March 15, 2002

Cold Reading Techniques, A Threat Answered Effectively, People in Flames, Those Gemini Rascals Again, A Puzzling Tennessee Constitution, Florida Scolds Miss Cleo, A Tragic Help! Letter, and a Teacher's Aid.....

On the subject of "cold reading," as used by such "psychics/sensitives" as John Edward, Sylvia Browne (who may now have died, for all we're able to find out), and James Van Praagh, the three currently popular "readers," I recall very well the work of the late Doris Stokes, who was very big in the UK and particularly in Australia, where I saw several of her performances. Cold reading, the "sleight of tongue" procedure that these fast-talking artists use, has many methods whereby they can get out of simply wrong guesses so fast that few will notice, unless they listen very carefully, or get to study a transcript of what was actually said during the show.

Simon Hoggart, the well-known British writer, radio/TV commentator, and reporter who in 1995, with co-author Michael Hutchinson, produced the excellent book, "Bizarre Beliefs," provides us with an excellent example of Stokes trying to salvage blatant errors. The following is transcribed from a BBC television program, "40 Minutes," of some years back, a performance done before a sizeable studio audience. Stokes, as usual throwing out names, initials, suggestions, clues, anything that might evoke a response from her audience, tried, "Little Daniel." This is an almost guaranteed "carrot" to dangle for such an audience, and it got an immediate bite. I will break in on this exchange frequently to point out what has occurred, and to anticipate what the performer must do at that point:

Young Woman: I've got a Daniel.

This response, in the present tense, would indicate to Stokes that (a) "Daniel" is alive, and (b) that Daniel "belongs" to this woman.

Doris Stokes: Little Daniel?

YW: Very little.

The victim volunteers this information — that Daniel is "very" little — freely, and Stokes takes it — correctly — to mean that Daniel is an infant, something she did not know until the woman gave her that fact. Remember that the victims of this process are expected to provide help to the "reader," and since they want the reading to be successful, they eagerly provide clues. Stokes re-issues that finding to her, quite safely:

DS: You know, a baby Daniel. Did he have to go back into hospital, love?

This last sentence is a question, not a revelation. Had the answer been "no," Stokes could have had a partial win here because she had at least guessed that he'd been in a hospital previously. The probability that he was born in a hospital, is high.

YW: Yes, he had to go back into hospital.

DS: But he's alright now, love.

This is both a question and a statement. A question because it can be taken to inquire about the status of the infant, a statement because if it's true, it's a "hit." In this instance, it backfires on Stokes, though the woman quickly tries to save it for her. This victim has been to this sort of meeting before!

YW: No. Well, he might be all right on your [the spirit] side, but we've lost him.

Fast talking from Stokes is called for here, and it happens:

DS: Yes, that's what they're saying, he'll be all right now, love.

The "they" quoted is the spirit population on "the other side." "They" are often blamed for giving out wrong information, which "they" do sometimes, as a prank. Here Stokes has quickly repaired her gaff, by dropping into the favorite view held by spiritualists, that we all go on living on The Other Side, and Daniel's doing just fine "over there." But the statement, "we've lost him," is not "what they're saying"! "They" gave Stokes the wrong information, or so it might appear to the skeptical mind.

DS: And they said, "We've brought little Daniel, and he went home and then he had to go back into the hospital."

There it is, the very most favorite ploy of all those used by the "readers." Stokes is repeating exactly what the victim has just helped her to develop, as if "they" have just told her this! I offer here an example of this very same technique in one of James Van Praagh's readings, which often — far too often — contain this sort of sequence, in which he asks questions — because he doesn't know the answers! — and then immediately reconstructs the answers as if he'd just had them revealed to him by The Other Side. Here's the sequence, in which Van Praagh has "contacted" a spirit for a victim:

VP: Is this your husband?

W: Yes.

VP: Because he just said, "Husband! I'm her husband, I'm her husband." Okay? Was he in the hospital before he passed over, please?

W: Yes.

VP: Because he's talking about being in the hospital before he passed over. Did he die in a hospital?

W: Yes.

VP: It's like — I'm waiting for him to come through with this — "Yeah! I died there!" He says he died there!

You can see how this rather obvious gimmick, used in the heat of an exchange, can easily get past the observer. And notice that these were three questions from Van Praagh, not statements, each one reworked into a statement from the deceased! But back to the Stokes event:

DS: And he never went home again, but they said, "He's all right now." And he's about three now, lovey?

YW: Yes, he is.

Of course he "never went home again! He died! And again, here's that premise that no one ever dies. Daniel is living in Heaven, and is now three years old. A comforting thought to the bereaved.

DS: I can see him. He's got auburn hair, love.

YW: Yes, he has.

We must wonder, what if this guess had been wrong? No problem! I've heard these artists simply insist that the deceased now has hair of the guessed color, or now plays this sport, or now is tall and thin, now that they're in Heaven. The victims of the scam are supposed to accept anything, if the medium can invent any sort of an excuse for being simply wrong.

Let's go back for a moment to 1925, and another s�ance, when Harry Houdini's dead mother was contacted by a medium. The spirit of Mrs. Cecilia Weiss spoke English fluently, which was a big surprise to Harry, who informed the medium that his mother had spoken Yiddish all her life, but not a word of English. Undaunted, and in the true tradition of the breed, the medium snapped back, "Well, in Heaven, everyone speaks English!" Harry was not convinced by this assertion, especially since his mother appeared not to know anything about her former life, when she was on "this side." Back to Stokes:

DS: Yes, he's here [the child], looking at the flowers. Yes, Daniel, you can, love. He says, "Can I have some flowers for my mum?" [Audience sighs.] So when you go tonight, lovey, will you take some flowers?

YW: (Awkwardly) He... he wasn't my baby.

Drat! Wrong again! Stokes had assumed, likely enough, that this woman was Daniel's mother. She had to put an instant repair on this boo-boo. And she did:

DS: No, but you know his Mum?

YW: Yes.

The "no" here is delivered as if Stokes already knew that, rather than being an "oh!" and an admission of the error. She was a pro — far better than John Edward, in my professional opinion, though using exactly the same methods. Maybe John should contact her, now that she's in Summerland, and get some pointers...?

DS: No, I didn't say to you... he said, "Can I have some flowers for my Mum, 'cos she'll never believe I'm here," and he's a beautiful child...

Stokes has here expanded Daniel's statement to make it accommodate her gaff, and has immediately tossed in the expected, and accepted, compliment on the beauty of the child. The alternate observation, that the kid was a brat, never seems to be offered....

DS: Just a minute, Daniel... He had a defect with his heart, darling, [Young Woman nods assent], and they tried to repair it, and it didn't work, but he's growing up and he's nearly three, he said, and he's talking away....

Just a tad defensive, Stokes here repeats something she's already found to be true, that Daniel died three years ago, after trying for — and getting — a correct shot at the cause of death. Not an unlikely possibility, and it worked. What if there'd been no heart operation? I've heard Stokes — and other readers — insist that there was some procedure carried out of which the parent or relative was unaware. In one instance, a man who died of a stroke was said to have died of heart failure, but Stokes rationalized her gaff by "explaining" that "it was his heart that carried him off, lovey."

As Simon Hoggart pointed out in his discussion of this excerpt, Stokes was right about the child's age, and about his hair color, though neither of these is particularly surprising. The young woman had told her that Daniel was very little, and the description "auburn" — reddish or golden brown — could apply to almost any hair color except blonde or jet black.

Yes, Stokes was a real "pro" when it came to her calling.

Reader Barry Moyle informs me:

You may be aware of the website I sent an e-mail to these people questioning their statement: "Dowsing works, that has been proven time & again." "Dowsing" is listed as a topic on left hand side of their home page. I also suggested they should apply for your million dollar prize & forwarded a copy of your "The matter of Dowsing" from Swift, vol.2 no 3/4. January 1999.

I received a somewhat rude reply, addressed to "Mr. Eyes Closed", from a Mr. Ross Hemsworth. Amongst other things, he said "it's not our job to convince other skeptics, or indeed to chase money from other skeptics who require convincing" and "being a dowser myself, I KNOW it works"!

However, what interested me is his saying "I am in daily contact with James Randi, and he is very aware of the research we are doing." I know you are a busy man Mr. Randi but I would be very pleased to have your comment on that. He also asks that I do not waste his time by further contacting him because I do not have an open mind. I shall oblige him.

Barry, you must recognize that the million-dollar challenge is probably the single most-feared element in the belief system these people have constructed. They can't respond to it, because they know they can't perform as they fantasize they can. This delusion is so cherished, so important to them, that they will invent, distort, and lie in order to avoid facing the truth. Indeed, truth is their greatest enemy, and it is brought up to them by the JREF challenge, every day.

Ross Hemsworth has written me only once — on an entirely different matter — but I am certainly not "in daily contact" with him. He makes such claims because he is alarmed, but understandably so, because he sees the great threat that is offered to his self-delusion, if he is in any way called upon to face reality.

Reader Dan Blum observes, re our piece on the seemingly high incidence of auto accidents among Australians who are "Geminis." Dan refers to this as, "only a thought," but it's the kind of thought that we welcome:

As you note, there's no way to know without seeing the raw data just how significant the results are in a statistical sense. However, even if they are significant, there's at least one quite reasonable way I can think of in which accident rates could be tied to birthdate. Teenagers who have just gotten their licenses are more likely to have accidents, on average, than other drivers (at least, so I'm told, and it certainly seems plausible). Many teenagers are anxious to get their licenses and will do so as soon as possible after the relevant birthday. Weather varies with some predictability by month and plays a large role in the incidence of auto accidents. So, we should expect to see people born in months in which Australia typically experiences poor driving weather to have slightly higher accident rates than others, because of the new drivers bringing up the average. I know nothing about Australian weather, but late April to late June (Gemini and Taurus together) is late fall and early winter, and even if they don't have much snow I'd expect them to see a lot of rain, maybe some sleet, etc.

Reader Nigel Dowrick tells us:

Re: the Australian insurance company that has carried out a "star sign" (shouldn't that be "Sun sign"?) survey of car drivers, I remember reading something similar in a British newspaper several years ago. A search in the archives of the Daily Telegraph brought up an article which reveals that the worst drivers are born under Libra and Pisces, while the best are born under Sagittarius, Aquarius, Leo and Capricorn (best of all). On the other hand, there's an article in the Telegraph dated 27th March, 1997, (not in the Telegraph's archives, however) in which the order of drivers, worst to best, is 1: Aries, 2: Pisces, 3: Virgo, 4: Aquarius, 5: Libra, 6: Gemini, 7: Scorpio, 8: Leo, 9: Taurus, 10: Cancer, 11: Capricorn, and 12: Sagittarius.

(Note that Gemini occurs half-way along the scale here, unlike the Australian Insurance company survey....)

These surveys by different insurance companies aren't striking for their consistency. The only point of interest is that Capricorn seems to be consistently at or near the bottom of the list. Could this possibly be connected with the fact that Capricorn covers a period of only 29 days, while the other signs range from 30-32 days? This might seem like an uncharitable suggestion, but the articles aren't definite enough to rule it out.

Well, Nigel, if the Capricorn numbers are about six percent toward the observed results, that would be an excellent possibility! I'm excited to see that the items I post here are stimulating not only discussion, but also basic thoughts about probable answers!

While we're revisiting this part of the world, the following article is reprinted courtesy of The Skeptic, official Journal of The Australian Skeptics. Barry Williams is Executive Director of the organization. He's an old and valued friend of mine, and a powerful foe of the irrational and pseudoscientific forces Down Under. A handsome beard, too, please note. Look in on the group at

Cold Water on a Hot Topic     By Barry Williams

It is not often that a Skeptic can experience the sensation of fulfillment that comes with seeing one of our areas of interest finally laid to rest, but some of us must have felt it when we viewed Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) on [Australian TV]. Originally produced for the BBC, the program went somewhat further than a similar program of several years ago and may well have provided the final explanation for a long-term mystery. For those unfamiliar with the concept, throughout history there have been cases of the remains of people being found, usually in closed rooms, with the majority of their bodies reduced to ash, only some outlying pieces, like the lower legs, remaining unconsumed, and with no serious damage to the other contents of the room.

This phenomenon had been quite baffling to fire investigators until recent years and, given that human beings are such curious animals, this mystery has spawned many strange explanations. They range from the moderately sublime to the patently ridiculous. On one end of this spectrum, it has been seriously suggested that a build-up of methane in the intestines could be, in rare cases, somehow ignited by enzyme activity. This suggestion was laid to rest in by a physiologist pointing out that such an effect would surely have shown up in a rash of cattle bursting into flames, that species being far more prolific methane generators than human beings.

At the other end of the spectrum were suggestions of some sort of unknown cosmic energies (that staple of the crank pseudoscientist) being involved. Indeed the notion that human beings spontaneously burst into flames has never had much going for it and in almost every reported case, there has been a very obvious source of ignition present. But the phenomenon retained its mystery because of the almost total reduction of a human body to ash. Sober forensic anatomists were attracted to the idea of a purely localized fire, started by a careless cigarette or contact with an open fire, slowly consuming the body, with clothing or bedding acting as a wick, and body fat acting as fuel. This appeared to be a reasonable explanation, though there seemed to be some confounding evidence. Fire investigators pointed out that even after very fierce domestic fires, human remains were still recognizably human and, though badly charred, sufficient parts of the bodies remained to establish the cause of death. Other evidence was adduced that after cremations, in which bodies had been subjected to very high temperatures, bones still had to be reduced to granules in a ball mill, because bones tend to be quite fire-resistant.

This TV program followed an experiment conducted by Dr. John de Haan, of the California Criminalistics Institute, who had investigated a real murder case in which a body was found burning, unusually for "SHC" cases in that it was found outdoors. In his experiment, the carcass of a fully grown pig (selected because pigs and humans have similar fat distribution) was wrapped in a blanket, deposited on a carpet, and set alight in circumstances that matched those in various "SHC" cases.

And a remarkable demonstration it turned out to be. After some time, when common sense should have told us that all the blanket and carpet should have been reduced to ash, we could see pig fat bubbling from the carcass soaking the charred material, thus acting exactly as a candle wick. It maintained a hot, though low-flame, fire and it kept doing so for hours. After around five hours the mystery of the bones began to unravel. The bone marrow (about 80% fat) was contributing to keeping the fire going, and was leading to the reduction of the bones themselves to ash. And the element that is missing in crematoria is present in these cases — time. Cremations last about 1.5 hours, but in "SHC" cases the fire burns for many, many hours. The mystery of why lower limbs so often remained after one of these fires, was explained by the low fat content of these parts and their remoteness from the seat of the fire — there is not much fat in shins and feet to sustain this sort of fire.

Why rooms in which such fires occurred showed certain classical signs — nearby items not being burnt, TV sets and wall clocks showing signs of melting, but not of burning — was accounted for by the low intensity and localized nature of the fire, leading to a very hot layer of gas products in the upper part of the room. The fire is localized to the body and its immediate environment, heat builds up, but it is not enough to cause other items to ignite, only to scorch or melt.

Of course, there must be many other cases that start in similar circumstances, in which other parts of the room do catch alight, and then vou have a classic house fire. But no one has ever suggested that there is anything mysterious about houses catching fire and the occupants being burnt to death — careless cigarette smoking in bed, electrical faults, arson — all have plenty of substantiated cases. Only in very rare cases have physical circumstances allowed the fire to remain localized and has there been sufficient time for the body to have been reduced to ashes — in almost every case where SHC has been offered as an explanation, the victim has been alone in the house.

This was a classic example of good science; making an hypothesis and testing it. And this test showed exactly what the hypothesis had predicted, and so should set at rest at least one of the myths that has exercised the minds of some who would invest the world with unexplainable energies or other mysterious factors.

One other item of note, was that this particular belief may very well be culturally specific. We are often asked if some paranormal beliefs are peculiar to one country or another, and, outside of the obvious ones, it is difficult to determine if this is the case. However, in this case, we may have a partial answer. Dr. Dominic Dehane, a forensic scientist at the Police Science Laboratory in Toulouse, France, when asked about SHC cases in France, said: "It is only in America and Great Britain that people believe in the myth of spontaneous human combustion. In the rest of the world we never hear about that."

As skeptics we should be happy that there is one fewer front on which to carry on the struggle, but it would be an optimist indeed who believed that this will be the case. No one who has invested so much of his personal belief into inventing the notion of mysterious cosmic energies is likely to be deterred by mere evidence.

Thank you, Barry. Ever since I first heard of the claimed SHC phenomenon, I've offered the compelling observation made above, that when a house fire occurs in which the entire place is consumed, there is essentially no great mystery, but when the fire remains localized and the peculiar circumstances prevail that seem to defy expectations, a mystery promptly develops. This unanticipated situation occurs in only the tiniest percentage of fires which are often due to elements of carelessness, some cited by Mr. Williams, thus the mystery is accentuated. Bear in mind, too, that evidence usually shows that the victim (a) is a smoker, (b) was drinking alcohol, and (c) was confined and isolated, as by a bed or wheelchair. All these facts give support to the non-paranormal explanation that Barry so well puts forth here.

Being a realist par excellence, Barry Williams provides, in his last paragraph above, his astute, perceptive, conclusion — one based on long experience in this field. I suggest that you re-read it....

Barry also provides this news item about a correspondent who uses the name "Herc Ules" (brilliant!) in his posts to me, which are virulent, vague, and just plain weird. (So what else is new, Randi?) Judging from this news, I may be spared some nasty stuff, at least for a while. Says Barry:

I believe you also heard from this chap. He wouldn't be put off but kept pestering us with incomprehensible claims. I tried to let him down gently, but when he started making threats, I had to let the police know and they took it very seriously and quickly tracked him down. I doubt he would have carried out his threat, but you can't be sure. How would I have felt if I had just shrugged him off and next week heard of someone being poisoned after eating Dick Smith peanut butter.

Dick Smith, very well-known in Australia, is a leading supporter of the skeptical (pardon me, sceptical!) movement there, and one of his business interests is producing food products.

Australian Broadcasting News: A man charged with threatening to poison food produced by Dick Smith has been refused bail in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court in central Queensland. Graham Andrew Cooper, 30, is charged with trying extort $100,000 from the Australian Sceptics Association. Cooper appeared in court this morning charged with stalking, extortion and sending threatening e-mails. The court was told Cooper sent e-mails to Barry Williams from the Australian Sceptics Association, which has offered $100,000 to anyone who can prove psychic powers. The police prosecutor said Cooper claimed the association refused to test him. It is alleged the e-mails said that Dick Smith owed him $100,000 and that he would put rat sack into as much Dick Smith food as he could lay his hands on. The court was told Cooper is a paranoid schizophrenic and police said the threats were not carried out. Cooper will be held in custody until his next court appearance in May.

The term "rat sack" refers to rat poison. These colorful Aussie expressions....!

You should know: Article IX, Section 2, of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee says that atheists and people who do not believe in heaven and/or hell cannot hold office in that state. Really! I quote, from "Disqualifications":

No atheist shall hold a civil office. No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.

But hold on a bit. I see, listed earlier in that same Constitution, Article VIII, Sections 4 & 5, that:

No religious or political test. That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and this State, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this State.


Freedom of worship. . . . that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.

Now, being a simple soul, I find these statements/laws contradictory. Both cannot apply! But looking further, also under Article IX, Section 1, "Disqualifications":

Ineligibility of ministers and priests to seats in legislature. Whereas Ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no Minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature.,

Okay, but isn't this an obvious "religious test," in itself? Of course it is!

Almost as if to prove the point that someone has dropped the ball here, since this worthy document was put in place after numerous periodic re-workings back in 1953, we also find, under Section 3:

Duelists shall hold no office. Any person who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, fight a duel, or knowingly be the bearer of a challenge to fight a duel, or send or accept a challenge for that purpose, or be an aider or abettor in fighting a duel, shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this State, and shall be punished otherwise, in such manner as the Legislature may prescribe.

How often, we must wonder, is this provision invoked....?

All this is still in effect, it's on the books, and legally speaking, under IX-2, anyone in office in Tennessee would have to defend themselves if charged with denying the medieval notions that a deity exists or that heaven or hell are real places. This thinking, for state officials in the 21st-century United States of America, is against the law!

Astonishing? Do you remember a woman named Rosa Parks? On December 5th, 1955, she broke the law of the State of Alabama by sitting down in a bus. That act was against the law! A Congressional Gold Medal is only one way in which we have honored this woman, who acted for all rational people when she saw that it was something that someone had to do. Talking is all well and good, but acting is the magic.

We grow up slowly....

From a news item here in Florida dealing with the very popular and thriving "Miss Cleo" industry that takes in millions a year nationwide via a $5-a-minute "psychic hotline" telephone service....

. . . the attorney general's staffers just want to know whether Miss Cleo — who bills herself as a Jamaican shaman — is even from Jamaica. They suspect she's nothing more than a paid actress. The matter of her supernatural abilities, they'll just leave to the imagination, one staffer said. "We're not going down the road of 'What is a psychic,'" said Assistant Attorney General David Aronberg. "We're not concerned whether she can bend spoons or read minds."

Thank you, Mr. Aronberg, for that facetious comment. Not what we might expect from a senior state official — playing for laughs — but maybe the best we can get. Why are you not concerned? Isn't lying to, and deceiving, the public, something that should get your attention? Is it not in your job description? Yes, it involves taking money under false pretenses, promising results that are not delivered, false advertising, stealing. But you'd rather just find out whether Miss Cleo is really from Jamaica? Who the hell cares, sir? You can only have two possibilities: one, she's not from Jamaica, and the State of Florida attorney general's office can officially demand that Cleo stop saying that she's a Jamaican. There! The people of Florida have been served! Two, Cleo is actually from Jamaica, and all's well in the State of Florida, right? No, wrong. In both scenarios, the people of Florida have gained nothing, and yet you can now turn the page on this episode with great satisfaction, and get on with similarly useless tasks?

Mr. Aronberg, you embarrass me.

As we "go to press," this exciting development: it�s been discovered by determined research and the desire to see justice done, that Miss Cleo was born in Los Angeles, and not even her parents are Jamaican. But again, who cares?

I will share with my readers the partial contents of an unfortunately typical sort of letter. These are regularly received both on e-mail and by post, at the JREF. My usual response is to suggest that the writer should be seeking professional medical advice — but that almost always leads to vituperative responses that fill our mailboxes for weeks afterward. I really don't know what to do about these missives. They depress us at the JREF, and they indicate that the senders really require — and deserve — proper assistance, but we feel helpless. What follows is a plea for help, a cry of despair. Read as much of this letter from the U.K. as you can, and you'll see how desperate, uninformed, and muddled these folks are. I've made substantial clarifications in spelling and sentence construction, and this is only about one-quarter of the total text we received from this poor woman....

Dear Sir, I have come across an electronic device, which is called a perpetual motion machine. I have been hit by it from two places. About 7 years ago I came across this machine, when a factory near my house changed its air-conditioning system. It made me very ill, the frequencies it gave off made me see its energy fields.

I contacted the Environmental Health department of my local council MP [Member of Parliament] but they were not interested. Then about 4 years ago I came across a man who works in an engineering company, that makes some of the components to these machines. He was feeling unwell himself. He found out that these machines did not comply to British Health and safety standards, or to EMC electromagnetic compatibility standards. They are not able to be earthed [grounded], filtered, or shielded electrically. He complained to his employer and was told no one else is complaining. If he insisted he could have his work cards [could resign].

Anglia T.V. (U.K.) put a program out in January 2001 which explained the history of these perpetual motion machines called The Secret KGB Paranormal Files, hosted by Roger Moore. Tried to get a copy from the T.V. company they say its under "copyright." Told me to contact Associated T.V. international, have tried many times, but they do not reply. Also wrote to Roger Moore.

Anyway it was about these spinning devices they called psychotronic devices. The KGB and CIA have been playing around with these systems for a long time doing Remote Viewing and psychic warfare with these systems.

The program said the Russians took apart crashed UFOs and found this reverse technology motor. They found it was a weapon. Then by changing the polarity they found it could heal. The trouble is that still does not allow the machine to earth.

It may not matter for short periods. But the body gets over stimulated. It also has an effect not only on the total environment, but on everyone and everything in it, like most radionic equipment, come to that electrical things. But some dim-witted person has allowed it to get on the open market. Europe has relied on a meter to gage its safety systems. Russian and other Eastern block countries use mathematics. Because of this the West think these machines are low energy systems.

They produce most of the energy at very low frequency, where a meter can only give a very approximate measurement. The scientist can't get it through his head low frequency, low powered. Therefore people who know about it are just oversensitive. These machines work on reverse systems. Still does not ring home, with them.

I asked an electromagnetic expert at Sunderland University . . . what the output of these systems is? He said it would be the equivalent of the BBC only needing one transmitter to broadcast to the whole of the U.K. This information is being put on CD and tapes as a subliminal system.

Biofeedback systems are much more potent then more traditional radionics systems. The body retains the low frequency for longer. According to Richard Gerber MD in his book "Vibrational Medicine for the 21st Century," these low-frequency machines are more effective than using long-term psychotherapy and drug treatment. They are also able to bypass the conscious mind. The low frequency acts as a "carrier wave," like microwaves can. It was demonstrated on the T.V. program that it was possible to pass information directly into Russian sailors, in a submarine at the bottom of the sea, without a receiver. A sine wave can be generated then passed into the low frequency. It can travel over distance and then only be "downloaded" by the body's own chemistry.

The information is still not as specialized as the practitioner might like to think. I have been told that practitioners have complained about the radiation effect of one brand of this radionic machine called "Bicom." They don't know what energies they get off the patient, or the other way around. Unlike normal healing or normal radionics, the energies can be grounded out, they fade out. This Bicom acts more in a germinate way.

The next problem is I have come across a Dr. [name] and his father Dr. [name]. With the aid of these machines they have broken into the "Total Consciousness." I did not know he was into this treatment, but sure found out. I believe Uri Geller knows all about this equipment. From what I have experienced from this doctor, it is perfectly possible to kill. I reported him to the General Medical council 4 times for starting out healing me as an Out Of Body Healer with this system, then to end up attacking me psychospiritually, then asking me for help.

His wife left him about 3 years ago now. I phoned her at home one day because he was getting in my head. I said her husband needed help. Yes, she said, he has been here, there, and everywhere for help spiritually. I said he was geopathically stressed. She said she had found someone else, and he had done likewise, a nurse from the local hospice. I got a shiver down my spine, and told Mrs. [name], tell him to keep away from this new girlfriend. A few days later, he must have had his first night of passion with the new girlfriend. I was stuck on the other end of it. I had my body invaded by this evil being, being his new girlfriend. She was not strong enough for him. Energy-wise he had over-cooked her, so she just pulled bad energy. He had been used to his ex-wife doing the work for him, while he pretended at being the healer. I found out that despite all, he has married this nurse. Mental or what?

Anyone who tries to heal him, he put them in "burn out." There is only me who can sort it, as he nicks [steals] people's energy. He may knock me, but I do recover. But he has refused to talk it through with me. He continues to heal people with stuff they have little knowledge of. He thinks if he does not talk to me, it will be all right in the end, except the problem existed before I even came on the scene. Whatever is with him and his father is not going to go till I face it out with them both. All their colleagues have done is to "close ranks." We had Dr. [name] over here. This man has taken everyone's soul and replaced it with something which is not meant to be there. He had the ability to be a good healer but the honesty is not there. Any solutions? I must emphasize it's the "total consciousness" he has broken into. Most people don't know because he has lowered the level of consciousness for everyone.

These machines are in computer power packs, they are replacing gas turbine systems, electric trains and cars. Step/up and step/down transformers and a whole lot more. It's a mad, mad world. I have e-mailed Uri Geller, he said that he thought this man was up to "black magic," what did I want to do about it?

Is it any surprise that so many people can be sold irrational ideas, systems, devices, and philosophies? While this sort of thinking is rare among a given population, it is there, and it is a potential market for charlatans. Without a basic awareness of how the real world works, inundated through the media with information that can confuse and mislead them, having little or no support from agencies that might be expected to help them cope, these sufferers flail about helplessly. They deserve better.

Get those Pigasus Award nominations in, friends! April 1st approaches! It's a rich field you have to choose from, for 2001....

My good friend James McGaha, Director,of the Grasslands Observatory in Arizona, comments on the following item, "It says a great deal about the world we live in, that the astronomy community has to produce and distribute such a document!" I agree, Jim. In response to the fundamentalist claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, that the dinosaurs lived 4,000 years ago, and all that other drivel, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) said:

Material for Teachers About How We Know the Age of the Universe Is Now On Line

In several U.S. states there have been demands that discussions of the Big Bang and the vast age of the cosmos be excluded from science curricula in K-12 classrooms. In response, the Astronomy Education Board of the AAS has put together an article designed to enable teachers to tell students how astronomers know that the universe is old and that it changes with time. The illustrated article has been posted on the Web at: It is designed for grades 3-12, published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and explains the evidence showing that we live in a universe that is between 10 billion and 15 billion years old and that both the universe and its contents undergo evolutionary change. This article grew out of a formal statement on behalf of the astronomical community issued by the Council of the AAS in 2000, after the Kansas State Board of Education in 1999 adopted state standards that eliminated both evolution and Big Bang cosmology. As we know, those standards have now been repealed, following the election of new Board of Education members in that state.

Please, if you know of teachers who could use this information, pass it on....

Everyone who believes in telekinesis, raise my hand....