LAWYER ON THE SKEPTICS!
|THE ULTIMATE PSYCHIC CON!|
'The Ultimate Psychic Challenge' was filmed in London recently by Fulcrum TV in 'London Television Studios.' Zwinge Randi, the notorious closed minded skeptic, was caught cheating and trying to deceive and con the public that he was a medium. His performance where he tried to duplicate the results of genuine mediums by cheating was so bad, so embarrassing, the producers had to stop the show. This segment was then edited out, otherwise the show would be perceived as absolute rubbish.
intentional, clever editing, the evidence of genuine psychics was completely cut
out. And yet generous time was given to willfully give more credence to closed
minded skepticism. Why? Because highly gifted psychics such as John Edward are
DAILY showing that closed minded skepticism is now out-dated and no longer necessary
because the gifted psychics have proved their case, not beyond reasonable doubt,
What the Fulcrum TV producers did, to fool the public, was to give Zwinge Randi 40 or more minutes of fooling around while giving the invited scientific expert on the investigation of mediumship, Montague Keen, a fraction over one minute!!!!!!!
The producers knowingly - to fool the public - and to save the ass of Zwinge from being totally discredited also forbade Keen to talk of a recent very credible case where a medium was able to help solve the murder of Jacqui Poole with impressive posthumous messages from her. They deliberately edited footage of a genuine medium to reduce all her evidential material.
Then the producers also knowingly edited the most important afterlife evidence of the medium Keith Charles who 'described the detailed contents and design of a sealed letter that bad been placed, unbeknown to anyone, in the coffin of his daughter by her sister. Why was this spectacular 100% correct information by the gifted Keith Charles omitted? It aided and abetted the materialists, the closed minded skeptics and ultimately Zwinge Randi who would have otherwise looked like the biggest fool since the fool in King Lear.
Further, Keith Charles was not given an opportunity to tell viewers why ZWINGE RANDI's ALLEGED PRIZE MONEY WAS A FAKE, WAS MISLEADING AND WORTHLESS!
This was clearly dirty and unfair editing to protect skepticism and to protect the idiocy and the gross failure of Zwinge Randi - intentional fraudulent conduct by omission for which, with absolute certainty, the producers and Zwinge will one day pay a price for.
But the audience wasn't fooled. When Zwinge Randi mentioned his alleged $1m offer he was booed, laughed at and members of the audience shouted, 'phoney' 'phoney'!!!!
And at the end of the program the percentage of the audience who were convinced of the existence of the afterlife actually increased from 44% to 54%. And this without having been given access to a fraction of the evidence!
Now follows the
incisive writing of one of the world's most credible assessors on psychic phenomena,
Montague Keen of the British Society for Psychical Research, who gives in detail
among other things reasons why Zwinge Randi's challenge is a farce and puts the
record straight about this man Zwinge Randi who is rapidly becoming the world's
greatest conman in the history of psychic phenomena. Read more
A fraudulent insult
I am sure this is how Mr. Randi would like to remember the episode, but since I was alongside the lady at the time, and observed what went on, as did Dr. Parker and Dr. Puhle who were immediately in front of me, I should say that she takes (USA) size 10 clothes at Macy's, which is way down the obesity scale, is regarded as attractive for her age, smiled at Mr. Randi and said quite politely but firmly, with no finger stabbing, and to his obvious astonishment, "Mr. Randi you're a fraud", whereupon he staggered back and stammered, "And you, you, you, you're ugly," to which the lady responded as he disappeared backwards through the double doors, "But at least I'm honest". There was no Churchillian suffix. The classic Churchillian riposte, by the way, occurred when Mrs Bessie Braddock, a Labour MP of vast dimensions, accused him of being drunk; to which Churchill responded, "Yes, Madam, and you're ugly, but I shall be sober in the morning." This sets the standard for Mr. Randi's dedication to factual reality.]
That $1million offer
Under Article 3, the applicant allows all his test data to be used by the Foundation in any way Mr. Randi may choose. That means that Mr. Randi can pick and chose the data at will and decide what to do with it and what verdict to pronounce on it. Under Article 7, the applicant surrenders all rights to legal action against the Foundation, or Mr. Randi, no matter what emotional, professional or financial injury he may consider he has sustained. Thus even if Mr. Randi comes to a conclusion different from that reached by his judges and publicly denounces the test, the applicant would have no redress. The Foundation and Mr. Randi own all the data. Mr. Randi can claim that the judges were fooled. The implicit accusation of fraud would leave the challenger devoid of remedy.
These rules, be it noted, are in stark contrast to Mr. Randi's frequent public assertions that he wanted demonstrable proof of psychic powers. First, his rules are confined to a single, live applicant. No matter how potent the published evidence, how incontestable the facts or rigorous the precautions against fraud, the number, qualifications or expertise of the witnesses and investigators, the duration, thoroughness and frequency of their tests or (where statistical evaluation is possible) the astronomical odds against a chance explanation: all must be ignored. Mr. Randi thrusts every case into the bin labelled 'anecdotal' (which means not written down), and thereby believes he may safely avoid any invitation to account for them.
Likewise, the production of a spanner bent by a force considerably in excess of the capacity of the strongest man, created at the request and in the presence of a group of mechanics gathered round a racing car at a pit stop by Mr. Randi's long-time enemy, Uri Geller, would run foul of the small print, which requires a certificate of a successful preliminary demonstration before troubling Mr. Randi himself. A pity, because scientists at Imperial College have tested the spanner, which its current possessor, the researcher and author Guy Lyon Playfair, not unnaturally regards as a permanent paranormal object, and there is a standing challenge to skeptics to explain its appearance.
As the ensuing Randi/Schwartz correspondence (which Mr. Randi declined to print on his website) makes clear, when the outcome of the experiment proved an overwhelming success, Mr. Randi subsequently confused a binary (yes/no) analysis with the statistical method required to score for accuracy each statement made by a medium, and falsely accused Dr Schwartz and his colleagues of selecting only half the data for analysis. He then derided the publication of Professor Schwartz's findings in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, the world's oldest scientific peer-reviewed publication devoted to the paranormal, and in which Mr. Randi himself has published contributions. He criticised the fact that the Schwartz findings appeared in neither Nature nor Science, although he must have been aware of the long-standing refusal of these two leading scientific journals to publish anything touching on the paranormal. He then reported that one of the gifted mediums, John Edward, could have seen the sitter through a 2" curtain gap, regardless of the facts that the crack was about quarter of an inch, was subsequently sealed from ceiling to floor, and that readings were later done long distance. Mr. Randi declined an invitation to see all the raw footage for himself, while protesting that he would never [be allowed to] see it. Yet all the media representatives who visited the Arizona laboratory saw the raw footage, as did magicians and visiting scientists. Mr Randi specifically declined an invitation to be videoed viewing the data and commenting on it.
Equally, despite his confident assertions that cold reading can produce results as impressive as any from a platform medium, he declined an offer to prove it by comparing his performance with that of a genuine medium, surely a crucial test. Similarly, Mr. Randi accused the experimenters of "blatant data searching", i.e. remembering the hits and forgetting the misses. This was false, and could readily have been shown to be so . He thereafter publicly declined to read any of Professor Schwartz's emails, having confined himself to deriding the Professor for believing in the tooth fairy, making wild claims and being a "doctor who embraces bump-in-the-night theories without a trace of shame". Further, that he had been a colleague at Harvard of Dr John Mack, "the man who has never met anyone who hasn't been abducted by aliens", and similar abuse. This is the language and conduct of the gutter, not of an honest difference of opinion expressed in civilized and restrained terms about scientific issues..
Mr. Randi notoriously failed to fulfil his boast to be able to replicate Ted Serios' "thoughtography" tests (as described by his investigator, Dr Jule Eisenbud in The World of Ted Serios, Jonathan Cape, 1968) and has consistently ignored efforts by Mr. Maurice Grosse, the principal investigator of Britain's most famous recent poltergeist event, the Enfield Case (See Guy Lyon Playfair's book This House is Haunted, Souvenir Press, 1980), to examine the recorded visual and aural evidence to support a claim of paranormality and apparent veridical messages from a discarnate entity.
Worse still are the multiple errors of fact, admixed with derision, abuse and misrepresentation, which Mr. Randi makes in his book Flim-Flam (1980) about a number of distinguished scientists, notably Russell Targ, Harold Puthoff and Charles Tart and their roles in the remote viewing experiments with Ingo Swann and the clairvoyant claims of Uri Geller. That Randi's denunciations turned out to be mainly a tissue of lies is apparent from the penetrating account given by parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo in Psychic Breakthroughs Today (Aquarian Press, 1987, pp.216-226), and devastatingly amplified in a recent website publication by Michael Prescott (http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/FlimFlam.htm)
The challenge to Mr. Randi and friends
AND HERE ARE THE CASES FROM WHICH MR. RANDI MAY WISH TO SELECT A HANDFUL TO ANSWER:
1. The Watseka Wonder, 1887. Stevens, E.W. 1887 The Watseka Wonder, Chicago; Religio-philosophical Publishing House, and Hodgson R., Religio-Philosophical Journal Dec. 20th, 1890, investigated by Dr. Hodgson.
2. Uttara Huddar and Sharada. Stevenson I. and Pasricha S, 1980. A preliminary report on an unusual case of the reincarnation type with Xenoglossy. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 74, 331-348; and Akolkar V.V. Search for Sharada: Report of a case and its investigation. Journal of the American SPR 86,209-247.
3. Sumitra and Shiva-Tripathy. Stevenson I. and Pasricha S, and McLean-Rice, N 1989. A Case of the Possession Type in India with evidence of Paranormal Knowledge. Journal of the Society for Scientific Exploration 3, 81-101.
4. Jasbir Lal Jat. Stevenson, I, 1974. Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (2nd edition) Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
5. The Thompson/Gifford case. Hyslop, J.H. 1909. A Case of Veridical Hallucinations Proceedings, American SPR 3, 1-469.
6. Past-life regression. Tarazi, L. 1990. An Unusual Case of Hypnotic Regression with some Unexplained Contents. Journal of the American SPR, 84, 309-344.
7. Cross-correspondence communications. Balfour J. (Countess of) 1958-60 The Palm Sunday Case: New Light On an Old Love Story. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 52, 79-267.
8. Book and Newspaper Tests. Thomas, C.D. 1935. A Proxy Case extending over Eleven Sittings with Mrs Osborne Leonard. Proceedings SPR 43, 439-519.
9. "Bim's" book-test. Lady Glenconnor. 1921. The Earthen Vessel, London, John Lane.
10. The Harry Stockbridge communicator. Gauld, A. 1966-72. A Series of Drop-in Communicators. PSPR 55, 273-340.
11. The Bobby Newlove case. Thomas, C. D. 1935. A proxy case extending over Eleven Sittings with Mrs. Osborne Leonard. PSPR 43, 439-519.
12. The Runki missing leg case. Haraldsson E. and Stevenson, I, 1975. A Communicator of the Drop-in Type in Iceland: the case of Runolfur Runolfsson. JASPR 69. 33-59.
13. The Beidermann drop-in case. Gauld, A. 1966-72. A Series of Drop-in Communicators. PSPR 55, 273-340.
14. The death of Gudmundur Magnusson. Haraldsson E. and Stevenson, I, 1975. A Communicator of the Drop-in Type in Iceland: the case of Gudni Magnusson, JASPR 69, 245-261.
15. Identification of deceased officer. Lodge, O. 1916. Raymond, or Life and Death. London. Methuen & Co. Ltd.16. Mediumistic evidence of the Vandy death. Gay, K. 1957. The Case of Edgar Vandy, JSPR 39, 1-64; Mackenzie, A. 1971. An Edgar Vandy Proxy Sitting. JSPR 46, 166-173; Keen, M. 2002. The case of Edgar Vandy: Defending the Evidence, JSPR 64.3 247-259; Letters, 2003, JSPR 67.3. 221-224.
17. Mrs Leonore Piper and the George "Pelham" communicator. Hodgson, R. 1897-8. A Further Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance. PSPR, 13, 284-582.
18. Messages from "Mrs. Willett" to her sons. Cummins, G. 1965. Swan on a Black Sea. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
19. Ghostly aeroplane phenomena. Fuller, J.G. 1981 The Airmen Who Would Not Die, Souvenir Press, London.
20. Intelligent responses via two mediums: the Lethe case. Piddington, J.G. 1910. Three incidents from the Sittings. Proc. SPR 24, 86-143; Lodge, O. 1911. Evidence of Classical Scholarship and of Cross-Correspondence in some New Automatic Writing. Proc. 25, 129-142,
(August 7th) on the pre-edited TV show
I had been pressed to attend the studio in order to help provide that evidence, as a counterbalance to whatever James Randi might be presenting or arguing. The filming lasted three hours+ . The show is to be edited down to one and a half hours, less commercial breaks.
Despite doubts of several who believed that Fulcrum TV deliberately conceived the programme to rubbish the concept of survival, and not to present a balanced assessment of the case for and against communication with the dead; and despite at least two pieces of evidence suggesting that this is what they did, I am prepared to acquit those responsible of any charges worse than naiveté, arrogance and inadequate research. But first let me summarise what happened.
The audience was first asked to vote whether they believed, disbelieved or were uncertain about discarnate communication. The initial voting percentages, from a self-selected audience, were respectively 44, 19 and 37. Randi was introduced pseudonymously as a psychic and proceeded to attempt cold readings, with embarrassingly negative results. He was eventually stopped, ostensibly because of some technical hitch, left the room, and later returned to resume his act, this time with more success. The presenter, Kate Galloway, who did a difficult job with considerable skill, then revealed to a far from astonished audience, most of whom said they had recognised Randi from the outset, that it was all faked, and that Randi had access to audience names and addresses, and indeed employed a researcher to show how easily fake mediums could discover information about potential sitters, or clients.
All of this, which took up most of the first hour, was simply to demonstrate how cold and hot reading works. The implication was absolutely clear: this was typical of how mediums, platform or face-to-face, operated. To illustrate this further, we saw a screening of a freshly-coached actor under the guidance of sceptic Tony Youens giving a fake reading to a young and clearly inexperienced client who confessed himself impressed with the evidential standard achieved.
To make certain we got the message there was another clip, this time of a genuine medium, who was present. Her statements were interlarded with comments from Youens aimed at showing how each of them could be reasonably deduced from responses, facial expressions, guesswork, etc. The medium herself, from the front row of the audience, protested most vehemently that by omitting much more evidential material the extract of her filmed sitting had given a false impression, stigmatising her as a fake.
Additional pieces were aimed solely at proving how gullible people are. Randi produced half a dozen so-called psychological studies based on questionnaires previously completed by members of the audience. Each was asked to score the results for accuracy/appropriateness. Only one gave him top marks. The analyses were, of course, identical, and were simply designed to show how readily people attributed general characteristics to themselves.
Interspersed with this were responses by Professor Chris French to questions on a range of associated psychological and sociological issues. French, a noted sceptic of the less unenlightened kind, gave fairly reasonable responses, and appeared to have ample time to do so. He was not asked to deal with either the leading cases indicating survival (readers of his magazine The Skeptic will have noted that he is too busy to study this sort of evidence) or even the current work of Professors Archie Roy and Gary Schwartz.
The principal - indeed virtually the only - counterbalance to this was the performance of a genuine medium, Keith Charles, an ex-detective. Two of his former clients gave impressive testimony to the accuracy of statements he had made, e.g. about the precise contents of a sealed letter deposited in the coffin of their daughter. His appearance in person was preceded by a clip in which Philadelphia police officials testified to their conviction that Charles could help trace missing persons. His on-floor readings were likewise impressive, save when an opaque screen precluded sight of a studio guinea pig.
The only other person of whose presence I had previously been advised was Dr Adrian Parker, who spoke briefly on Near Death Experiences as an indication of the independence of consciousness from brain.
I had been given four questions the responses to which, albeit necessarily brief, were aimed at addressing the issue of communication evidence. One related to the SPR and its membership; a second asked how compelling was the evidence from people like Professor Gary Schwartz, Professor Fontana and myself. A third asked why I thought some within the scientific community had rejected that evidence, and a fourth asked whether there was any particular experience that had convinced me - with special reference to the Scole investigation and report.
I was given very little time to deal even with the first and last question, but had virtually no opportunity to explain the steps that had been taken both in the distant past and at present to eliminate all of the sensory clues on which skeptics like Randi continued to dwell, and to indicate the measure and importance of the recent work of Roy, Robertson and Schwartz, with which I had assumed the programme to be essentially concerned.
The programme ended with a slightly botched experiment in psychometric reading by Charles for which there was quite inadequate time, and then an entertaining card trick by Randi, who stated that everything Charles had told the audience could be attributed to cold reading, a statement so grotesquely at variance with his own performance as to be risible. Clearly a good many of the audience felt the same way, since at the end the percentages of believers, non-believers and uncertains had changed to 54, 24 and 22.
But, as Randi rightly said, the evidence is determined by scientific investigation (plug for his $1,000,000 offer amid cries of "phoney") not by votes.
offering my general comments on what was wrong with the entire conception of the
programme, which is likely to be seen by a very large number of people, may I
examine the two aspects which I find disquieting? One is the vehemence and distress
of the medium who said her interview gave a wholly false impression and left the
clear impression that she was a fraud. I believe an independent person or group
should be invited to examine the uncut and the edited version and issue a report.
ALTHOUGH it will be seen that some attempt at balance was achieved, undue emphasis was given, and time devoted, to the views of Youens and French, neither of whom addressed themselves to the evidence, but concentrated (as indeed they were doubtless asked to) on such interesting but strictly irrelevant issues as human gullibility and techniques for fraud.
The deepest flaw in the entire programme was obsession with entertainment, based on the conviction that audiences interested in the most profoundly important issue for mankind need gimmickry, and are liable to switch off or over because "talking heads" aren't stimulating enough. While this is a belief common to television producers generally, when a serious topic is supposed to be under expert examination and discussion, it constitutes an insult both to the television studio audience and to subsequent viewers.
So quite apart from the more personal issues arising from cavalier and misleading treatment of invitees (one man told me he had spent three days rehearsing the answers he was to give to three questions from the production team, but was not only ignored but left stranded at the studio late at night after the departure of his last train), the uncut programme spent far too much time on matters essentially irrelevant to the question at issue, and on sheer gimmickry, and far too little time to learn from those familiar with the evidence what it was, how strong, and why all of the demonstrations seen by the audience were based on the wholly false premise that serious investigators of mediums were either unaware of those dangers or had been unable to devise safeguards against them when experimenting with mediums.
Despite the fact that there was a significant swing towards belief, the audience did so in the absence of the scientific evidence they should have been given the chance to consider, and for the presentation of which I had been specifically invited. Had I been given one quarter the time devoted to Randi the audience would have been in a better position to form a judgement.
As it is, I trust this message
arrives in time to influence the cutting process.
Post-edited comments (August 18th)
Not all addressees will have seen my earlier note of August 7th written immediately after the filming of Fulcrum TV's "Ultimate Psychic Challenge" which was screened last night on Discovery Channel on Saturday, August 23rd, in advance of its repeat on Channel 4 during a Paranormal evening devoted to three programmes on mediumship and associated phenomena. I therefore append my original note (in italics) which explains the reasons for the criticisms which I and others had of the manner in which the show was formulated.
To fit over three hours of programming into the (slightly less than) one and a half hour slot, some severe cutting was necessary. The substance of this complaint is not that the programme as edited lacked balance between the negative and positive approaches, but that there was deliberate suppression of important and relevant material in favour of irrelevant gimmickry, with the result that viewers were denied what small opportunity they could have had to be aware of at least one crucial fact about the scientific evidence from mediumship.
We were constantly reminded that the programme was devoted solely to discovering the answer to the question: can we talk to the dead? I had been invited to give the scientific evidence, and given prior notification of four questions, previously discussed with the assistant producer Victoria Coker (see below) and recorded on email. Probably the most crucial question, which I was given all too little opportunity to answer, was:
It would be reasonable to conclude that this went to the heart of the issue. As stated below, I had barely an opportunity during the filming to point out that from the earliest days scientists had been aware of the need to guard against sensory leakage when testing mediums. However, this question and answer was cut entirely from the edited text. My contribution lasted a fraction over one minute. This compares with the minimum of five which I had been led to believe I would have, and contrasts with 40 or more minutes devoted to Randi.
What made this worse, and which I cite to justify my accusation that this crucial omission from what was already a severely truncated contribution was dishonest as well as deliberate, was that three and a half minutes at the end of the programme was devoted to a card trick by Randi which had not the remotest bearing on the subject. Yet the brief passage excised from my remarks would have shown that most of the programme devoted to Randi's hot and cold readings, and to two film clips and subsequent discussions by Tony Youens on the same subject, were irrelevant to the scientific evidence, particularly in the light of the single and double blind procedures adopted by Gary Schwartz and Robertson and Roy during the past five years.
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