Randi again!

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Randi again!

Post by zerdini on Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:30 am

August 18, 2011


Randi Challenges Top “Psychics” After Nightline Episode


LOS ANGELES—The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) has just directed its Million Dollar Challenge toward the celebrity "psychic mediums" featured on last night’s episode of ABC’s Primetime Nightline: Beyond Belief.1

“James Van Praagh and Allison DuBois have turned the huckster art of ‘cold reading’ into a multi-million-dollar industry, preying on families’ deepest fears and regrets,” said James Randi, founder of the JREF and a renowned magician and skeptic who also appeared in the episode. “They should be embarrassed by the transparent performances they revealed to the world on last night’s show.”

The JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge Director, Banachek, also featured in the episode, said, “We’re issuing a challenge to these fakers: for once, show that you can get this supposedly supernatural knowledge without cheating. If one of you can demonstrate your ‘psychic’ abilities on randomly chosen strangers—not celebrities—under mutually-agreed conditions, without relying on known cold-reading techniques such as fishing around with vague questions, and without just using Google—we will donate our million dollars to you or to the charity of your choice.”

What Happened?

In last night’s episode on “Psychic Powers,” self-proclaimed psychic medium James Van Praagh performed a reading on Good Morning America anchor Josh Elliott. Elliott initially appeared surprised by Van Praagh’s accuracy before finally revealing that “every talking point of the reading” seemed to have been lifted from a two-year-old interview with Elliott2 that was available through a simple internet search. When Van Praagh was asked to repeat his performance on the spot with an ABC producer, he declined to try, claiming he had become too tired.

In a later scene, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” reality-show actor Allison DuBois, also billed as the inspiration for the TV drama Medium, performed a similar reading on ABC News correspondent David Wright. Self-proclaimed medium Rebecca Rosen also performed a reading, and both readings focused on Wright’s family and his late mother. Wright was surprised by their accuracy and said they revealed “details that don’t pop up on Google.” Yet, shortly after the show aired, a Twitter user posted a link to a New York Times wedding announcement3 that contained the relevant details about the Wright family.

How They Do It

“Cold reading” is a set of techniques used by mentalists and so-called psychics in which personal information is elicited from a person, often through vague or leading questions, and then repeated back to the person in order to persuade them that the performer has supernatural access to that information.4 Another mentalism technique, called “hot reading,” involves obtaining information on a person in advance by surreptitious means. Both techniques are commonly used to create the illusion of psychic powers where none exist.

1] http://abc.go.com/watch/primetime-nightline-beyond-belief/SH55131205/VD55140044/psychic-power
[2] http://thebiglead.com/index.php/2009/06/19/a-qa-with-espns-josh-elliott/
[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/fashion/weddings/30bran.html
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_reading

zerdini


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Re: Randi again!

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:23 am

The burning question Z is whether they are being brilliant mediums of the Albert Best variety or good researchers and cataloguers of information like the Famous Fraudulent "Medium" Willam Roy. A very difficult one to prove and in this case it appears the sceptics will certainly mark it as one to them zero to mediumship.

It asks lots of questions about the validity of mediumship whenever the Medium knows the people in the room ( or in Physical mediumship in the seance) so that they can either recall what they know or research the individual carefully.
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Re: Randi again!

Post by zerdini on Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:18 am

Admin wrote:The burning question Z is whether they are being brilliant mediums of the Albert Best variety or good researchers and cataloguers of information like the Famous Fraudulent "Medium" Willam Roy. A very difficult one to prove and in this case it appears the sceptics will certainly mark it as one to them zero to mediumship.

It asks lots of questions about the validity of mediumship whenever the Medium knows the people in the room ( or in Physical mediumship in the seance) so that they can either recall what they know or research the individual carefully.

I doubt whether either could be compared to Albert Best or indeed any of the other excellent mediums who have demonstrated in past years.

However, Randi and fellow magician, Banachek, are garnering tremendous publicity of late by approaching TV stations and media outlets offering their 'expertise' in dealing with psychics.

There is a lesson there somewhere!

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Re: Randi again!

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:54 am

Interesting Z I have not seen this one do you have any links please? In reality it is a major problem that Mediumship is being judged not only by the poor levels found within our own movement but by the very low level of ability demonstrated by non Spiritualist "Mediums"
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