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Topic: The Secret's Out
Message: Posted by: Indyfan (Sep 23, 2004 07:40AM)
Might as well pack up your blind-folds.....the secret's out (again!).

"Mediums' skills dissipate under scrutiny
For centuries, their seemingly uncanny ability to discern private facts about strangers have bolstered the claims of spiritualist mediums to be able to contact the dead.

Nonsense according to a new and rigorous scientific test in Britain, which has concluded that most mediums simply use a series of relatively simple psychological tricks to fool people.

The Times newspaper reports that when asked to perform under tightly controlled laboratory conditions, mediums' special skills seem to disappear into the spirit world.

According to the scientists behind the experiment, most mediums use tricks such as "cold readings" - making informed guesses about a subject based on observable physical and behavioural signs - as well as picking up on verbal responses.

The report finds that while some mediums know full well what they are doing, others use such skills unconsciously, and honestly believe they are being fed answers by spirits.

The experiment saw five mediums asked to do readings for subjects sitting in a different room, without being told their age, gender, or other signs.

The Times reports to prevent clues being gleaned at second hand, one scientist dealt exclusively with the subjects while another handled the mediums.

The subjects were later shown all the statements made by the mediums about everyone and asked to pick those which fitted them, with the results showing a hit rate no better than random chance.

"These are probably the most rigorous experiments that have been done in this field, and they show that the mediums could not contact the spirits and give accurate readings under controlled conditions," Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, told the paper.

According to the Times, as well as using visual clues, mediums can also appear spookily well informed by making general claims that match many people, such as: "You have a photo of the deceased person that is special to you."

And if all else fails, a full third of people endorse the statement: "You have a scar on your right knee."

-- AFP
Message: Posted by: cardiac (Sep 23, 2004 08:00AM)
This pops up every couple of years - nothing new really.
Message: Posted by: Magical Dimensions (Sep 23, 2004 10:38AM)
Oh NO! You mean that mediums are Fakes? My whole picture of mediums is now tarnish! I can't go on anymore. The rug has been pulled from under me. I have fallen and I can't get UP! LOL

Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Sep 23, 2004 11:07AM)
The next thing they will be telling us is that Santa( Father christmas) doesn't exist.

Message: Posted by: Ken Dyne (Sep 23, 2004 12:14PM)
But I really do see dead people
Message: Posted by: Nir Dahan (Sep 23, 2004 12:20PM)
Where are the guys who say "ahh but they never proved that geller (or whoever) didn't use these methods..."
they always pop up...
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 23, 2004 04:02PM)
"But I really do see dead people"

So do I...every time I watch an old, B&W movie. :)

Message: Posted by: Anabelle (Sep 23, 2004 05:00PM)
This sort of thing doesn't really bother me. Maybe I've just gotten used to it. There are so many people who are not interested at all in this sort of information that I have never really met someone who's challenged me in that way.

Message: Posted by: Murfmind (Sep 23, 2004 05:51PM)
It's funny, you can still fool the people who watched the shows that exposed magic. Go figure! Murf
Message: Posted by: Menetekel (Sep 23, 2004 10:57PM)
On 2004-09-23 13:20, Nir Dahan wrote:
Where are the guys who say "ahh but they never proved that geller (or whoever) didn't use these methods..."
they always pop up...


Probably they are bored of seeing other guys who always pop up and say "ahh but Geller never proved to Randi his genuine abilities..."

Since no one will ever win the battle, skeptics will be biased on one extreme and believers on the other extreme, both groups, as a whole, will not change their minds and both groups will follow their "true" leaders.

Now pop up again if you get some fun from doing it multiple times. I don't. Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Lee Marelli (Sep 23, 2004 11:29PM)
E Gads! I was sure my powers were real. Now, the media tells me I do not have them. What shall I do?
Message: Posted by: chmara (Sep 24, 2004 12:38AM)
Ahhhh--they have exposed my seances for just what they are -- rich theatrical experiences for the ***ed........

Maybe I have put too much money into the technology needed to ruin a good seance and should go back to toe rapping in shame....or bouncing my Oija board on my knees as I explain what Oija really means.....
Message: Posted by: Alexander Marsh (Sep 24, 2004 03:51AM)
(All 'Psychological Mentalists' sit back with a smug grin on there face, which soon turns to a look of fear of the unknown for they know to, that there time will come.)
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 24, 2004 04:14AM)
It is both the blessing and curse of mystery performers (and 'psychics') that we are so insignificant in the overall scheme of things.
On the one hand, few people pay attention to exposes, on the basis of "who cares."
On the other hand, we'll never fill stadiums just on our names, as country music artists do (they have a more loyal fan base than rock stars, a fact proven by radio surveys).

Message: Posted by: dr chutney (Sep 24, 2004 04:35AM)
This from the end of an AOL article about Prof Wiseman's findings:

Professor Wiseman said: "I think mediums may have their uses. They're a lot cheaper than psychotherapists, and they might help people with bereavement, but they don't communicate with the dead."

On the whole he thought mediums were harmless, although in some cases they might trigger an unhealthy inability to "let go'' of a departed loved one.

He said he expected believers to criticise the way the research was conducted, but added: "In my opinion this was the best controlled test of mediumistic ability carried out so far.''

This evening Professor Wiseman will act the part of a medium at the Dana Centre, the Science Museum's London venue for involving the public in controversial science issues.

Members of the public are being invited to join in a Victorian seance and decide whether their experiences are the result of suggestion, trickery or genuine spirit contact.

Victorian seances were traditionally carried out in darkened rooms and focused on physical manifestations, such as objects moving or table rapping.

Professor Wiseman, who began his career as an award-winning professional magician, said: "I will be using a bit of trickery."

I think someone should tell him that Derren got there first!!
Message: Posted by: mishmash (Sep 24, 2004 04:53AM)
Did anybody go to see Professor Wiseman last night?

If so, would you post about how it went. It would be interesting to hear what happened.