A miracle saved her: Artist falls 23 feet onto concrete floor, here’s how she survived

By Li Yen, Epoch Times
April 20, 2019 Updated: October 3, 2019

Barbara Schafer, originally from Poland, has for many years worked as an artist to restore historical buildings in and around Melbourne, Australia. Roughly 15 years ago, her restoration work almost killed her, but miraculously, an ancient Chinese mind-body practice saved her life even after doctors said she could never fully recover.

The tragic accident occurred on Nov. 11, 2003. Perched 23 feet (7 meters) above the ground on scaffolding, Schafer was doing restoration work by herself on the ceiling of a Macedonian Orthodox Church.


While Schaefer was painting, she had forgotten about her safety belt, and she stretched a bit too far. Suddenly, she lost her balance and fell onto the hard concrete floor below—head first.

“The last thing I heard was the cracking sound as my head hit the concrete,” Schafer said, according to The Epoch Times.

The devastating 23-foot fall left Schafer unconscious for the next few hours. When she woke up, she found herself lying in a puddle of her own blood, alone.

Speaking to NTD.TV, she recalled, “I looked at my hands and the bones were sticking out.”

Somehow, Schafer managed to get hold of a phone to call an ambulance. Eventually, she was rushed to a hospital, where doctors found her skull had sustained multiple fractures.

Furthermore, her knee was cracked, her hands were shattered, her nose and sinus were crushed, her upper jaw was broken in three places, and her teeth were loose.

Doctors put the pieces back together in an operation that lasted all night. After the surgery, Schafer remained in a coma.

Eleven days later, Schafer heard her family’s voices and woke up. However, complications and constant, agonizing pain ensued. Her memory was also greatly affected.

“My situation was quite serious,” she recalled.

Doctors weren’t optimistic. They expected Schafer’s condition to deteriorate.

©Oliver Trey

During this time, Schafer’s friend, Barbara McGuirrin, introduced her to an ancient practice from China known as Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa. Years before, McGuirrin had told her about Falun Gong, but she replied, “I never had time for such things.”

“After my accident I had plenty of time so I decided to give it a try,” she said.

Seven weeks after the accident, while still in bandages, Schafer began practicing Falun Gong’s calming meditative exercises. Amazingly, her pain went away as she did the exercises.

Two days later, Schafer read the practice’s main book of teachings, Zhuan Falun, through her restricted vision, which was severely damaged from the accident.

“It explained many things I had experienced, and it answered questions that I had accumulated during my life. I couldn’t put the book down,” Schafer told Minghui.org.

On the third day, she fell asleep after reading the book till 2:30 a.m., and a miracle happened.

“I awoke to the feeling of strong electric shocks running through my hands,” she said.

Barbara Shafer’s oil painting depicting a Falun Gong practitioner doing the sitting meditation (the fifth Falun Gong exercise). (©Minghui)

“I knew something miraculous and inexplicable was happening.”

It was the last time she felt pain. Unbelievably, this “inexplicable” experience fixed her vision, cured her grinding tinnitus, and stopped a spinal fluid leak at the back of her throat.

“My previous heart problems and other ailments have also disappeared. To the amazement of my dentist, all my teeth are firmly rooted again,” she said.

©Oliver Trey

Four months following the accident, doctors were baffled seeing Schafer in the pink of health.

When asked about the reason behind her speedy recovery, she handed the doctors a Falun Gong flyer, even volunteering to teach them the practice, but they all turned her offer down.

“After my accident I wanted to tell all my friends to practice Falun Gong. I was so happy with my fast recovery.”


Like the old murals that have been given a new lease on life by her brushes, Schafer’s life was renewed by Falun Gong.

Not only has she regained her health, she has also enlightened to what she believes is life’s true purpose through reading Zhuan Falun.

“Once you study it you become aware for the reasons and the causes of different things in your life, you enlighten to things. Life becomes more meaningful, and you feel free and happy because you feel more in charge of your life.”

Barbara Shafer (2nd from the right) is grateful for Master Li Hongzhi’s teachings. (©Minghui)

Needless to say, Schafer is beyond grateful. To today, she strives to be a better person by cultivating in accordance with Falun Gong’s principles—Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.

Although it can be challenging to put the principles into practice at times, particularly forbearance, nevertheless, she’s determined to continue practicing. After all, it was this practice that gave her a second chance at life.

“Doing my exercises every day, I have endless energy. I try to be more compassionate and considerate of others in everything I do,” she said. “Knowing that everyone is suffering, I look to the good sides of people.”

©The Epoch Times

Thinking back, the tragic fall offered Schafer the opportunity to learn Falun Gong, which she was initially uninterested in.

“Sometimes I tell people that I had to fall on my head to understand how profound it is. But once you understand what this is about, you will never want to give it up,” she said.

Barbara Schafer’s miraculous recovery story was recorded in the book The Mindful Practice of Falun Gong: Meditation for Health, Wellness, and Beyond by author and researcher Dr. Margaret Trey, which looks into the healing efficacy of this ancient Chinese mind-body practice.


Editor’s Note: Though Falun Gong is currently practiced by people in over 100 countries, in China, ever since July 20, 1999, the practice has been defamed and persecuted due to former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin’s fear and jealousy of Falun Gong’s rapidly growing popularity.

To learn more about the persecution Falun Gong practitioners are subject to in China, visit http://faluninfo.net/.

For more information about the practice or to download Zhuan Falun, visit: www.falundafa.org. All books, exercise music, resources, and instructions are available completely free of charge.