US healer and self-proclaimed shaman Durek Verret, who is best known in Europe for dating Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise, has landed in hot water amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a recent interview with the British breakfast programme The Morning, 45-year-old Verrett, who tours the globe as a spiritual guide and has numerous celebrities among his clients, claimed he had predicted the coronavirus pandemic in his own book Spirit Hacking, which came out last year.
Verrett referred to something that “in shamanism is called the blackout”, describing it as a “point in evolution, where we all have to come together and start dropping a lot of the superficial things we put our energy into”. Verrett ventured that this was the first stage, known as the “plague”.
In the book, “blackouts” are described as “key moments that require quantum leaps in evolution to ensure species' survival”, which occur when “planetary states reach extreme levels of imbalance”. The word “virus” is mentioned four times, but never in the context of what the world is experiencing now. The words “pandemic” or “epidemic” are not mentioned at all. This led many to believe that Verret is using the crisis as an opportunity for self-promotion.
Norwegian literary critic and Cathrine Krøger said Verrett was “worse than Donald Trump”.
“The book is full of wish-wash, and vague enough to claim that he had foreseen anything. I do remember him writing something about 'blackout', yes. But all the books of that genre – a kind of mix of Christian doomsday prophecy, fantasy and charlatanism – speak of an end time of sorts,” Krøger told the newspaper Dagbladet. “The fact that the West is afraid of a virus outbreak is well known. Both the Ebola and the swine flu have frightened people.”
Opinion journalist Ingeborg Senneset of Aftenposten called his actions “distasteful”.
“Suppose we buy into it as a fact, I would like to know: Why didn't he give any advance notice? Why didn't he try to warn? What else has he foreseen without saying? And why didn't he mention the word pandemic in the book?”, Senneset asked rhetorically.
Senneset argued that those she referred to as “shameless opportunists” make use of a global calamity to assert themselves.
“There is nothing wrong with making money from advice or work, as doctors and journalists do. The wrong thing is to profit from false promises, lies or deception,” Senneset said.
“Viruses don't care about shamanism, but if a shaman can get people to maintain social distance, it can curb the spread and thus save some lives. But so can Netflix,” she concluded.
Verrett previously claimed to have cured the sick through healing, even “rescuing” cancer patients. Verrett also claimed that he himself rose from the dead and that he predicted the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 several years before they occurred. In another instance, Verrett claimed that he could affect atoms and electrons, thereby changing a person's age. All of these claims have been rejected as pseudo-scientific.
Nevertheless, Verrett has had a number of international celebrities on his client list as a shaman, including Gwyneth Paltrow.
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The coronavirus pandemic that broke out in the Chinese province of Hubei in December has now reached almost every country on Earth. So far, it has infected more than 850,000, killing over 42,000. Some 178,000 have recovered from the disease.