John Edward, Crossing Over

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby C. Hampton » 08/21/02 07:27 PM

Today I saw for the first time, part of the TV program from this individual while I was getting the oil changed in my vehicle.

I was wondering if any of you guys are aware of his work, and/or if he is know in the mentalism world or if he's just focused to lay public.

On the same token, what do you think about playing with the most intimate feelings of the audience(dealing with the loved ones that passed away). Because at no moment during his presentation I heard anything about "this is only for entertainment purposes"

Your inputs please. :(
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/21/02 07:29 PM

Carlos, Oy, have you opened a can of worms ... get ready for the neutron bombs to fall!!!!!!!!
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Postby C. Hampton » 08/21/02 07:33 PM

Richard, this will be the 3rd one so far.
Have you noticed???? :D
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Postby Guest » 08/22/02 07:39 AM

Envision a large plume of white smoke... the Devil's Advocate has entered the room... ;)

I've watched and even communicated with JE several times over the past three years. Though he admits to using some Psycho-Babble here and there (as filler) as best I can tell he has an honest and very legit ability... that is to say, he's past my preliminary tests, which very few have ever done (about eight out of over 500 psychics I've personally met and interviewed in the past 15 years.)

Now, I am a "believer" (which tends to make me the whipping boy in most magician's forums :rolleyes: ) I'm also a realist and have ALWAYS stated that there is a middle ground between the extreams of belief and skepticism in which "truth" around the issue exists. My perspective, if summed up into a "nut shell" basically states that "Just because we can explain it, give it a name and definition, does not negate where it comes from or what it is."

We all tend to forget that all of our primary sciences and arts come out of the seeds of religion/Shamanism. We tend to forget that the "magic of our ancestors, is the science of today."

Contrary to certain New Age perspectives "The Way of the Wize" had nothing to do with what is now known as "Wicca" but rather, the way and understanding of EDUCATED individuals. When we consider the fact that the written and spoken word were once considered Occult & Magickle, we begin to see through the exoteric perspectives of ancient lore and glimpse the esoteric truth... that which was not known of or understood by the masses. For whatever reason, the adepts of this kind of education/intellectual insight chose to preserve these truths for a select few... those that proved themselves in some way.

To shorten this otherwise long example, imagine how we, with our knowledge of science and theatrics, would be seen 1,000 or 2,000 years ago... WE WOULD BE GODS and just as you cannot shake the belief of a believer or the doubt of a skeptic, the people that witnessed any phenomena we might do, even something as simple as producing a dove from nowhere, would create a cult of magickle association around us.

I AM NOT STATING THAT THERE AREN'T ANY CHARLATANS OUT THERE... THERE ARE MANY AND THEY PREY ON THE IGNORANT! I fully support any action that takes these people, regardless their "religious/philosophical" foundation OUT OF BUSINESS!

As to how the work of a Medium/Reader affects people psychologically or emotionally, those of us that work within the Shut-Eye market know for fact, from experience, that the "legit" counselors fitting this mold, seek to help people obtain closuer around issues. One of the "little tricks" I've used in my work as a counselor stems from Louise L. Hay's book "You Can Heal Your Life" and allows me to plant seeds in the patron's mind for self-healing and claiming power over life's conditions/circumstance. The bottom line being, this is the goal of MOST working in this field (the majority of whom charge a fair rate of around $35-$50.00 per half-hour session. Major personalities like JE and Sylvia Browne get away with $300.00 to $500.00 sessions due to public demand... NOTE: There are "unknowns" out there (charlatans) demanding and getting two to three times these rates.)

I know I've added greatly to the coo that's about to break loose. I just hope some of what I've said helps to defuse the classic levels of extreme this kind of "conversation" tends to typify.
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Postby Guest » 08/22/02 09:31 AM

The one time I watched JE's show, he introduced several members of a support group for parents of deceased children. He had good news for them: their children on the "other side" had gotten together and formed a support group of their own!

It is depressing beyond words that we've reached the 21st century and people still believe this kind of crap. Some of them magicians, no less.
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Postby Guest » 08/22/02 11:24 AM

I find it funny how dead always can't remember their own names.

JE: I am getting a "B name"

BAILEY
BAMBI
BARBARA
BARBIE
BARB
BARNARD
BARNEY
BARRY
BART
BASIL
BAXTER
BEATRICE
BEN
BENEDICT
BENNY
BENSON
BERNARD
BERNE
BERNICE
BETH
BETHANY
BETSY
BEVERLY
BLAKE
BLANCHE
BILL
BILLY
BONNIE
BORIS
BRADLEY
BRADY
BRANDON
BRYAN
BUCK
BUD
BUDDY

Spectator: "My sister's husband named BOB passed away."

JE: "I knew I was getting a B name over there."

Audience: *Astonished Gasp*

Gimme a break. If he could talk to dead people why would they not show up and say Hi, my name is Robert G. Blake, my wife's sister is right over there, her name is Gina Goodyear, I want her to know specifically this.....

No instead he gets a sense that someone in the entire half of the room knows someone who died with a B name, then gets into rediculous esoteric messages, what a joke.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/22/02 11:32 AM

A couple months ago the online magazine salon.com ran a couple of articles on this issue. I posted a letter to them, which I will repost here since they chose not to post it (too long, I'm sure – or they just didn't like it). It does a good enough job of expressing my feelings on the subject matter of this thread. (Should you be interested in the original salon.com articles, their titles and authors are cited here, so just go to salon's site and do a search for them).

I read with great interest the two articles on “spiritualism” and the two current pied pipers of the belief, John Edward and James Van Praagh.

Having studied various forms of deception for about 30 years, it's quite simple for me to be skeptical – even cynical – about such claims. The difference is, I'd
like to believe, but unfortunately, I cannot.

In her piece (Watching the Giant Mediums, 6/13/02), Laura Laughlin wrote about the “two sisters in New York” (Kate and Margaret Fox) who, in the mid 19th century, “wowed crowds with their purported ability to communicate with the dead via mysterious tapping noises…”

Ms. Laughlin failed to mention that in 1888, Margaret Fox confessed that the mysterious “tapping noises” were actually caused by the cracking joints of their own toes. A year later she recanted the story so she could resume her “career” as a medium. So we are absolutely certain that Margaret Fox was indeed a liar. I suppose it's up to us to decide just what it was that she lied about.

In regard to professor Gary Schwartz's findings, there is a simple axiom in the world of deception that reads: “The more intelligent they are, the easier they are to fool.” This is especially true when they seem to
want to believe (be fooled) as apparently Dr. Schwartz does. I recommend to the professor that next time, when conducting his tests, he have an expert in the field of deception present who can recognize any fraud being perpetrated on him. And this time, do not insist that the expert present declare in writing never to reveal his findings to the world(!), as he did with James Randi (thus resulting in Randi's withdrawal of his participation in Dr. Schwartz's tests). I would also remind the good professor that he originally accepted the protocols put forth by Randi for his tests, only to discard them later for reasons unknown. Perhaps his “mediums” and “psychics” didn't like the strict testing they would be subject to?

Ms. Laughlin also comments; “It occurred to me that if Van Praagh and Edward were fakes, their readings would have been more accurate.”

This is a basic – very basic – principle in the art of deception. In some circles, it's referred to as the “Too Perfect Rule.” If it is “too perfect,” the deception becomes transparent. Unlike magicians, who have to build in safeguards against being “too perfect,” mediums and psychics have them built in for them, since they are using techniques that have built in failure rates. In other words, it looks good to miss.

So are they the “real thing”? Was Ms. Laughlin's “belief” after her experiences a result of her witnessing empirical evidence? Or, is her newfound belief the result an emotional response brought forth by two very charismatic men trained in eliciting these specific types of responses?

There's a very simple public test that either Edward or Van Praagh can take – and it doesn't involve James Randi. Pick one – just one – of the thousands of unsolved murders in this country; “connect” with the victim so he/she can tell us who the killer is. The Chandra Levy or Danielle van Dam cases should be of a high enough profile to meet the need for notoriety of these gentlemen; but there are many more from which to choose. I would also think that this use of their “talent” would be of greater benefit to society than their current contributions.

Of course, I suspect that they will choose not to, and for one very simple reason: They cannot do it, as they are both frauds.

I applaud Shari Waxman who, in her piece (Shooting Crap; 6/13/02), recognized the “cold reading” techniques used by these men for what they are: principles of deception. As she said, “The art of intelligence insulting has rarely known such mastery.”

Indeed.

Regards,
Dustin Stinett
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Postby Brian Morton » 08/22/02 11:44 AM

Dustin,

You rock!

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/22/02 12:41 PM

Dustin,
You da Man!
John Edwards is a vile piece of crap masquerading as a human. He should be exterminated like the filthy roach that he is.
:) Have a nice day.
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Postby Guest » 08/22/02 01:52 PM

Craig Browning:

You wrote, about JE, that as best I can tell he has an honest and very legit ability...that is to say, hes past my preliminary tests...

I am curious to hear about your preliminary tests. Could you please describe them?

You go on to say that Im also a realist and have ALWAYS stated that there is a middle ground between the exteams [sic] of belief and skepticism in which truth around the issue exists.

In the above statement, you reveal a common fundamental misunderstanding of what the term skeptic means. Belief and skepticism are not opposites. Skepticism does not equal non-belief. Generally speaking, to be a skeptic simply means to base ones beliefs on the best available evidence, and to demand that supportive evidence be provided in the case of an assertion that is inconsistent with prior held beliefs (which themselves were based upon the best available evidence). While it's true that the skeptical position, so far, has always led to non-belief in so-called paranormal phenomena, this is attributable to the fact that no paranormal phenomena have passed muster when held up to scrutiny. The day that a paranormal phenomena is proved in a scientific setting, will be the day that skepticism is no longer always associated with non-belief in such things.

You say that My perspective, if summed up into a nut shell basically states that Just because we can explain it, give it a name and definition, does not negate where it comes from or what it is.

Its not clear to me exactly what your are saying here, but I think you may be saying that just because something can be explained without reference to paranormal means, does not mean that the thing is not paranormal. In other words, just because one can use cold/warm/hot reading techniques to demonstrate something that looks exactly like what JE purports to do, does not mean that JE doesnt actually talk to the dead. If thats what youre saying, youre right. However, the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of JE in this case. It has been shown that one can appear to do what he does using only earthly means. If he really can talk to the dead, he should demonstrate that by doing something that no one can do using only cold/warm/hot reading techniques. Its really a simple matter coming up with tests that would prove beyond a doubt that the dead communicate with JE.

best regards,
David L.
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Postby Brian Morton » 08/22/02 09:13 PM

Craig,

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Period.

brian. :cool:
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Postby Guest » 08/22/02 11:01 PM

I saw Mr. Edward do his thing in person about three or four years ago, before his show on the Sci-Fi Channel and before he became such a sensation among the general public. While I was there I observed a few really interesting things. Nothing I observed can be regarded as rock-solid proof of his deceptions, but added together I think they say a whole lot:

I went there by myself and had a seat in the auditorium. Almost immediately a man in front of me started talking to me. Why are you here?, he asked. Did you come here to communicate with someone who passed on? Do you believe in this sort of thing? I didn't really say much to him, and then after about five minutes he left (perhaps to go backstage?). It was pretty clear to me that he was pumping me for information.

Another thing is that everyone in the audiance was talking to each other before John showed up. Really loud too. Almost everyone was chatting away with their neighbor, and I overheard some pretty personal conversations about loved ones who died, their names, the circumstances, etc. I wonder how many other plants John had in the audiance, making mental or physical notes and then passing them on to John.

Also, John was about an hour late. I've learned that he's always about an hour late whenever he does one of his things in front of a large group of people. This would alow plenty of time for all these plants to strike up innocent conversations with people. About a year ago there was a letter to the editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, written by someone who who was in the audiance of Crossing over. She speculated that while everyone was waiting for him, he was backstage, gathering info and strategizing.

John doesn't do cold reading, he does warm reading. He has some information about perople before-hand, and he combines that info with his extensive knowledge of medicine (he used to be a nurse), his information pumping skills, a little guesswork and perhaps, at the most, a little intuition.

All he does in play with people's minds. I've heard people say that he might be a scam but all he does is make people feel better, so it's all OK in the end. This is wrong. He makes people feel better in the short-term, but in the long term he's harming them. Mourning and grief is a natural, human process that everyone goes through. It's painful at the time, but when it's over you've learned a few things about life, and about yourself, and you might even be a slightly better and wiser person. John short-circuits this process by giving people a false sense of hope.

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Postby Guest » 08/23/02 08:27 AM

Whether or not he routinely uses "hot" reading, Edwards is not averse to capitalizing on hot tips, as was shown in an NBC Dateline segment, described in Skeptical Inquirer.

If he uses tipsters in his CBS show, he guards that fact closely. The cousin of a good friend of mine is a producer on the show who considers JE the real deal and has sworn to my friend that no one on the staff colludes.

(As a result, I had to expend considerable energy "deprogramming" my friend regarding JE. She said -- and I've heard other laypersons say similar things -- "but surely what he does can't be entirely phoney." I responded by pointing out that that's precisely analogous to saying that my magic act is 95% trickery but 5% genuine magic.)

--R
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Postby Doug Brewer » 08/23/02 10:28 AM

I believe Craig Browning's need to believe JE is "for real" is answered in his last paragraph where he begrudgingly states that JE receives $300-500 per "session" while he's only getting $35-50. It's a business decision. What else could he honestly say to his clients, otherwise? I have a big fat hairy problem with this psuedo-psychology stuff where "readings" are performed for people who are in desperate need of true mental health counseling. Browning skates this ethical issue with the classic "middle ground" argument. This equates to being "sort of" pregnant. JE either is talking to the dead or he isn't, there is no middle ground. Browning then moves his pedantic ramblings into how history has always had an elite few with the knowledge of enlightenment which the unwashed masses were not privy to. Oh please. The modern day equivalent to this is our TV journalists who think the American public is completely clueless without their guidance. This intellecual elitism pervades not only journalism, but politics as well. Their disdain for the "common" people is well documented.

I laughed out loud, however, with Browning's statement that with our knowledge of science and theatrics, we would be considered GODS by people of 1000-2000 years ago. Oh please. This is, again, an extention of the intellectual elitism I talked about earlier. If they saw one of our bloated, pasty bodies 2000 years ago, I doubt the first thing in a person's mind would be GODLY. We would definitely be a curiosity, but not Godly. This offensive statement also assumes people back then were intellectually vacant. Some of the most beautifully written words ever to grace a page were written during these times or even before (see the Psalms, or ancient Japanese haiku). There are amazing examples of architecture, astronomy, mathematics, writing, and other artistic endeavors. I would challenge that many people then were more sophisticated than many modern people. People back then had to understand agriculture, growing seasons, fishing, hunting, carpentry, cooking, etc. If our power went off right now, as well as the import of food, most of us would be dead within a week (I'm visualizing Mad Max right now). We are a joke. Why, do you ask? Because our knowledge of science and technology is not based on what we've experienced, but what we've read about. If I stated to a person (2000 years ago) that there are 9 planets which circle our Sun in elliptical orbits, they'd say "prove it". And then it would be my turn to stare back blankly. "Well, first I need to grind several glass discs into lenses ..." Right. Also I need the math skills to calculate the geometry and orbit paths. You get my point. Very few of us have this ability. My computer is the ultimate example of "black box". I know what the components are to a computer, but I haven't the slightest idea how to make one from scratch. Browning is on a magic forum, yet wants me to believe that a dove pull would make a person back then believe him a god. Get real. Magic is old, old, old. Plus, he underestimates people, and insults their capacity to intellectuallize what they're seeing.

I'm really curioius about this Shut-Eye market. Sounds dangerously close to practicing psychiatry without a license. Of course, I'm not one of the "enlightened" ones, so I may be way off there.
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Postby Guest » 08/24/02 11:16 AM

Bravo! a very well reasoned response to Mr. Browning's post (apart from your analysis of U.S. journalism -- ouch!).

Mr. Browning's biases are very upfront, in fact from his third paragraph: "Now, I am a "believer" (which tends to make me the whipping boy in most magician's forums)."

A visit to his well produced website offers more pith:
Craig Browning was in fact born with a peculiar bio-electro-magnetic syndrome and cannot wear watches, etc. without causing them to become magnetized. He has, since a very early age, been able to see and connect to the lives of people he meets, including past-life associations, current and future events. He's also invested much of his adult life investigating such abilities, seeking to gain personal understanding along logical/analytical levels, as to why this is possible and more pronounced in some vs. others. The main thing he has discovered to date, is that the majority of those manifesting such "Psychic" ability tend to host the same bio-electro-magnetic oddity about themselves and too, the majority tend to host forms of dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder while similarly revealing near genius level potential (in latter life... most are "slow" in their conscious development.) One other factor that has been observed as as strong "Androgenine" expression of character e.g. males showing more effeminate qualities (though they may be purely heterosexual in orientation) and vice versa with females (a condition known of in ancient times and seen as the physical manifestation of those "called" into serving the people at religious/spiritual levels of service. Especially in regards to Shamanistic based traditions.)
As to John Edward, please see R. Kaufman's post above.

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 08/25/02 01:56 AM

I'm an agnostic in many ways.

I don't know whether John Edward is real or not. I don't know whether people can communicate with the dead. I never have, but who knows? I don't know if he's a charlatan.

Give this some thought, though, before you condemn mentalists: When you perform a magic trick, how often do you end it by saying, "This is just a trick. I didn't really tear and restore the card"?

Say a little 8-year-old girl runs up to you after a show featuring Bill in Lemon, as one did with me last week, and asks you:

"Is that real magic?"

What do you say to her? Do you tell her the truth?

A good magician's show transmits the message, both explicitly and implicitly: Believe in magic! Many audience members walk away from those shows taking you at your word!

What do you think the implicit message of Gypsy Thread is? All is possible! A magician can manipulate the physical world in astounding ways! Believe!

I personally know adults who believe that a portion of what magicians do is real magic. Intelligent adults. People with higher degrees.

I know that lots of our magical knowledge is written down in literature and discussed in chat rooms and in SAM meetings, and that the implicit message there is that it's all just tricks. But how often do outsiders hear what's discussed here? They often walk away wondering whether you really do have special powers.

So before you condemn JE too vociferously, take a closer look at your own transgressions, the swindle that is implicit in the presentation of any and all sleight of hand.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/25/02 07:50 AM

David, please, you can't believe that trash. You don't know if John Edwards is real or not? Haven't you read a single book on cold reading? He's a thief and a con man, plain and simple.
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Postby Gary Freed » 08/25/02 08:43 AM

A year ago,when John Edwards was all over TV, Larry King etc., I thought one question by King would end this charade.."okay, John, Is Chandra Levy dead, and if so, ask her what happened?"

PS. For what it's worth, I was friends with,and graduated High School with James(Jimmy back then) VanPraagh, another award winning talking to the dead guy..I haven't spoken to him in 25 years. Perhaps my health is a little to good. ;)
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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/25/02 11:49 AM

[b]Originally posted by David Groves:
...how often do you end it by saying, "This is just a trick. I didn't really tear and restore the card"?[/b]
Who, in the real world, would base their life decisions on the reality of my being able to restore a torn card?

I personally know adults who believe that a portion of what magicians do is real magic. Intelligent adults. People with higher degrees.
Trying not to sound too nasty; education has little to do with intelligence.

They often walk away wondering whether you really do have special powers.
I think a really strong effect creates doubt about what you believe on an emotional level but getting the creepy feeling that Max Maven really read my mind isn't the same a believing that Max has magical powers.

So before you condemn JE too vociferously, take a closer look at your own transgressions, the swindle that is implicit in the presentation of any and all sleight of hand.
I do and on the one occasion where someone actually spoke with me afterwards and expressed the idea that the ashes had ended up in her palm by some force other than stagecraft I made sure she understood that it was showmanship and not witchcraft that put them there.
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Postby Doug Brewer » 08/26/02 09:54 AM

Bill Duncan is right on the target here. Now we're talking ethics. I've had people look questionly at me after performing a set at a table and ask "is this real magic?" - I've had this question asked by children and by adults. They honestly want to know (you CAN tell the difference with the look in their eyes). My answer is always the same (to this PARTICULAR question) - "No, it just LOOKS like what it would if it was real magic." This answer is particularly important for children. However, if they exclaim and ask "how in the world did this happen?" I just smile and say, "it's real magic!"

A contradiction? No - just someone who is concerned about the what the spectator is taking away with them. If they walk away thinking they've seen real magic, then I've completely failed at what I wanted to do. The experience is "magical" exactly because there is no such thing as magic. I've created a "magical experience" with guile, deception, and sleight of hand, not with supernatural powers. Yuk! Do you know how dangerous that is? How people can be led away from the truth?

A couple of years ago I was working the Close-Up Room at the Castle. I was on break eating dinner in the green room, where I sat down with the performer doing the Seance that night. I was interested in his show routines and how people reacted, so we were talking casually about his act. He told me he did a slate routine for a lady a couple nights before and a message appeared on the slate from her dead husband (this was her perception of the trick). The lady cried when the message was read. I was stunned. I asked, "well, you told her it was an illusion, right?" He looked stunned. "Are you kidding?" he said. "She just had one of the most important experiences of her life!" I bit my tongue, but I was enraged. Totally unethical, totally un-called for. People can experience a seance show without talking to their dead spouses. Puh-leaze!

I will never, EVER claim to have real magical powers. To do so would be a dis-service to myself and my audiences. Plus, I couldn't take myself this seriously. Come on - I'd have to start wearing dark make-up and wear one of the pentagram thingy's. It would all clash with my baby browns, you know.
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Postby Guest » 08/26/02 05:16 PM

For what it's worth:
About a year ago some friends of mine, mother, sister and daughter were on JE show on Sci-Fi.

They were interviewed for about an hour and a half, before the show aired months later.

When it aired several months later, their "spot was edited down to about 2 minutes.

Sleight-of-word: What else! I knew what happened and what was asked during the long interview. What appeared on TV - very different.
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Postby Guest » 08/26/02 05:33 PM

PS to my last post:

My friends arebelievers - and felt good about contact with their loved one.

I chose not to say anything that would hurt their good feelings.
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Postby Guest » 08/26/02 09:22 PM

Originally posted by Doug Brewer:
If they walk away thinking they've seen real magic, then I've completely failed at what I wanted to do. The experience is "magical" exactly because there is no such thing as magic. I've created a "magical experience" with guile, deception, and sleight of hand, not with supernatural powers. Yuk! Do you know how dangerous that is? How people can be led away from the truth?
If they walk away thinking they've seen real magic, then you've failed? No, you've succeeded! You're trying to fool them!

There is an inherent contradiction in magic, and there's no way around it. If you're doing it extremely well, then some people believe and you're misleading them. If you're doing it less than well, it's cheesy.

But if you tell them that it's "just a trick" and "just sleight of hand," then their fascination quickly diminishes and you are left alone onstage with no interested audience.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/27/02 01:21 AM

David,
There is a fine line between showman and con-man.

The car dealer that tells you this is his favorite car is a salesman. The dealer that turns back the mileage is a crook.

Finding you card is magic. Telling you things which effect your life, is dangerous.

You use the word "swindle". Magicians do not swindle. We put on a show.

It should be noted that I also have been approached by people asking if I had real powers. This only happens after the performance of some mentalism effect, not when I do coins across. People treat and think and react differently to effects which imply mental powers of a supernatural kind. They can understand that with practice you can do things with cards and coins. There lack of knowledge does not allow their brains to realize a good mental effect is also the result of practice. This is where we have a responsibility to respond to questions in such a way as to not delude people, yet of course not ruin our show.

David, How would you respond to that little girl who comes up top you after your show and asks if you can do real magic, can you please contact her dead mommy? Would you tell her your not the right type of magician or would you tell her the truth? This is where Edwards goes. Into an area where common decency stops the rest of us. And since I know you, I know it would stop you.

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Postby Guest » 08/27/02 07:56 AM

We succeed when our work impels people to suspend disbelief in our "powers"; we cross the ethical line when we encourage them to believe.
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Postby Andy Hurst » 08/27/02 08:34 AM

I don't believe Mr Edwards is 'a real psychic'.

But.. Ethics?

Any service or product is worth what people are prepared to pay. Just because he gets paid more for his performances doesn't make him less ethical than those who do palm reading after their shows to pull in extra money. People like Lee Earle & Docc Hilford among others. Eddie Fields worked a horoscope pitch and from reading the 'Life among secrets' book do not see that he wasn't cashing in on such a performance.

Much of our art is based on the methods and tricks used by con men, card sharks, pitch men and carnies. Do we complain about them? Not much.

The magic press has turned out many cold reading books. Are they published so we can merely tell people 'no thats trash' or are they published as a way of learning how to perform.

Put a magician on TV who claims he has real powers and everyone gets upset.

Do we get upset that TV Evangelists use the exact same tricks and rake in a fortune? Not really. They can have people falling over using an old hypno trick and claim it to be the power of God and no one really minds that much, and they send people away believing they've been cured and cause them to cancel a doctors appointment... that's dangerous.

So JE lifts a few hundred bucks from private readings, but that's cheap therapy. The person goes away on the most part feeling much better, they get closure on the death of a loved one. Who cares if it's hokey? If they went through grief councelling they'd pay the same and that takes longer than a 30min feel good session with JE.

Just my 2 cents worth of stirring the pot :-)

Andy
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Postby Doug Brewer » 08/27/02 08:35 AM

Okay, read my reply closer. I don't say, "You idiot, it's just a trick." My words are specific to make them think, the words are subtle to soften the chiding of someone who may believe it's real. When someone goes the other way, and asks, "how did you do that?" I say, "It's real magic." A wink and a smile. I do NOT destroy a magical moment by saying, "Oh by the way, this was all a bunch of crap trickery - have a nice day." 99.9 percent of the time I walk away leaving the audience amazed and entertained, with no qualifying words describing its "reality" (to be honest, this has never entered my mind). My reply earlier described by response to a person who specifically thought an effect may have been "real" magic. As I said before, there is no middle ground on this issue. I dig Banachek's word usage on this - using his five senses to create the illusion of a sixth. Ohmigod, he said "illusion" - his audiences must be really disappointed. Not.
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Postby Guest » 08/27/02 11:57 AM

Originally posted by Andy Hurst:
Any service or product is worth what people are prepared to pay.

Uh-huh. Like the thousands some cancer patients have paid to have Phillipine psychic surgeons remove chicken-gut "tumors" from their bodies, sans incision?

Just because he gets paid more for his performances doesn't make him less ethical than those who do palm reading after their shows to pull in extra money.

Edwards is far worse because of his manipulation of grief; but magicians who read palms and claim anything more than fortune-cookie validity to their readings are hardly clean themselves.

Much of our art is based on the methods and tricks used by con men, card sharks, pitch men and carnies. Do we complain about them? Not much.

You left out pickpockets. Yeah, magicians use some of the skills originating from swindlers and thieves. And any of us who cross the line and swindle or steal should go to jail, don't you think?

The magic press has turned out many cold reading books. Are they published so we can merely tell people 'no thats trash' or are they published as a way of learning how to perform.

Learning how to perform. Not bamboozle...perform.

Do we get upset that TV Evangelists use the exact same tricks and rake in a fortune? Not really.

Count me out of your "we."

So JE lifts a few hundred bucks from private readings...If they went through grief councelling they'd pay the same and that takes longer than a 30min feel good session with JE.

Yeah, it takes longer to deal with reality.

Just my 2 cents worth
Quite so.
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Postby Guest » 08/27/02 01:27 PM

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Postby Guest » 08/27/02 01:39 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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Postby Guest » 08/27/02 02:06 PM

[The Bio-electrocal Magnetic syndrome is not so unique. One in about every 20 people born have it, some to a higher level than others. THIS IS MEDICAL FACT!

Heaven knows why I bothered, but I ran a Medline search of peer-reviewed medical literature, attempting to dredge up a reference to any variant of this phrase. (Yes, of course I fixed the spelling.) This medical fact eludes medical science.

So I held my breath and plugged the phrase into Google, expecting a raft of fringeoid web hits. Only one web site came up. Guess whose.
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Postby Guest » 08/27/02 03:34 PM

Craig -

May we hear about your challenge and its conditions? I'm intrigued.

And can you direct me to your article in Online Visions regarding Randi?

Also, can you please refer me to literature and/or web sites about bio-electro magnetism? I'm curious about it. Thanks.

regards,
David L.
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Postby Eric Rose » 08/27/02 05:54 PM

One in 20 has this bio-magnetism thing? That might explain why I set off the airport metal detector at random intervals. I'm surprised I haven't already erased all the credit cards in my wallet.

Gotta go - I'm off to convert my old cassette tapes to CD before it's too late. :rolleyes:
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Postby Brian Morton » 08/27/02 07:00 PM

Craig Browning said:
I DO NOT, NOR HAVE I EVER CLAIMED TO HAVE SPECIAL POWERS.
Yet on his website, he clearly states:
Craig Browning was in fact born with a peculiar bio-electro-magnetic syndrome and cannot wear watches, etc. without causing them to become magnetized.
Uh, this isn't a "special" power? And I don't know that I've met one person among the hundreds I've known to have what you call "Bio-electrocal Magnetic syndrome" [sic].

Ahem.

Simply stating something as fact does not make it so!

Craig's web site also states:

The main thing he has discovered to date, is that the majority of those manifesting such "Psychic" ability tend to host the same bio-electro-magnetic oddity about themselves and too, the majority tend to host forms of dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder while similarly revealing near genius level potential (in latter life...
Along with the previous statements we are told to accept as "facts," we would love to see some credible research to back up these statements.

But I have this feeling it won't be coming, since Craig is absent in the department of where his "credentials" were conferred:

Craig Browning is a noted Psychic Counselor & Ordained Minister of Metaphysical thought hosting a Life-Achievement based Doctorates Degree in Religion, Religious History & Philosophy, and as such a very strong believer in things Psychic, Paranormal and esoteric.
(By the way -- I'm trying to figure out exactly what this means. "Life-Achievement Based Doctorates Degree?" And who exactly "ordained" him? My wife is "ordained" through the Universal Life Church. It required a .32 cent stamp. She's marrying some friends of ours in September...)

Craig continues:
Bare in mind, I'm an old carnie that comes from an old carnie influence... My grandfather worked the circuit and ran flim flams for years... I've been on stage and working the scams in one mode or another since I was a kid... one of my first jobs in show biz was working in side shows for Ward Hall and even Bobby Reynolds once or twice.
Ward Hall and Bobby Reynolds are great guys -- but announcing that you've got a carny background is hardly the thing to inspire confidence in your claims. Speaking of which:

The excuse that "Extradordinary claims require extraordinary proof" has been used by various cults (Politcal & Religious) for thousands of years simple to sustain the position of the status quo... an embodiment whose piety prevents it from seeing its own limitations and falshoods, let alone the injustice its dogmatic philosophy imposes upon those believing and living outside said cube.
Uh, since I posted the "excuse" about extraordinary claims, let me step in here to say, "WHOA!" I covered Louis Farrakhan for a while, and I have to say I haven't heard such a blatant statement of generalities to back up a lame argument since those days. If you say you can fly, that's an extraordinary claim. It isn't up to us to prove it, it's up to you, bud. And just closing a curtain around yourself and having your head pop up over it isn't going to suffice.

The statement "Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary proof" is made by a skeptical scientific community tired of being subject to pogroms, torture and imprisonment for flying in the face of religious and mystical dogma. You've got it the wrong way around, dude, and claiming the mantle of victim isn't going to get you off the hook. Galileo was the one forced to recant Copernican theories when he told the Catholic church that the earth revolved around the sun -- and it took the church 350 years to admit it was wrong. The status quo is the one making the "extraordinary claims" -- and you're just using a lot of language and B.S. to try and justify getting people to spend two bucks a minute for your "psychic readings," $45 for your course in "Astral Travel" or maybe you can hit the trifecta if you get a college to buy your "Alternative Religions 101" course:

[from his website]:
In address to these concerns Craig Browning has devised a complete first year course of study now available to Universities that offer in-depth Humanities programs as well as theosophical/thological studies.
So, to conclude, Craig says:
Not to rude, but until you put your butt on the line, have had your livlihood and life nearly put to an end as the result of your investigations, BUG OFF! You haven no clue what's really going on!
Pardon the attitude, but I get real tired of having to go thru this in every forum. When I know I'm not alone on what is being said.
Not to be rude, but when you step into a magician's forum to back up a credulous charlatan like John Edward, then make credulous statements of dubious fact about both your abilities and the scientific world at large, back up your assertions by noting your associations with sideshow performers, claim victimhood when called on the carpet about it, and then cop a 'tude when all of this is questioned by a roomful of people who, um, FOOL PEOPLE FOR A LIVING, well, you kinda get what you asked for.

big happy smiles, y'all!
brian :cool:
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Postby Andy Hurst » 08/27/02 08:43 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
Uh-huh. Like the thousands some cancer patients have paid to have Phillipine psychic surgeons remove chicken-gut "tumors" from their bodies, sans incision?

I'll give you Phillipine psychic surgeons, they are as dangerous as the religious faith healers. There is always a line somewhere. Maybe JE crosses it, maybe he doesn't. If he leaves people feeling better without causing any danger (he does not claim to heal illness) and someone is happy to pay for that rather than a therapist or councillor - good for them and good for him. Are they gullible - sure!

Edwards is far worse because of his manipulation of grief; but magicians who read palms and claim anything more than fortune-cookie validity to their readings are hardly clean themselves.

Not far worse - as bad. JE just gets paid more for it. I suspect David Copperfield gets more for putting on a magic show than you - does that make him bad?

You left out pickpockets. Yeah, magicians use some of the skills originating from swindlers and thieves. And any of us who cross the line and swindle or steal should go to jail, don't you think?

Where is the line? JE isn't stealing. He offers a 'service', they pay him. It might be overpriced, but then so are many plumbers, mechanics, etc.

Learning how to perform. Not bamboozle...perform.

Fine, you go on performing. I like to fool 'em.

Count me out of your "we."

OK. So you are getting taken in by a different kind of 'show'. But if you feel you get value - cool. My point exactly!

Yeah, it takes longer to deal with reality.


Yes, it saves them time - good deal! Again, my point.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/27/02 09:54 PM

Originally posted by Andy Hurst:
Where is the line? JE isn't stealing. He offers a 'service', they pay him. It might be overpriced, but then so are many plumbers, mechanics, etc.
Here.

The difference is that when you go to a hooker you know it isn't really love. People who go to JE are expected to believe that what he sells is real. No one would use his services if they knew he was a fake. It is only their anguished need to believe that creates his audience.

It's emotional laetrile.
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Postby Guest » 08/28/02 03:46 AM

Why don't we go to the police?
We can prove that he is a liar.
Lets do it.
Richard?
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Postby Guest » 08/28/02 03:49 AM

Originally posted by Andy Hurst:
[b]Count me out of your "we."

OK. So you are getting taken in by a different kind of 'show'. But if you feel you get value - cool. My point exactly!

[/b]
I'll be charitable and presume that I must not have been clear. The "we" you should count me out of are those of "us" who are "not really" bothered by the flim-flammery of TV evangelists.
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Postby Guest » 08/28/02 06:13 AM

The term I used "Bio-Electrical-Magnetic Syndrome" is my own term... I admit this 100% simply because I've not found a doctor or other source that can give me the technical name for the condition. HOWEVER, it is known fact that many people cannot wear a watch (as an example) because the magnetic/electric fields in their body magnetize said objects... same goes for tools and other items that can be magnetized. This is NOT a "super natural claim" but a matter of nature phenomena I rather surprised the opinionated experts of the skeptics world haven't at least looked into and categorized... but then, it's one of those unexplainable things that don't exist... funny, how much falls into that niche that don't get shelved and recognized.

In regards to my "Challenge" ... the first one is easy... create a geometic cube of fog out of which no sound can emit or enter, large enough to contain no less than 12 people. You must do this in the middle of a park without any kind support equipment (pumps, Co2 cans, etc.)in other words, 100% free of a pre-set, theatrical controls, etc.

I and a friend of mine saw this done in the late 70s by a group of Druids in San Francisco @ Golden Gate Park. Ken Whitaker and I attempted to create the cube @ the Creative warehouse in Vegas several years ago as a promotion for Ford (introduction for the Mystique)... The one version I have that does work, won't meet the standards noted above... it's strictly for stage.

Sai Baba is being hit left and right by skeptics & religious zealots... the powder/ash he produces and which is known for filling the frames of air-tight photos of him own by patrons is credited for healing people... in L.A. roughly 15 years ago a friend of mine was at home, by his request, to die. He had KS leasions covering over 80% of his body, Pnuemonia and other factors associated with AIDs... He was a devoted patron to Baba however. As we sat vigil outside his bedroom a pop, shattered glass and coughing was heard... upon entering the room the ash/poweder was seen everywhere (we swept up nearly 10 lbs of it afterwards)... the picture was shattered and our friend was covered!

We got him to the emergency room... 24-hours later, he was in obvious remission... Today he lives at the Ashram of Sai Baba 100% clear of all HIV related symptoms

This known, I dare any magician out there to replicate a healing even half-this phenomenal under these same basic conditions.

You cannot! None of you seem to have it in your capacity to understand the import and power of "Faith"... I'm not encouraging "Blind Faith" as some cults do... I fully support the fact that "ignorance" is NOT a blissful thing but the reason our world is so screwed up. As I mentioned to Kenton Knepper recently, we (skeptics & I) are saying the same thing, but from different ends of perspective.

I've often wondered why Kreskin ran away from the magic community... :rolleyes:

My Life Achievement Degree came through a department at Pierce College by the way (I don't have it here with me or I'd break down all the particulars for you.) A friend of mine helped me "challenge" the test as it were. I scored high and based on my lectures, research, and other contributions... well, I qualified and got the degree. I'm also ordaned or listed as "Clergy" in about four different churches/ religious orders. I work with a philosophy group presenting working in tandem with researchers of certain Aramaic texts that pertain to a 1st century Gospel... one of the oldest texts known to exist that refers to JC & Co and more important, in his native tongue and composed as a seeming first hand account.... but that's another topic all together.

In regards to the On-Line Visions articles... I don't know where Shane has archived things... I'll see if he can get me a link in the next day or so.
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Postby Guest » 08/28/02 07:03 AM

I'd be interested to see any reference to Craig's "well-known fact" from the peer-reviewed medical literature. I found some articles on bioelectromagnetism, but they all pertained to the biologic effects of fields generated externally.

I have two options for obtaining extraordinary proof of his extraordinary claim regarding this supposed syndrome:

Option A (rigorous)
1. Get him naked; have J. Randi perform a strip search.
2. Subject him to a full-body MRI scan to ensure that he hasn't been snacking on refrigerator magnets.
3. Scan with gauss meters in controlled environment.
4. If extraordinary personal magnetism detected, perform second MRI scan to make sure no new foreign bodies were somehow introduced.
5. If he passes the test, he gets a million bucks and (only fair) an opportunity to strip-search J. Randi.

Option B (slightly less rigorous)
1. Get him naked etc., etc.
2. Administer general anesthesia.
3. Lay him out on a rubber raft in a swimming pool
4. See if he points north.
5. If he passes, million bucks. If he fails, he agrees to be declared not only non compos mentis but, of course, a "non-compass."
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