MSG: #244 SEC: 0 - GENERAL PARANORMAL DATE: 10-MAR-86 10:15 PM TO: ALL SUBJ: RANDI SPEAKS!

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MSG: #244 SEC: 0 - GENERAL PARANORMAL DATE: 10-MAR-86 10:15 PM TO: ALL FROM: SYSOP SUBJ: RANDI SPEAKS! THE FOLLOWING SERIES OF MESSAGES IS FROM STEPHEN RYLAND, A MEMBER OF THE COMPUSERVE PARANORMAL ISSUES SECTION (GO ISSUES) I HAVE SPENT THE LAST TWO NIGHTS WITH JAMES "THE AMAZING" RANDI. THE FIRST NIGHT WAS A SPEECH AT CAL TECH HERE IN PASADENA ON VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THE PARANOMRAL AND THE SECOND A BANQUET OF THE SO. CALIFORNIA SKEPTICS. RANDI IS A VERY PERSONABLE GENTLEMAN AND AN EXCELLENT MAGICIAN. I WILL OUTLINE HIS TALK BELOW: FAITH-HEALING: RANDI'S CURRENT RESEARCH TOPIC IS AN EXPOSE' OF FAITH HEALERS. HE SHOWED TAPES OF VARIOUS SERVICES. IN SOME OF THE SERVICES HIS MINIONS WENT FORWARD AND PRETENDED CURES OF MADE-UP DISEASES. HE GAVE SOME OF THE "TRICKS" OF THE TRADE SUCH AS PROVIDING WHEELCHAIRS TO SEMI-AMBULATORY PEOPLE AND USING DATA CARDS TO DO A MENTALIST TRICK OF CALLING THEIR NAMES, DISEASES, DOCTORS, ETC. NOW, BEING OF A FUNDAMENTALIST BACKGROUND AND OFTEN AMONG THE HILL FOLK OF MISSOURI, I HAVE RATHER STRONG FEELINGS IN FAVOR OF THESE SORTS OF HAPPENINGS. HOWEVER, HE CONVINCED ME THAT MANY OF THESE WOULD SCREEN THE PEOPLE WHO CAME FOR STAGE APPEAL AND NOT TRY TO HELP EVERYONE. IT DOES SEEM THAT MANY OF THESE TV HEALERS ARE MORE IN IT FOR THE MONEY THAN REALLY TRYING TO HELP. I'M SURE WE'LL HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC LATER. DOWSING: RANDI HAD DONE A NUMBER OF DOUBLE BLIND EXPERIMENTS WITH DOWSERS IN AUSTRALIA. SUCCESS RATE WAS ONLY 10%. IT DEPENDS ON ONE'S DOWSING THEORY. FOR THE CASE OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT WATER OR THE SUBSTANCE EMITS SOME SORT OF RAY THESE EXPERIMENTS DISPROVE THAT. FOR THOSE THAT BELIEVE THAT DOWSING RELEASES THE SUBCONSCIOUS IT DISPROVES NOTHING. URI GELLER: RANDI REPEATED THE SPOON BENDING TRICK WHICH GELLER HAD LEARNED FROM TEL AVIV SCHOOL CHILDREN. HE DID ADMIT THAT GELLER WAS A GOOD ILLUSIONIST AND WOULD HAVE MADE A GOOD PROFESSIONAL MAGICIAN. COLUMBUS POLTERGEIST: RANDI SHOWED THAT THIS HIGHLY PUBLICISED CASE WAS PURELY A HOAX - HE HAD AS A WITNESS A CAMERAMAN WHO STAGED PICTURES FOR THE MEDIA. IN FACT THE NEWSPAPER HAS BEEN CALLED DOWN FOR UNETHICAL PRACTICES. TV SHOWS: HE SHOWED HOW SOME GIRL ON THE CARSON SHOW DID A COMPLEX CARD TRICK (I WAS NOT FAMILIAR WITH THIS) ALSO SOMEONE WHO BLEW PENCILS OFF TABLES BUT PRETENDED TO DO IT BY PK. OTHER: MANY OTHER TOPICS WERE DISCUSSED BRIEFLY INCLUDING UFOS, ESP, ETC. RANDI DID GIVE SOME USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE DESIGN OF EXPERIMENTS SUCH AS DOUBLE BLIND, AND THAT NOT ONLY DO YOU HAVE TO PROVE A WAY THAT SOMETHING CAN BE DONE (SUCH AS ILLUSION) BUT ALSO HOW IT ACTUALLY WAS DONE. THE AUDIENCE IN BOTH CASES WAS A WIDE RANGE OF PEOPLE FROM NOBEL LAUREATES TO HOBBYISTS. AT THE BANQUET THERE WERE SEVERAL LUMINARIES FROM THE LOCAL MEDIA. BOTH OF THESE MEETINGS WERE INTERESTING. I DO THINK THAT AN INCREASING PERCENTAGE OF THE SKEPTICS MAY BE INTERESTED IN ATTACKING RELIGION EVEN THOUGH SUCH A THOUGHT IS PROTESTED BY THEM. IN SOME CASES SKEPTICS MAY BE REPLACING THE BELIEF OF "NON-BELIEF" OR "ANTI-BELIEF" INSTEAD OF POSITIVE BELIEF IN ANY OF THESE TOPICS. THAT IS, THERE MAY BE MORE DOGMATISM IN NON-BELIEF THAN IN PARANORMAL ISSUES. END TRANSCRIPT> COMMENTS, PEOPLE? TO: SYSOP (X) (R) FROM: TOM BETZ I LIKE RANDI'S ATTITUDE... NOT DOGMATIC (AS ARE SO MANY OF HIS DEVOTEES) BUT RATHER SINCERELY INTERESTED IN EXPOSING FRAUD... AND (I REALLY BELIEVE) IF HE EVER DOES FIND A TRUE CASE OF PK OR PSYCHISM, HE WILL BE HAPPIER THAN THE TRUE BELIEVERS HE SO OFTEN ENRAGES! AND I DON'T THINK THERE IS _MORE_ DOGMATISM IN NON-BELIEF... IT'S PROBABLY AN EQUAL MEASURE. I'D LIKE TO DISCUSS THE WORD "PARANORMAL" ITSELF... I THINK IT'S A MISNOMER AS SUCH, MUST FOLLOW SOME CONSISTENT PATTERN WHICH IS DETECTABLE. WHY HAVE WE BEEN UNABLE TO DETECT A PATTERN? ON THE OTHER HAND, THE BELIEVERS ARGUE THAT THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN MEETS THE SCIENTIFIC EYE; THAT THE PATTERN IS THERE, BUT MUST BE VIEWED IN A MORE AESTHETIC AND UNQUANTIFIABLE MODE THAN THAT ALLOWED BY SCIENCE. WHAT IS THE UNSEEN LINE THAT DIVIDES- THE TWO CAMPS? COULD IT POSSIBLY BE DUE TO HEMISPHERIC FRAME OF REFERENCE? THAT IS, DO LEFT-BRAIN DOMINANT INDIVIDUALS WIND UP BEING SKEPTICS, WHILE RIGHT-BRAIN TYPES ARE MORE RECEPTIVE TO THE PARANORMAL? I AM GOING TO BE EXPLORING THIS POSSIBILITY IN THE NEAR FUTURE, WITH A GENTLEMAN NAMED ED PELSOU, WHO CONDUCTS SEMINARS ON HOW TO CREATE HEMISPHERIC BALANCE, OR HOW TO GET OUR LEFT AND RIGHT BRAINS TO WORK TOGETHER. WILL GET BACK TO YOU. TO: SYSOP (X) FROM: TOM BETZ HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HAD THIS HAPPEN TO YOU: A FRIEND FROM OUT OF TOWN COMES TO VISIT YOU... HE HAS NEVER BEEN TO YOUR HOME TOWN BEFORE, SO YOU SHOW HIM AROUND... AND WALKING DOWN STREETS YOU HAVE WALKED EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE, HE REMARKS ABOUT THE UNUSUAL QUALITY OF AN OBJECT ( A TREE, OR A BUILDING ) THAT YOU HAVE NEVER NOTICED, BUT HAS BEEN THERE SINCE BEFORE YOU WERE BORN... ALL BECAUSE HE IS UNFAMILIAR WITH YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, AND IS THEREFORE _PAYING ATTENTION_ TO WHAT HE SEES. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT PSYCHIC PHENOMENA ARE LIKE THAT. THINGS GO ON ALL AROUND US ALL THE TIME, BUT BECAUSE WE AREN'T PAYING ATTENTION, WE'RE TOO BUSY GETTING DONE WHAT WE HAVE TO GET DONE TO SURVIVE, WE DON'T NOTICE... UNTIL ONE OF TWO THINGS HAPPENS: 1. THROUGH CIRCUMSTANCE ( WE MOVE INTO A HAUNTED HOUSE, A CLOSE FRIEND OR RELATIVE DIES, WE ARE CONTACTED BY AN ALIEN ) IT BECOMES ESSENTIAL TO OUR SURVIVAL TO PAY ATTENTION AND DEAL WITH SOME PSYCHIC PHENOMENON 2. THROUGH CURIOUSITY AND DESIRE TO LEARN WE TAKE TIME OUT FROM EVERYDAY LIFE AND CONCENTRATE OUR EFFORTS ON PAYING ATTENTION AND NOTICING THOSE THINGS WE HAVE PREVIOUSLY IGNORED... IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO TRAIN ONESELF TO BECOME SENSITIZED TO "ETHERIC" (I HATE THAT WORD, BUT CAN COME UP WITH NONE BETTER AT PRESENT) ENERGIES, BY EXTENDING ONE'S "NATURAL SENSES" ( TASTE, TOUCH, SOUND, SMELL, SIGHT, ETC. ) TO REACH BEYOND THE NORMAL RANGE, OR BY DEVELOPING AN "ALTERNATIVE SENSE" TO DEAL WITH THE ENERGIES. INASMUCH AS THESE CALLS ARE EXPENSIVE, I CAN'T GO INTO THIS FURTHER RIGHT NOW... HOWEVER, I WILL CONCLUDE BY SAYING, YES, THERE DOES SEEM TO BE A CASE FOR SOME PEOPLE HAVING A STRONGER INNATE SENSITIVITY... WHAT FACTORS MAY CONTRIBUTE TO IT CAN, FOR NOW, ONLY BE A SPECULATION... BUT I TRULY BELIEVE THAT ANYONE, (EVEN YOU, JIM) IS CAPABLE OF EXPERIENCING THESE "PARANORMAL" ENERGIES... GIVEN TIME, NEED, OR WILL.

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