyd
    Check out our videos on you tube

  13. Pingback: Evolution and Faith: My Story, Part 1 | Letters to Creationists

  14. Pat Clay says:

    I was prayed for by Ruth Prince, Derick Princes wife in 1972and actually felt my left leg grow out. It was a sign to me of how amazingly powerful our God is.

  15. Bro. TW NONBEWU , CAPE TOWN,SOUTH AFRICA says:

    JESUS CREATED THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND ALL ITS CONTENTS, THE VISIBLES & INVISIBLES. WHAT’S AN AMPUTEE? WITHOUT NECESSARY QUOTING ( ELISHA ‘S DEAD-DEAD-DEAD BONES RAISED UP A DEAD MAN WHO WAS THROWN INTO ELISHA’S GRAVE TO LIFE AND THE MAN FLEE FROM THE COMMON ENEMIES LIKE HIS WOULD BE MOURNERS). A DEAD-DEAD-DEAD MAN (ELISHA) RAISED A MAN TO LIFE YET JESUS THE EVERLIVING ONE CAN’T DO THAT. WHERE IS YOUR FAITH PEOPLE?

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  17. Melissa says:

    Its not that God “can’t” do this. Its “why?” There are TONS of people in terrible pain, poverty, with no food but God is busy growing out legs? I have been to many healing conferences when I use to believe this stuff to no end, I have seen many people their in wheelchairs, dieing of cancer. None of those people were healed, instead people were getting their feet to to grow out an inch.. hmmm. So God cares more about growing out a leg 1 inch then healing someones horrific chronic pain? It makes no sense. I believe God heals today but I also believe a lot of people want to profit of supposed healing’s and many of them are false. Yes indeed, we are ALL sinners even the “saints” who walk away with a stash of cash claiming God is using them to grow out legs, but leaving the amputates and pain victims on the sidelines because they “must not have enough faith” to get healed. No, people are greedy, they want power, they want fame, they want cash. They even convince themselves they are doing Gods work. Check your spirit when you pray for someone for healing, is it for you or for them? I bet God will heal them if its done in extreme love and profit for the other person, done with love without selfish gain. I really wanted to believe all this was true, I really did at a time, but over and over I have been proven wrong as I tried to believe. God loves everyone, we are all going to die, not every sickness or problem will be healed on this side of heaven. Much love.

    • Melissa,
      All good points. I admire that fact that you have not let these poignant experiences turn you bitter.
      I do not understand why small things tend to get healed more than big things (trying to factor out the fakes and the psychosomatic recoveries). I’ll offer one observation, which is that churches or ministries that keep pressing in for healing (in the kind of right spirit you describe) tend to see an increase in the level of what they see. It may be just headaches the first year, a leg growing out the second year, but maybe the third year they see a cancer healed. I know, that still does not answer the question of why so few cancers get healed, but it helps keep me not giving up praying for people.
      The other observation is that some Christians seem to have more of a gift for healing than others. James Maloney and Randy Clark come to mind as gifted men of complete integrity. For instance, check out this video http://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/healing-of-nearly-deaf-boy-on-youtube/
      of Randy praying for a nearly-deaf boy. Granted, this is not stage IV cancer, but to that boy and his mother this healing was huge.
      Peace…

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