Wednesday, 2 May 2007

So Much For The Afterlife

I like James Randi. A former magician who has made it his life's work to be debunk the 'psychic' community. Randi offers one million dollars to anyone who has psychic powers. All they have to do is take a test that proves it....

The test has existed in one form another since 1964. Easy pickings, you would think, for the likes of Uri Geller or maybe Derek Acorah.
The scope of this is quite simple. They ask the applicant which supernatural powers they have, then devise a test, agree it and perform it.
Of course the money remains unclaimed, despite numerous applicants every year.
You can see the documentation, results etc here.

Geller has been around for years. I remember being enthralled by this magic man as a child. If you're of a similar age I'm sure you can remember bringing stopped watches to the tv, and have them restarted. He's irratated me ever since with the persistance that he is genunine. I'd be quite happy to accept that he is genuine, but it seems his powers only work with props he brings to TV show. Or that just before he manages to make a compass move, he can clearly seen putting something on his thumb. And why the hell can't he do some thing useful. Apart from bending spoons (and turning bullshit into gold).

And what of the Spiritualist Mediums providing contact with the afterlife on TV or by private readings. Well they haven't actually been around that long. The Fox sisters in New York State started it in 1848. They admitted to being fakers 30 years later, but by that time there were tens of thousands of practicing Mediums. All using tried and tested techniques. Such as Cold Reading.

Maybe these Mediums do provide a service, I suspect it is illusory. If a grieving widow's pain is soothed by the knowledge that her husband is happy in a world beyond the grave, then who am I to criticise?

But if you believe this is trivial, and that psychics can do no harm, then watch this.


Gwen said...

That's pretty serious stuff. I admit to reading horoscopes but just for fun and don't take it too seriously. It's hard to say that there isn't something in the supernatural but it's always good to take these things with a pinch of salt as well. I too remember Uri Geller but I tend to assume that a lot of these people are faking it in some way - just like a magician performs a magic trick.

Clair said...

Being a pillock, I watched Sally Morgan: Star Psychic (sounds like a story in Bunty) on ITV2 last night, and was impressed with her skills. But it all MUST be bullshit, mustn't it?

Gwen said...


Sally Morgan: Star Psychic

That gave me a laugh and I used to read Bunty.


Valentine Suicide said...

It all must be bullshit?
No-one has ever passed a test that would demonstrate that psychic powers exist. So there isn't any evidence to support it. I'm sure Sally Morgan is impressive in a show environement. Not nearly as impressive as Deerrren Brewne (correct spelling I believe), Derren makes no claims of supernatural ability.

Even when some of these people are exposed as fakes, the general public doesn't take much notice. It seems that people really do want to believe.

Gwen said...

I saw a programme where Daft spelling of a name Browne showed how he does his "tricks". It's all suggestion. I don't have any experience of psychics, but I once heard someone who had gone to one say that the things they were told were really incredible. I would really love to know how they do it, but I wouldn't want to go near one of these people. They do scare me a bit.

Five-Centres said...

I met Uri Geller once. We went out to lunch becuase he was writing something for us, and we asked him to do his spoon-bending trick. He refused for about one second and then did it. It was quite impressive. He used the cutlery on the table so it was no set up. Then he asked you to think of a picture and he'd draw it. I thought of a Christmas tree, which he drew. I was taken aback.

Then I had to phone him once and he was at Glastonbury casting a no-rain spell.

Nevertheless, I still think he's a charlatan.

We had some mediums round to our house for a magazine feature. They arrived independently and said the very same things about who or what was haunting our house (we had odd things going on). So it was convincing. Nothing untoward has happened since.

That said, I'm very sceptical about this sort of thing, and think Derek Acorah is complete fantasist. Apparently once he had a gift, but then the lure of filthy lucre got in the way.

Rich said...

At least Geller blew on the football that stopped Scotland scoring that penalty against England at Euro 96.

Gwen said...

See that Uri Geller - I'll have him outside for that!!