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Up to 7,000 people a day come to his shows and pay to be silently stared at by him. Supposedly it brings about a lot of good. A big haox? A visit in Brandenburg. At 2pm there are 1,300 paying visitors for the Gaze with Braco. More and more people flow through the doors of the Kongresshotel in Brandenburg which lies 50 kilometers outside Berlin. Many have travelled from afar, in the carpark there are buses from Poland, you can hear many languages like croatian, english and french. There are mainly middle-aged women, mothers who pin photos of their children to their blouses, seniors in wheelchairs, few men and a couple of teenagers. They all want to meet one man who neither speaks with or touches them but who can still supposedly free them from their pains, just by looking at them. According to the website the Croat Braco (read: Brazo) "hugs" his followers with this Gaze and gives "a sense of calm, peace and love." For that, they only have to do one thing: pay 5 euros and see what happens.
For 20 years the now, 47 year old Josip Grabavac from Zagreb has been touring the world as the Wonder healer Braco. In the meantime, every year more than 250,000 pilgrims from Europe, USA, Russia and Japan who believe in the healing power of his Gaze, search for him. Have they all been taken by a charlatan who profits from the suffering of the help seekers? Or can a Gaze really make a miracle happen? Every 45 minutes a group of a few hundred believers pour into the hall. Most of them try to get to the front seat rows. Then a man takes the microphone. In a TV studio you would call him a ''whipper'' (one who's job it is to get the audience to clap). ''How are you today?'' He asks with a soft voice. ''Who was here before?'' The majority. Would someone like to report how Braco has helped you? A few arms shoot up into the air. The conference room now breaks into an open conversation. Braco‘s Gaze freed a woman from her chronic sinusitis infection. The illness simply flew away when the Croatian looked at her in the eyes. Another tell of how her varicose veins receeded and, oh yes, a birthmark like that of Gorbachev, on the thigh, also has become much smaller. The whipper nods full of understanding as if he hears this often. Also the people who could stand up from their wheelchairs and walk, the blind can see again and those with cancer were healthy again.
He shows a video of Braco‘s appearance in the Chapel of the United Nations from January 2012. The Society of Enlightenment and Transformation awarded him a Peace Prize. Then, finally the time has come. Music playing from the loudspeakers sounds like lonely panpipes. The doors open, a small, thin man with long hair and hanging arms comes onto the white covered stage. His body stretches, he raises his eyes. That is the magic moment. Braco is gazing now. Many turn their palms up, rock back and forth, some are crying, a man sobs loudly. Helpers rush to him and he calms down. Braco‘s Gaze moves slowly from left to right. He looks nice, shy, a little timid. After five minutes everything is over. Braco leaves the room, the panpipes are silent, in the room many are blowing their noses. The whipper is now speaking again. He asks how it was. ''I have felt so much power“, says a man, „and I saw a light surrounding him'' - ''Like a halo?'' - ''Yes, exactly''.
Then the session comes to an end. At the exit most buy a book about Braco‘s history (20 Euro), a DVD with the Gaze to have at home or a necklace with a golden sun (150 Euro), Braco‘s symbol. The golden Sun was also the symbol of Braco‘s mentor, Ivica Prokić. Already in the 90s he supposedly healed people, but with words and through touch. During the time of the Yougoslavian war the people were looking for anything that offered relief. Prokić gave Josip Grbavac his name, Braco ''little brother''. In the year 1995, his mentor drowned on a beach in South Africa. The kilogram or more of heavy gold chains around his neck would not have helped in his fight for survival. Braco, actually a trained economist, unceremoniously took Prokić’s clients. At first he treated their sorrows by touching and speaking but since 2004, he just looks at them. It states on the flyer, a visit with Braco can not be in place of a visit to a doctor. He himself as those around him emphasise that he does not assume to have healing powers. On his homepage dubios scientists vouch for just that. The fact that Braco speaks neither to his followers nor to journalists only strenghtens his supernatural myth. Then again this trick can be self protection. Afterall someone who doesn't say anything can't say anything wrong.
Up to 7,000 people per day come to his events. Via his web TV station his fans can recieve a Livestream of his Gaze over the internet. The takings from his seances are used to pay for travel expenses, the helpers and the room rent. Upon inquiry the helpers say that they work voluntarily. The room rental which the Kongreehotel charges, 2,000 Euro, is already easily covered by the entry fee amounting to a minimum of 7,000 Euro and through the sale of the Braco related items (dvds etc). Croatian newspapers report that Braco is for some time already a millionaire, that his company is registered in Hawaii and bribes to the media so that they reports positively about him. So, if Braco‘s healing powers are a scam what is it that makes people feel better after seeing him. Maybe this is why: During his appearances his followers are unwittingly following the basic rules of meditation.
You pause for a moment and focus on a single thing without letting the mind wander. Braco‘s gaze acts just like a mirror, which reflects the energy of the group. A crowd of people has more energy than a single individual, anyone who has ever been to a concert or a demonstration knows this. Focusing your attention on yourself for a few minutes without having to function in any other way, can lead to inner strength and well-being. This is not an esoteric nonsense, but a long-standing proven practice of concentration. In a time when people find little peace and are constantly expected to perform, the silent Braco is exactly what many need. What does this say about a society in which traditional healers like priests are no longer appealing and family doctors are hardly approachable? Maybe he is one of the ''genies'' our society let out of the bottle.
(German national daily newspaper)
Europe is curious about the silent gaze of Braco: This article was published by the German national daily newspaper "DIE WELT" on February 1st, 2015. The resonance was big - two television teams, one from Germany and one from Austria, came with cameras to the events with Braco in Stuttgart and Vienna shortly after this article has been published.