Growing up, Philip Smith watched his father go from a high society interior decorator to the rich and famous — people like Walt Disney and former Cuban president Carlos Prio — to a man whose main concern was to help people through his healing powers. “Our house was a cross between Lourdes and Bewitched,” Smith said. “I saw miracles at home all the time. I just assumed that this what everyone did.”
Lew Smith was a psychic and a healer in the 1960s. Philip Smith said his father discovered he could heal people and he learned he could talk to dead people. In fact, the elder Smith most often was contacted by deceased physicians who taught him how to diagnose ailments and how to heal. His father would get up at 4 a.m. to take dictation from the dead. “It was almost like a correspondence school,” he said.
The elder Smith discovered his healing power when he went to a lecture by the famous medium Arthur Ford. “Someone called him over, said he could see by his aura that he could heal people,” Smith said.
That man told Lew Smith to put his hand on his shoulder and when Smith did, his hands heated up and he healed that person. Lew Smith’s desire to help people had consequences.
“My father attracted the attention of the FDA and the authorities,” he said. “I was very careful when I left the house not to talk about it because I knew I could get my father into trouble.” The FDA targeted Lew Smith for practicing medicine without a license.
“Part of the problem was that society was scared of what he was doing. If he were alive today, he would be on Oprah; he could be teaching doctors,” Smith said. “Doctors tried to get rid of him.”
Smith said his father felt his healing was a gift and he needed to give back to the community.
Smith eventually gave up his interior design practice to become a fulltime healer. The family’s lifestyle plummeted and they lived just above the poverty line because his father did not take payment for healing. While that was hard, what was more difficult for the younger Smith was his father’s ability to read minds.
“My father had a direct feed to my brain. I had no secrets. Fooling around with my girlfriend or getting high, he always knew,” Smith said.
Because he saw how the power to heal affected his father’s life, Philip Smith turned away from developing any abilities he might have. Smith, a former managing editor at GQ and an artist, wrote about his father in the book Walking Through Walls. Set in the Suniland area, back in the days of the Serpentarium, this book also is a piece of history, detailing the Magic City, Miami of the 1950s and ’60s.
“I felt that I wanted to honor my father and his work, because what he did was extraordinary,” he said.
Interestingly, around the time he turned the book in, he found a folder of notes from the dead people. In the notes was a message to his dad, telling him to organize the notes because Philip was going to write a book. Smith, splits his time between homes in Miami and New York. For information on Smith’s book, go online to < www.WalkingThroughWallsTheBook.com >.