Spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller was another pal of Jackson's, and he's been on TV a lot since Jackson's demise, discussing his late friend's interest in telekinesis. Geller claimed he once hypnotized Jackson and asked him under hypnosis whether he'd ever molested children. According to Geller, Jackson replied that he had not.

Deepak Chopra, a specialist in mind-body medicine and a licensed Western physician, knew and advised Jackson for 20 years. Following Jackson's death, Chopra's gone public with his belief that Jackson "was surrounded by enablers, including a shameful plethora of M.D.'s in Los Angeles and elsewhere who supplied him with prescription drugs." The quote is from a tribute Chopra wrote for the Huffington Post blog. (A toxicology report on Jackson from the L.A. coroner is highly anticipated but will probably take several more weeks.) Chopra's also mentioned Jackson's interest in Sufi poetry and the works of Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore.

But Jackson's friendships with illusionists, psychics, and healers such as Chopra were tame by comparison to the revelations in a 2003 Vanity Fair exposé by journalist Maureen Orth. Here, the subject of voodoo once again reared its head, like one of the undead in Jackson's "Thriller" video. In the piece, Orth detailed how Jackson once paid $150,000 for a Malian witch doctor named Baba to have 42 cows ritually sacrificed as part of a ceremony enacted to kill off "25 people on Jackson's enemies list," including media mogul David Geffen and film director Steven Spielberg.

Orth also wrote of Jackson's taking a bath in sheep's blood for a "ritual cleansing" that cost him six figures. The person pouring the blood was a "voodoo doctor and mysterious Egyptian woman named Samia, who came to him with a letter of greeting from a high-ranking Saudi prince."

There was never as much money involved with De Souza's treatment of Jackson, according to the doctor. She claims she required money of Jackson only when it came to purchasing some of the expensive gems she was to rub all over his naked body.

"The more severe the illness, the higher the quality of gems involved," explains De Souza. "It's the difference between using aspirin or an opiate for pain. Both will alleviate pain, but the opiate will do so more immediately, with much more power."

At first, Jackson complained of a heart condition that he feared would be fatal, one he was already receiving treatment for in Los Angeles, where he was then living. So De Souza bathed him in non-mineral water, in tubs filled with bits of agate and aventurine. On top of him, and especially around his chest, she sprinkled semi-precious garnets. She would leave egg-shaped stones of lapis lazuli in quarts of goat milk overnight and make him drink the milk the next morning. The most expensive treatment, however, was a concoction of distilled water mixed with emerald dust.

"You don't need a lot of it; still, emerald is a very expensive precious stone," says De Souza. "But he never blanched — though it would be hard to tell if he did — when I told him how much these materials would cost on their own."

As for De Souza's fee, initially she did not ask for one.

"I don't know why," says De Souza. "At first, I simply wanted to apply the healing arts to him. A bill could come later. But as he seemed to improve, I asked him if he really had the bones of the Elephant Man. He told me it was true. I told him how much Merrick's life story had touched me, how much I adored the film.

"That's when he said to me in his soft, childish voice, 'If you cure me, you can have them. They're in a box at Neverland. They're doing me no good.'"

De Souza was ecstatic, and she redoubled her efforts to heal Jackson of his heart condition.

Over a period of several months, Jackson returned to Sedona every other week for De Souza's therapy. His visits were shrouded in secrecy, with Jackson sometimes donning a fat suit, a wig, and beard to elude newshounds in L.A., who dogged his every move. He had disguised himself (or at least said he did) as a youth when he went door to door as a Jehovah's Witness, distributing copies of The Watchtower. Jackson described doing this on more than one occasion, the most famous probably being a March 2001 speech at the Oxford Union in England.

Jackson eventually told De Souza that there were other, darker problems he needed her to heal.

"He was not doing drugs like OxyContin while he was visiting me," De Souza insists. "But he did confess to liking little boys. I don't care what Uri Geller said. He never liked the little girls."

Disgusted, De Souza set about curing Jackson of what she called his "unnatural desire" through the use of black onyx and acupuncture applied directly to Jackson's genitals. Often she would leave Jackson on a massage table, completely nude, with long needles protruding from his privates, while De Souza went grocery shopping. She has photos of Jackson in this unusual state, which she shared for this report. But she refuses to allow them to be reproduced for publication.

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