November 19, 2004

The Un-Deaf, Another Matter of Taste, More On That Damn Clip, I Guess Stern Didn't Know Either, Ghost Story Author Is Amazed, Psychics In the Courtroom, A New Moon, Still Avoiding Reality, Do This, The Unsinkable Kevin Trudeau, This Is Not Rational, Dudley — Do Right, Spooky Magnets, John Understands Me, You Figure It Out, and In Closing....

Table of Contents:


Reader "Mary" is a professional "signer" of the deaf, and wrote us about a case in which she was employed by a school to interpret for a strange woman who Mary knew could hear perfectly, yet pretended to be deaf. The faker, however, tripped herself by a simple error, as we'll see....

... when she would raise a hand in class to ask a question, she would sign only and expect me to voice for her (interpret her signs into spoken English for the teacher and class to hear.) Well, this is about the hardest part of the interpreting process, and about a million times harder when interpreting under duress and being stared at by a total fruit. At one point, she was signing a question to the teacher and I was gearing up to voice it. The class was silent and all eyes were on me. I started voicing and, because it was a bad situation for me, I immediately made a mistake. Well, since she's totally hearing and could hear my mistake, she then sighed loudly and exasperatedly said (with her voice), "Okay...let's start this again."

I wanted to slap my boss for putting me in that class.

After the semester, I talked with another student from the same class. She said she felt the situation was weird, a speaking person having someone else speak for her, but she figured it was just something that she didn't understand and left it at that.

I later found out that this "deaf" woman was a top-level sign language interpreter at a local university. She also worked at a store which supplies technological devices for the hearing impaired. My take on the situation: she was obsessed with the groovyness of sign language and wanted to be deaf. At the college, I've actually seen several people pose as deaf before, so I'm not too surprised. I was, however, surprised at how my department spent hundreds of dollars providing services for a hearing person just because they came in with the magical, all-powerful doctor's note.

Yeah...I'm still bitter.

We understand your frustration, Mary....


After all that "Wine Clip" nonsense, reader Michael Warren informs us of his own interesting and impromptu experiment in taste and expectation:

I read with keen interest you recent commentary on the Wine Clip, and Dennis Lynch's unoriginal comment that taste is subjective. In my experience taste is not only subjective, it is amenable to suggestion, as my personal experience demonstrates.

In the early eighties I worked in a certain Cigar/Gift shop franchise that populated malls across America. We carried a product called "Snuff It," a small ceramic or metal cylinder about the size of a thread spool with a hole at one end the diameter of a cigarette, and a slightly larger hole at the other end. The purpose of the product was that you could put it in your ashtray, place a cigarette in it, and the cigarette would immediately go out due to oxygen deprivation. Simple, huh?

At any rate, one day while I was characteristically bored, several teenagers came in to browse. One pointed to a colorful two-tone ceramic Snuff It and asked me what it was.

The ceramic of the product, I explained, was made with an inert radioactive filler which bonded with the free radicals in the tobacco, stripped them of the outer valence shell, thus decreasing the negative ionization and promoting a smoother smoke to the cigarette. They were impressed with my scientific mumbo-jumbo explanation, but more so when I offered to demonstrate the product on one of their cigarettes. As they watched, I carefully drew their cigarette through the Snuff It, explaining that it had to be done slowly to work properly, with the small end of the product oriented to magnetic north. Just as teenager number one started to put the de-ionized cigarette in his mouth and light it, I stopped him and said, "I'm legally obligated to tell you that — though it only happens in one case in a million — some people have a negative reaction to the product; hence, if you develop blisters on your lips, cease using the product at once." They were suitably impressed with this psychological reinforcement, and a little worried. Teenager number one said he'd smoke it after lunch.

About an hour later the three teenagers ambled by the store again. "How did your cigarette taste?" I asked teenager number one. "Hey, it was fantastic, man," he replied. "I could really tell the difference. I'm going to get me one of those things." At that point I explained that it was just his imagination, that I had been having a little fun with him. "No," interrupted teenage number two. "It's not his imagination. He let me have a couple of drags off it. It was the best cigarette I've ever had."

I've often wondered if either of them later developed blisters on their lips.

Or developed brains and gave up smoking....?


Reader Nicolas Vivant refers us to to find an excellent discussion of the Wine Clip and the reality behind it. Go there and be informed. Another reader — who's obviously not an American — opined:

...when you see "overwhelming" testimonials (see and from various allegedly respected wine experts regarding the extraordinary qualities of The Wine Clip, and then try it under controlled conditions and find that it doesn't seem to do anything, you've got to wonder how objective these people are actually being. There's no reason to suppose the wine aficionados are any less foolable than hi-fi enthusiasts who're convinced they can hear the difference between cheap and expensive speaker cables even if, unknown to them, the cables are not actually being changed at all! Refer to for a discussion of this situation.

The modern USA is a country that needs an actual body to "Defend the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools", for Pete's sake? Go to for this. No wonder you can find a market there for wine magnets.

I'm too embarrassed to comment. The "Defend the Teaching of Mathematics in Public Schools" group has been losing ground, too, I hear....


Reader Jon Lee — and many others, thank you — informed me thus re the reference to James Van Praagh's most recent debacle on the Howard Stern Show:

James, you'll be pleased to know that Van Praagh's recent appearance on the Howard Stern show was not a repeat! It was October 18, 2004, and he was there to promote his TV movie on CBS, for Sunday, October 24th. I already knew that morning it was not a repeat, so I was stupefied when Van Praagh claimed Levy's body would "eventually" be found, when in fact it already had been found over two years earlier! I almost did a spit take in my car while commuting to work and uttered some extreme profanities in disbelief, for at that moment I heard Van Praagh clearly debunk himself in front of 12 million people! What disappointed me was that no one on the show remembered that Levy had already been found, and therefore never pointed out his gross mistake!

But the most hilarious moment was when he singled out your good friend Sylvia [Browne] and openly criticized her; he accused her (as well as unnamed "others") of being a fraud, of pulling opinions out of her ass, and being irresponsible and taking advantage of people in emotional distress. Howard immediately retorted, "But... so do YOU!" James could only muster a nervous laugh in response and then quickly changed the topic.

I found it hard to believe that neither Van Praagh nor the Howard Stern crew was aware that Levy's body had already been found, long ago; that was a big news item at the time. Gee, it seems that psychic powers aren't all that dependable! Who knew?


Reader Sherry Austin writes:

Dear Mr. Randi, I just have to stop putting off saying thank you for all you do.

I'm in an unusual position. I am the author of a book of fictional (well, of course they're fictional!) ghost stories, and when I wrote them I severely underestimated the pervasiveness of literal belief in the paranormal. To promote my book, I did a lot of events — book signings, talks, and the like — over a two year period. I had much face time with people, and I am still alternately peeved and grieved over this incredible phenomenon of belief in all things beyond reason. Frankly, I still can't get over it. I feel pistol whipped after many events. I can't tell you how many thousands of people have asked me if the stories are "true," and are unable to even begin to go with me to the next level, how they act like I've screwed them over by making up ghost stories when there are so many "true" ones, how offended they are when I express the slightest doubt. It is really extraordinary.

I can only imagine how tired you must get of all this. What has happened to our ability to think? And now, after November 3rd, when the rest of the world knows what we in the Bible Belt have known for some time — that the religious right has tremendous power — I feel like it is an uphill battle indeed.

I caught the tail end of one of your documentaries on TV a while back. In it, you were standing by some water, I believe, and you said, in voice-over, that there was so much to learn, so many wonderful things in the real world.... Anyway, I hope to use my talents from now on to spread that particular gospel. (I should say that my website, by the way, is not totally pure. It is still slowly evolving to more blatantly show my naturalistic leanings.) Thanks again.

Sherry, that documentary was the PBS-TV "NOVA" show from 1993 titled, "Secrets of the Psychics." In that scene, I was standing on a dock in Moscow, looking across at the Kremlin and delivering my closing comments of the show. The actual text was:

A lot of people hate my skepticism, and I think I understand why. The psychics offer wonders and endless possibilities in a world that often seems difficult and mundane. They promise health, wealth, wisdom, eternal life. But if you examine the record, it's not the psychics but the hard-nosed scientists who have actually delivered the things that improve human life. And, to me, science describes a world far more interesting than any psychic fantasy. It's a good world — not perfect — but it's ours. So we'd better learn to live with it, the way it is.

I wouldn't change a word of that impromptu thought, though more than a decade has passed since I voiced it, and much has happened to our world.

(We offer this NOVA video for sale at the JREF. Go to


Reader Pedro Bonatto de Castro, an undergrad Physics student in Curitiba, Brazil, writes:

I'm writing you today to call your attention to the most abject news in Brazil regarding paranormal phenomena. You are probably familiar with Brazilian psychic Chico Xavier. Globo TV, a major TV network in Brazil, made a special show about his work "helping" with some murder trials. Well, apparently he "psycographed" (that's a literal translation from Portuguese, I don't know if it is the same way in English: it's how you refer to a letter from a spirit channeled by a psychic) the victim clearing the accused of any harmful intent. The problem is that the psycographed letters were admitted as evidence in court.

This has happened in at least three cases, where the defendant was cleared by the jury largely because of the letters. It gets worse: a recent Internet poll at Globo's website indicates that 77.5% of people think that this kind of psychic reading should be admitted as evidence in court.

Well, Pedro, I'd never heard of Mr. Xavier, but you must remember that there are hundreds of persons just like him, working the same racket, who become famous in their local market for a short while, then are not heard from any more. We can't keep up with them all.

Here in the USA, we've had astrology referred to seriously in our courts, and in the Tinkerbell/Reagan White House, so we're not all that surprised at what's now being accepted in Brazilian law. Back in 1991, I myself was retained here on a local case as an advisor to the defense. We sat there astonished to hear the judge state before the case got under way that psychic abilities had been firmly established by science, and that he would not entertain any denial of that fact. Luckily for the cause of justice, the "psychic" plaintiff — Penny Pellito — was just so silly and equivocal, that the case turned against her and she was made to pay damages and expenses to the defendants.

Pellito had claimed that she lost her wondrous powers after some pieces of lumber fell on her head while she was rooting about in a bin at Home Depot, who she then sued for millions. There was a rumor passed around that when I heard her claim, I mumbled, "Not enough lumber," but that's not true, I swear.


In the 1970s the "Moonies" emerged as a still-growing cult following the bizarre ideas of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who founded the Unification Church. Moon has now moved far beyond that humble beginning to become the friend of presidents, to own the Washington Times, and to flaunt his status as a multi-billionaire — despite his IRS conviction and the resulting 13-month vacation in federal prison in 1984.

Well, there's a new Moon on the horizon, with an organization boasting centers in Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Northern California, Texas, and Virginia. His name is Ilchi Lee, aka Seung Heun Lee, founder of Dahn Centers and many other organizations. And he espouses "Brain Respiration," whatever that may be.

His "spiritual name" Ilchi literally means "a finger pointing to the truth," we're told. I have to wonder which finger is being referred to....

Lee's group claims that it's here to "save the world" through "energy" and "healing." This is supposedly done by "sharing love with the world." Lee, not about to ignore one of the tired old favorite canards of the mystics — that humans only use 10% of their brains — says:

I say "find the 90%!" I mean take control of the 90% of your brain that you are still not using. The aim of the development of our brain lies in the installation of Peace. Enlightenment has no meaning if it does not contribute to peace, health and happiness. So where does enlightenment occur? It occurs in our brain. I was struggling to find that answer for twenty years, and the result is Brain Respiration and HSP.

("HSP" is "Heightened Somato-Sensory Perception," in case you're not up on the latest claptrap.)

The "Ilchi Center for Brain Research" sells products such as necklaces and bracelets that they say "help energy flow," a $90 "power brain," and a "portable brain energizer" in the form of a spongy, yellow lump that vibrates and fits in one's palm. Lee preaches that at first, he just "transfers cosmic energy to people." New students have "aura pictures" taken, and they get an "energy checkup" before their "individualized training plan" is created for them. And, Lee has established "Peaceology for Earth Humans," all a part of the huggy, lovey, vague, dreamy, and juvenile atmosphere in which the naïve and desperate become so easily trapped and submerged.

Lee claims that his center studies the brain, "Brain Respiration," and HSP "in conjunction with the Korea Brain Research Institute, University of California, Harvard Medical Department, and Cornell Medical Department." Frankly, I doubt that claim. Perhaps some readers may care to ask Harvard and Cornell if they are associated with Lee? It appears that he did lecture for the Harvard school of Divinity, but that does not indicate any "association" of Harvard with his eccentric notions. On his website, we read that the University of California at Irvine's Center for Brain Aging and Dementia is specifically studying his methodology. Not so, says the director there, Dr. Carl Cotman: "We do not endorse him. At all."

This is another of those Moonie-like schemes in which "students'" are encouraged to leave their families and work for only room and board, proselytizing others constantly and worshipping their guru. Many of the victims awaken before they drown in this syrup of nonsense-and-hype, but those who don't either drop out or suicide, grow older and poorer by the day — both financially and emotionally. But it's safe from government interference; that veteran of scam Reverend Moon is living proof of this country's protection and support of such quackery.


Reader Richard Schultz informs us that the recent "11th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science" — formerly known as the "International Conference on Cold Fusion," but obviously trying to escape that increasingly negative label — concluded with a speech from Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson entitled, "Good and Bad Ways to Do Science." Really? Take a look at to see just how this man treats science and its obligations. And don't forget that he's admired by Uri Geller, and in turn admires and believes The Spoonbender, too...


Go to now — immediately — to and then order this book. It's something we all need to know, and to lose sleep over.... Then go to and discover an excellent place to browse for material.


Trudeau, who apparently has his fingers in every scam pie out there, has emerged again on TV promoting some sort of new "wrinkle cream" named "Firmalift" with miraculous powers illustrated by startling before-and-after photos of faces that appear to have improved remarkably and very quickly — a matter of a few minutes, according to the quacking that Kevin does about the product. These photos are so obviously dependent on changes of lighting and contrast to fake the claimed improvement, that any child can see through that part.

But the gimmick that really should get the attention of the would-be buyer is so blatant a con that I can't believe that even Kevin used it: he gleefully announces that the original price of $140 for this wonder-cream has been cut — just for this TV ad! — to a mere $7.99! A saving of 94% should bring those orders streaming in, even if they haven't a wrinkle in sight!

Hey, Kevin! What's next? A bucket of steam from the Titanic, a new-and-improved left-handed screwdriver, or homeopathic eye drops? Nah, no one would believe homeopathy, would they?


Reader Dr. Paul Flewers of King's College, London, is justly alarmed:

I have been in correspondence with several rationalist friends about the proliferation of quack courses being offered at British universities — I e-mailed you some information about this last week — and one of them pointed me to Angie Buxton-King's website This really shook me. Here is a quote dealing with Angie's "Hospital Work":

Angie has worked at University College Hospital for the past five years. She is the only healer currently employed as a healer by the NHS [National Health Service]. Angie is the Healer/Manager of the Complementary therapy team at UCLH. The team offers the patients on the Hematology Unit, healing/aromatherapy/counseling/hypnotherapy and reflexology alongside their conventional protocols. . . . Many patients have used healing to help relieve side effects, alleviate pain, and help with depression and stress, all of which can help create a more positive attitude, which can in turn greatly enhance a patients quality of life.

I am staggered that a National Health Service hospital indulges in this kind of thing. An irony is that University College Hospital is associated with University College London, which was set up on a specifically rationalist basis.

Doctor, we can only imagine what would be offered at a University that was set up on an irrationalist basis....!


Reviewer Art Dudley of Stereophile Magazine must use a lot of antacids. He got himself all fluffed up in the November issue of that magazine — I mentioned it last week at — and he obviously needs simple answers to his simple questions, just to relieve his anxiety. Here goes.

Mr. Dudley was apparently alarmed by the fact that I called into question the accountability of his reviewer pals Frank Doris at "The Absolute Sound"; Clay Swartz, Clark Johnson, and David Robinson at "Positive Feedback"; Larry Kaye, Wayne Donnelly, and Bill Brassington at "fi"; Bascom King formerly of "Audio"; Wes Phillips at "SoundStage"; Jim Merod at "Jazz Times"; Dick Olsher at "Enjoy The Music"; Peter and May Belt at "P.W.B. Electronics"; and Benjamin Piazza at "Shakti Innovations," because they chose to ignore my challenge to show that the silly "Shakti Stones" they so heartily and professionally endorsed on behalf of their publications, to their consumers. Or, perhaps, these justifiably worried columnists and scam-artists ran to Dudley and begged him to defend them against the realities of life when they found the facts catching up with them?

In any case, Dudley decided to take me on and to cleverly discredit me. He did this by first referring to the fact that a number of actors and musicians had changed "the names they were born with in favor of newer, better ones, as their performing careers took off." Yep, that's very true. Bernie Schwartz and Reiner Frigyes became Tony Curtis and Fritz Reiner, adopting easier and more convenient names. But Dudley cannot for the life of him figure out why I did the same thing! Randall James Hamilton Zwinge became James Randi (informally at first, and legally in 1987) because my original name was awkward and the chosen one fitted much more neatly on a marquee. Now, was that too tough for you to figure out, Dudley?

There's something else going here for Dudley's ego-trip; kids who consult Who's Who or other biographical listings, can discover my original name — Zwinge — and they take great glee in sending letters to me under that name, as if they've cleverly rooted out a dark secret — as Dudley has done. Well, let him have his thrill. It may be the best he can do. He also has a unique view of reality. He writes:

Think of Zwinge as a brass player; He toots the same horn over and over, desperately hoping that the audience will notice him instead of the other performers on the stage. Zwinge is an illusionist — a self-described liar and con artist — who discovered early in his career that he could make more money by debunking the work of other illusionists. So he reinvented himself as James Randi and hit the road as — get ready for it — The Amazing Randi.

Well, folks, in each of the biographical sketches of me that have appeared in various parts of the world, I've planted one totally invented piece of family information, a different one for each biography. Then, when I've been given back one of those false bits of information by a "reader" or a "spiritualist," I can tell where they really got the item. In Dudley's case, he reveals by his devastating "self-described liar and con artist" "coup" that he's been out on the Internet archives flailing around for apparently grubby details he can use. That quotation first appeared in The New York Times back in February of 2001, has been picked up and repeated many other places, and was part of my regular opening address to my audiences, back when I did my cabaret magic act. You have to understand that in this case Dudley has to grab at whatever he can get.

Though he's obviously been to my web-page, and knows that I strenuously deny the "debunker" label, he ignores that fact in order to enrich his account. And, he obviously has never seen my act, or he'd know that I am truly "Amazing."

Dudley goes on to state that as I was involved in the business of investigating fakers and those who refuse to back up their fanciful professional claims — see the list in the second paragraph of this section, above — "the bottom pretty much fell out of the debunking industry..." As my readers will know, this is exactly the opposite of the reality, but Dudley invents it with the same aplomb that he shows when he writes his other wise words.

Says Dudley, "[Randi] has stumbled on our little world." No, Dud, I've been aware of the fakery involved in "high-end" technology, for many decades now. The reason that I've included it in the JREF discussions and made it eligible for our prize, is that if some of those claims were actually true, they would be genuinely paranormal in nature.

Dudley wisely avoids specifying how I've embarrassed his buddies on the Shakti Stones matter, choosing instead to refer to the JREF prize as "the latest yawn-inducing and intellectually dishonest 'Randi Challenge'" — opting instead to

...issue a taunt of my own, which I hereby dub "The Artie Challenge." I will personally give Randall Zwinge a hundred billion zillion dollars of my own money if he can answer two questions to my satisfaction:

1) Why is it that a tough-minded seeker of the truth finds it necessary to change his name?

2) When he signs his name as "Randi," does he dot the "i" or draw a little heart over it?

Answers may be submitted to me via e-mail only, care of

Well, Dudley, your first childish inquiry has been answered, above, and anyone with any sense at all already knew that answer. To answer the second one, I dot the "i" in my name. Okay? Now, since you've been very careful to specify "to [your] satisfaction" as part of your juvenile shaggy dog story, and are offering a fictitious sum that only a 10-year-old might think impressive, you're very safe. You've impressed us all as an infantile mind that needs a spanking more than a nap.

Note that you can't contact this august personage directly; you go through his editor, as if Dudley is just too grand to trouble with peasants. (Next week we'll have appropriate comments here about his editor, Atkinson.) And I wonder what Dudley means by my being "intellectually dishonest"? Perhaps he just can't understand the simple language in which the challenge is written?

I must not neglect to mention that in his Stereophile Magazine tirade, Dudley giddily points out that in one of my accounts of quackery, at, I'm found referring to the farcical "Tice Clock" as the "Tate Clock," obviously getting the fakers name wrong. Wow! Got me there, Dudley! But I see that you forgot to quote the reader in that same item who referred to "the utter tripe and nonsense one can read in Stereophile magazine today...." And I also wrote there:

That magazine, Stereophile, has published articles that make most pseudoscience look pale. The "Tate [sic] Clock," a regular Radio Shack digital clock treated with liquid nitrogen and a "secret process" to align electrons in the power supply (?) is only one of the products it tested and approved, as well as $1800 speaker cables marked with arrows to indicate in which direction the electricity should travel. But, as with all obsessions, these are items that aficionados simply must have, because they're expensive and "in."

Dudley also stated that Tice never revealed anything about the preparation of his device, so my reference to "a regular Radio Shack digital clock treated with liquid nitrogen and a 'secret process' to align electrons in the power supply" could not be true. George R. Tice himself told me that about his mysterious "TPT" notion, Dudley, yet he then refused and still — to this day — refuses to do a simple test of his fake contraption for a reward of a million dollars.

Dudley, now you can go and take your nap — after you stand in the corner for 15 minutes Down Time.


Last week I promised you yet another mystery situation with the magnetic-ball-in-the-tubing demonstration. (See This new observation really has me puzzled, and Dr. Rainer Wolf himself doesn't have an explanation, either. Though the previously-described phenomenon works well with copper, brass, and aluminum tubing, it does not work with stainless-steel tubing! The magnetized ball falls through such a tube at a rate that I cannot differentiate from free-fall in air!

Now, so that we'll understand the situation better, I'll explain that there are many different alloys that are correctly described as "stainless steel." Different proportions of iron, carbon, and chromium make up this material, with some ten other elements — most commonly, nickel — often mixed in as well. Some stainless steel alloys are very slightly magnetic, but most are not. I tested the variety I was using, and found that it exhibited no magnetic properties that I could detect.

Why does the ball fall as it does? As I wrote last week, this phenomenon is due to

...the fact that a magnet moved relative to an electrically-conducting medium will induce a magnetic field in that medium. The faster the magnet moves, and the more individual conductors are present, the stronger that induced magnetic field will be. . . . In the case of the ball-and-tubing combination that we've described, the induced magnetic field opposes the movement of the ball bearing, thus slowing it down.

Folks, the stainless-steel tube is a conductor of electricity, just as the copper, brass, and aluminum tubes are. This alloy may not be as good a conductor, so the effect may be correspondingly less vigorous, but it seems not to be there at all! Why?

Ah, but I must tell you that an attentive reader in Italy, Paolo Russo, has written me with a probable explanation of my problem with the engineer at Magnet Sales & Manufacturing Corporation in Culver City, California, who told me that a ball bearing cannot be magnetized. I have a few very strongly magnetized and nickel- or chrome-plated balls here that I'd assumed were regular steel ball-bearings. Maybe not:

Just for your information, I think both you and the engineer are quite right. There is probably just a misunderstanding on the term "ball bearing." I guess that you mean "a small metallic-looking ball" and the engineer means "a ball made of the stuff that bearings are made of," i.e. a steel ball. Steel can be magnetizable or not according to the percentage of carbon in the steel. I have never been able to significantly magnetize a ball bearing, so I'd guess that they are usually made of a rather "soft" (low carbon) steel. So what about your ball? Well, if it falls along the tubing so slowly, then it is so strongly magnetized that it cannot be made of steel at all, not even hard steel: that is far too weak a magnetic material. I'm pretty sure that your ball is a neodymium-iron-boron (Nd2Fe14B) magnet, with a nickel plating that protects it from oxidation (as usual with NIB magnets) and makes it look like a conventional steel ball. It might also be samarium-cobalt, but that is far less likely. My favorite magnet supplier sells NIB balls with several different diameters, from 3/16" to 1".

Well, I looked at that supplier, and the item is out of stock....! Drat! But isn't it just great that I have so many readers out there willing to help me with the task of understanding the world...? Thank you, all of you who conduct these little lessons for me!


Reader John Ruch of Boston, Massachusetts, comments on one of last week's items, and seems to understand my stance:

Please forgive your readers for mistaking your bluntness for sheer arrogance. We have the luxury of looking at, say, a claim that a man doesn't have to eat food as unique and fun to spend time jawing about, whereas you are aware of such claims as repeated, proven nonsense, a sort of sociological phenomenon in and of themselves. I think it's easy for your readers to forget that looking at claims as completely isolated incidents — somehow divorced from sociology, psychology and history — is in fact part of the looney way of thinking in the first place. ("This time is different!" etc.) Likewise, I think many of your readers are actually much more harsh and judgmental than you, because they don't have to see the tragedy of self-delusion and disappointment in person and en masse as you obviously so often have.

You often come off as curt and cynical — well, you probably are. But I just wanted to say I recognize the complexity and thoroughness of the challenge's design, and give you a vote of confidence in it.

John, I hope that I'll never be really cynical, though it's obvious that I could be. I'm skeptical, but I have good expectations of continuing to find that most people out there really can come about if presented with the facts. Curt? Yes, understandably. If you could see, every week, the huge postings that I get, and that I'm expected to read and comment on, you'd get really curt, too. Hey, I'm 76, and at this age I gotta hurry along!


Before you read the following item, I will tell you that I'm not making fun of the writer, any more than I have in the past with other applicants; if I could manage another language with such facility, I'd probably be reasonably happy with my accomplishment. I run these examples to show you samples of applications that Kramer has to handle, daily, and make sense of. In this next case, where the lady writes, "we made at the beach an colour shadow of my person," I believe she is reporting that a photo taken in full sunlight showed a blue shadow — which is just what we would expect, but a phenomenon of which she is apparently unaware. (The sky illuminates and fills in the shadow area with its blue light.) The other points she tries to make, I leave to your interpretation. As usual, all spelling and construction is as received, except for spots where the account would be totally incomprehensible without some adjustments....

Subject: lot of thinks all pysical and nature law

Dear Mr. Randi, two clients informed me now over your interest of some unnormal thinks in the world.

I don't know I be the right person for you, I be researcher of source and energie, expert for radioactiv energie and find high things, an key for most of them an natural law — the P-LAW (das P-Gesetz), only that you can decodieren the INFORMATION most of that at all (special of picture to), so I find the source for the morning- and eveningred, the blue sum, the black sun, that what the sun is realy, the first colour in the world and of all matter. I find why we can show — and I think you can remamber TED SERIUS with his special of thought/Gedanken-picture. I made lot of DIAS to of the function and gave lot of year performance/Vorträge and seminare and show we can make picture with our o w n eye only an foto-apparatus. And over this I can tell Mr. EMOTO what he made with one special water cristall, he made an foto of the EYE from the japnanise goddeness AMATERASU, and he ask us that he not know what is that in his book.

Only my research over sending out energie out our eys I had not can finding that. And I made an simelar picture to perhaps with my own energie, where I was standing at water at the beach, only on an other perspective most of at all 36 photos and of tham to, of this film, I find the blue and the black sun, for phenomenon on own film ! Two years befor we made at the beach an colour shadow of my person.

The last what I did and find (very long in Who is Who EU 2003, first 1999, next 2005) the methode for reduct Hurrica and Taifun of his super high radiactiv energie IVAN made only 60 dead, JOHN I don't deactiv, so we had over 2.400 dead. The 26. Super Taifun LUPIT last year, he was smart on 28.11.2003, he was my first. Over all photos — there are my evidence — and the P-LAW you can controll my methode.

Ask somewhere of the BIKINI ATOLL — or please go there and ask the President Kessai — on 5.11.2004, start on 20:00 hour, I had start o n e side I made it without of radioactiv energie. All seawater in the middle is high of positiv energie to and you can ead at all out the sea and one side how I did change in natural form.

All that is without mysthicism, all that is physical and natural law.

When some person is very very laugher over me, what I told him per eMail — i stay alone with me nothing doing or I wride — than I beginnig to crying and laugher to, that is not more, that is transfare of energie impuls and resonance.

So, sorry my english please it is not very well and I can not read at all of your homepage, perhaps it will you interest, than please contact me, or better you can came to me and I can show you lot of.


This person appears to be very sincere, and is probably simply deluded about her supposed powers. It seems evident that she has a poor grasp of the real world and how it works. I feel that she genuinely wants to show me what she believes are wondrous abilities.


Next week, Donald Simanek will tell us of some folks who have written to him about real fairies-at-the-foot-of-the-garden, and we'll hear from a reader in China who is in touch with UFOs — I think....