Psychics Buster

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 10th, 2014, 10:44 am

I applaud this gentleman for his efforts. It would be nice to see magicians (besides P&T and Randi) taking more of a role in this sort of thing, in the honorable tradition of Houdini.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog ... lly-morgan

User avatar
MManchester
Posts: 228
Joined: October 24th, 2012, 4:07 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby MManchester » October 10th, 2014, 11:09 am

in the honorable tradition of Houdini.


This is an article from Britain. Your post seems to imply that Houdini deserves a lot of credit for exposing psychics. Yet there were magicians in Britain challenging these frauds before Houdini was even born. He may be the most notable US campaigner of his time, but he wasn't the first and thus doesn't merit more recognition than anyone else.

If only we had made more progress in refuting psychics. The practice has survived despite repeated efforts by many to disprove it. I have often wondered why governments have not prohibited psychics from charging for their services. It can't be banned because this could be considered a restriction on speech, but since psychic phenomena can't be proven, paying for it seems obviously fraudulent. If you bought a desk and the drawer didn't open, it's defective. If the claims made by psychics don't come true how can they expect to be paid.
Michael Manchester
Literacy magic for library and school performances - http://www.librarylegerdemain.com

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4242
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby mrgoat » October 10th, 2014, 11:21 am

and watch the video of him being threatened and getting homophobic slurs thrown against him here


http://boingboing.net/2014/10/10/video- ... bulli.html

nice people...

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 10th, 2014, 1:15 pm

MManchester wrote:Houdini...wasn't the first and thus doesn't merit more recognition than anyone else.


The irony is that Houdini would most probably agree with you on that point!

----

It's obviously a personal and professional choice, but I would love to see someone like Derren Brown speak out in support of this gentleman's efforts. I would imagine he could do it in a way that does not constitute libel.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8352
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 10th, 2014, 2:09 pm

More useful to ask better questions.

What would lead someone to desire such a belief or accept such a proffered belief?

What would defend such a belief that is not present in other accepted beliefs such as "Santa Claus"?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 10th, 2014, 4:08 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:More useful to ask better questions.


Good questions to be sure, but not necessarily useful in this type of approach.
Magicians used to issue challenges to these people. I'd love to see that today, or is it too quaint?
Simply handing out leaflets at shows exposed the wretchedness and brutality of these people, and he got a video of it in the Guardian to boot. With communication today (social media, viral videos), all the better a chance to expose and humiliate these acts for what they truly are.

Tom Moore
Posts: 517
Joined: February 7th, 2012, 6:45 pm
Location: Europe
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Tom Moore » October 10th, 2014, 4:38 pm

, but I would love to see someone like Derren Brown speak out in support of this gentleman's efforts


er.... pretty much every one of his live tours has had a significant chunk of debunking in it, he's laid in to psychic's in his regular tv shows and has even done a couple of TV specials dealing soley with psychic's, I'd argue he's probably one of the most active debunkers working at the moment.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

thomasmoorecreative

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 10th, 2014, 6:37 pm

Thats great Brown does all that on the stage and in TV studios. All the more reason for him to speak out in support of this poor gentleman's efforts, and to denounce the threats and abuse he is taking.

Tom Moore
Posts: 517
Joined: February 7th, 2012, 6:45 pm
Location: Europe
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Tom Moore » October 11th, 2014, 6:25 am

erm, Derren "spoke out" on 8th October & has been highlighting/supporting the matter subsequently.

Probably not a good idea to complain that someone isn't doing something when even the most cursory googling shows he's produced hours of TV "doing something" and got involved in the latest cause days before you did.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

thomasmoorecreative

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 11th, 2014, 8:44 am

Yes, Brown linked to the video on his Facebook page and spoke out: "yuck". My apologies.

Still would love to see England's most well known mentalist challenge England's most well known psychic.

El Mystico
Posts: 1023
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Leamington Spa
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby El Mystico » October 11th, 2014, 12:14 pm

OK, but how would you see such a challenge?

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 11th, 2014, 8:57 pm

That's an interesting question. As I mentioned before, said magician (in this case, Brown) would need to consult with lawyers to protect himself against libel claims, etc. But generally speaking, I could envision talking out a full page ad in a newspaper challenging Morgan to back up her claims of psychic ability by submitting to the Amazing Randi's Million Dollar Challenge (http://web.randi.org/the-million-dollar-challenge.html). That could be a co-sponsored ad with Randi.
Or he could offer her an amount of money to produce any psychic phenomenon at one of her shows that he would not be able to reproduce himself on stage.

Of course something like this carries the risk of people charging that the magician is doing this as a publicity stunt for his own shows. But that could be addressed in the ad along with his sincere reasons for exposing these despicable frauds.

I realize there are skeptic organizations, like the Good Thinking Society, that are on the case, so to speak. I really like their Psychic Awareness Month. How about Genii, the world's largest and oldest magic magazine, having a column or an article or two along those lines?

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8352
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 11th, 2014, 10:53 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:...With communication today (social media, viral videos), all the better a chance to expose {snip ]these acts for what they truly are.


Agreed better to go after the fraud and abuses than to attack the notion of faith.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Tom Moore
Posts: 517
Joined: February 7th, 2012, 6:45 pm
Location: Europe
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Tom Moore » October 12th, 2014, 5:57 am

Your ideas of what he "should" be doing are hilariously quaint.

"Take out a full page newspaper advert" - Derren has more twitter followers than the cirulation of 99% of the newspapers still in print so immediately what you're suggesting would actually result in less people knowing, not more.

"produce any psychic phenomenon at one of her shows that he would not be able to reproduce himself on stage." Thus proving absolutely nothing at all and enabling the "psychic" to claim they were able to do it for real whilst derren had to resort to trickery & the whole thing would just be a publicity stunt.

I'm curious, why do you think that a) Derren has some obligation to be the figurehead of this campaign (there are plenty of other people much better qualified than him) and b) why you think he isn't doing enough at the moment. I'd say in the last 10 years he's actively presented more debunking and spoken out on psycics to a bigger audience that just about anyone else on the planet, JREF may still be the figurehead organisation but Derren's putting stuff in to his day-to-day work that's reaching lay audiences of millions year-round. I've no desire to hold him up as some sort of messiah (sic) but it seems rather crazy he's attracting so much critisim from you even though he is doing 1000x more than you?
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

thomasmoorecreative

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 12th, 2014, 10:24 am

Perhaps Brown "has more Twitter followers than 99% of the newspapers still in print," but are those followers the people who attend Morgan's shows? As valuable as social media is for getting messages out, I wouldn't presuppose that everyone is on Twitter. Besides, a full page newspaper ad of this sort in the Guardian or Daily Mail might be news enough to be picked up on Twitter.

I'm just making suggestions here (quaint as they may be), not criticizing. Of course Brown has no obligations, none of us have. But he is the most recognized and successful professional mentalist in his country. He is in a unique position to combat the most successful psychic in his country. I applaud all the work he's done. I am only making a suggestion as to taking this particular ugly episode (which has garnered notice outside of England), and making some good of it. The gentleman passing out fliers is being bullied by these people. Brown can fight the bullies (as you've pointed out, he's done so before).

As to Brown doing "1000x" for than me, that's just a silly comparison, although it being Psychic Awareness Month, I would be inclined to pass out flies at a psychic's show if there was one in my town at this time.

Generally speaking, I am disappointed that many magicians will give a standing ovation to a psychic at their own conventions rather that take up a stand against them. With this logic, why not invite Sally Morgan to a magic convention and heap praise upon her for her mentalist abilities?

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8352
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 12th, 2014, 12:08 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:... taking more of a role in this sort of thing, in the honorable tradition of Houdini. ...

Yes, why not pull the beard off department store Santas? How about Mother's Day cards showing Freud? Do you really want to condone people learning to reframe social conventions in cynical terms - ie who benefits directly rather than the indirect use of social convention to permit folks to live with conflicts?

Is the battery really dead? Then again most folks are not likely tried kicking a live horse either. ;)
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Sunday
Posts: 1
Joined: October 13th, 2014, 5:57 pm

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Sunday » October 13th, 2014, 6:01 pm

If you like a touch of irony here it is. Did you know that Derren Brown's manager used to MANAGE a psychic medium? This guy here:

http://jamesbyrnepsychicmedium.blogspot.ca/

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 14th, 2014, 8:13 am


TheLovelyDebbie
Posts: 40
Joined: October 15th, 2014, 6:17 am
Favorite Magician: Jerry Sadowitz
Location: Kent

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby TheLovelyDebbie » October 15th, 2014, 11:16 am

Hi, Just adding my 2 penn'orth. I'm sure that any amount of respected magicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and practitioners of the "black arts" could go on TV, social media, the internet, radio, debunking psychics and their practices, but unfortunately human beings will always surprise you by railing against scientific proof and common sense by believing CRAP.....read "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time" by Michael Shermer. Psychics and spiritualists generally rely on the vulnerability of their audience/clients who are more readily willing to believe the stuff they peddle... Derren Brown, James Randi etc. are already "preaching to the choir", their fans and followers have already made their mind up re: the spurious claims of “psychics”. I imagine that even if Derren Brown went on TV explaining exactly how he does his mentalism (which I don't imagine he's about to do any time soon) the sham psychics would still thrive.

I see the lovely Sally Morgan is now furiously attempting damage limitation.


http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014 ... se-sceptic
And the Lion shall lie down with the lamb
But the lamb won't get much sleep

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8352
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 15th, 2014, 11:18 am

There's a significant difference between responding to a video that's gone public and responding to a pattern of personal behavior.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 15th, 2014, 1:52 pm

TheLovelyDebbie wrote:I'm sure that any amount of respected magicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and practitioners of the "black arts" could go on TV, social media, the internet, radio, debunking psychics and their practices, but unfortunately human beings will always surprise you by railing against scientific proof and common sense by believing CRAP


That doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

And it certainly doesn't mean we should celebrate psychics by giving them standing ovations at our magic conferences.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4242
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby mrgoat » October 15th, 2014, 1:58 pm

TheLovelyDebbie wrote:Hi, Just adding my 2 penn'orth. I'm sure that any amount of respected magicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and practitioners of the "black arts" could go on TV, social media, the internet, radio, debunking psychics and their practices, but unfortunately human beings will always surprise you by railing against scientific proof and common sense by believing CRAP.....read "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time" by Michael Shermer. Psychics and spiritualists generally rely on the vulnerability of their audience/clients who are more readily willing to believe the stuff they peddle... Derren Brown, James Randi etc. are already "preaching to the choir", their fans and followers have already made their mind up re: the spurious claims of “psychics”. I imagine that even if Derren Brown went on TV explaining exactly how he does his mentalism (which I don't imagine he's about to do any time soon) the sham psychics would still thrive.

I see the lovely Sally Morgan is now furiously attempting damage limitation.


http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014 ... se-sceptic


I've been to most of Derren's live shows and spoken to people about him as well. I would say a very large percentage of people think he actually has powers.

The thing is, the public are, generally, VERY STUPID. They eat at McDonalds. They like X Factor. They believe in ridiculous things because it helps them get through the day, from Jebers to Sally.

Do skeptics leaflet at churches? They take A LOT more money from the gullible than Sally and her ilk ever will...

(not trying to get into a religious discussion, just making a point).

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 15th, 2014, 3:41 pm

mrGoat - to your first point, it is a pretty big generalization to say that the "public" in general (whomever that may be, non-magicians?) are "STUPID." Your examples of their stupidity belies your weird elitism. Are you one of those magicians who make their audience look and feel stupid?

To your second point, it is psychics who use the direct methods and practices of magicians to their evil end, not churches.

User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 1065
Joined: April 11th, 2008, 5:52 pm
Location: Savannah, GA

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Brad Jeffers » October 15th, 2014, 6:05 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote: it is psychics who use the direct methods and practices of magicians to their evil end

Do you put fortune tellers, mind readers, spoon benders, mediums, and all of these into the same catagory of evil doers?

For me there are many shades of gray when it comes to how I feel about people purporting to have psychic abilities.

I simply cannot stand those who claim to be able to speak with the dead. Just as disgusting would be faith healers and psychic surgeons.

However, I have no problem with those who make a living through fortune telling, be it through tarot cards, tea leaves, crystal balls, or the reading of palms.

As to those who we refer to as mentalists, whose arsenal of weapons include a wide range of psychic abilities, well, I greatly admire those who achieve success in this field, the best in my opinion being Uri Geller.

It seems that there are two factors that contribute to the disgust felt by many towards people who purport to have psychic abilities. One is the particular psychic ability they claim to have. The other is the extent to which they profess that what they do is real.

People such as Sally Morgan, who claim to speak to the dead are the worst.

In comparison, water dowsers and spoon benders seem rather benign.

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 15th, 2014, 7:55 pm

Brad, I agree with most of your sensible post with the exception of your characterization of Geller as a mentalist. Derren Brown is a mentalist. Max Maven is a mentalist. Uri Geller is no mentalist. He calls himself a "mystifier" now, and he is celebrated at magicians' conventions, etc., but as Randi pointed out, it is too late for him to change his spots. He is a "psychic." Not sure if he ever claimed to speak with the dead. But lord knows, enough has been said about him on this forum.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5413
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Bill Mullins » October 16th, 2014, 12:33 am

mrgoat wrote:The thing is, the public are, generally, VERY STUPID. They eat at McDonalds. They like X Factor.

They think Tony Sagittarius is the SEXY. [ducks]

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4242
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby mrgoat » October 16th, 2014, 4:17 am

P.T.Widdle wrote:mrGoat - to your first point, it is a pretty big generalization to say that the "public" in general (whomever that may be, non-magicians?) are "STUPID." Your examples of their stupidity belies your weird elitism.


Generally, people *are* stupid. They buy what they are told to buy, watch what they are told to watch, dress how they are told to dress, vote how they are told to vote, believe the nonsense they are told to believe.

It's not elitism, it's fact. The majority of people are stupid.

P.T.Widdle wrote:Are you one of those magicians who make their audience look and feel stupid?


Well, videos of me performing are online for all to see, I don't think so, but you might disagree, and you'd be more than entitled to that opinion.


P.T.Widdle wrote:To your second point, it is psychics who use the direct methods and practices of magicians to their evil end, not churches.


Really? Walking on water, loaves and fishes, buried alive, stigmata? Religion is full of magic tricks. Or at least tales thereof.

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 25th, 2014, 6:13 pm

mrgoat wrote:Religion is full of magic tricks.


From an October 24 interview with Penn & Teller:

"There are many, many magicians who are credulous, who are believers in all sorts of things. As a matter of fact, there's a very strong and big subculture in magic called gospel magic, which is nothing but Christians proselytizing through magic and in this very odd way using tricks to show that God is real. (Laughs) Very funny. And there's also, of course, the immoral magicians who use tricks to further pseudoscience and do spoon-bending and mind-reading and so on."

http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertai ... /17628015/

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6919
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Dustin Stinett » October 25th, 2014, 8:24 pm

I'm curious: P.T. Widdle: Were you at the Genii Bash or the magician's convention in Italy (before the Bash) where Uri Geller spoke? If so, did you miss the multiple times where he said (and I quote), "We're all adults here; we know what's going on"?

Clearly he knows that the magicians in the room know that he's nothing more than a magician. Will he ever admit it in those words? No. But he certainly is admitting it with the words he chose. Several times. Everyone in the room heard it and knew what it meant—except perhaps for his rabid detractors who, apparently, will not settle for anything less than a full admission, which they will never get. (So instead of using what IS handed to them, they ignore it and stay pissed off at everyone who has anything to do with him—as if that can, in any way, advance their agenda.)

Beyond that, his talk was actually about how to use the media to its fullest to further a career in one's chosen field. You have to admit that he is pretty expert at that. And that is why he got a standing ovation.

And here's something else that I am curious about: A few years ago, the Academy of Magical Arts recognized James Randi with a Fellowship. His acceptance speech turned into a lengthy screed on how magicians "have a responsibility" to debunk charlatans.

Across the aisle from me was a well-known (and highly respected) in magic gentleman who makes part (not all) of his living working as a mentalist. During Randi's rant, he looked like a guy having a tooth pulled without anesthesia.

So the question is, are all magicians "responsible" for debunking at all times? Or is it something that, depending on circumstances, can be taken advantage of IF and when the time is right for a particular entertainer (or even hobbyist/amateur)?

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 25th, 2014, 9:25 pm

Dustin, I posted that piece of P&T interview here because I thought it relevant to the discussion about that hideous Sally Morgan woman that this thread is about. There is already a pretty thorough thread about Gellar, as you know.

But since you chimed in, no I did not attend any of the live appearances of Gellar at any magic conventions, nor would I ever. Just because (as you've mentioned before) Gellar said to a room full of magicians, "We're all adults here; we know what's going on" does not absolve him of the fact that he continues to present himself as a psychic to the public (despite that he now euphemistically refers to himself as a "mystifier").

I am not so naive to ever expect a full admission from Gellar. Nor do I believe he is the worst offender of this type (as Brad Jeffers pointed out in this thread - people (like Morgan) who claim to speak with the dead hold that title, although Gellar's recent plane stunt brought him close). I don't even completely agree with Randi about every magician having a responsibility to actively debunk. What bugs me, Dustin, is that the idea of magicians debunking is now seemed as passe, laughable, or even frowned upon.
How could I think otherwise when, for example, Genii magazine, arguably the most important journalistic organ of the world magic community, has all but ignored the practice of magicians debunking? Gellar's plane stunt wasn't even worth a mention (other than Richard's brief admission on this forum that Gellar crossed the line). Instead he is celebrated by this magazine and by magicians as being successful in how to use the media.
I just think it's kind of sad that there's no articles or columns about the rich history and ongoing developments of the world of pseudo-psychics and their debunkers. It seems like a proud niche part of magic has been all but lost or ignored.

But your mentalist friend attending Randi's speech needn't worry (as his reaction clearly indicates), because magicians no longer have to bother themselves with debunking - there are skeptic societies and laymen (like this brave Tilbrook) who will do it for them.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6919
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Dustin Stinett » October 26th, 2014, 2:52 am

I brought up Geller and the standing ovation because you did at least twice. I’m sorry if my comments are off topic; I did not see it that way.

P.T.Widdle wrote: Just because (as you've mentioned before) Gellar said to a room full of magicians, "We're all adults here; we know what's going on" does not absolve him of the fact that he continues to present himself as a psychic to the public (despite that he now euphemistically refers to himself as a "mystifier").

And I don’t think it’s absolution either and never have claimed it to be; it’s just an admission on his part. Why it is ignored as such is a mystery to me.

P.T.Widdle wrote:What bugs me, Dustin, is that the idea of magicians debunking is now seemed as passe, laughable, or even frowned upon.

I’m not sure I buy into that premise. There are many examples of magicians in social media bringing it up when something comes along. I see it quite often on Facebook. I’m not a tweeter, but I would think the same thing is going on there.

Back in the days of Maskelyne and later Houdini, things were quite different. People sat still in the theater and watched these lectures with great interest. I cannot fathom a modern audience sitting still for that today. And pitching it to a network as part of a television magic special is possibly problematic as well. And there is no way that someone appearing on a talk show is going to use any part of his/her four minutes to mention that Uri Geller (et al) is a big fat phony. The exception might be Penn & Teller, but how often do even they do that?

P.T.Widdle wrote:How could I think otherwise when, for example, Genii magazine, arguably the most important journalistic organ of the world magic community, has all but ignored the practice of magicians debunking? Gellar's plane stunt wasn't even worth a mention (other than Richard's brief admission on this forum that Gellar crossed the line). Instead he is celebrated by this magazine and by magicians as being successful in how to use the media.

Part of the blame for that is social media. Take a close look at the magazine—all magic magazines—and there is little “news” inasmuch as something as fleeting as Geller’s plane deal. By the time that reached the pages of the magazine, it would have been very old news and an enormous waste of valuable space. We have a forum for stuff with that short a shelf life.

And I do not buy into the premise of the magazine celebrating Geller. The article on him called him what he is: a magician. He is a controversial figure, certainly newsworthy, and when that piece was printed, one of the greatest magicians in the world had recently presented him with an award for magicians and Geller accepted it. That’s a story worth printing. But it is not necessarily celebrating or endorsing him. Other magazines have put some pretty unsavory people on the covers of their publications without being accused of celebrating them.

And, without going deeper into it (again), to me his appearing at two magician’s conventions was yet another tacit admission on his part. It was a magician who wowed those crowds.

P.T.Widdle wrote:I just think it's kind of sad that there's no articles or columns about the rich history and ongoing developments of the world of pseudo-psychics and their debunkers. It seems like a proud niche part of magic has been all but lost or ignored.

That is not necessarily the magazine’s fault. Perhaps you should research and write up a proposal and pitch it to Richard. If it is good, and the article is good, it could see print.

It is not a subject that I feel is worth my time to research and write, but I would certainly read it. It could be very interesting to compare the way Maskelyne debunked the Davenport Brothers, Houdini went after spiritualists, Randi and Geller’s ongoing rumble, the proliferation of skeptical organizations (that I see as probably an offspring of the Internet), and how social media is being used in this “fight.”

A regular column would have to be something that has a “name” behind it. And as well as needing to be well-written, it would have to be very carefully written. Libel is another reason you do not see a lot of this in magazines or on TV in this day and age. Even a frivolous lawsuit—which one would undoubtedly be—is expensive and could wipe out a niche publication.

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 26th, 2014, 11:44 am

Dustin Stinett wrote: there is little “news” inasmuch as something as fleeting as Geller’s plane deal. By the time that reached the pages of the magazine, it would have been very old news and an enormous waste of valuable space. We have a forum for stuff with that short a shelf life.


Well, the magazine isn't just printed material anymore is it? The Gellar plane incident could have been talked about in a "More Genii Speaks" video. In fact video could be used for a one-off piece, interview, or column. I don't think that's the issue here. It's really about priorities, isn't it? Where there's a will there's a way. You talk about libel and the legal risks of printing something about psychics. There are ways around that, satire for example.

Dustin Stinett wrote: The article on him called him what he is: a magician....
It was a magician who wowed those crowds.


I think you and I (and a good many magicians) have a fundamental difference of opinion about whether Gellar is in fact a magician. The opinions are so strong and numerous that it resulted in one of the longest threads on the Genii board. Adding to that fire was the editor calling Gellar the greatest living close-up magician of the 20th century, and three of the most famous American magicians turning their backs on Genii as a reaction to Gellar appearing at the Genii Bash. All of these events seem to me to be news for a follow-up piece, at least.

Dustin, where you see Gellar's "admission" to magicians as a small step forward, I see it as him trying to have it both ways, which he has apparently succeeded at. Gellar has the love and admiration of many credulous and envious magicians, while also maintaining his infinitely more important public appearance as a psychic.

So, why is Gellar a magician while Sally Morgan is not? If you have an ethical line that separates them, then please articulate it. I think that line is something that could also be explored as part of an interesting Genii piece, given of course that the editors have a desire to seek out someone (a mentalist?) to write (or videotape) about it.

User avatar
Bill Marquardt
Posts: 409
Joined: May 4th, 2011, 11:16 am
Favorite Magician: Pop Haydn

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Bill Marquardt » October 26th, 2014, 12:59 pm

I would have to believe that Richard calling Gellar the greatest close-up magician of the 20th century is akin to Time Magazine presenting Adolph Hitler as "Man of the Year," something to which Dustin alluded in his response above.

NO - I am not comparing Gellar to Hitler, so don't attack me on that point, please.

My point is that Gellar was being recognized as being the most universally well known practitioner of a craft that is embodied within Magic. I would personally feel more comfortable with calling Gellar a magician if he would acknowledge publicly that he is an entertainer and not a "true" psychic. Perhaps his calling himself a "mystifier" is a step in that direction.

I certainly hold no animosity toward Uri, but I have on more than one occasion done my best to convince some of my friends and associates that he is an entertainer, very good at what he does, and nothing more than that. I actually viewed Uri's performance on the Tonight Show when it originally aired. That was all it took for me to realize the truth.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4201
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Brad Henderson » October 26th, 2014, 3:00 pm

Twiddle,

Magicians have been debunking psychics for decades - exactly how effective has that been?

based on the number of books in the new age section of my local bookstore - not very.

and do you really believe a column in a niche magazine is going to set the world on fire?

I think we do have problems with people in today's world suffering from delusions. Except in this case, is isn't the psychic believer who is fooling themselves.

You seem very keen on telling all of US what we should be doing.

Here's an idea: if this really means so much to you - go do something about it yourself. Start your magazine. issue your challenge.

The only thing you have managed to do is encourage me to try harder to convince my audiences in the reality of the paranormal. not because I believe it, but because I think it will piss off the zealot jerks who demand I bow down to their ideologies.

that's what you have accomplished.

And if you do decide to do something meaningful yourself here's a hint - when you call psychics a scam you entrench peoplle in their beliefs. no one wants to be thought a victim.

and here is another: consider what you offer the believer by debunking. Are you giving them something more valued than that which the psychic offers? If not, you might want to rethink your approach. That is, if you really care about educating people and not just listening to your own voice.

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 26th, 2014, 5:49 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Twiddle,

The only thing you have managed to do is encourage me to try harder to convince my audiences in the reality of the paranormal. not because I believe it, but because I think it will piss off the zealot jerks who demand I bow down to their ideologies.

that's what you have accomplished.


How delightful that you use spite as a motivator for your performances.

And it is P.T. Widdle, by the way. :P

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8352
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 26th, 2014, 6:53 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:..."We're all adults here; we know what's going on"...


Mind reading or just begging a question?

Acknowledging the unstated to make an enthymeme of "acceptable deception for dollars" leads to other questions.

Something about sawing the air and making the judicious grieve comes to mind.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4201
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Brad Henderson » October 26th, 2014, 7:01 pm

you reap what you sow, PT. You're an inspiration!

While my motivation is spite, your position only encourages people to take the path you abhor. The first step an artist takes is often to explore that which they are told they shouldn't. Again, if you want to see change try offering something more valuable than that which you are attempting to take away.

sometimes I think you and Randi are working for gellar and the psychic community. it's almost like your approach to the issue and communication styles are designed to send the masses running into the psychic's arms.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25630
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 26th, 2014, 7:20 pm

Geller is indeed a close-up magician; he just refuses to accept the label. Has any other close-up magician earned as much money, become as famous, and entered the cultural zeitgeist as Uri Geller has?

The answer is not only a resounding "no," but there's no one in second place.

Does he occasionally get carried away by his own publicity? Yes. Sometimes stupidly. Like most folks in show business, he has an ego the size of the ocean.

Who would I rather watch? Uri Geller or two guys shooting pistols at each others' heads? Geller.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

P.T.Widdle
Posts: 694
Joined: April 30th, 2008, 1:51 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 26th, 2014, 10:04 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Geller is indeed a close-up magician; he just refuses to accept the label.


Irony here. Conan-Doyle told Houdini that he was indeed a psychic medium; he just refused to accept the label.

Richard, you consider Gellar a magician, but it doesn't matter because the public sees him as a psychic and he continues to present himself as a psychic (despite his euphemistic new label of "mystifier"), and that's all that counts. Of course Geller refuses to accept the label - his wealth and fame is predicated on him being perceived as a psychic, not a lowly close-up magician.

Richard Kaufman wrote:Has any other close-up magician earned as much money, become as famous, and entered the cultural zeitgeist as Uri Geller has?


Even if you think it's cool that Geller is secretly a close-up magician, your measure of him being "the greatest living close-up magician of the 20th century" is disappointingly based on wealth and fame, not talent. Also, how does trying to locate a missing airplane fall into the "close-up" category?

Richard Kaufman wrote:
Who would I rather watch? Uri Geller or two guys shooting pistols at each others' heads? Geller.


Are you really comparing the entertainment value of Uri Geller to a single Penn & Teller trick? Why not also compare watching Sally Morgan to P&T doing cups and balls?
Is not Sally Morgan really Britain's best stage mentalist who refuses to accept the label?

Tom Moore
Posts: 517
Joined: February 7th, 2012, 6:45 pm
Location: Europe
Contact:

Re: Psychics Buster

Postby Tom Moore » October 27th, 2014, 5:52 am

I'm confused by the regular assertion that Uri actively calls himself a psychic and should be put in to the same category as all the dead-talkers. Since the early 90's Uri has regularly appeared on tv MAGIC shows, one of the most successful magic tv show format's in the world was created (and presented by) him and every clip and interaction i have seen him do in that period has followed the model of "we are all capable of more than we think" / "the mind is an amazing thing" / "there are things we don't understand" now admittedly he's also made some careful omissions and not corrected others when they've jumped to conclusions. If he's going to be penalised for that then just as much scorn has to be poured on virtually every magician 'heck even copperfield does it (Flying = "i'm going to fly live on stage without wings, strings or video effects" which whilst technically true certainly is no more dishonest that uri's statements) except what it really is is showmanship. It does a huge disservice to all sides to lump uri (who's placed himself firmly in the entertainment world for the last 30 years) in with the people who are exploiting death and misery for pure financial gain.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

thomasmoorecreative


Return to “Buzz”