Are you a mystery lover? Whatever happened to the mystical healer: Francis Schlatter?

Francis Schlatter, the mysterious healer
Francis Schlatter, the mysterious healer

One of history’s forgotten mysteries, Francis Schlatter was born in rural Alsace, Germany in the year 1852, approximately.  After his parents’ deaths in the 1880s, he moved to England.  He plied his trade as a cobbler there, liked to read geometry and play croquet, but was otherwise rather non-descript and faded into background.  He had but one good friend, a man named Ryan, and when Ryan died suddenly, a badly-shaken Schlatter underwent a dramatic change.

He became all caught up in mysticism and began corresponding with a Florida faith-healer, named Helen Williams.  He pored over her books.  In 1891, he left his home in Jamesport, England and traveled to Denver, which was at the time a hub for spiratualists and free thinkers.

While practicing his cobbler’s trade there, and with the instruction of Helen Williams, he attempted to bring forth his own healing powers.  He prayed, fasted, and began a program of robust physical exercise.  During this routine, a voice (“the Father”) instructed him to begin healing.

When his healing attempts were at first unsuccessful, he set out barefooted and alone on a wandering trail of his own design.  He had taken his cobbler’s tools but abandoned them quickly.  While he continued to pray and fast, he wandered throughout Colorado.  He traveled on through Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, California and parts of Texas, carrying only flour and water with him.  Little is known about these journeys except for a scattered account he wrote himself.   The account was mostly about his daily frustrations, ailments and troubles along the way.   He was jailed in Texas and Kansas for not wearing shoes and a hat in public.

At some point, his healing powers did receive public notice.  At first he had been declared a fraud, but this opinion turned and his abilities were given much merit.  He was deemed sincere, with a Christ-like appearance, and those waiting to get healed got the desired results.  His method consisted of grasping the afflicted’s hands with his own hands while simultaneously reciting the Lord’s Prayer as he gazed toward heaven.  The illnesses or conditions were not mentioned and Schlatter emphasized that the healing was not from him but from the Father.

Newspapers and biographers documented the success rates of his cures.  On November 13, 1895, Schlatter drew a crowd of over 5,000 to be healed in Denver once again.  He expressed a desire to continue to Chicago to do further healings on the next day.

Then, he disappeared, leaving a note:  “My mission is done.  My Father calls me away—Francis Schlatter.”

Imposters seized the opportunity and went about selling patent medicine to the disappointed public.  The real Schlatter was only seen a few more times as he journeyed on horseback toward Mexico.

Archaeologists discovered his body in near Chihuahua, Mexico on a canyon embankment several years later.  He had fasted to death, leaving behind a few personal articles.  His writings and artifacts, put in safekeeping by friends and followers have been lost—one batch in a fire.

Francis Schlatter remains as an intriguing subject for mystery lovers like myself.

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