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|“||If you have an open heart, anything is possible.||„|
|~ Brandon Nichols|
Brandon Nichols (real name: Justin Cantwell) is the main antagonist of the 1999 contemporary Christian novel "The Visitation" by Frank Peretti and the 2006 supernatural dramatic thriller of the same name. He is a young enigmatic stranger with a secret tragic past and a present-day false messiah with a dark agenda who came to the fictional wheat town Antioch.
He was portrayed by Edward Furlong.
Centered around the life of Travis Jordan, The Visitation begins when miracles, ranging from a healing, weeping crucifix to sights of Jesus in the clouds, start occurring, giving way to the arrival of a man who calls himself Brandon Nichols. Nichols begins healing people; giving a man who lost the use of his legs in the Vietnam War the ability to walk, and performing various other "healings". Most of the townspeople — who are portrayed as disillusioned, post-Pentecostal farmers — begin to believe in Nichols as a Messiah.
Brandon Nichols begins to hold "revival meetings" on a large ranch outside of town every Sunday, and many churchgoers in town stop going to Sunday morning mass/services and instead listen to Brandon talk and watch him "heal". It is at this point that Nichols arouses the ire of one of the local ministers, Kyle Sherman. Enlisting the help of Travis Jordan, he seeks to prove that the so-called Brandon Nichols is not in fact a "better" Christian Messiah, but a puffed-up egomaniac using occult powers.
In the end, the team (along with the help of a few others) uncover a host of pseudonyms and a hefty helping of deception surrounding Nichols' past. Startling parallels are revealed with the life story of Travis Jordan, all of which come to light as the story progresses.
In present-day Antioch, former minister Travis Jordan still lives, after losing his faith in God 3 years before when his beloved wife Mary Ann was murdered and the criminals never found. Suddenly, miracles happen in the little town: the new veterinarian's son named Michael Elliot survives a van accident without a single scratch; local custodian Arnold Ramirez was healed in the middle of a church that night when a crucified Christ statue cried with real tears and he touched the statue; Travis' dog Max revives after being buried, twice; a paraplegic walks; a scarred teenager and her police officer father (brain tumor) heal, outside and inside. In all the events, either a group of 3 men (including a young blonde teenage boy and an elderly bearded man) wearing black were seen nearby, or only their tall, blond (possible) leader, who seems to want everyone to know, "he is coming". Very soon after this a scruffy, gentle-mannered newcomer arrives; Brandon Nichols implies through his healing work and preaching that he is Jesus Christ or a better version of the Son of God. The local population worships Brandon, while Travis and Morgan feel that something is wrong and conduct an investigation, disclosing that evil has possessed the town dwellers.
In the end, Travis discovers the truth and the reason why Brandon was here what was happening. He wanted to be a Christ-like healer and makes a "deal" with Satan, and as a condition of his "deal", he has to perform a human sacrifice every three years (you learn this at the very end of the movie). The reason he had to make the "deal" stems from the physical abuse he received as a 12 year-old by his fanatical preacher father. His dad literally punished him for seeking help from the preacher of a rival church who turned out to be Travis Jordan, by nailing him to boards shaped like a cross on a fence. After that harrowing event, even at death, and makes a "covenant" with The Devil. But Brandon soon failed to complete the human sacrifice and died.
- The name of the American town that became enchanted and bedeviled by Bradon Nichols' "miracles", comes from that of an ancient city located on the eastern side of the Orontes River near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.