The Mysterious Powers of Dr. Mohammed Safwat El Amin
by: Lyn Halper
Lyn Halper and Alex Imich on his 110th birthday in Feb. of this year
I met Alexander Imich by selecting his name, at random, from an organization called ISSSEEM out of their Directory of over a hundred members. At the time, I wanted to find a partner who would work with me investigating mysticism, though I had few ideas about what course this research should take. At our first meeting in his apartment on the upper West Side in Manhattan, I was surprised to be greeted by an elderly man – on the phone his voice, with its Polish accent, sounded young and strong. He talked about parapsychology – his area of expertise, and I, about my experience with a turbulent Kundalini ascension that had extended over a period of six years. After several hours it was agreed that we would do hands-on investigations with mystics and that the goal would be to collect data and publish articles. He asked how old I thought he was – always an awkward question. “Seventies,” I replied, and he gestured upward. “Eighty?” “Try ninety!” There followed a silence. “We’d better hurry with our research project,” he said, as we solemnly shook hands, “there isn’t much time left.”
That was twenty years ago, and Alex and I are still close friends, though retired from active research. In 1995, Alex founded a not-for-profit called APRC, or, Anomalous Phenomena Research Center. Its primary objective was to investigate mystics who could demonstrate macro-psychokinesis. My initial task was to get the word out and screen prospective subjects; we posted our notice on sites in the US and Britain and received a good many responses. We estimated that, perhaps, one percent of the population could demonstrate the ability to psychically move large objects and that meant rejecting most of the individuals who inquired. One of our favorite subjects was an Egyptian spirit healer and psychologist from Cairo, Dr. Mohammed Safwat El Amin, whom we referred to, simply, as Safwat. Safwat had the usual folk healer repertoire: he “read” messages in sand, manifested “faces” in a bowl of water, and healed by having the toxins in a person’s body transfer to an ordinary chicken egg. Alex maintained that psychics and mystics worked best when relaxed rather than under controlled laboratory conditions. Thus, we saw many of our mystics in Alex’s apartment and this included Safwat. With Safwat, we provided the eggs he used with his “patients” and after a healing, the eggs yielded a viscous black substance. His success rate in healing maladies varied, but were seldom remarkable.
One day, Safwat came to my home in Westchester County to be a subject for a book I was compiling of interviews with mystics. While he wouldn’t permit himself to be photographed (his spirit guides forbid it) he did allow me to tape the interview. He claimed that all his powers emanated from spirits that he believed were “genius people” when alive, and that without their assistance he would be an ordinary man. I asked him to demonstrate a feat of macro-psychokinesis for me. We went into my backyard and he pointed to three conical cypress trees standing in a row. “See the middle one, I will make it shiver.” It was a perfectly still winter day with bright sunshine and no hint of wind. Safwat concentrated, and as I watched, the middle tree began to move at the top – as though someone were gently shaking it. The other two trees remained motionless.
Alex gives this account of what he calls his most amazing experience with Safwat. It was Safwat’s custom to hop back and forth between Cairo and New York, and his visits to Alex were almost always unscheduled. On this particular day, he called Alex from the lobby of Alex’s building to say he had just taxied in from the airport and was coming up to Alex’s apartment on the fourteenth floor. Alex opened his door to watch for Safwat walking down the hall. As Alex stood there, he suddenly heard a loud crashing sound behind him. He turned and there was Safwat on the floor in the living room, rubbing his elbow. There was another crash, and Safwat’s suitcase lay on its side a few feet away.
Another case: Alex was always dreaming up article-worthy feats for his psychics to perform. With this in mind, he asked Safwat to materialize a suitcase of money containing thousands of US dollars. Safwat agreed, provided Alex understood that the money could not be kept, and were that attempted, the cash would de-materialize. Alex said he understood and agreed to the terms. During the few days of this verbal exchange between the two, Alex called me every night to report their conversations, and I dutifully wrote the details in my journal. Two mornings after the agreement with Safwat, Alex saw a suitcase in his bedroom. He opened it and it was crammed full of packets of twenty and fifty dollar bills. He told Safwat about the appearance of the suitcase and asked that he leave it over night with Alex in the apartment. Safwat agreed. In the evening, Alex took three twenty dollar bills out of the case and put them in a book. He then replaced the book on the overstuffed bookshelf. The next morning, the suitcase was gone. That afternoon, Safwat came to Alex’s apartment, and Alex demanded to know where the suitcase was. Safwat didn’t know. Alex went to the bookcase and removed the book where he had hidden the money. The three twenty dollar bills were gone as well.