Susan Casey is no stranger to adventure journalism, but nothing had prepared her for the otherworldly experience of meeting the renowned faith healer John of God in a remote town in Brazil in July. She'd first learned of the healings John of God had performed for the physically and spiritually burdened from Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York. Casey, who was at the time still grieving over her father's sudden death nearly two years earlier, knew immediately that she would make the journey to central Brazil. "You can either hear about it and it passes you by, or you can hear about it and it calls to you," she says. It didn't hurt that O's own Dr. Mehmet Oz, an eminent cardiac surgeon whose training is firmly grounded in rigorous science, was also intrigued. "If cancer patients are benefiting from John of God's work, even if it's just one person, I agree with Dr. Oz that we should be studying this," says Casey, who doesn't consider herself a religious person. During her week in Abadiânia, Casey confronted mysteries subtler—if no less profound—than the 100-foot ocean swells she chased around the globe with surfer Laird Hamilton for her recent best-seller, The Wave. "I don't think anyone could leave there unchanged," Susan says. "Oprah called me the night before I left and said, 'I'm so excited for you.'"
Next: More behind the scenes photos from Susan's trip to Brazil