Speaking ill of a dead cancer quack — Louise Hay

September 12, 2017

Louise Hay, unlike some other cancer quacks, probably did not die of cancer. At least there is no evidence she died of cancer…. No evidence, in fact that she ever even had cancer at any time in her life.

Louise Hay said she had cancer in 1977 or 1978 — she can’t remember which. She said her doctors thought it would kill her. And she said she cured it herself. But she can’t remember the doctors’ names, and can’t remember what stage the cancer was at when she “cured” it.

But Louise Hay had already published her first book, You Can Heal Your Life, in 1976. So she published a book listing a hundred or more diseases from leprosy to cancer, listed a “metaphysical cause” and a “healing affirmation” for each, and then a year or two later, “got cancer” herself. She promptly “cured” it — the perfect vindication of her book — but didn’t keep any documents and can’t remember even the most basic details about it.

Or none of that happened, and she was lying.

Lying, and believed by her customers because people don’t usually lie about that kind of thing. And then watched as millions of customers bought her “cancer cure” and tested it on themselves.

The husband of one such customer left a comment here earlier this year:

Thanks to her unshakable belief in the teachings of this lady, and her refusal to follow a real treatment, which repeatedly drove a wedge into our happy married life, my beloved wife died last month, age 47. I miss her tremendously.

What Hay certainly knew is that cancer sufferers make great customers. They are already emotionally invested in the product’s success, and better still, they need a great deal of support and reassurance from others around them — so they will be promoting the product to these people too. If their cancer by chance goes into remission, then that’s  a success story for Louise Hay.

And if they die, it means they’re not hanging around anymore to warn people that the product doesn’t work. And, if they die, chances are they would not end their life blaming Louise Hay and warning others, but die instead condemning themselves for their failure to rid themselves of negativity as Louise Hay said she did.

Or their death is blamed on something else. As in the case of the cancer quack Bill Henderson who got cancer, and was foolish enough to test his quackery on himself rather than on his customers. And the quackery worked perfectly, or at least that’s what his followers said…… 


The problem was that Bill also had thrombophlebitis, which resulted in blood clots in his legs. According to the physician who was treating Bill, it was a combination of heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism in the wake of a blood transfusion which took his life. It was not due to cancer.

Or, as the oncologist David Gorski explains:

Um, no.

Bill Henderson died of cancer. If he didn’t have cancer, he wouldn’t have needed a blood transfusion, and wouldn’t have had the heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism….When cancer kills, it is usually not the cancer itself that kills, but rather complications caused by the growth of the cancer.

Another deceased cancer quack is Hulda Clark. She got rich off her string of bestsellers, The Cure for All Diseases, The Cure for All Cancers, and, (in case the latter didn’t work), The Cure for All Advanced Cancers. And then she died of an advanced cancer, but not before killing an unknown number of her customers. (Read about one such victim here.)

Another was Jerry Hicks, husband of Esther Hicks, the originator of the “Abraham” channeling and law of attraction scam. He made a career out of telling people that illness is the result of negative thoughts and emotions. A former follower quotes Esther Hicks as saying “You could have every deadly disease known to man, within you, today, and if you chose different feeling thoughts tomorrow, they would all leave your body.”

So how did Jerry Hicks react when he discovered he had “manifested” leukemia for himself? He “started immediately with aggressive chemotherapy treatments. Something they have always claimed is that modern medicine of any kind is something that you don’t need.” He explained his hair loss with a convoluted story about a spider bite. Eventually they admitted it was chemo, and spun a spiritual yarn about how going along with the doctor’s recommendation was “the path of least resistance”.

Fear suddenly smells different, when it’s your own.


  1. Thank you for writing this. These quacks cause such pain and it’s maddening that they get away with not helping people and destroying relationships. The things you write about need to be said.

  2. Thanks for commenting!

    I would like people to think twice before they defend or promote stuff like this.

  3. I hope the influence of Hay House’s brand of ‘blame the victim’ so called ‘positive thought’ decreases in the future. It’s influence has often been pernicious.

  4. Indeed, Yakaru.
    Claims which cause people to ignore conventional treatment consisting of shown remedies are claims which are so damn dangerous..
    From cancer cures to homeopathy to acupuncture to faith-healing to ‘the secret’ to homeopathic vaccinations and a multitude of others.
    They’re wasting time, money, hope and slowing the progress of real medical advance.
    It makes me sick.


  5. @Lucinda,
    indeed — it’s absurd and dangerous though it is to see everything in terms of positive and negative, I would have to count every single publication from Hay House as 100%. All of it should be pulped.

    Hay House is also Bruce Lipton’s publisher.

  6. Thank you SO much for writing this post. I’ve always found Hay to be the source of much distress for many people. She’s been nothing but a blame shifter, and I have nothing but disdain for her. Apparently I have Cystic Fibrosis – a genetic disease – because I’m angry. I think Louise died because she was an old hag who had too much plastic surgery. Her appearance screamed ‘I love who I am’ 🙄

  7. Yes — “I lovingly accept my body and its ageing processes” does not seem to have been one of her affirmations.

  8. I went down that rabbit hole, years ago. Not only do you have a disease to handle, but you also have to carry the guilt… Absurd and barbaric.

    Hi Yakaru, has been a long time. I hope you are fine.

  9. Hi Caroline, nice to hear from you… Yes, I’m doing fine. Moved from Berlin to Cologne recently, where the change is doing me good.

    I also tried out Louise Hay’s ideas many years ago — just using what worked “worked” and not even realizing how dangerous and (frankly) stupid so much of it was. Spirituality seems to give us a very high pain threshold in the common sense department!

    Hope you’re fine!

  10. I am fine thank you. Still alive ;)

    Maybe Yakaru, this could be of interest to you :

  11. Thanks — hadn’t heard about that book from him….

  12. It’s nice when the life cycle runs its course, it’s just a sad shame when someone inflicks hardship to another human being. Life is challenging enough as it is. Offer a Smile towards the next person you face, see if it’s welcomed.
    Have just finished Louise Hays book, a good read, but she was a truly damaged person.

  13. A damaged person who made money by lying to people who were trying to heal. It’s okay to call a deadly cancer quack exactly what they are. You don’t need to worry about saying something negative about such a disgraceful and abominable liar. Her lies kill people probably every week. I wish her deceitful and deadly books disappeared with her. A curse on all those who continue to profit from and promote her criminal enterprise.

  14. Some things are more likely to visit us because of our stupidity or insufficiency, but presuming everything is under our control reminds me of the tantrums of a two year old child wanting the existing frustrating order to change around his little worldvue.

  15. Well said!

  16. For all you extremely jaded people out there that are believing what this guy says Louise hay was a healer she helped a lot of people and she is brilliant she’s a pioneer in the world of mind causing illness exploratory she may not of been perfect but she was brilliant and she did have cancer and she killed it her self and whether or not she remembered or not or whatever she did what she said she did she didn’t lie so she could sell books that’s not the truth, and probably the reason why Esther Hicks husband Abraham did aggressive chemo is probably because his wife got scared shitless and said you’re going to do traditional I don’t want to lose you people are human but I I’ve been reading stories about people having so many things and just changing their mindset and healing immediately quickly doctors being shocked so you cannot just sit here and tell somebody that all the stuff is a lie because it’s not it’s just not !!!

  17. Jenna- the stories you have been reading, most if not all are unconfirmed. They’re just nice stories but details are exaggerated. Believe it or not, doctors want their patients to heal and recover and they apply evidence-based medicine and best clinical practices. They are not “shocked” when patients do well. The people who sell scam treatments know that we humans love a good story and they’re happy to provide them. Louise Hay’s stories of successfully beating cancer are unconfirmed. Why should I believe what she said?

  18. Jenna,
    Your comment is extremely rude. Unlike Louise Hay, I welcome dissenting comments — that why I provide space for them on my blog.

    As you can see here,

    you’re not the first person to simply barge onto my comment section and start lecturing readers over my shoulder. You Louise Hay fans often act identically, as you have only a very limited range of set responses when you see Ms Hay being criticised. That’s why I could so easily list half a dozen utterly predictable statements in my comment policy that I specifically ask people *not* to make:

    You write:
    “For all you extremely jaded people out there…”

    What a negative and judgmental way to address people you know nothing about. You assume anyone who disagrees with you must be doing so because they are “extremely jaded”.

    “…that are believing what this guy says…”

    No need to believe: look at the evidence, or in this case the distinct lack of positive evidence. (And incidentally, the name I write under (Yakaru) is a spiritual name which I have had for the last 30 years or so. As a guest, it would be more polite to either use that, or refer to ‘the author’.)

    “…Louise hay was a healer she helped a lot of people…”

    From the comment policy, which you should have read before commenting:
    Before commenting about your “positive experiences” with a particular teacher, please ask yourself if it really in fact addresses my criticism. Unless I have explicitly argued that no one has ever had any positive experiences with a teacher, then your comment is likely to be irrelevant.

    “…and she is brilliant she’s a pioneer in the world of mind causing illness…”

    No she is not. Psychosomatic medicine, for example, was pioneered in Germany in the early part of last century, and far more fruitful pioneering work in the effects of stress began in the 1930s in the US. Ms Hay’s ideas are derived directly from her fanatical sect of Christian Science, which is ideological, medical in nature. She has contributed absolutely nothing to the field of medicine.

    “…exploratory she may not of been perfect but she was brilliant and she did have cancer…”

    There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that he ever had cancer.

    “…and she killed it her self…”

    Again, no evidence of that either.

    “…and whether or not she remembered or not or whatever she did what she said she did she didn’t lie so she could sell books that’s not the truth…”

    You assert this based on your perception of her character, which itself is based on the idea that she wasn’t lying.

    “…and probably the reason why Esther Hicks husband Abraham did aggressive chemo is probably because his wife got scared shitless and said you’re going to do traditional I don’t want to lose you…”

    Yes — either she got scared or he got scared or they both got scared. Fear smells different when it’s your own, and not the fear of a customer with cancer. She told her customers they can heal it themselves — just like Louise Hay did.

    “…people are human…”

    Yes — it is human to be indifferent to the suffering of others. But in my opinion to make money out of this indifference is less than human. It’s despicable. And then to be a hypocrite as well is just pathetic.

    “…but I I’ve been reading stories about people having so many things and just changing their mindset and healing immediately quickly doctors being shocked…”

    Ok, share at least one example — but please check that the facts have been independently verified: a record of a clear diagnosis of the illness; a complete record of treatments undertaken (usually ignored in these kinds of claims); and a verified record of the illness having disappeared.

    If you can’t find any such example, I expect you to apologise to the readers whose time you wasted with that dangerous and irresponsible claim.

    “…so you cannot just sit here and tell somebody that all the stuff is a lie because it’s not it’s just not !!!”

    For my argument against that assertion, please read the post.

  19. I am looking forward hearing from you about the example Yakaru asks for. I have been searching it for years.

    Who wouldn’t give these docs in order to save the suffering world ?

    That is what I asked for exemple Mrs Moorjani. Her compassion stopped right there.

  20. yes you are jaded and angry. i agree with Jenna. i read louise hay and she never said it is self blame that she is preaching or what you should be doing. on the contrary. maybe you should actually read her book and read it carefully and not judgmentally twisting her words.

    she never said not to go see a medical doctor either.

    but she does claim that the body and mind are one. and your thoughts can contribute to your illness your mind set can contribute to your healing. that is nothing new. but she certainly brought this to wider audiences. and this, her belief that she taught and wrote about, has been backed up by science.
    you shouldn’t really be so angry and judgmental about louise hay, before ever even trying to love yourself really…or did you try and couldn’t?

  21. @sev
    “…has been backed up by science…” how and where ?

    Looking forward reading some scientific reports.

  22. Sev,
    I think it would have been better if you had have addressed the criticisms I made of Hay in the post rather than trying to guess what my motivations are.

    Hay never had cancer. Her story of how she healed is a flat out lie. People have died because of her lies. their friends and partners have left comments here expressing their heartbreak at such pointless deaths of loved ones.

    I have no idea why you felt the need to be so insulting and judgmental towards me, but given you have told readers that her work has been “backed up by science”, I expect you to back that up. And it had better be good. And you had better have checked it.

    If you can’t back it up, you will have shown yourself to be as big and irresponsible liar as Louise Hay was, as well as ill-mannered.

  23. It’s so fun getting notifications for this thread. I can hardly believe sev is for real. How on earth would this person know if Yakaru is jaded or angry? I also note that the closing sentiments of sev’s comment are very blaming. As if it’s Yakaru’s fault Louise Hay’s message was a crock.

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