How a Mysterious "Black Box" Alternative Therapy Cured James Coburn's Crippling Arthritis.
Aug. 9, 2005
James Coburn for years suffered from crippling arthritis. It kept him from acting. Then he reappeared on-screen.
This is the unknown story of how he regained his health and his career. Well, not quite unknown. I interviewed Coburn for my monthly audiotape subscription service, FireStorm Chats, in the early 1990s. He went public with the amazing facts of his deliverance. But I had very few subscribers. This story is generally unknown.
I published this information again in my e-letter, Gary North's Reality Check, in November, 2002, the week after his death.
James Coburn never stopped working after The
Magnificent Seven, his third movie, in which he had one of
Hollywood's legendary walk-on roles. Decades later, he was
still having fun with James Garner and Mel Gibson in the
re-make of "Maverick." He won an Oscar for the 1998
movie, "Affliction." And he will be heard forever as the
voice of the villainous corporate boss in "Monsters, Inc."
His action roles disappeared in the 1980's. There was
a reason for this, and it wasn't age. If you look closely
at his hands as he deals the cards in Maverick, you'll
see why. They are gnarled. He had been dealt a bad hand
in the late 1970's -- actually, two bad hands: rheumatoid
arthritis. There were times when he could not hold his
comb to comb his hair. Yet he was able to deal cards in
1994. There was a reason for this: a "black box." It was
a miracle machine. I know, because it saved my wife, just
as it saved Coburn.
It could have saved a lot of other people, except for
one thing: the U.S. government pulled the plug. ("Agency
pulls plug on LV pain clinic," Las Vegas Sun, Oct. 19, 1991)
At about the same time that Coburn's symptoms were disappearing, my wife began treatment by the same genius inventor. The inventor had invented a machine that he said destroyed viruses. However it worked, it healed my wife at the same time that it healed Coburn. This took three days.
THE "BLACK BOX" CURED MY WIFE'S CFS
My wife was in even worse shape than James Coburn in
1988. She was in such bad shape that I wrote an entire
issue of my newsletter, Remnant Review, about her
affliction, warning my subscribers to take the disease
seriously. She had what is sometimes called chronic
fatigue syndrome, sometimes called Epstein-Barr, and in
England is called ME. In 1988, few physicians and no
insurance companies acknowledged it as a disease. My wife
went to doctor after doctor in search of a diagnosis, let
alone a cure. She was told it was some form of
mononucleosis. They could find nothing wrong with her.
In the late 1980's, the affliction was beginning to
receive a lot of media coverage and even more official
medical skepticism. "Depression, not virus, may cause
chronic fatigue, new study says." (Seattle Times, May 10,
1988). In comparing 26 people who were "suspected of
having chronic Epstein-Barr virus with 18 healthy
volunteers," reported the University of Washington School
of Medicine, "the only significant difference emerged on
the psychiatric tests." In short, it's all in your head.
I wrote my report to let any sufferers know that they were
not alone, that the disease was real, that it was not a
Those who had the worst form of the disease were
bedridden. They lived in terrible pain when they were
awake, and they slept 16 hours a day. They suffered joint
pain, headaches, and memory loss. There were at least two
dozen symptoms, all bad.
My wife was always tired, suffered headaches, and
could not concentrate. She would read a paragraph in a
book three times and not remember what she had just read.
She would drive at 20 miles an hour in town, which was the
limit of her ability to respond fast enough. She sometimes
walked across the room as if she was an 80-year-old woman.
She was 38. I began my report, "The Disabling of the
Spirit," with these words:
Because of the grim nature of this
and also because of its importance to thousands
of families, I am removing the copyright. You
are hereby authorized to reproduce it by any
means you choose, and so is anyone who receives a
photocopy or some other version. When you read
it, you will understand why I have done this.
I had originally intended to call this
report "The Yuppie Disease," but that would be
much too cute. There is nothing cute about
Chronic Epstein Barr Virus (CEBV). I know. My
wife has it. It has begun to reshape our lives.
I would not bore you with the details of
this disease if it were not a rapidly spreading
epidemic, but tragically it is. No one knows how
fast it is spreading, but if it continues to
spread, it will have profound economic effects on
the economy. It could literally reshape American
That's true of any disease, of course. But
not all diseases spread far and wide. One well-
respected researcher estimates that 12 million
Americans will contract this disease before the
end of the 1990's, and maybe sooner. If he is
correct, then right in the middle of their prime
working years, millions of Americans will leave
the work force to go on Social Security
disability payments, possibly for the rest of
their lives. If he is correct, the Medicare
system may not survive to the year 2000. Social
Security faces a similar crisis.
I will put it bluntly: if you get it, within
one year you could (and should!) be out of the
full-time labor force, and possibly unable to
perform even part-time labor. For how long? For
as long as you have it. How long is this?
Nobody knows. At present, CEBV appears to be a
That issue was run verbatim in the Japan Times. The
disease was raging there, too.
One month after I wrote the report on my wife's
condition, I published an update. I here reprint more of
the report than you may care to read. If it bores you,
skip over it. I'll get to the part about Coburn. I'll
tell you about my interview with him, and why he was
outraged enough with the Food and Drug Administration to
consent to the interview. On September 2, 1988, I wrote
* * * * * * *
What I'm going to tell you in the first section of
this report I would not have believed possible as recently
as a month ago. It has boggled my imagination. It will
cost me some subscribers, especially among physicians, but
I don't care. I really don't know what to make of this
information, but I at least want you to know. Some of you
will think I've gone off the deep end. Nonsense! I went
off the deep end years ago. This time, I've gone over the
falls. (But I survived!)
It relates to my wife's physical condition. Thanks to
many of you, we were literally inundated with suggestions
regarding potential alternative therapies that might work.
Although I have been on the "fringes" of the health
movement since the age of seven, when my mother took me to
the famous Pottenger Clinic in Monrovia, California (where
I was restored to health), I would not have guessed that
there were so many different approaches.
What it boils down to is this: there is no "one" human
body and no "one" affliction. People are different; their
environments are different. There are be statistical
patterns in both sickness and health care, as in anything
else, but no single cure exists that is guaranteed to help
every disease victim equally well. A cure that will work
for one victim can lie hidden in the statistical "noise" of
the scientific verification process. We can't see the
trees for the forest.
As it turned out, my wife probably is not going to
test any of these dozens of therapies. She no longer needs
to. It now appears that she is cured of her Chronic
Epstein-Barr Virus syndrome (CEBV). That is to say, for
the moment, she is no longer suffering any of her former
symptoms. A week from now, or a year from now, we will
see. But for the last month, she has not has one bad day.
No headaches, no inside-out weariness, no 16-hour slumber
sessions, no wild emotional swings. She is back to normal
-- normal being defined as what she was two years ago.
When I wrote the August 5 issue, she was about to
leave Texas in order to visit another odd-ball specialist
with a weird treatment. She had spoken with a woman who
had been helped by this specialist. He is not a physician,
although he has a physician who serves as a front for him.
(This is what several alternative health care specialists
are forced to do. This raises fees, of course.)
The husband of this woman is a friend of mine. He is
in the hard-money movement. I trust him. My wife has
spent hours on the phone with her. The lady had suffered
from a terrible disease called endometriosis. The disease
afflicts women. It kills them in some cases. She had been
treated at Hospital Santa Monica in Rosarito Beach in Baja
California, where my wife also went. Before she went
there, she had been operated on to remove the uterine
tumors the disease produces, and the surgeon told her
husband that she would have to be operated on repeatedly,
possibly for the rest of her life. That discouraged them
both. She was in constant pain, slept 16 hours a day, and
was a true basket case. She tells me that her treatments
at Hospital Santa Monica were very successful. She thinks
it saved her life. But she still suffered from a
discouraging lack of energy. She then went to the man who
treated my wife, and his treatments produced another leap
forward -- mainly, a return of her lost energy. The series
of treatments took only a week.
While at his offices, she had met another woman who in
a matter of days had been partially delivered from some of
the effects of muscular dystrophy. The woman's hand, which
had been useless for four years, had begun to regain its
strength. The woman told her that she had recently taken a
bath, and found herself out of the tub drying herself off.
It had been years since she had been able to do this
Next, the wife of my friend invited another hard-money
writer to send his epileptic son to the man. She monitored
the boy day and night. He suffered three seizures an hour.
These seizures were continual, day and night, even when he
was asleep. After a week of treatments, the seizures were
reduced to three a day. Subsequently, the number
increased, but nothing like what they had been before the
As I write this report, this woman is on a hunting
trip with her husband in the far reaches of British
Columbia. Six months ago, she was in agony, sleeping 16
hours a day to escape, with only the prospect of annual
surgery sessions to keep her alive. Understandably, she
recommended that my wife try the treatment.
I will neither identify the name of the specialist nor
his location. I wish I could. He requests anonymity.
Neither he nor I has any doubt that he would be shut down
by the Feds and the local medical association within a
month if I did mention him by name. He has already served
time in prison briefly because he treated a few cancer
patients. I will say only this: he uses a "black box"
electronic cure that I would have regarded a year ago as a
typical quack treatment. But desperation changes people's
views. So, I assure you, does the disappearance of all
Since the day he hooked her up to the box's wires, she
has suffered zero CEBV symptoms. The treatments cost
$3,000, took a little over a week, and were the best
investment I've ever made. (By the way, insurance
companies do not recognize the existence of this relentless
disease, so they refuse to pay claims on it. Given the
rapid spread of this disease, this makes economic sense.
If this disease ever becomes official, you can kiss goodbye
to today's "cheap" health insurance premiums. They will
soar. Victims will spend fortunes fruitlessly seeking
relief, just as the author of did.)
Now, it is possible that there is some other reason
for her deliverance. It might be psychological: an
overnight deliverance from a disease with effects that were
detected by blood tests, one that had afflicted her
mercilessly and without respite for two years. She has
also been the beneficiary of a lot of prayers, including
the laying on of hands and anointing of oil by our
minister, which is a New Testament practice still honored
by some churches: James 5:13-15. (Most people don't know
that the Queen of England, as head of the Anglican Church,
still practices healing as an annual rite. Whether she
believes in the efficacy of this rite, or whether anyone is
cured, I cannot say. But the rite still exists.)
I am not running a non-profit scientific laboratory.
We tried anything we could think of, and all at once. We
ran no scientifically valid double-blind experiments. But
from what I have seen of the bureaucrats who control access
to medical delivery in this country, they are suffering
from double blindness. I wanted to see her get well, any
way she could.
Before her "black box" treatments began, my wife spoke
with the daughter of a man I have known for ten years, an
important (though neglected) author in the conservative
movement. She has had the disease for a decade. At first,
she and her family believed she would die from it, so
devastating were the symptoms. She gets temporary relief
by the use of medication (which is at least something), but
has had no permanent success with anything. If you are a
CEBV sufferer, consult your physician and ask about Codeine
II and Symmetrel. She says that the latter makes her feel
as if a horse had kicked her in the stomach, but it helps
her from being wiped out when the flu hits. She confirmed
what my wife had suspected from her own experience: if you
have CEBV, stay out of the sun. You become highly
sensitive. You belong indoors, preferably in bed.
But what does the black box do? The inventor claims
that it kills viruses inside cells without killing the
invaded cells. Then it should work with AIDS, right?
That's what he says, too; he claims that his treatments did
reverse a third-stage AIDS carrier so completely that the
man no longer tests positive. Is the inventor a crackpot
or a potential benefactor of civilization? All I know is
that my wife no longer suffers any symptoms of CEBV.
I will mention one physician who does treat CEBV. I
know two sufferers who say he has helped them. I have
asked his office if he would permit me to refer to him, and
he agreed. He treated my father over a decade ago for a
different ailment, an allergy. He has treated my nephew
for a skin condition. He treats Howard Ruff. Sooner or
later, those of us in the hard-money newsletter camp run
across his name, Fuller Royal. His office is in Las Vegas,
Nevada. To say that he uses unorthodox diagnostic
approaches is putting it mildly. He would have been my
third step in trying to get my wife well, had the second
step not worked.
* * * * * * *
My wife had gone on one of his machines for 8 hours a
day for three days. All symptoms disappeared. They have
never returned. She stayed on the machine for another few
days, just to make sure. I would say that she was restored
to 90% of what she had been before. We were both grateful.
Immediately after I mailed that issue, I began getting
letters from subscribers who had the disease. I referred
about a dozen of them to the clinic, which officially
treated pain. Several of them contacted me later to say
they had gone there and had been healed. One woman was not
helped, but she was not upset. Nothing had worked for her.
This was just one more failure.
I had told all of them in advance, "If this works, say
nothing publicly. If it doesn't work, say nothing
publicly. I'm worried that my wife may relapse, and I
don't want the clinic shut down." I knew that the reports
of cures would be a greater threat than the reports on
failures, but the regulators could use the failures to
justify shutting down the clinic.
Three years later, the FDA did shut it down. The
inventor-practitioner had already been forced out of
California into Nevada. But then he unwisely went on a
local TV show to say that it cured cancer and AIDS, and
that was the end . . . in the United States.
OUT OF A WHEELCHAIR AND ONTO THE TRACK
In between, I had told Arthur Kay, an English pastor, about
the treatment. I had stayed in his home in 1985. His
teenage son had come down with ME. The boy was truly a
basket case. He was in a wheelchair. He could barely
walk. He could not study.
My friend believed me. He flew to Las Vegas with his
son, who spent two weeks on one of the machines. He did
not improve. The inventor had warned the father about
this. My wife's case had been exceptional in the speed of
her recovery. He flew home with the son. The inventory
had told him to wait a month, and then come back. The boy
was very ill on the plane. When they landed in Manchester,
they wheeled him into the terminal. Then he saw his
mother. He got up and ran to her.
A TV crew with the local BBC station was in the
terminal for another story. One of them saw this, and out
of curiosity, went over to see what it was all about. They
told him. The boy said he felt much better. The BBC later
sent a crew out to interview him. (I have a videotape of
that show somewhere in a box.) They asked him how he was
doing. He said he was much better, but still weak. They
asked him what he would do if he ever got well. "I'll run
around that field." The family lived on a farm, and it had
a large field.
My friend took the boy back to Las Vegas a month later
for another week of treatments. The boy was fully cured in
that second set of treatments. He went back to school. He
did better than run around the field. He joined the track
team and ran the 200-meter dash. After graduation, he got
work as a hod carrier: the guy who carries cement around in
a construction project.
In 1991, the FDA shut down the clinic. But they made
a crucial mistake. This, you'll love. Anyway, some of you
will. They had put a 30-day cease-and-desist order on the
machines, but not on the inventor. They taped over the
machines' controls, on threat of felony arrest if he
tampered with the tapes.
Here was their mistake. They forgot about the shut-down for 32 days. On day 31, the order became null & void.
The inventor came in the night and loaded the machines onto
a van. Then he and the machines disappeared.
His receptionist got a call the next morning from a
U.S. Marshal. He wanted to know how to turn off the
burglar alarm. She could hear it wailing. "What's going
on?" she asked. The FDA's enforcers had shown up, a day
late and a dollar short, to find the office locked and
empty. They broke in. The alarm went off.
The good guy got away. It reminded me of the outrage
of banditos in "The Magnificent Seven." Only in this case,
the banditos were the Federales.
The FDA was so livid that four years later, it
published this account of the event.
U.S. marshals seized a semitruckload of
detained items on Nov. 29, 1991, at Kyttaron.
When the marshals arrived at Paradise Pain Clinic
that same day to seize the devices there, they
found the facility empty of all but two
incomplete devices. An informant later told FDA
that Rapsomanikis had moved the devices and
promotional literature to another location the
night before the seizure. Investigators never
located the missing devices. The FDA believes
that Rapsomanikis fled the country, possibly with
some of his devices, and that he may have set up
practice in London. http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/rapsomanikis.html
Thanks, QuackWatch, whoever you are, for keeping this
completely objective and unbiased FDA report on-line. It
cheers me up every time I think about it. Too bad the
report left out the story of the frantic call to the
receptionist about the burglar alarm.
My wife loaned him $10,000 to pay a lawyer, which she
figured she would never see again, and didn't. The case
failed. He lost. So, he took his machines to England. He
took at least two of his clients with him: my wife and
James Coburn. My wife went there one more time, as a
booster, just in case.
MY INTERVIEW WITH COBURN
I knew that James Coburn was one of his customers. I
contacted him to see if he could get Coburn to agree to an
interview for my FireStorm Chats audiotape series. He
contacted Coburn, and Coburn agreed.
In the interview, conducted over the phone, Coburn
described how arthritis had destroyed his career as an
action movie hero. He told me that it's difficult to be an
action hero when it hurts too much to comb your hair.
He found out about the machine and its inventor. He
tried it, and his worst symptoms disappeared. He then went
every six months for booster treatments. By the time I
interviewed him, he was flying to England to be treated.
The inventor once sent me a newspaper with a photo of
Coburn at the clinic.
I shall not forget Coburn's words in my interview.
"Instead of driving him out of the country, the government
should give him a medal."
The inventor, Evans Rapsomanikas, died in 2001. His
machines have survived him.http://www.biophysicaltherapy.com
When the state gets involved in health care matters,
standing in between people who want to be healed and people
trying to heal them, forbidding the transaction, the losers
will be sick people whom conventional medical science
cannot cure. Economist Murray Rothbard said it best in
1974, when we were chatting about alternative health care.
"If my doctor ever tells me I'm terminal, I'll tell him,
'Find me a quack!' "
[As in the case of my original 1988 report
my wife's affliction, I remove all restrictions
on the republication of this report. If you
think it can help someone, go ahead and post it,
email it, or whatever. Just don't spam
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