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Profile 08 Mar 17

Silent Croatian 'Healer' Continues Pulling Crowds

Josip Grbavac 'Braco', whose admirers include supermodel Naomi Campbell, has amassed an international following with his claims to heal people by simply gazing at them.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Josip Grbavac Braco and Naomi Campbell at the premiere of a film about the alleged 'healer' in New York. Photo: braco.me

'Healer' Josip Grbavac, known as Braco - Croatian for "little brother" - continues to attract followers across the world who seek to beneft from what he calls his “gift of the gaze”.

Last weekend 3,500 Romanians paid ten euros each to see Braco in Bucharest and receive his blessing and 'healing gaze'.

Although Braco inssts that he only 'heals' people by gazing at them – a feat, it is claimed, that he can also achieve via Skype or internet live streams – some visitors in Bucharest voiced disappointment that he did not say a single word.

Braco has not spoken to anyone outside his inner circle since 2008, it is claimed. Nor does he give interviews. In a story from 2013, US news site Huffington Post wrote that “his cult of personality has no personality”.

Braco, who has an MA in economics, will celebrate his 50th birthday in November, when thousands of his followers will come to visit him at his home, carrying flowers, as they do every year.

His followers claim his gaze has healed serious illnesses, even cancer, although he himself refuses to be labelled a "healer" or "guru".

Some people come just with photos of sick loved ones who are in no condition to come in person, and he stares at the photos in order to help them.

As Croatian daily Jutarnji list reported in 2011, Braco started his 'healing' activity in 1995, shortly after his 'spiritual mentor' from Serbia, Ivica Prokic, drowned on a beach in South Africa.

Prokic, who claimed he could foretell the future by looking into a mirror, refused to receive money for his services, but accepted flowers and gold.

Following Prokic’s death, Braco became more famous, gaining new admirers and people seeking help. Braco also refused money for his services, receiving only flowers.

Besides online healing sessions, he makes public appearances at large venues.

Video from the premiere of the film about Braco, 'The Power of Silence'.

Unlike his mentor, Braco has gained an international audience, conducting his 'gazing' performances across the world – from Russia to Australia and the US.

As the Huffington Post reported, in 2011, US Democratic Party politician Dennis John Kucinich – who has Croat ancestry – invited Braco to the US Congress, enabling him to receive a three-year O1 visa for the US, usually given only to Olympic champions and top scientists and professionals.

Braco founded his own company, Awakening Ltd, in 2000, which sells DVDs showing filmed séances and runs pay-per-view live stream channels.

However, Awakening Ltd has experienced a fall in revenues lately – from 450,000 euros in 2011 to 297,000 in 2015. The company’s net profit fell from 63,000 euros in 2011 to a loss of 33,000 euros in 2015.

Between 2000 and 2005 Braco was director of the company and listed as a founder. Now he is only listed as a former director and founder. However, it is believed that he still oversees the company.

Braco is also the owner of a villa in Zagreb, which is where he receives his followers. He registered his nickname as an official trademark and has founded two companies in the US state of Hawaii that run his website with live stream channels.

Braco’s work has even been made into a documentary by director Jakov Sedlar – known, among other things, for a highly controversial documentary on the Croatian World War II concentration camp at Jasenovac.

‘The Power of Silence" premiered in New York in October, an event attended by supermodel Naomi Campbell.

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