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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

James Randi tests Psychic Investigator

In this video, a very young James Randi puts a 'Psychic Investigator' to the test. It is from a TV series of his called James Randi: Psychic Investigator.

I think we would all agree with her statement at 2:52

The real question is why would a self-aware fraud put themselves through a test like this on national television? There can be a few answers.

She may truly believe in her 'power', which sounds like a difficult thing to do, but it is actually quite easy for someone to give it a go, get some positive feedback (whether true or not), which becomes a self perpetuating feedback loop. It is not often that such a person would be tested and they then have the blinkers of the old 'counting the hits and ignoring the misses' fallacy. Thinking that she has a good chance to be able to display her powers to the public and change some people's minds, she decides to give it a go.

Or she may be a fraud who thinks that she can outwit James Randi (watch out, he's pretty sharp!) with some Barnum statements and cold reading techniques. Out of the three items that she 'receives psychic energies' from, one, she says may have been used for something innocent (which covers her for both a crime situation, or a mundane one), the hammer 'makes her feel glass', which isn't a stretch, using a hammer to smash glass is probably the most common use of the item in a crime situation. She also goes out on a limb with the axe/pick, saying that it makes her think of a heavy vehicle tyre. This could mean it was used to damage such a tyre, that it was transported in such a vehicle, that the crime was committed near one, or that somebody involved in the crime owned such a ehicle. It sounds specific, but has cast the net pretty wide, increasing the chance of a hit. I would say that in a less controlled situation, where she would be able to discuss back and forth abit, it wouldn't take long before she hits on some information that sounds pretty amazing (if you'll pardon the pun, Randi) but is actually no different to a cold reading, fortune cokie or astrological reading.

Have a think about whether she is truly self-deluded, or a charlatain. Enjoy her explaination at 2:52.

1 comment:

  1. That one is good but this one is great

    Just look at the womans face at the end. Priceless