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Is this book first-rate or feeble? Read my review and get the inside dope

Murdered Heiress... Living Witness

Dr. Petti Wagner
Huntington House
Edition / Year
In the section labelled

Kidnapped, tortured, murdered... yet she lives today!

Wagner's account of her kidnapping and miraculous escape is a sort of fairy story for the soft of head.

Born into a wealthy family, she became a successful businesswoman in her own right with her Herbagere hydroponics and Menotti permanent wave products. In 1971, though, her life was changed utterly as she underwent the terrible ordeal which is the central subject of this book.

After receiving a message indicating that a beloved aunt had fallen ill, Wagner hurried to a local private hospital, where in an apparently unused ward she found herself at the mercy of a gang of vicious kidnappers:

... my head exploded as his massive fist smacked my left temple. Another strike slung me onto the hard floor and I crumpled on the far side of the bed.

Everything began unfolding like a sickening slow motion sequence. With my ears ringing and my consciousness already blurring, I lifted my head just as Sidekick's boot swung, knocking me against the wooden floor once more.

This level of violence seems rather over the top, especially given that the cunning plan against her requires that Wagner's eventual death by electrocution is to be certified - by a doctor in on the plot - as due to a heart attack. The bootmarks, bruises and broken teeth would look so suspicious at any post-mortem that they might as well have shot her up with a machine gun and saved themselves a lot of trouble. While she yet lived, however, the sadistic thugs had further indignities to inflict:

Not long before dark, Roger, the orderly who sometimes brought me food, came into my room with a curly black wig which was stretched over a Styrofoam wig head. I was totally perplexed.

... “Why should I wear such a hideous wig?”, I pleaded ...

She's not the only one perplexed. The orderly attempted to provide an explanation:

”... Dr Holmes. - h-h-he he wanted you to be wearing this wig when you are found.”

Dr. Holmes? Not THE Dr. Ronald Holmes - the most notorious psychiatrist in Texas?

No, not THE Dr. Ronald Holmes, actually, since as the copyright page tells us, “Dr. Ronald Holmes is a fictitious epithet”. The purpose of the wig, and why the gang could not have put it on after they had killed her, are mysteries that remain unexplained.

The devilish crooks wired Wagner up to a set of electrodes and passed 240 volts through her, a figure which they gloatingly repeated as though it were something exceptional. However, a mere 240 volts is quite enough to kill someone, so we must surely believe her when she says that she found herself in the next world:

Even though I seemed to be walking on billowing white ether, there was a firmness under my feet as I moved. Overhead was the most blue-hued sky I had ever seen. Every color, every sense, was magnified innumerable times. A brilliantly lit magnetic force propelled me without any effort on my part.

Thoughts assaulted my mind, as if my brain had become a silent, drawing sponge. Even without a mirror, I realized that I was young again - beautiful, unwrinkled, with my hair raven-colored and floating around me in the heavenly atmosphere. I felt twenty again - young, uninhibited, wearing a deep purple robe.

Up in heaven, she met Jesus, who, just like his pictures, has a “beard and soft, brown curly hair”. He told her she can choose whether to stay in heaven or go back, and she, considering her “work on Earth is not done”, decided to return. Maybe she felt the world needed a new type of cold perm, or something.

Back on Earth her guards were understandably surprised to find her alive again, after THE Dr. Ronald Holmes had certified her dead, but instead of sensibly making sure they finish the job they left her alone so she could escape, just like in all those bad films. But Wagner, unlike James Bond, did not have to rely on her own strength and ingenuity alone. She had the advantage of an exceptional accomplice:

“I am the Lord your God,” he said. “I am here to help you, not to hurt you. Do not be afraid. Keep a spoon tonight when they bring your supper tray, and I will help you escape.”

Under instruction from Jesus, Wagner used the spoon as a screwdriver and removed one of the windows. Before she can escape however, God had another, weirder instruction.

“I want you to pray for David,” He said. “At this moment, the engines of his plane are stopping in the middle of the sky.”

David, it turns out, is the mastermind behind Wagner's abduction. God was punishing him by causing his plane to crash but Wagner had to do her bit and get some prayer in. It seems monstrous to me that God should insist that Wagner ask Him to forgive someone whose fate has already been determined, though I'm no theologian. But it is not only David for whom Wagner had to perform this arguably redundant ritual:

“... George!”, the Holy Spirit affirmed. “At this very moment, his car is on Highway 10, just a few miles from here, travelling ninety miles an hour and crashing into the back of a flatbed truck!”

With the Lord as her almighty minder, Wagner escaped and made her way to safety. She then discovered that a number of people she had trusted had conspired against her to rip off the assets of her company. Bafflingly, though, no criminal charges seem to have been brought against those responsible: instead she pursued a number of successful civil cases including a major suit against the hospital where she was held against her will.

This case she claims was adjudicated on the 6th March 1974, in the Harris County District Court, and she reproduces a document relating to it, with certain details obscured such as the full name of the hospital. Curiously, when I searched the court records online at I was unable to locate it, and - perhaps even more oddly, considering the newsworthy nature of the entire bizarre story - so far I have not been able to find any online resource that mentions it, at all. Perhaps there has been some sort of conspiratorial cover-up. One would not want to doubt the word of someone who claims to get instructions directly from God.

Marvellously, through the wonder of the Internet, it is possible to hear Petti Wagner talking about her all this, complete with evocative musical accompaniment. Hallelujah!

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Submitted by D. Rice (not verified) on 14 Jul 2016 - 21:45 Permalink

I went to church with this lady who this happened to in Houston. It is all true. The hospital was I believe on Westheimer and was called Rosewood. Don't know if it is still there. She loved the Lord very much. The church was called Lakewood.

Submitted by Patriia Kruger (not verified) on 06 Apr 2016 - 21:52 Permalink

A good read, a page turner. Understanding the way God works will always be a miracle.
I have read some of the comments left by individuals. I do pray for those who do not believe, that they to have an encounter with our Heavenly Father and realise people do not claim to have experienced Gods supernatural power at a whim.

Submitted by a different Jen (not verified) on 21 Sep 2013 - 08:12 Permalink

I have to admit that I find it extremely easy to side with Alfred and other skeptics (if there are the opinions of a number represented here--or only one under different names??) on Dr. Wagner's story. I definitely had the same feelings of doubt as I read the book and lots of questions that I would like to have answered. The note about the real inventor of the cold wave perm definitely makes my desire to have the other questions answered even stronger. My doubts started with her explanation of everything she did when she was in college at age 14. I guess they didn't have a lot of TV to watch, or internet, back then, and if you weren't dating, you might have a lot of time for starting a beauty parlor, experimenting with chemicals, and other research. I guess there are genius personalities out there that can accomplish things like that, but I know that my head was aching trying to comprehend how she did so much--and how little sleep she must have lived on!
However, I am also inclined to believe the testimonies here of those who say they have met Dr. Wagner in person and experienced an amazing presence of the Holy Spirit. I have begun to experience some of that myself--after decades of church services where the "presence of the Lord" was sought after and people attempted to kind of "invoke" it with wonderful worship songs, etc. All that to say that I've been a part of something that was supposedly the "presence of the Lord" and I have also experienced something that I have to say is different from anything else I have experienced. I have had my heart changed in ways that I never knew were possible during those times--bitterness gone, brokenness wiped away--now it's there, now it's not. There is something to be found that is called the "presence of the Lord" or the "presence of the Holy Spirit" that is very real and very life-changing. I believe in taxi-drivers that start crying as they are driving. I believe in a God who knocks people to the ground. I believe in a God who speaks in an audible voice to people (though I know He also speaks in ideas and pictures and words that come to the mind). I also believe in a God who heals. Dr. Petti's healings do seem to be a lot for one person, and extremely amazing--unbelievably so, but that does not automatically make them false. The phrase "stranger than fiction" has been around a long time, I believe. Why for the heiress and not for the concentration camp victims, or my dear friend who just died of cancer and left a loving wife and 5 adoring children without husband and father? I really wish I knew! I've definitely got a lot of questions for my God.
But I also feel Him drawing me to believe Him for the wild things that He can do that are beyond what I have yet experienced. I would prefer to be neither dupe nor eternal skeptic. I don't believe God asks us to lay our minds aside, but I do believe that He likes to blow them away whenever He can. (And that seems to have something to do with faith. Still learning, though).
The one thing that made me start considering that Dr Petti's story might be real, was her description of heaven. She talked about "rosy light". I, who am generally not a huge fan of pink, have also experienced that "rosy light" in a vision I had. (Now, perhaps, Alfred, you would be ready to lock me up with Dr. Petti's tormentors). But all I can say is that I DID see it. I have been learning to pay more attention to pictures that come to mind--esp. when I am talking with God. It is not often that color is very apparent in pictures that come into my mind. There have been other occasions, and then the colors were very vivid. And this one was one of those cases. The air had a rosy hue to it. It was kind of strange because it didn't have a source like that of a sunset or anything. It seemed to be the color of the air.
In light of that vision, my curiosity was very piqued when I ran across a video talking about the color "drunk tank pink" that has supposedly been used in prisons to calm down prisoners. The video was promoting a book by the same title that apparently did some sort of psychological study on the color. I have yet to read more on the subject. But I thought it interesting to find that information in light of the color that I had seen in my vision.
There was also a song written by a Christian Artist called Annie Herring that I learned from a children's album she made. There is a line that always stood out to me because it seems to specific and yet so strangely not having really anything to do with Scripture: "There's a color I love most, angel's wings of pure crystal rose".
So first Annie's song, then my vision, then Drunk Tank pink, and now Dr. Petti's "rosy hue". I'm at the very least very curious. I'm also wondering if anyone else out there has had interesting connections with the color pink. (I reiterate that I am NOT a "pink person" at all!)
As for how Jesus appeared to Dr. Petti, I have no problem believing that He appears in varied forms to different people depending on what they are familiar with, what they "know" of Him, what they think of Him, what He is wanting to communicate to them, and likely what they are able to stand. When Stephen was stoned and saw a vision of "Jesus at the right hand of the Father", it seems that he saw someone very recognizable to him, while the figure with eyes of fire, white hair, feet of burnished bronze and a sword coming out of His mouth had to clarify to John on Patmos that He was "the First and the Last, the Living One, though He was dead".
Final verdict on Dr. Petti? I guess I have no reason to doubt that she ministers with a mighty power of the Holy Spirit, from the personal, first hand testimonies given here. And if that is real, I'm not sure how her story could NOT be--unbelievable as it sounds. But I still have the nagging questions about the details that people are having so much difficulty tracking down.

Submitted by Joy Bass (not verified) on 02 Aug 2021 - 22:33 Permalink

Well written. I follow God’s instructions spoken, written, and when I’m not keen on it. He has my back and my forward. He does ask (in the Bible) that we forgive. It’s very good and should be pursued.

Submitted by Janelle (not verified) on 27 Feb 2013 - 23:42 Permalink

I was just going through my very old files of keepsakes from years gone by. I came upon 3 letters from Petti and a thank you poem my husband wrote her. After she stayed in our home for a couple days, we were invited along with our small children to her home to stay while we visited Disney World. She was not able to be there, but trusted us to stay and drive her car while we visited Disney World. Her secretary handled all our needs. I still have the secretaries' name and phone number, however, it is almost 30 yrs. old . Petti was a wonderful person appearing to be generous and genuine. I have no reason to disbelieve her, however, there were times I did question the validity of her story, or at least parts of it. For instance, I only had to "google" the inventor of the cold wave perm and this is what it said in Wikipedia, "In 1938, Arnold F. Willatt invented the cold wave, the precursor to the modern perm. It used no machines and no heat." It really doesn't matter if the story were true or not. However, I do think the book would make an excellent movie. She talked often of doing it. The story was intriguing and extremely entertaining. Whether true or not, I do know that my God is well capable of doing all the miracles she portrayed in her book. I believe Petti is now with the Lord and they have worked out all the details by now, I'm sure.

Submitted by Rebecca Wilhite (not verified) on 21 Dec 2012 - 04:43 Permalink

I too talked to this wonderful lady. When my husband passed away in 1985 at a very young age. I called the phone number that was in her book. I left a message never thinking she would ever call me back. Early the next morning the phone ring at my mothers house where I was staying at the time and it was her. She talked to me answered my questions and prayed for me. I think they should make a movie of what she went through. I am a believer and I know God answers prayer and the wonderful things. In 1972 I had cancer and was only given six to eight months to live the Lord healed me . I was 28 at the time I am now 69 I know what God can do.

Submitted by Hope (not verified) on 20 Apr 2012 - 04:57 Permalink

I have not read the book, however all the comments are interesting, very amusing (thanks Reg) and insightful, thank you all for your great comments, may love, joy and peace follow you all the days of your life. God is good and His middle name is Impossible, as in nothing is impossible with Father God Almighty. Be blessed.
Submitted by Lynn (not verified) on 02 Mar 2012 - 23:43 Permalink

The book is awesome! Every time I read it I am blessed spiritually, and physically. God actually bring things to fruition that I've be praying about. Talking about a faith booster! This book helped me grow spiritually. I got my first book from my deceased grandmothers things. I read it to my whole family on the way back from IL after the funeral. We were all blessed! I've bought many copies and given them to people, most all received the same astonishing faith boost as I did. I have a kindle now, you know I bought it again so I would l always have a copy. I did wonder where Petti G. Wagner was now, I just read from one of the bloggers that she is deceased. God bless her soul and every member of her family, for the licking she took and for writing this book, which helped boost our faith, in our Father. I am not shocked that the enemy try to take away the power of this book through condescending remarks and throwing darts of raging disbelief, that's what the enemy does when God shines. That is what the enemy does to the Bible! But, To God Be The Glory! (We do not! argue the Bible or have to defend God, his Son or the Holy Spirit,) we don't have to, the battle is not ours.
Submitted by psuedonym (not verified) on 03 Mar 2012 - 02:30 Permalink

Wait are you saying that you dont have to substantiate your belief with argument or evidence because accusing us of condescension or raging disbelief is enough to prove that we are wrong? There may be responses to the book of surprise that anyone would fall for such and obvious lie but there are also many reasoned response that point out the lack of evidence and logical holes. I'm not your enemy, but if you attack my philosophy with accusations of heresy or demon possession then I will point out the irrationality of your philosophy
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Nov 2011 - 00:08 Permalink

Well, for those of you who are so negative about this book, let me enlighten you...I had an encounter with Petti almost 20 years ago that changed my life, I met her at Dallas Airport, we were both looking for a cab, we ended up in the same cab togehter, we both had just flown into town and we were on our way to the same hotel, we shared the cab....she handed me her book, the arab cab driver accepted Jeasus driving on the Freeway barly speaking english, the Holy spirit was so stron in the cab he started weeping....yes I was scarred...he was the driver!...I still didnt know exactly who she was...we made a plan to meet for lunch...I went to my room opened the book to see who she was....met her for lunch and she showed me the scars on her fingers where they tried to cut off her ring that Tiffany himself had sautered onto her finger....her mouth was filled with gold where the murders kicked in her teeth...I saw all of it, I spent several hours with her, met her again that night with her assistant and a good friend of mine, we talked for many hours into the night, she prayed with me and told me several miracles that would happen in my life by the time I was in my 40's....I am now in my 40's....the miracles are happening...because i am in the public eye I am not able to tell you more at this time...but believe it or not I had an experience that was real, it changed my life and I will tell you her story is REAL!
Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 19 Nov 2011 - 18:17 Permalink

 Isn't it amazing how no-one who claims to have evidence for this story can ever produce it? Not even stuff that should be in the public domain such as newspaper or court reports. And I don't see how your supposedly being in the public eye stops you from telling us "more". It's not as though you are liable to incriminate yourself, is it?

Essentially, you are asking us to believe one unlikely tale unsupported by evidence because you can tell us another. Strangely, I remain to be convinced. 



Submitted by Connie (not verified) on 05 Jul 2011 - 06:44 Permalink

I believe that we are not to judge, thank God He is the judge. And the one's of you that are making fun of God will one day stand before Him and you will believe and wished you had not made fun of Him. Many of us have heard the voice of God and been entertained by angels. Thank God for those moments. How many times have we been protected and spared. For those of you who have not, how can you even start to make a comment about it! When you have been there then you will believe and understand. To my God be the Glory and Praise for those precious moments and so many times He has protected and helped me and my loved ones. One day you will call on Him for His help.
Submitted by lion heart (not verified) on 26 Jun 2011 - 02:57 Permalink

when we look at sad movies we cry we look at movies with jenoside we get angry because something touches our humanity even some things are real and some make believe but unless were told we still cry at sad movies