Skepticism

Gazing Balls: I’m looking at you Braco.

If you have never heard of Braco before, here’s the tl;dr on what he is and isn’t:   Braco isn’t a healer, as his people tell you as much as they can.  He’s not a public speaker, as in he does not speak, ever, in public.  He’s not Yanni, although by the looks of him he plays Yanni on tv.

He’s a gazer. No, really.  A gazer.  He … gazes. I swear I am not making this up. People pay good money to have Braco … look in their general direction.

Last week, he gazed at, or at least near, me.  At, or generally in the vicinity of, the six in my party, the 200 other people in the big tent, and all the gaze-ees who attended the 7 other sessions that day.  We all paid $8.00 to be looked at, which Braco did for 7.5 minutes total during the one hour I was there.

Best. scam. evah.

I can’t tell you much about his eyes, but I have no doubt he’s got stones the size of Magic 8 Balls to sell this newage tent show.  Again: he promises nothing but gazing.

Oh, also? Remember to bring home milk.

Here’s how it went down:

Jane came on stage dressed in flowy white clothes, and glasses, and gave us the “medical disclaimers”  a) To be gazed upon you must be over 18 “for your own safety”; b) if you are a lady, you should not be more than one trimester along in your pregnancy as the “gazing energy can be powerful.”  [Note: Jane does not claim to be a medical professional.]

Then the practical disclaimers: a) any photos or notes about things I might want in Braco’s gaze should be placed over my heart, and no higher up for maximum effect; b) so as not to disrupt “energy”, all cell phones and electrical devices must be turned off.  I had to resort to writing notes on my hand! [Note: somehow, the electrical devices that were the microphones and cameras of Braco’s own crew did not disrupt any “energy”.]

Then Jane told us Braco wasn’t a healer, and it was good to be skeptical about the impending event.  In fact, for 10 minutes she talked about why I shouldn’t believe anything, and “skeptics and engineers” who attend a gazing “almost always report feeling his gaze regardless.”  [Note: O_O]

Then she showed us a video of a “skeptic” who attended the event two days after he’d been diagnosed with “Agent Orange Cancer Virus” in his stomach.  He didn’t feel anything at the gazing, thought it was all bunk, and went home.  Amazingly, two days later he went to his doctor to confirm by blood draw that he was cured!  [Note: … wot?]

After the non-energy-disruptive video presentation, Braco took the stage.  First thing he hit us with, I am not making this up, was his very best Zoolander Blue Steel pose, complete with Drama Prairie Dog revealing whirl! I couldn’t really see him, so instead I looked at his promo material, on which he was gazing, so I thought it was just as good.  I felt a little guilty, as his stare seemed to say “Why’d you bogart the last Twinkie?”  When I looked up, he was live-action gazing dolefully: “I mean, you even left just an empty box. Harsh.”

As instructed, I was skeptical.  I mean, I couldn’t even see him if I wasn’t on tippy toes, so I did not get much gazing, to be sure.  Jane did assure me that his gaze would reach me, “just like sun beams still reach your skin in the shade.”  [Note: wait, what?]

After about seven minutes, Braco left the stage with a flourish of an invisible cape.  I am sad to report no audience member fainted, spoke in tongues, or peed themselves. In fact, almost everyone seems confused if it was over.  But then Jane re-emerged!  She told us we might not feel anything at first, but the gazing had occurred, and we should rest assured that we’d had a successful gazing.  In case we were suspicious, she invited a confederate audience member at random to share his experience.

This “random guy” told us this was his second gazing.  He went into his first as a “skeptic” who drank five or six vodkas to get to sleep at night, but “wasn’t an alcoholic because it wasn’t a problem.” But after the gazing, he switched to sleeping pills and wine, because he was healed. He told us three times in a row “You people are the good people.” [Note: Ah, fuck it.]

When Jane returned to take the microphone, my friend said “I hate Jane.  Hate.”

And after a quick pitch for the Bracoware for sale at the back of the tent, we were released back into the wild.   We’d been told over and over that all Braco did was gaze.  And, no question, that’s all he did.   Yet, in the parking lot?  Much comparing of notes on how folks were touched, healed, given peace, spontaneously cured, etc. My favorite was a starry-eyed woman who said “This was wonderful.  I’ve never felt anything like it.  I didn’t feel anything at all when it was happening.”

I am baffled and amazed by the human desire to fit in.

And I’m out eight bucks.

a.real.girl

A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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22 Comments

  1. If I’m not mistaken the Jane that you refer to is Jane Sibbett who played Carol Willick, Ross’ hateful ex-wife, on Friends.

    I heard someone (I think it was Bryan, Baxter, and Nitor on Warning: Paranormal Archives) talk about attending a Braco show.
    Sound simply dreadful.

  2. This is quite interesting and correlates to one of my experiences as a child.

    The first semester of my freshman year I attended a church school in Joplin, MO. It was called ‘Joplin Church ALIVE!’ (yes with the exclamation mark). My ‘teachers’ gave me the task of creating a Sermon to present to my classmates.

    I ended up making up a story to tell my classmates. I said I had a vision of Jesus walking into my life and fixing all the bad things just to fit in.

    If i only knew half of what i know now…

  3. I suspect there are more confederates/shills in the crowd to talk up the event afterwards in the parking lot. The whole set up feels like it was designed with extensive legal advice so that they can’t be accused of fraud.

    Going off topic a bit, I’m happy that this article has provided me with my first encounter with the verb ‘bogart’ in the wild. Previously, I’ve only encountered it in captivity, in the song lyrics “Don’t bogart that joint, my friend, pass it over to me.”

  4. Ok I have to know, how did you get through this without giggling or shouting out the words “What the Fuck”? Because I was just reading your report on it, oh does anyone know how to reapir a bullshit detector as mine has overloaded?

    1. In fact, I had to promise my friends I would not “ruin it” even before I went. I am kind of loud and snarky sometimes, but I was investigating, so I wanted to see the whole thing.

      As it turns out, I behaved better than the rest of my party. The.real.boy started unstoppably laughing the instant Blue Steel came out, and eventually dragged everyone down with him.

  5. Oh god, that is amazing. I once had a dance I had planned pre-empted because someone had an urgent message from Orion. People started giggling at one point, and the channelers (there were two of them) were like, “Yes! Yes! You are now being transported to the cosmic chamber of joy and laughter!” And everyone started breathlessly laughing.

    This was at an otherwise pretty awesome week-long festival of music, dance, and massage. At the end of the week the teenagers there did a fabulous satirical performance wherein they pretended to be the aliens that were foretold by the Orion channelers and handed out chocolate cookies to the crowd.

  6. Some of my friends and I saw Braco in Indianapolis. Your session didn’t include the best parts of a gazing session. We got to hear “the voice” it is 8 minutes of Braco talking in Croatian. It is only played at the very last session of his tour. Also they gave us all a flower from the bouquets people brought him.

    This is a small preview of. “The voice ” we could find with translation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z6WGfr3kHs

    1. Sadly, I did hear Braco’s recorded voice. I didn’t include it in my story because:

      a) He’s a dude who gazes, so wtf with the endless recording?
      b) it was like the worst SNL skit ever. There’d be a pause, and we’d start to clap … and then more Croatian rambling. Then again. And effin’ again.
      c) I had no idea what he was saying, although I like to think it was KRS-One lyrics or e.e. cummings poetry.

  7. My sister just saw Braco here where we live yesterday. I’m really taken by his website! It’s so whimsical and amusing. I particularly like the open voting contest Braco just ran, which updates “What would Jesus do?” to “Where should Braco gaze?” My poster posted about it on FB. My reply? “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in his glance.”

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