Healer or hoax? Putting Charlie Goldsmith’s abilities to the test

Charlie Goldsmith claims he can cure the sick without even touching them. Arthritis, infections, chronic pain – Charlie says he can heal them all his energy alone. He also does it for free.

Sunday Night spent months investigating Charlie’s claims, putting him to the test in front of two respected doctors.

Hayley Cafarella has been living a private kind of hell. She suffers from complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. Some days are so bad she’s confined to a wheelchair. “It’s a chronic pain condition that can affect either a region of your body or several regions,” she explains. “In my case, it spreads all the way around and affects my entire nervous system.”

Every few months, Hayley is admitted to hospital. For five days she is hooked up to a drip, flooding her body with the powerful sedative ketamine.

Charlie Goldsmith’s arrival offers a tiny glimmer of hope. Hayley’s never met an energy healer, but figures she has nothing to lose. His technique seems so simple – closing his eyes, he focuses his energy on Hayley for about 30 seconds, then checks in with her.

45 minutes in, the pain relief Charlie has given Hayley feels similar to being given the sedative, ketamine.

“It feels a lot better actually, it’s really surprising,” she exclaims. “I go into hospital, get all these drugs put through me, I have a bunch of side effects, and spend a week in bed, and then I might feel like this. But I also feel nauseous. This is really bizarre… I honestly didn’t expect it to do anything.”

It’s not easy for Charlie to put into words what he’s feeling when he’s focusing his energy. “Not a great deal, it’s kind of subtle. I feel like magnetic pulses going around my body.”

Dr Justin Coleman is a self-proclaimed sceptic. He agreed to join our investigation of Charlie’s gift to see whether it holds up under the scrutiny of one of his critics. He will watch over Charlie as he attempts to heal patients selected by Sunday Night.

“I find the underlying mechanism so implausible that it would require a huge amount of evidence for me to convince me that it might happen,” the doctor tells us.

Anthony Vohland suffers from a stabbing pain down his left-hand side. After a short interaction with Charlie, he felt significantly better.

“I thought maybe I’m just too old and cranky and sceptical for him to heal,” Anthony confesses, as he bends down and touched his toes. “Anyone who knows me knows I haven’t done that for a long, long time.”

Next, Charlie tries to help Jada Burns, who also suffers from complex regional pain syndrome. Her response to Charlie’s gift is not as immediate. “I feel more relaxed,” she says. “But there’s still heaps of pain. Surprisingly though I did have pain in my hips but I didn’t mention that to him, and that’s actually not there, so that’s really good.”

11-year-old Chloe Troughton has juvenile arthritis, something she has suffered from since she was 16 months old. Charlie concentrates on her, and the effects are surprising. “It feels… fantastic,” she exclaims, clearly very grateful to him. “Thank you Charlie for fixing me. I think you’re a very nice person for fixing people that have disabilities.”

While Charlie Goldsmith says he has a gift, his critics say it’s simply the gift of the gab. The real test is whether he can do what traditional medicine can’t.

Linda Hayhurst has osteoarthritis. Nuts and bolts are holding her back together. She’s had both hips replaced, and walks with a permanent limp after two knee operations.

Gold Coast GP of 30 years, Dr Karen Coates, is keen to see if Charlie can do what she and her colleagues can’t.

“Linda’s been a patient at the clinic for six years and she has chronic, constant lower back pain,” she tells Sunday Night. The doctor is eager to see whether Charlie can help Linda. “I think it is a matter of getting out of your ego and listening with an open mind.”

After a short consultation with Charlie, Linda tentatively tests her pain by climbing a flight of stairs. She’s amazed that it doesn’t hurt at all. “No pain, no pain. It’s great.”

The effect on Linda is overwhelming, and she breaks down in tears. “I’m just a little overwhelmed,” she explains. “I’ve had this for so long – my back, my hips, and my knee… I just can’t walk properly, I’ve got a constant limp… I can’t even go out… and I just hate it. I just didn’t know I was going to be able to do that.”

Reporter: Angela Cox
Producer: Karen Willing