The Mystery of Mirin Dajo by Jeff Wagg

Posted by on May 6th, 2009

Arnold Gerritt Henske was a Dutch artist and designer with a paranormal bent. In 1933, he changed his name to Mirin Dajo (Esperanto for “Amazing”Dajo”) and took the stage. His performance? Having his assistant impale his hypnotized body with swords and rapiers. What at first glance looks like a striking version of an Andrew Mayne illusion, was actually something quite different.

It was real.


Doctors with x-ray machines confirmed: the weapons were penetrating his body, missing major organs somehow. He walked and even ran with swords sticking out of him, and all this took place with little or no bloodshed, even when the implement was removed.

How was this possible? Some say Dajo trained with Indian fakirs to learn the ancient art of body piercing, but as famed late magician Ali Bongo points out, no one in India was doing anything close to the feats Dajo was demonstrating.


When I first encountered this video, I showed it to author and former magician James “The Amazing” Randi for his take on it. He agreed that it was real, and that they were carefully avoiding major organs. He added that it probably hurt like hell. Dajo also swallowed razor blades and glass, which are feats that can be accomplished by experienced magicians and side show carnies.

Mirin Dajo used his “skill” to promote belief in the supernatural and demonstrate that, as swords could not hurt him, materialism was false. Humans could transcend the laws of physics if only they had enough faith in God. Sadly for Dajo, local governments would often refuse to give him a license to speak, though they would allow him to perform.

He claimed to heard voices from “guardian angels” that told him what to do. He also claimed that he’d been burned with red-hot pokers and shot in the head at close range, but these stunts were not filmed or otherwise documented. In some places, audiences became alarmed and organized prayer rallies asking God to intervene and stop this man from practicing sorcery.

Dr. Jennifer Saw, upon examining the video, suggests that he was creating a fistula, much like an earring hole. By gradually increasing puncture holes that carefully avoided his organs, scar tissue created a tube which would allow swords to pass through without harm.

He is said to have performed this feat over 500 times. In the video, you can see that is back is scarred from multiple punctures, though the bandages on his arms are unexplained. Also unexplained is how he dealt with the pain.

In May 1948, following the advice of his angels, Mirin Dajo swallowed a very large steel needle. He had it surgically removed two days later, and fell into a “trance.” Thee days later, the “trance” was discovered to be “death,” and the case of Mirin Dajo, age 36, was closed. Cause of death: a ruptured aorta, though many of his followers deny that.

The legacy of Arnold Gerritt Henske demonstrates that you can engage in extremely risky behaviors and impress people, but the odds will eventually catch up with you.


-Mirin Dajo on The Indestructibles, a BBC Series.

-Phil Koppens article on Mirin Dajo.

3 Responses to “The Mystery of Mirin Dajo by Jeff Wagg”

  1. AndrewMayne Says:

    I stick with the fake way…

  2. JustinRYoung Says:

    Dude… I'm speechless on this. And for this blog, that's saying something.

  3. bible study Says:

    excellent post, I'll have to check back more often, thanks!