Bad aura? Blocked energy? You've come to the right man

If you lead a fantasy life, you might need a fantasy doctor. Cherie Booth, Fergie and Princess Diana have all consulted the doyen of dowsing
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So, to Jack Temple's clinic in West Byfleet, Surrey - a small, neat, town with a barn-effect Waitrose and endless post-war "cottages" with tidy, conifered gardens and bags of Daily Telegraphs put out at the gate for the recycling man, and names like "Little Garth" and "Single Oak". It seems very Wendy Craig country, if you know what I mean. Anyway, Jack's clinic comes just after the cottages peter out. It is a rather out-of-place, breeze-block bungalow thingy set in the middle of a big field, next to his "Neolithic stone circle" imported from Wales.

I go in and meet his receptionist whose name, I'm afraid, I never discover. "Vertigo," she says when she first introduces herself. Good film, I say, not quite knowing what else to say. "No, no. I had vertigo. Terrible vertigo. I couldn't walk this time last year. I still can't walk far but I can bike in to town. And it's all thanks to Jack!''

Jack Temple. Healer. Famous healer, even, whose patients have included the Duchess of York, Cherie Blair, Jerry Hall and, yes, Diana, Princess of Wales. Out he bounds from his consulting room. He has white hair and a ruddy complexion. Certainly he looks fit and seems to have terrific energy for someone who has not only reached 81 in this life, but has had, he later reveals, 120 previous lives and can trace his origins back 97,000 years.

Yes, he is in excellent shape, he confirms. "I measure myself against 45-year-olds." And? "I'm measuring up pretty good. Look." He touches his toes which, yes, is rather daunting, considering I am less than half his age and can't do up my own shoelaces without feeling faint. Jack says he should, by rights, have a weak heart. Weak hearts run in his family. Three of his brothers died young of weak hearts. "But I was able to dowse back four generations and locate the cause of the problem: toxins entering our forebears' systems though a crude black clothing dye that was commonly used in the nineteenth century." He devised a remedy consisting of "the distilled essence of 21 flowers dowsed for on the Isle of Skye". Alas, this was all too late for his brothers, but "I now have the heart of a 20-year-old!" He expects to live to 140. Truly?"Yes. YES!"

Jack is a dowsing healer, yes. This means he goes about with a pendulum, divining which parts of our bodies are letting us down, which parts of our "magnetic field" are "weak" and then, using the pendulum again, he will dowse for the most effective remedy. Fergie came to him suffering from "energy blockages". Cherie had swollen legs. With Jerry Hall it was back pain. With Diana, it was lead poisoning. Lead poisoning? "Yes, I dowsed it from watching her on television. I could tell by the way she held her head. I told her sister-in-law, Sarah, then about a week later I had a call from Diana asking for an appointment. She wanted to see me, she said, because my diagnosis of lead poisoning was 100 per cent correct. As a schoolgirl, she had pierced her right cheek with a sharp lead pencil and the point had broken off in to her face." Using his special "lead extracting treatment" he was, he says, able to "pull out the poison" and help her hold her head up properly again. He then later gave her a crystal, an amethyst, to "help her mentally and physically" but not, it transpired, in the event of a car crash in a tunnel in France. Perhaps you need opals for that.

He leads me into his consulting room, which is furnished from floor to ceiling with shelves of small bottles intriguingly labelled "sweet fleg", "monkey sticks" and "banana stem". He travels extensively, collecting these remedies. He will say to his pendulum: "I need remedies for brain fatigue. Should I go to Goa?" If the pendulum swings and whirls energetically, "then I know I must". Over the years, his pendulum has taken him to Goa and Nepal and Malaysia and the south of France and Israel but never, as far as I can make out, to Slough or Ikea on a bank holiday Monday, which is handy. Anyway, I'm dying to have a look at his pendulum. Can I have a look Jack?"Sure," he says.

Jack says you can use anything as a pendulum. A ring on a piece of string will do. His, though, is a little glass bauble thing on the end of a silver chain. I suspend it first from my right hand, then from my left, where it gives a little whirl. "Negative in the right! Positive in the left! You're a natural dowser," exclaims Jack excitedly. Jack, I say, I don't want to put a damper on things, but are you sure you don't mean natural dozer? I am certainly that. I once, I continue, even momentarily dozed off during a hot air balloon ride. I know this because I dropped my camera and killed a sheep in the field below. "No, no," insists Jack. "You are definitely a dowser!" Well, that is terrific, I say. Can I dowse this week's winning lottery numbers then? No, he replies, I can not. `There are some things you can not ask a pendulum. I can't thank God for what I am doing. I asked the pendulum: "Can I thank God for what I am doing?" and it said "no". I can't dabble in the spirit world, either. And I won't do anything for personal gain, unless it has something to do with health.

I think Jack is a good man. He isn't a fake. He isn't a charlatan. I'm pretty certain he is genuine in the sense that he believes in what he does. I'm pretty certain, too, that his celebrity clients believe in him. Possibly, if you lead a fantasy life, you need a fantasy doctor. However, I'm not especially convinced, just as I'm not especially convinced by most New Age stuff. Indeed, what with homeopathy and osteopathy and what- not all now proving so popular I am even of thinking of introducing my own therapy - up-the-gardenopathy - in which I charge an awful lot of money for cheerfully taking people to nowhere in particular. Certainly Jack, who has no medical qualifications and used to "scratch a living" as a market gardener, is doing very nicely. He sees 50 patients a week. He charges pounds 40 per consultation then charges on top for remedies. I'd read he has an annual turnover of pounds 150,000 a year. True? "I do very nicely," he confirms.

He has just brought out his first book, The Healer (Element, pounds 7.99). And it is full of superb tosh. For example, ill health might be caused by aura defects. We each, he claims, inherit many scores of auras. Some come from the past, some come from the future, some even come "from other planets". He says, in his book, that he can assess a person's aura in 30 seconds. Can you asses my aura, Jack? "Yes," says Jack. He does a bit of muttering and pendulum swinging. Then it's: "You have about five aura defects, including one inherited from someone who died - aged 10 - 6,780 years ago. It's affecting your lymphatic system and your absorption of iron." I've always suspected as much, I say. But is it treatable? Oh yes, he says. He could treat it if I wanted him to. I am a highly treatable case, he says. "I can tell you have a lot of internal healing power."

Some of his patients do not have such excellent internal healing powers. In these instances, they have to have their powers shaken up in his special "vibrating chair". I later get to have a go on his special vibrating chair. It's a lovely, big black leather thing that, yes, is very vibrating and relaxing. "This is blissful," I say. All I need now is a facial. Do you do facials, Jack? "No." Manicures? "No." Leg waxing. "NO!" Jack, do you think I've inherited an aura from Joan Collins? "POSSIBLY! YES!"

Jack Temple was born Jack Templiski in the East End of London in 1917. The fourth of six boys, his father, Joseph, was a Polish Jewish tailor. Jack was, in fact, a sickly child. First rickets, then various stomach and bowel disorders. He now knows why. "My father was wounded in the leg by Japanese fighters when they invaded Port Arthur, in Manchuria, in 1905. That bullet caused my father great pain and I inherited a subsequent blockage which in turn caused distress in many internal organs."

When the Second World War broke out, he longed to join the Royal Navy but was so weedy he was rejected by seven doctors. Desperate to serve his country, he decided to join Britain's second line of defence - food production for its people and forces. So, together with his wife, Blanche, whom he'd married at 22, he left London for Surrey, where he offered his services to a farmer. Here, he worked hard but slept well and felt healthy for the first time ever. Consequently, he became interested in agriculture and diet and nutrition and then organic farming. Jack always dowses his way round Waitrose. He will ask his pendulum "is this food good for me?" and if it is, the pendulum will whirl. What do they make of you in Waitrose, Jack? "Everyone follows me around, and buys what I buy!"

However, it is not just unnatural foodstuffs that can poison us. So too can nylon tights, soaps, tampons, hair dyes, microwave cookers, vaccinations and, most evil of all, the bottle feeding of babies. But I was bottle fed, I cry. "In that case," he sighs, "you are disconnected from your birth sign." Which means? "What birth sign are you?" Leo. "Okay," he says. He starts swinging his pendulum and mumbling "98, 97, 96... 84, 83, 82..." under his breath until, finally, he concludes, "you are living in 70 per cent darkness. Part of your body is not functioning correctly. It's a problem in your middle liver lobe. You are not properly absorbing Vitamins A or D. Can you see at night?" Yes. "Do your eyeballs flicker a lot?" No. Do you ever feel cold at your extremities? "Oh, all right," I say, not because I do, but because I feel I'm disappointing him somehow. "See! See!" he exclaims happily.

He eventually became a full-time organic market gardener, and would still be that now if, 25 years ago, he had not decided to exhibit his organic cultivation products at the first Mind and Body Festival in London. Here, while wandering about, he saw someone dowsing. He decided to have a go "and the pendulum whirled and swirled like a dervish when I picked it up, although I made no effort to make it move." He went home and told Blanche. Blanche was not well at that point. "She'd had a bout of bad luck. She'd been struck by lightning." Struck by lightning? "Yes. In a field near Bath. It was a lovely day, but then this cloud came from nowhere. Blanche was picked up and thrown to the ground. Her nerves withered and she couldn't even walk up stairs anymore." When he told Blanche about picking up that pendulum, she immediately dispatched him back to the festival to purchase one. He then dowsed and treated her with plant-based remedies. "She responded to them, and after years of being virtually bed ridden, was able to move, work, function and

enjoy life again. Would you like to meet her?" Okay, I say.

Off we go, back though reception, and past Vertigo, who only works part- time and is about to go home. "I'm going to bike home. I saw specialist after specialist, none of whom could do anything for me. I don't know what I'd have done without Jack." Out the clinic door, then a quick tour of the Neolithic stone circle. Each of the 16 stones represent a part of the human body, he explains. "My pendulum told me which stone was for what." The stones have, he says, tremendous healing qualities. If I was to sit in front of the lymphatic stone for half an hour, it would do me no end of good, I am told. The stones, he says, "contain the evidence and wisdom of thousands of years, when our ancestors understood the universe and its energies and harnessed its power." Oh come on, Jack, I say. During the Neolithic period people could die from stubbing their toe. And they had a life expectancy of what? Seven? "Oh no," he protests. "My pendulum has told me that people back then lived to 240."

On to meet Blanche, who is, apparently, something of a dowser herself, although with a different field of expertise. "She is good at missing children and crystals." Blanche does not, it transpires, live with Jack. Jack lives in a house at one end of the field while Blanche seems to live in some kind of shed attached to the back of the clinic. An odd living arrangement that is never fully explained beyond "poor Blanche can't manage stairs anymore". We knock on the shed - "Blanche, a visitor for you!" - and enter. Blanche is sitting in a corner with a pink scarf on her head, surrounded by a great jumble of bad novels and scrapbooks in which she seems to collect obituaries. She is small and frail, with bad teeth but very soft-looking skin. "I never use soap, do I Jack? I don't even use tap water anymore. The smell of chlorine! I wash in Ballygowan, don't I Jack?" "Yes, you do," confirms Jack.

Blanche does not look like she is enjoying life very much, frankly. She says: "I can't get out today because I'm working on the core of my lightning problem." Jack says: "Yes, she's working on the core of her lightning problem." Blanche says: "And it's a long job, even though Jack's dowsed me some rock from the West Country to pull out the lightning." I say, "Nice to have met you, Blanche". She says, "Do you want to have a look at some of my obituaries?" I say I really must go. "It's a long job," sighs Jack, as we retreat.

I thank Jack for his time, saying I have enjoyed myself, which I have in a way. Then it is back down the Wendy Craig lane, taking my darkness and aura defect with me, while keeping an eye open for an upturned bike and possibly Vertigo, in case she couldn't make it home after all.

Then, on the train back to London, I do a bit of natural dozing. It's easy. All you have to do is tip your head back and go "zzzzzzz".

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