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Dead Doctor Continues Practice After Death

Posted on 26 March 2018, 10:15

Is it possible for a deceased surgeon to continue treating and operating on humans after his or her death?  It sounds unbelievable and the militant skeptics no doubt find it laughable, but the story of John of God, a Brazilian healer, certainly lends itself to such a belief (see my blog of 12/12/11 in archives at left).  However, George Chapman of England was doing much the same type of healing when John of God was just a toddler.  I was unaware of Chapman until reading his story in the book Surgeon from another World, authored by George Chapman and Roy Stemman and recently republished by White Crow Books. 

Chapman (1921 – 2006) was a medium who is said to have partnered with William Lang (1852 – 1937), an English surgeon, in the practice of spiritual healing. Chapman had never met Lang and had never heard of him before Lang started controlling him shortly after he discovered his mediumistic abilities in 1946.  Research revealed that Lang had been an ophthalmic surgeon at the famous Middlesex Hospital in London between 1880 and 1914 and continued in a limited practice until the late 1920s. 

After a self-induced trance, which Chapman (below) learned to easily enter, Lang took control of Chapman’s body for up to six hours.  “In order to operate effectively on patients’ spirit bodies, Dr. Lang needs a medium whose etheric and physical body he can use for a period of time, and so, although my physical body plays no part in the treatment, it makes all the movements that Dr. Lang is making and I seem to be operating with invisible instruments,” Chapman explains, pointing out that Lang is unable to see inanimate objects, although he can often sense them.  “But he sees the patents’ spirit bodies very clearly and that is all that is necessary for him to achieve his results.”  The operations were not invasive of the physical body as reported to be the case with some spiritual healers, but scars would appear for a brief period on the part of the physical body corresponding to that part of the spirit body operated on. 


While in the trance state, Chapman was unaware of the procedures and knew nothing about what took place after he recovered awareness.  He would initially feel a strong pulling sensation at the base of his skull and would then experience many dreams, but those were the only memories he had of the procedures.

As Chapman came to understand it and explains it, we all have three bodies – the physical, the etheric, and the spirit.  The etheric body is a go-between the physical and spiritual bodies and supplies energy to the physical body. At death, the etheric body clings to the spirit body like a magnet for a short time, until unsuited to the vibrations of the next world, and having completed its purpose, it also dies. (“Second Death”)  The spirit body is an exact replica of the physical body and it is on the spirit body that Dr. Lang (below) operated.  Further, we are all surrounded by an electro-magnetic field of energy called the aura.  It reflects the patient’s health, and Dr. Lang could diagnose health problems from this. This aura also reflects a person’s spiritual nature.


The book includes stories of a number of seemingly miraculous healings by Dr. Lang.  Although he was unable to help everyone, it is reported that those not healed physically often felt uplifted spiritually. Chapman had clinics in England, France, and Switzerland. 

A number of doctors referred their patients to Chapman and gave testimony to his (or Lang’s) healing powers. Robert W. Laidlaw, M.D., a member of the American Society for Psychical Research, studied the Chapman-Lang phenomenon.  “I fully believed then, and I believe now, that I was conversing with the surviving spirit of a doctor who had died some thirty years ago,” Laidlaw is quoted.  “His whole manner was simple, warm, and sincere…I am convinced that the voice I heard which was transmitted through the medium, Mr. George Chapman, was generated by the deceased but still very much alive Mr. Lang, and my memory of him is as sharp and as real as if I had been sitting by him talking to him in the flesh.”

A Swiss psychiatrist who preferred not to give her name is quoted as saying she had known Dr. Lang since 1975 and he had her complete trust.  “Dr. Lang’s diagnosis does not depend on the questioning of the patient,” she states. “It is an instantaneous diagnosis.  Even before one is able to tell him how one suffers, he is able to say what the problem is.  He says it with precision, with a surprising accuracy and with details which would need X-rays and modern laboratory tests for them to be known by any other doctor.”

Dr. Yves Marcel, a French physician, observed Chapman/Lang perform surgery on one of his patients.  Since Chapman had no recollection of what had taken place, he asked Marcel to record what he saw.  “I had the privilege of being present the third time Dr. Lang operated through you on M. L’Haridon,” Marcel wrote.  “Dr. Lang operated three times in all.  The patient was lying in his bed.  You entered the bedroom, sat down on a chair, and went very rapidly into a trance. Then you stood up and bent over the patient.  Your features were altered, and so was your voice; even your English was different.  You were no longer the Mr. Chapman I had seen entering the room a few minutes before.  You moved your right hand first over the patient’s liver, then over the whole abdomen (your hand remaining at a distance of about ten centimeters from the patient’s body, stopping here and there at different places.  I noted a curious clicking of your fingers.  During that time your ‘other voice’ also had some words of encouragement for the patient; it enquired, too, about his state of health.  ‘Does he suffer? Does he take his meals? Does he vomit? Are the motions black?’ Finally, your hand remained still for a short time over the left iliac (hip-bone) fossa and over the forehead, with no clicking of the fingers this time.”

Marcel added that most psychologists would conclude that Dr. Lang is a “secondary personality” of Chapman’s.  “But for most psychologists today the term ‘secondary personality’ is a misused one and means only some sort of fancy and unreal personality, unconsciously created by the medium out of bits and pieces of recollections soldered together by his imagination,” he continued.  “This is not a satisfactory explanation, either.  It is, at best, an a priori hypothesis which demands verification in each case, and I must say that in Dr. Lang’s case the hypothesis is quite irrelevant.  How could such a fancy personality make a reasonable medical diagnosis and relieve the physical ailments?”

Marcel concluded that the only safe and simple way of viewing the matter is to adopt a new model of the universe where death, far from being an annihilation of existing entities, represents only a change of state for them, whatever the nature and magnitude of that change may be.” 

As Marcel further explained his conclusion, Lang had to merge with Chapman’s personality, the result being a “new psychological complex” in which Lang constitutes the active part and Chapman’s personality the passive part.  The bottom line, as Marcel saw it, life continues beyond the grave and Dr. Lang is who he claims to be.

Lang’s daughter, Marie Lyndon Lang, and his granddaughter, Susan Fairtlough both conducted their own investigations of Chapman and were certain that it was their father/grandfather.  “To my great horror, or rather stupefaction, the man who was in this room was indisputably my grandfather,” Fairtlough wrote. “It was not him physically, but it was his voice, his behavior.  It was unquestionable.  He spoke to me and evoked precise events of my childhood.  And I was so impressed that all I could say was, ‘Yes, grandpa, No, grandpa.’”  Likewise, the daughter reported that his speech, mannerisms, and detailed recall of events in their lives convinced her that her father had survived death and was able to communicate with her through Chapman and treat patients through him.   

As Chapman saw it, his relationship with Lang went beyond the healing of physical bodies.  “The real purpose of Dr. Lang’s spirit return, I am convinced, is not solely to cure sick people,” he is quoted by co-author Stemman, a well-known journalist. “It is to touch the soul and to give us a new, convincing insight and understanding of the spiritual reality which surrounds us.”

Since the book is primarily an autobiography, the skeptic might question the accuracy of it, but it is noted that other books have been written about Chapman and Lang, including The Return of Dr. Lang, by S. G. Miron, Heaven on My Doorstep by Elma M. Williams,  and Healing Hands by Bernard Hutton.

Surgeon from Another World is available from Amazon and other stores.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.  

Next blog post: April 9



JG Fuller thoroughly investigated Chapman. Chapman kept impeccable patient files, and Fuller was given free access to them for research purposes.

Tricia, Mon 23 Apr, 09:26


I’ve met a few practitioners and patients who have had success with Reiki. Like everything in this area, every time we get an answer we have more questions.

People sometimes call them faith healers but the fact that healers have success with horses, dogs and babies, none of which you would think would have faith, suggest otherwise.

You said you thought it was a waste of time but you also said you thought you had nothing to lose. Maybe being open is enough.

I met Jurgen Ziewe recently and he told me that he had tried dealing with an ailment (I think it was back pain), while having an OBE and it worked.

Jon, Mon 9 Apr, 09:14


Thanks for sharing your sister’s interesting experience.  I’ll now share mine.

About 15-16 years ago, I was having what seemed like serious problems in my left knee.  It had persisted for several months and the doctor said surgery was likely.  We have a massage therapy school in town here and I usually went every few months for a massage, mostly for my back. The massages are generally by the students, but there was no student available this particular time and so one of the instructors took me.  She asked if I had any special areas to focus on.  I told her the only real problem I had was with my knee, and I knew that it was not something that massage would alleviate.  She then told me that she is a Reiki practitioner and asked if I wanted her to apply Reiki healing.  Nothing to lose, I said OK. For several minutes, she held her hands a few inches above my knee and I began to think what a waste of time and regretted that I had consented to it because it was cutting into the massage time.  However, the knee pain disappeared that day and has never returned. I doubt that it was my mind over matter as I thought it was a waste of time.  Of course, it could have been that the problem had run its course that day and it was just a coincidence that I happened to have the Reiki healing session.  Who knows?

Michael Tymn, Sun 8 Apr, 20:51


My sister called me three weeks ago to tell me she had been to a local Mind, Body and Spirit show. She said while she was there she joined a healing circle for an hour, something she had never done it before.

Having joined she discovered the lady sitting next to her had cancer, as did the lady next to that lady. She said felt a little guilty because she felt healthy but she decided stay and concentrate on giving out healing energy to the group rather than to herself.

A week after the healing, I saw her and she told me that the day after the healing event she had gone to a ‘body combat’ class, something she does every week. Unusually, she forgot to wear the surgical armband she always wears, because she has tennis elbow or something similar, which causes pain in her elbow if she does anything repetitive.

Normally after twenty or so punches she would have to stop but during the session she did 320 punches without any pain, and it was only when she got home she realised she wasn’t wearing the armband. She has had no pain since.

It could be the healing.  It could be a placebo effect/mind over matter, or it could be just a coincidence, but the fact is, since she went to the healing session a chronic physical problem that she has had for years has gone away - for now.

Jon, Sun 8 Apr, 20:12


I don’t know if mind over matter can work outside of the person’s body.  I doubt it, but that is the claim of many parapsychologists.  There are also many “might have” or “could have” arguments that can be applied to the case.

I was just reading another book in which a hypnotist was telling his client under hypnosis that she had to overcome the ovarian cancer she had been diagnosed with. She had to keep telling herself that it was leaving her, or something to that effect.  And it apparently worked.  Of course, such mind over matter claims are somewhat common.

Michael Tymn, Sun 8 Apr, 18:13


If they were holding the medium’s hands how could anyone claim he created the hands using mind over matter?

Jon, Sat 7 Apr, 21:45

Amos and Paul,

I’m not disagreeing.  I’m just sort of playing the devil’s advocate.  I do plan to read the other books about Chapman/Lang one of these days.

Anecdotal is a subjective word with varying degrees of evidence involved.  As Sir Oliver Lodge said, it is difficult to find any single case that is totally convincing; it is the cumulative of all the cases that leads to conviction, if not absolute certainty.

The militant skeptics often say there is no scientific evidence to support the survival hypothesis, but take a look at the paraffin hands case in the archives at 7-25-11.  These experiments were carried out by two renowned scientists, one a Nobel prize winner.  It was conducted in a laboratory behind locked doors after the medium was completely searched.  Dr. Geley even went so far as to have the medium’s rectum checked for hidden objects.  They held the medium’s hands during the experiment and they secretly put blue dye in the paraffin so that nobody could claim the medium somehow smuggled the paraffin into the room in spite of the fact that he was thoroughly searched and the doors locked behind him.  I think that case goes well beyond anecdotal. However, there were still those who believe it was a product of the medium’s subconscious rather than spirit involvement.  How does one prove that it was or wasn’t mind over matter?

Michael Tymn, Sat 7 Apr, 21:37

My bad!  It was Lang’s daughter and grand-daughter who thought that Chapman had contacted their father and grandfather, not his wife.  I knew that!- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 7 Apr, 18:51

I suppose there are two issues when considering the Lang/Chapman relationship:  1. Did George Chapman really contact the spirit of William Lang, and 2. did Dr. Lang through George Chapman really cure people of various diseases, disorders and other physical conditions.

What evidence is there to answer either one of those questions in the affirmative?

The second question is the easier to answer in that as of yet, there are no published medical before-and-after records to validate the reported medical cures. Therefore any report of such cures would have to be considered to be purely anecdotal regardless of the insistence of those who report them .  Although I have not read it, perhaps the book by dental surgeon Dr. Sydney Gerald Miron “The Return of Dr. Lang” would come closest to providing some reliable evidence of cures.

Reportedly, “A group of doctors set up a trust so that Chapman could work for them without any financial worries which he did for many years treating the patients they sent him and achieving remarkable results, effecting remarkable cures of cataracts, glaucoma, arthritis, kidney disorders, brain tumours, heart trouble, cancer and other ailments.”  If any of the records of these doctors were still available (highly unlikely) there might be some reliable evidence to be found in them.  It seems like this would be relatively easy for the SPR to check out. Maybe those physicians who have referred patients to Lang within that past 25 or 30 years might still have records of the cure of their patients. 

I have to think that the doctors who set up the trust for Chapman wouldn’t have done that if they did not value Chapman’s work with their patients, that is, surely they would have had to have seen some cures or otherwise why would they continue to financially support Chapman.  Of course one could claim that the diseases and conditions were misdiagnosed and that any cures were psychological or natural healing. For skeptics and others, laboratory tests and x-rays are the only acceptable evidence.

How can anyone provide non-anecdotal evidence that Chapman actually did contact the spirit of Dr. Lang?  This is in the same category of all of the other reports of spirit contact including all activities of all mediums claiming to contact spirits.  There is no way to validate the contact other than the attestations of people who knew the spirit entity when alive or copious historical documentation, preferably previously unknown and found after extensive searches in dusty libraries but regardless, there will always be those who claim “super-psi” as the source of information. In this case, Lang’s wife and daughter both were convinced that Chapman had contacted their husband and father.

On the whole, I think that the Lang/Chapman relationship is one of the better examples of the existence of a spirit world. While it may not have the religious overtones of the Lourdes cures and therefore less acceptable to the masses, I think it may actually provide better ‘evidence’ .  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 7 Apr, 15:27

George Chapman’s mediumship is, IMHO, something of a lost jewel that is well worth rediscovery.

In addition to the book you mention there is also “The Return of Dr Lang” by S G Miron.  Miron was a dental surgeon whose wife sustained an injury which Lang cured although it was to Miron’s astonishment.

J Bernard Hutton’s book about him is also very interesting.

Having read all three I think it’s difficult to find a rational argument for dismissing him. Strong evidence for both survival and spirit healing in my opinion. Highly recommended reading.

Paul, Fri 6 Apr, 20:22

Amos and Tricia,

I agree with both of you.  I haven’t read all the books about Chapman, but I gather that there was no real research carried out with him confirming the healing that allegedly took place or the veridical communication coming from Lang. It is anecdotal in the extreme.  Thus, it is difficult to rank it among the most evidential cases on record, even though it might have been had it been scientifically observed and documented.  Do you not agree?

Michael Tymn, Fri 6 Apr, 09:12

As far as Chapman and Lang being mind over matter ...that simply does not fit the facts. Lang, through the entranced Chapman, could hold lengthy conversations with his daughter (still living) and other family members, friends and old colleagues.
These are documented facts. For the sceptics to say otherwise is quite simply wrong!

Tricia, Thu 5 Apr, 21:16

I think that there are very few or no published skeptical investigations of the Lang-Chapman case.  It is interesting that in the ‘talk’ page of the short Wikipedia article about Chapman, the “editors” discuss amongst themselves whether or not Chapman should even have a Wikipedia page.  It is very revealing in that because there were no skeptical articles they could reference then they concluded that Chapman was not worthy of a page on Wikipedia.  Apparently it is of no consequence to the “editors” that there are at least two or more reliable books about George Chapman and his relationship with Dr. Lang; it is of no consequence that Dr. Lang’s practice as an ophthalmic surgeon at Middlesex Hospital in London between 1880 and 1914 was undeniably validated; it is of no consequence that Dr. Lang’s daughter believed that Chapman had contacted the spirit of her father and had a working association with him and left Chapman various belongings of Dr. Lang after she died; and it apparently is of no consequence that there were reliable attestations from various persons attesting to a cure of their various diseases and conditions by Dr. Lang, diseases that do not lend themselves to ‘mind over matter’ explanations. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 5 Apr, 19:42


I agree on both the Chapman/Lang case and on Wikipedia.  I try to avoid looking at Wikipedia as it gets my blood pressure up.

As for Chapman/Lang, I am sure there are many parapsychologists who would say it is mind over matter and has nothing to do with spirits.

Michael Tymn, Thu 5 Apr, 09:03

There are few documented cases that really settle the question of spirit survival after bodily death.  I think that the Chapman-Lang case is one of them.  Unless everyone involved in the case and everyone who reported cures by Dr. Lang is lying, this is one of the most evidential. How many more cases like this do we need to effect a paradigm change so that mainstream understanding of spirit survival is accepted by, well—-everyone!

The Wikipedia article about George Chapman and Dr. Lang is ridiculously anemic.  The ‘talk’ page is even more revealing of the bias against anything the anonymous self-designated editors determine to be “fringe” and a violation of their made-up Wikipedia ‘fringe’ rules.  Wikipedia is a major source of dis-information in an age of easy accessibility of information; an age when everyone should be well informed about the evidence in favor of alternate realities. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 4 Apr, 23:08


Yes, it is my understanding that at some point we no longer reincarnate and achieve some kind of Oneness in which we retain our individuality but which is beyond human comprehension. However, I believe that even reincarnation is beyond human comprehension, i.e., it does not play out in the way most people think it does.  I much prefer the “beyond human comprehension” afterlife to the more orthodox one of strumming harps and floating around on clouds 24/7 for eternity.

Michael Tymn, Fri 30 Mar, 23:23


Thank you for another informative article.

I have recently completed a second careful re-reading of “The Survival of the Soul and it’s Evolution after Death”. On p68-69(white crow reprint) it is discussed that White spirits pass on to a sphere that is unknowable and beyond human comprehension, the author Cornillier then believes that this is not a reincarnation around a star on a higher plane but a state,I have interpreted this as meaning that this sphere is a “state of mind” existence as a disembodied mind perhaps?

What is your interpretation of this Michael?

Chad W Luter, Fri 30 Mar, 00:24

An very excellent article! Very descriptive.

Especially, explaining how the “spirit doctors” provide spiritual manipulation/healing/surgery to the astral/etheric (Spiritists call it the perispirit) the intermediary between the soul and the physical body when a person is incarnated.

How perfectly logical that a trained surgeon educated in the material world would also be interested and trained to heal with the related spiritual aspects of the astral/etheric/perispiirtual body as well. One affects the other!

Our own group have regular visits from “spirit doctors” that use our mediums to diagnosis, provide “medical” guidance, and to “heal” (by alleviation or completely cure) illnesses manifesting physically and those intersecting with the perispirit (as well as spiritual problems).

Spirits also use spiritual/energy passes to infuse in a glass of water that is then permeated with what the spirits say are “medicines” ... seen by the mediums of differing colors that have medicinal properties - for both physical and spiritual problems.

Interestingly, sometimes this treated water is solely to be used to put in a room in the house and specifically told NOT for drinking.

A wonderful new unnamed science that will need new terminologies!

We have a long way to go in learning about the many intricacies of this fascinating processes.

Yvonne Limoges, Thu 29 Mar, 21:09

The Chapman /Lang combination is one of the strongest cases that illustrates the partnership of a living person and a deceased medic. (or indeed any person) It has been a favourite of mine for many years…and I incorporate it in any of my talks related to paranormal healing. The greatest strength of this pairing is that Mr Lang turned out to be…just who he said he was…an ophthalmic surgeon from Moorfields hospital. I never tire of it. As someone who spent 5 years researching and experimenting with ostensible healers…and they were good, the Chapman/Lang accounts are the crème de la crème.

Tricia, Tue 27 Mar, 08:52

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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