Médecins du Ciel
The “médecins du ciel” refers to a number of healers/channelers who attracted attention in the province of Quebec in the early 1990’s. They counseled followers who had physical ailments to believe their channeled “medical” advice. Four followers eventually died and a coroner’s investigation into three of the deaths recommended that police investigate the healers for criminal negligence. However, no charges were filed. They were subsequently pursued by the College of Physicians and pleaded guilty to the illegal practice of medicine and fined (Desjardins, 1994, March).
The channelers also predicted that certain areas of the province of Quebec were to be hit by natural disasters and so they moved with a number of followers to a “safe area” in the Laurentians, a region north of the city of Montreal.
In his book, Massimo Introvigne (1996), using the “médecins du ciel” as an example, presents Info-Cult as a “classic anti-cult” group. He writes,
Ils donnent alors lieu à un modèle complet et engendrent des insinuations disant que beaucoup de nouveaux mouvements religieux pourraient être “exactement comme l’OTS.” Un bon exemple de ce que nous affirmons est fourni par la réaction combinée, au Québec, du mouvement anti-sectes et de la presse à la prédiction des guérisseurs Yves Bianchi (sic) et Moniques Forgues (qui vivent avec une centaine de fidèles dans le village de Val-David au Québec), selon laquelle un gigantesque déluge devait détruire les trois quarts de la planète le 28 septembre 1995. (p. 232)
English translation:
It gives rise to a model that insinuates that a lot of new religious movements could be “exactly like the OTS.” A good example of this is provided by the combined reaction of the anti-cult movement and the media, in Quebec, with a prediction made by healers Yves Bianchi (sic) and Monique Forgues (who live with about a hundred of their followers in the village of Val-David, Quebec), that a giant flood would destroy three quarters of the planet on September 28, 1995.
Introvigne continues,
…des opposants locaux, dans le village, et Info-Sectes (sic), une organisation anti-sectes de Montréal, ont déclaré après le 28 septembre non seulement que les deux guérisseurs animent “une secte fermée ou l’on pratique le lavage de cerveau sur les membres vulnérables,” mais aussi que ” groupe restreint de partisans inconditionnels du couple représente la plus grande menace pour le Québec depuis l’Ordre du Temple Solaire.”
English translation:
…local opposition in the village and Info-Cult, an anti-cult organization from Montreal, declared after September 28 that not only did the healers head “a secretive cult where brainwashing was carried out on vulnerable members,” but also that “the unquestioning supporters represent the worst threat to hit Quebec since the Order of the Solar Temple.”
As indicated in his footnotes, Introvigne’s analysis is based on one article, written in English (Baker, 1995, September 24). However, as a result of obvious errors, he presents a completely different version of the article, and consequently of Info-Cult’s role. Aside from the fact that Introvigne has the date wrong (the actual date of the article was September 24, 1995, not September 30th as he cites), he has made much more serious errors that distort and misrepresent Info-Cult’s role. The pertinent sections of the article actually read as follows:
But skeptics warn that the couple are really running a secretive cult where they have brainwashed vulnerable members with phony promises of cures, bilked them of their savings and had them prepare for the end of the world by stockpiling food and weapons. “We have a very serious situation here,” said Pierre Rochette, a singer and former Val-David town councillor, who added that the couple’s solid core of unquestioning supporters represents the worst cult threat to hit Quebec since the Order of the Solar Temple. (p. A1)
Baker continues:
Rochette, who estimates the couple’s clientele at anywhere from 100 to 300 people, has teamed up with Yves Casgrain, a former research director at Montreal’s Info-Cult [author’s bold] organization, in a bid to expose the couple’s practices. (p. A1)
Casgrain and Rochette’s position vis-a-vis the “médecins du ciel” was reported in several newspaper articles (Baker, G., 1995, 29 September; Deslauriers, D., 1995, 9 septembre; Lamarche, C., 1995, 7 septembre). Casgrain, however, was speaking as an individual, not as a representative of Info-Cult, which is the impression that Introvigne gives. This might seem minor, but would Introvigne want the opinions of his former employees to be attributed to CESNUR, an organization that he directs?