In recent years, few consecrated ministers of the Gospel have received much favorable publicity from the press. What they have received, if any, has usually been of a derogatory character. Nevertheless, many newspapers have taken time and space to describe, often favorably, the healing campaigns of William Branham. It would be too much to expect that every newspaper would give sympathetic reports.
Often reporters who attend such meetings come with their minds already made up, and stay only long enough to draw up an extremely sketchy report, which they intersperse with a worldly-wise and subtly cynical ridicule. However, it appears that in the Branham campaigns, interest has been of such an intense nature, that reporters have stayed in the services long enough to become at least partially convinced of what they have seen and heard.
In a number of cases, a very generous and fair account of the meetings has been given. Only occasionally has a report appeared completely skeptical. In this chapter we shall give sketches of the Branham meetings, from accounts appearing in various newspapers of United States and Canada. The first one appearing below was published in the Waukegan NEWS-SUN of March 14, 1949:
"During the three days Rev. Branham has preached, scores have claimed to have been healed. Every case of crossed eyes which was prayed for was straightened before prayer ceased; many cripples and badly twisted bodies were straightened and deaf people were able to hear.
"At last night's service, a young boy paralyzed in arms, legs and back, twisted out of shape was brought by his mother from Bensenville, Illinois, and was prayed for. Immediately after prayer, he walked straight and steadily from the platform without aid.
"Two women, who had been entirely blind with cataracts for two years, were healed at the same service. After being led to the platform then prayed for, the first was able to see and walk - and as her husband said, 'Even those bloodshot veins in her eyes were cleared up.'"
The same reporter, Fannie Wilson, writing in the Community News, a paper representing several cities north of Chicago, of date-line March 24, 1949, said:
"The main difference between Rev. William Branham and most everyone else is: to them the Bible is ancient history; to him it is just as vital and positive a force now as in the days of Jesus of Nazareth. What makes the story different is that Rev. William Branham proceeds to prove his contention.
"Not that he contends. Far from it. Rev. Branham is more humble than all the humble men you have ever seen put together. (Can you imagine a white man, born in Kentucky, lifting a little cross - eyed negro child from Market Street, Waukegan, in his arms and saying, 'Daughter, be healed in the Name of Jesus Christ'?) And her eyes had become straight, even as many others had, during this service of healing and revival meetings held in the Grace Missionary Church. Among those prayed for Monday night was a prominent Waukegan physician.
"During the Monday night service alone, nine people were healed after being born deaf and dumb. Most of these were born in this community or were known here previous to their healing. One of these deaf-mutes was healed of blindness also. All became able to speak, although the sounds were similar in tonal quality to those of a child. They also seemed surprised to hear their own voices.
"One man who had come from Iowa had a cancer on his leg from the knee to the ankle, which disappeared immediately after prayer. In last night's meeting children with paralysis, spastics and those suffering from mental deficiency recovered after prayer.
"Many important and respected people of Lake County heard and saw Brother Branham "diagnose" numerous diseases. Most of all, the individual for whom he was to pray saw the effect of the disease created on the minister's left hand, until the illness was stopped after his prayer.
"The audience was reminded many times by the speaker that he himself did not have the power to perform these healings, but that they were 'acts of God' through the faith of the individual prayed for."
"A panorama of human emotions was unveiled by some 3000 citizens who packed Victoria Pavilion Wednesday night to witness or receive help from William Branham of Jeffersonville, Indiana, in his faith healing campaign.
"The U.S. minister's reputation of having helped to heal over 35,000 people of blindness, lameness, cancer, polio, T.B., and other sicknesses since he was imparted the 'gift of Divine healing' about a year ago attracted men, women and children of every walk of life.
"One of the first in the prayer line was a Mr. Andre of Edmonton, who said he was suffering from 'a protusion of the disc in the spine.' He claimed to have been to scores of doctors in Western Canada, and also to the Mayo Brothers at Rochester. They said an operation of the spine was necessary, he stated.
"Then Andre, who told the ALBERTAN he could not remember when he was last able to touch his toes without bending at the knees, was approached by 'the divine healer.'
"Taking Andre's right hand in his left hand, Branham described the man's ailment, and after prayer, told him to bend over and touch his toes. Andre did so, without bending his knees. A gasp went up from the huge throng, and with a rush of voices, the crowd gave vent to their combined surprise and admiration.
"The Edmonton man, wracked with emotion, breathed a simple thanks to the minister before rushing to the microphone to tell the audience how doctors had told him an operation would be necessary for his back.
"The minister claimed to have a mysterious vibration in his left hand by which he was able to distinguish cancer, T.B., and other germs."
"Miss M-- B-- who spent ten years in school for the deaf here and in Winnepeg, said, 'Daddy' and 'Mamma' quite clearly after she had been prayed for by Rev. William Branham, in the Apostolic Church Wednesday evening where 800 persons had gathered to witness 'healing through faith.'
"Miss B--, interviewed by the STAR-PHOENIX Friday, said that she could hear quite well with her right ear but the left ear was still deaf. She believed that she would be able to speak normally within a short time. Her landlady said that she had been saying 'Good-morning' and 'Good-bye,' something she had not done in the three months she had been staying with her.
"While the congregation sat still with bowed beads, the hundred people to be cured filed past Mr. Branham as he prayed for them each in turn. The congregation was told that entire belief and reverence were necessary, and all must bow their heads. Those who did not were asked to leave the church.
NOTE: Bro. Branham, in some, but not all services requested that people bow their heads because in the realm of sickness he was dealing with evil spirits. Bowing their heads in faith and reverence was to prevent the evil spirit from coming back to them once it was cast out of the one being prayed for. There have been cases where evil spirits were cast out on the platform, only to go into the congregation on someone else. - Web site editor.
"Prior to Mr. Branham's arrival, the congregation heard from other speakers who told of the marvelous work already being done through faith. One woman testified that she had been prayed for and the following morning her one deaf ear was again normal, and several other minor ailments had vanished. One of the speakers mentioned a woman from Regina, who had been able to bear only a liquid diet for months, but the morning following prayer for her, she arose and enjoyed a normal breakfast."
"A crowd Sunday night that vied with the annual game between the Jeffersonville Red Devils and the New Albany Bulldogs attended the Branham Tabernacle at Eighth and Penn Streets, overflowed and stood in the rain to hear via loud speakers, divine moving manifestations of the Rev. William Branham, whose healing miracles are known internationally.
"From authentic sources comes the report of the healing of two cancer patients, who were told of a deathly sickness and recovery within ninety days; a person told to walk who had been confined to a wheel chair for eighteen years; of another carried to the church on an ambulance stretcher; of the deaf made to hear, all by a man who heals by the laying on of his right hand in the name of his Divine Maker.
"According to many, the day of miracles has not yet passed - even in Jeffersonville.
"From a struggling young man, who worked on a job during the day, and proclaimed the gospel on Sunday, his own faith was such to surmount all obstacles. He still suffers ridicule in some instances in his home town, from scoffers, who should do him honor as one chosen by the Supreme Being to carry on His work.
"Although not educated, as education is considered today, he has the ability and earnest fervor necessary in the presentation of the gospel. His Divine healing power today is known internationally. From Jeffersonville he will travel to Louisiana, Houston, Texas, possibly Jamaica, and then overseas."
Many other newspapers, including the CHICAGO DAILY TIMES, the CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, the ST. LOUIS STAR-TIMES, the ST. LOUIS POST- DISPATCH, carried interesting and even lengthy reports of the Branham meetings, the latter paper giving almost a full page. Not all of these reports were written as endorsements of the campaigns. Yet most of them at least were not hostile, and some, as far as newspapers go, were favorably impressed. In most cases, where the reporter had opportunity to actually witness the demonstration of cases healed, he was convinced that there was a supernatural power being manifest in the meetings.
"Although Rev. Branham claims to have received the gift some 11 months ago, he said in the interview that it was the first time he had ever had the opportunity to tell his story directly to the reporters. 'My daily services take up so much of my time that the church managers have asked me to refuse interviews with newspapers. They always have said, "You have so many seeking aid through your prayers; to publicize your presence through the papers would only add to the overcrowded prayer lines," they explained.'
"A visit to the Bible Hour Tabernacle on East Matthews will bear out his statement that his claims need no publicity. Last week the prayer lines, in which he prayed individually with the sick, paralyzed, deaf, dumb and blind, were held twice daily. This week three services are held each day. And he will never be able to get through the long list before the meeting closes Monday.
"People are pouring into town daily to beg for 'just one minute with Rev. Branham.' One day this week a bus loaded with 45 persons from Fulton, Kentucky, was present. The same day a chartered plane brought in a 34-year-old ex-GI, swollen horribly from cancer, which was sapping his life. Wednesday, Rev. Branham flew to El Dorado on a whirlwind trip to pray for a person who was reported near death.
"Residents of at least 25 states and Mexico have visited Jonesboro since Rev. Branham opened the camp meeting June 1. They represent states from California to New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin to Florida, Wyoming to Texas and on down to Mexico, the SUN reporter was told. The tremendous turnouts have overflowed local tourist courts and many private homes nightly, also a special dormitory has been set up in the rear of the church.
"Rev. Branham says, 'I am just a man. I have no power of healing. Jesus Christ is the only one that can heal. I pray to Him to heal those that believe. No one can be healed who does not have faith in Jesus Christ,' he explained.
"Detecting the type of ailment of those coming to him is another power claimed by Rev. Branham. 'When they put their hand in my left band, I receive vibrations caused by the germs in the person. I can usually tell what the disease is. When the disease leaves the person, the vibrations stop,' he stated. When Rev. Branham completes a prayer for a person, he usually finishes by saying, 'I adjure thee by Jesus Christ, leave this person.'
"Rev. Branham began a rigorous schedule last summer in St. Louis. He came to Jonesboro next, visited Pine Bluff and Camden, then went to Houston and on to the West Coast. He will fly to California next week to administer to an Armenian.
"Since his October visit, Rev. Branham has shown the effects of the daily routine. He has lost 25 pounds and his eyes are very hollow and deep set. 'I have to keep my place of residence a secret in order to get any sleep at all,' he said smiling.
"The total attendance for the services during the two-weeks period is likely to surpass the 20,000 mark by Sunday, church officials state. For two days this SUN representative attended the afternoon services and spent a morning listening to Rev. Branham's story. Milling through the masses, talking to numerous people from widely scattered areas, not one skeptic was encountered. Many told stories that hardly seemed possible.
"For instance, M. N. Funk, a shoe builder from Seymour, Missouri, said he had not walked for five years and five months until he attended a service conducted by Rev. Branham at Camden, January 21. 'I lay in a hospital for nine months after falling and injuring my spine, while doing some carpentry work. Doctors told me that I would never walk again, and for five years and five months I didn't. I know its hard to believe, but Brother Branham prayed for me and I got up and walked immediately. And I can walk just as good as you or anybody else today,' he said.
"C. C. Shepherd, pastor of the Pentecostal Church of St. Charles near De Witt, showed to the assembly Monday afternoon, a calloused wad of skin-like substance which he said was a cancer which had plagued him for 14 years. He was prayed for by Rev. Branham on Tuesday last week. He said the cancer on his neck, the result of a razor cut, was red when he went on the platform, but immediately began to turn dark. 'It just got black, dried up and came out,' he said. He had a deep pit in his neck where the growth had been.
"Mrs. Hattie Waldrop, who said her husband owned a plumbing shop at 2851 North 16, Phoenix, Arizona, came all the way to Jonesboro to testify that Rev. Branham had brought her back from the dead. 'My pulse had stopped completely. I was suffering from cancer of the colon, heart and liver trouble with no hope of getting well, when Brother Branham prayed for me on March 4. Today I am well and healthy,' she told the reporters."
(Bro. Gordon Lindsay has talked personally with this Mrs. Waldrop and her husband and confirmed her testimony to be the truth.)