Inside the Braco Experience: Faith, Convulsions, and a Whole Lot of Snake Oil
In an age where things like evidence-based medicine and rigorous clinical trials reign supreme, we need something that works. The man known as "European phenomenon" Braco (pronounced Brah-tso) claims to fill that void with the mystical energy of his silent staring.
It was one of the most hilarious things I'd ever heard, so I had to try it.
Recently, I was in Mexico. I brought my sister a bottle of tequila, my friend a hand-crafted pipe, and myself an explosive case of diarrhea. I don't know about you, but I generally dislike peeing out of my butthole, so finding a way to heal this sort of thing was paramount to me. Then I was told about Braco, the Croatian wunderkind who heals by merely looking at you, and two things immediately came into my head: "Hahaha, what in the actual fuck?" and "Miami must know about this $8 placebo."
The basic idea is this: Braco can solve your problems by having you look into his eyes. If that's not mind-blowing enough, according to his web site, "People can bring photos of loved ones or children to gazing sessions and find help for them." Not only does this guy have the power to transfer healing waves to you through his eyes, he can also do it through a photographic medium. Isn't that
convenient amazing? The only rules are that you must be 18 years or older, pay the $8 entry fee, and you can't be pregnant. Fetal exposure to Braco is known to cause developmental problems, presumably as the mother's "moron genes" are amplified during gazing sessions.
Armed with the knowledge of what to expect, I asked my girlfriend to accompany me. She decided to see if Braco's healing powers extend into the animal kingdom by taking along a photo of her cat, General Catface Meowmers. (The General, much like civilian cats, occasionally suffers from being a selfish little bitch.) I decided to take a photo of superstar actor Dustin Diamond. I heard he's been down on his luck, so perhaps Braco can stare him back onto network television.
When we arrived at the Miami Beach Convention Center, there were signs pointing the way to the junior hall. Volunteers scanned our tickets, and led us into silent salvation. In the corresponding convention hall, we saw a rows of chairs, and as we were escorted to our seats by the most Portland-like hippie I've ever seen in my life, I used my personal gift of staring to quickly count how many people were in attendance. By counting rows and columns of filled seats, I counted 98 people. Let's just round that up to 100. Later you'll see why I wanted to know how many people showed up.
Anyway, there were people of all types. Young and old, black and white, friendly and Republican -- all types. Before showing up, I had planned to belittle all the others who went, because quite frankly this Braco thing is the stupidest nonsense I've ever heard since Adam Levine's music. However, once I saw everyone, I realized they're just regular people desperate for answers -- not much different than those who go to church. Well, it's a little different, considering there's a 5'8" Croatian who looks like a store manager at TJ Maxx just silently staring at you, but the general faith principle is the same.
Incognito photo I was able to snap before I was caught by a hippie.
The event begins by having a blond lady named Angelika Whitecliff give a brief, 30-minute preamble designed to prime you for the Braco experience. Whitecliff is, I shit you not, "a telepathic communicator with angelic, extraterrestrial, astral, and other multi-dimensional entities." That's according to the Exopolitics Institute: Political Analysis & Activism in Extraterrestrial Affairs official web site -- not the unofficial site, because that one's filled with bullshit. She regaled us with stories about Braco's predecessor Ivica, the original top-dog healer, and how Braco followed him. One day, after Ivica prophesied his own accidental death in South Africa (but did nothing to stop it), it was up to Braco to take the reins. She continued on for a while, but eventually all I heard was:
"Blah blah bullshit bullshit blah blah, we sell 14k diamond pendants which can be recharged with Braco's gift during gazing sessions bah blah bullshit bullshit we sell CDs (of what, white noise?), DVDs, and books..."
Fucking jackpot. Eight bucks a head is a pretty decent intake (though Braco's people assured us the cost of admission covers only transportation and venue costs), but overpriced jewelry will put you in the snake-oil stratosphere! She continued on telling stories, while my girlfriend and I did everything in our power not to make eye contact with each other for fear of laughing our collective asses off and getting telekinetically booted from the event by Whitecliff. She then asked the audience (congregation?) to stand, and showed us a brief video montage of Braco healing the masses silently while wearing designer blue jeans and a long-sleeve guayabera. And praying with monks in temples while wearing designer blue jeans and a long-sleeve guayabera. And just gazing off into the horizon as wind blows through his long, luxurious hair while wearing designer blue jeans and a long-sleeve guayabera. Without notice, the video stops, soothing instrumental music continues, and Braco comes out from behind closed doors and steps on stage wearing his trademark uniform.
At this moment, I'm trying absolutely everything to stifle my laughter. I start thinking about dead puppies, and what it would be like if 30 years from now I'm browsing future-porn on whatever comes after the Internet and notice my daughter is listed on the credits as "fluffer to the stunt cock." Not even good enough to suck a dick on screen? What a terrible father I am.
It starts to work. I unblur my vision and gaze upon Braco, then back at my Screech photo, then back at Braco, and then at the lady a few rows ahead who is convulsing, yes, convulsing as if evil is leaving her body. This goes on for about five minutes. Then, Braco abruptly walks off stage and out through the doors as quickly as he came in.
That was it; I experienced Braco.
Angelika waltzes back on stage, tells everyone how utterly amazing that was and how we all undoubtedly feel refreshed (there it is again, putting ideas in our heads). Then she asks us to share the good experiences we just felt with everyone. With a show of hands, they start passing the microphone around. One guy lets everyone know it's his eighth session. The convulsing lady talks everyone's ear off about the power of Braco. My girlfriend, finally making eye contact with me, saw the look in my eye and threatened to break up with me if I raised my hand and asked for the microphone. The session was finally over and we left, but not before passing a row of merchandise. I checked the prices on the jewelry and in my quick glance found reasonably-priced items from $1,580 to $7,000.
Like Jesus, here's our humble healer of the sick in a limo.
Remember how I told you to remember that there were 100 people in the session? That's $800 for that session, each of which last about 35 minutes. They do eight sessions per day, so that's $6,400 daily, and with three days over the weekend, that gives them $19,200. For 24 five-minute staring contests. And these are conservative numbers; in the ridiculous little montage they show you before he steps out, we saw Braco doing sessions with people numbering in the high hundreds, if not thousands. Add in the CD/DVDs, books, and jewelry profits, and I'm starting to think maybe I too have the gift of stare-healing. This is a very efficient con Team Braco have going on.
Now that you know what to expect, you can experience Braco when he returns in October. Oh, and Dustin Diamond, if you come across a TV deal of some sort in the coming weeks, you're welcome.
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