Faith in the Brain

Other sherpas outside the tent joined in the chanting.

"So it almost seemed as if that sound was emanating from the mountain itself. This kind of quadraphonic, all-surrounding sound coming from, it seemed to me, from within the depths of the mountain … it had a very powerful hypnotic effect on me to the point where I even wasn't even aware that I had changed Pasan's IV bottle until I looked up and saw that there was a new one there, and obviously it was me who changed it," Kamler recounted, his eyes wide.

The chanting continued through the night, and Pasan's pulse grew stronger.

Beyond Medical Explanation

"I very much felt like if the chanting stopped, my patient would die. I felt like he was living through that, that chanting. That was keeping him alive," Kamler continued. "After a while, his pupils started to react again. So he really had turned a corner, and I can't explain that in any medical way."

At dawn, the chanting stopped, and Pasan was able to speak. A helicopter rushed him to a hospital where the sherpa fully recovered.

Did the chanting somehow reverberate in Pasan's head and cause a physical healing? Or was he aware that his friends were praying for him, and did a "placebo effect" heal him?

Both Kamler and Newberg refuse to discount any explanation. Kamler now believes that there are things that happened to Pasan that may be beyond the understanding of medical science, and he's now open to the question of whether faith and prayer played a role in Pasan's recovery.

Both men believe the answers might lie somewhere between faith and science. After all his years of scientific research, Newberg is still unsure about the proof of God's existence.

"I think I still have the same level of uncertainty about God's existence… I think if anything it's probably deepened my appreciation for why people do believe in God and why that is such an important thing."

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