The "Man on the Moon" doctor

In the movie Man on the Moon (SPOILERS!)

Andy goes to some far-away country (haven’t seen it in a while, it may have been India or Tibet or Peru I am totally oblivous) to go to some special doctor who supposedly would pull his hand in and take out the cancer with his hand. Unfortunatly for Andy, it was really a hoax and they never took anything out of him.

What is the straight dope on these ‘doctors’? I assume they exist since the movie is based on a true story.

It’s the Phillipines and it’s basically stage magic.

The scam is called “psychic surgery” and involves lots of showmanship and nonsense. The “surgeon” then has the patient lie on his back, pokes around his abdomen a bit and ruptures a balloon containing fake blood, which gets all over his hand. He then raises his hand in triumph showing the tumor he just removed; usually some chopped up meat of some sort. Then the blood is wiped off and voila! There’s no incision or scarring or bleeding or anything! It’s magic! (Actually, it’s bullshit.)

There’s another scam involvong an egg that works on the same principle. Scam artist waves the egg over the victim on the pretense of removing negative energy or somesuch. Scam artist then breaks open the egg but includes a bloody object as described above.

Penn and Teller did it (pretending to remove a ring from a guy’s stomach) on one of their shows.

I’ve seen James Randi perform this trick, too.

Spaulding Grey talks about going to seeing one of these guys in his Grey’s Anatomy.