Frequently Asked Questions on Riley G This is a FAQ concerning Riley G and his multitudino

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Frequently Asked Questions on Riley G This is a FAQ concerning Riley G and his multitudinous posts. All suggestions for additions to and revisions of this FAQ are welcome. Current: 8/11/93 Contents 0. Introduction: Who and what is Riley G? 0.1. Who does Riley G claim to be? 0.2. Riley G's posting style 0.3. GIF of Riley G 1. Claims of Riley G 2. Tests of Riley G 2.1. Direct demonstration 2.2. Dan Day's address 2.3. Bob Ingria's address 3. Riley G and Uri Geller 4. Acknowlegements 0. Introduction: Who and what is Riley G? Riley G is a frequent poster to the newsgroup sci.skeptic. His posts are frequently inflammatory, and he often resorts to verbal attacks on skeptics in general or on specific individuals. Almost all other information about him is through his own claims. 0.1. Who does Riley G claim to be? Riley G signs himself: The Thin Blue Line, Riley G International Psychic Detective Retired NYCPD (Disability-LOD) As seen by this signature, he makes several notable claims. He claims to have worked for the NYCPD - in what capacity I don't know. He claims that he is now retired from this employment. He claims to be known internationally as a "psychic detective" and to be currently employed in that capacity (i.e., people pay him to use his "psychic powers" to find things out). Riley G has been known to sign himself Riley G. Matthews. It is unknown whether this is his actual legal name. He also, for a short time, used the signature Riley G Coyote. He has not supplied much in the way of information that could be used to check any of his claims about himself or his employment. Attempts have allegedly been made to verify his past employment with the NYPD, without success. Riley G has, however, posted a GIF file with a picture of his alleged ID card (see section 0.3). One self-description of his was: I will explain that (or should I say that they will already know) I am a SHAMAN and Psychic Detective, who tracked criminals and brought them to JUSTICE. Riley G (Coyote) International Psychic Detective Bounty Hunter Further claims will be provided in section 1. 0.2. Riley G's posting style As mentioned above, Riley G cultivates a somewhat inflammatory posting style. Some of his "trademarks" are the deliberate misspelling of "skeptic" as "septic," and plays on the names of those who question him. His English, grammar, and spelling are frequently poor. An example of Riley G's approach is a post by him, pointing out a news story in which a physics professor (Terry Apostolidis) was accused of attempted murder. Comments made by the police characterized the accused as a potential "serial killer". Riley G suggested that this implied a connection between skeptics and serial killers. Note the assumptions that (a) being a physics professor makes someone a skeptic, and (b) that the accused guilty of both the alleged crime and of being a (potential) serial killer. Actual quote: "This guy sounds like the Jim Jones of the SEPTICS, but on a lesser scale since JJ killed hundreds with his sick mind and believes. This SEPTIC PHYSICS Prof. is a growing serial killer." An example of Riley G's approach to challenges of his ability: "Well it seems to me that the septics who choose to respond to me with remarks such as yours, are all spineless, gutless and useless individuals who have a lust to try and stop those whom are far more successful in life then themselves." 0.3. GIF of Riley G As noted above, Riley G has posted a GIF file with a picture of his alleged ID card. The ID number on the card was blacked out. Riley G quote: "I own the trademark to my name and likeness, and you are not authorized to pass along such information. If people want a gif, tif, or other media of the Riley G, NYPD Id Card, then they can contact me for it. After all, I do not know if you or others have altered or faked any of the information on the gifs I sent you." [editorial note - is this legal? Can he restrict the distribution of a GIF file he posted?] 0.4. Article on Riley G Riley G has appeared in an article on "Psychic Detectives" in "Fate" magazine. I believe the issue was April 1993. A picture was provided with the article. 1. Claims of Riley G Here are some interesting but unsubstantiated claims made by Riley G. Note that those in quotes ("") are direct quotations, while much of the rest is hearsay. "I've been in 4 gun fights in the streets as a cop (11 years).." He also has claimed to have worked in "traffic" for the NYCPD. "I'm licensed to carry conceled firearms in certain states in the USA, so are all other Active and Retired Police Officials." He has also implied that he is of American Indian descent. He claims to have been hired by a number of (unspecified) employers to use his "psychic" abilities. He also claims that he makes a great deal of money doing this, and travels worldwide. "For the record I am worth over One Million dollars and have a tax free disability pension and full medical benefits from the NYPD and not the tax payers of NYC or NY State." [editorial note - one email to me asserts that one of Riley G's sources of wealth was an automobile accident in which Riley's neck was broken] He claims to have been on a number of TV shows. He has specifically claimed, "TV Show was aired 21 August 1992 on Fuji TV (Japan). Have your Septics check it out. I have tapes for sale at $30 per tape, Beta only. Now Septics wouldn't illegally dupicate my tapes and pass them around would they?" The TV show he identified as "Amazing People of the World". Riley G claims to be in close touch with Geller and to "talk every day." Riley has occasionally threatened to sue those who challenged him. He claims that he has evidence from court transcripts of sexual misconduct by James Randi, the noted investigator of psychic claims. (See the sci.skeptic FAQ). Actual quote: "I said that I should write a book about randi's life and hidden secrets that are coming to light as a result of the Public Domain court records and transcripts. Reference to sex tapes... plus some other sworn statements that have been gathered against randi and his actions." Later: "the evidence is not pending in court, it has been entered into evidence. Evidence Entry #40 in the Byrd vs Randi civil lawsuit. Both the tape and transcript were entered into evidence, thus making them PUBLIC RECORD and PUBLIC DOMAIN." According to David Boucher, the facts of the case are thus: "The case of Byrd vs. Randi came about when Byrd, who was in the audience at one of Randi's public appearances, began heckling Randi and making references to an alleged "sex tape" which supposedly came from a phone conversation. Randi countered by referring to Byrd as a "convicted child molestor", and Byrd sued. It turned out that while Byrd admittedly had had a sexual relationship with a minor, and that apparently he had also been involved in some other sexual misconduct (I don't recall the precise details), he had never actually been "convicted". So Byrd technically "won" the case, but he was awarded zero dollars in damages -- in effect, the court found that his "reputation" had been "damaged", but it was already worthless anyway. This is the guy that Riley thinks is on the side of the angels. Note that so far we have seen no evidence that the alleged sex tape even exists, other than Riley's word, and even if it does exist, we have no evidence that it actually is Randi on the tape, and that the tape has not been doctored in any way, or that there is any indication of criminal misconduct or intent on the tape. Apparently the police and the DA do not find this tape to be sufficiently credible evidence to warrant a criminal investigation of or charges against Randi, which leads me to believe that the alleged "sex tape" is probably bullshit." 2. Tests of Riley G 2.1 Direct demonstration Riley G was challenged to directly demonstrate his "psychic powers" in front of a skeptical audience, with appropriate measures taken to protect against fraud, and with the show videotaped. Riley demanded $2500 (in advance, no refunds) to do any such test, and made references to his "busy schedule." 2.2 Dan Day's address Dan Day commented to Riley G, DD> If you can't do anything a magician could not do, yours is a poor sort DD> of psychic power, or perhaps it's no kind of psychic power at all. Riley G responded, RG> Poor Dan of Highland, Texas, RG> Go back to your magic bbs and leave the real thing alone! Dan Day then posted the following refutation: DD> "Riley's mistake #1: I've never been on a magic bbs in my life. DD> Perhaps Riley is counting USENET's alt.magic, but a "psychic" shouldn't DD> have trouble telling the difference. DD> Riley's mistake #2: There is no such place as "Highland", Texas. DD> There is, however a "Highlands", Texas. It's about twenty five DD> miles northeast of Houston. There's also a "Highland Park", which DD> is a municipality in Dallas (250+ miles away from here), but DD> I'd hope even Riley couldn't screw up that badly. DD> Riley's mistake #3: Not only do I not live in Highland [sic] Texas, DD> but, although I live in Houston, I've never been there and had to do DD> some research to find out where the hell it is. I called information DD> and asked for the area code for "Highland". I was informed that DD> there's no such place, but there is a "Highlands". She gave me DD> the area code, which is 713, the same as Houston's. I asked where DD> it was, and she brought up a map and described its location to me. DD> Riley's mistake #4: On a hunch, I asked the same operator if DD> there is a "Dan Day" listed for Highlands. Indeed there is, DD> under the name "Danny C. Day". Riley got the wrong man. DD> I've been trying to get in touch with this guy all weekend, DD> but I keep getting his answering machine. I was curious to DD> see whether he ran or participated in a magic bbs, which would DD> account for Riley's mistake. He was either away all weekend or DD> screening his calls (I didn't leave a message) but from the DD> man's voice it sounds like Riley missed by about fifteen years DD> in age, too. DD> Riley's mistake #5: My email address plainly says "Houston", DD> and gives the name of the company I work for. It would have been DD> easy for Riley to call up the company and ask them where they are DD> located. He would have found that Highlands is a good forty DD> miles from where I work, on a path leading straight through Houston. DD> Since Houston has some of the worst traffic in the country, Riley DD> should have known that it would be very unlikely for anyone working DD> on the west side of Houston to be crazy enough to commute from a DD> little town far beyond the east side. DD> Riley's mistake #6: I'm listed in the phone book, at an address DD> less than five miles from the company where my email address DD> indicates I work. Riley had no excuse for screwing up so badly. DD> Riley's mistake #7: Trying to impress us with the "special DD> knowledge" he was implying he had about me. DD> Riley's mistake #8: Giving us an example of the kind of "skill" DD> he possesses. If this is an example of the quality of his work, DD> he's either a truly lousy psychic, in which case his clients DD> should ask for their money back, or he's a totally inept detective. DD> Riley's mistake #9: Calling himself "the real thing". DD> That's nine mistakes in a seventeen word post. Sheesh!" 2.3 Bob Ingria's address Bob Ingria made the following challenge: "But since you're making another one of your claims (``I know were [sic] you live'') I would love to hear it. Please post my address." Riley's response: RG> "As you requested here it is: RG> Robert Ingria : 233 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 864 - 0479 RG> Laura Conrad : same address RG> American Speedy Printing: next door RG> DI Carlo Printing: Next Door RG> Bob Sabistan: Next door, other side RG> Michael Mckenna: Next Door, other side RG> PS. I did not leave my house to get this information, nor did I call RG> telephone operators." Bob Ingria's refutation: BI> "However, whatever your source was, it ultimately derived from the BI> directory listing for me, because, you see, I do NOT live at 233 BI> Broadway. That's why I asked you to post it, Riley; I expected you to BI> come up with the address from directory listing, and you didn't BI> disappoint me. (The phone number is correct, though.) Through a BI> screw-up when I first set up phone service, the phone company BI> transcribed my address incorrectly, as 233 Broadway (which ultimately BI> led to a brief cessation in service, since the first few months' bills BI> got bounced back to them). I've found it useful not to correct the BI> directory listing, since I get enough junk mail as it is without BI> people getting my address out of the phonebook. I figured you would BI> take the lazy way out, Riley, and my non-psychic intuition has been BI> fulfilled. BI> Moreover, even apart from my address, there are a couple of problems BI> with the ``information'' you posted: BI> American Speedy Printing: next door BI> It's at 234 Broadway. Remember, odd numbers are on one side of the BI> street, even numbers are on the other. It's across the street from BI> 233 Broadway, not next door. But, even at that, it's not directly BI> opposite. The parking lot for 238 Broadway is what's directly BI> opposite 233 Broadway. (And American Speedy Printing is neither my BI> next door neighbor nor directly across the street from me, either.) BI> DI Carlo Printing: Next Door BI> There is no DI Carlo Printing, either on the same side of the street BI> as 233 Broadway, nor across the street from it. Within the 233 block BI> on Broadway, there are no commercial establishments on the 233 side, BI> and the only ones across the street are American Speedy and the BI> complex at 238 Broadway. BI> As for the two personal names you posted: Michael McKenna is listed as BI> living at 232 Broadway, again, neither directly opposite 233 Broadway, BI> nor directly opposite nor next door to me. And Bob Sabistan is not in BI> the directory listings (and I wasn't going to go looking at the names BI> on the doorbells on the off chance you were right, nor do a spelling BI> search on possible variations, given your notorious heterography.) ... BI> Care to try again? [editorial note - I would much appreciate it if others could provide more interesting claims by Riley G, or tests of his abilities. Then again, I suspect that Riley G himself will provide us with a wealth of such quotes in the future.] 3. Riley G and Uri Geller Riley G has claimed to be a close friend of Geller's. He claims to be in touch with Geller by phone and fax, and to "talk every day." It is reasonable to suppose that he is an admirer of Geller's. Though some have suggested that Riley G and Geller are the same person, the 'Fate' article, among other things, shows that this is not so. 4. Acknowlegements Written by April (rnmg1200@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu) Thanks to: David Boucher for the original suggestion. Dan Day and Bob Ingria for permission to post their tests of Riley G. Jay D. Anderson and Dan Day for information on Riley's early claims. Charles Lane for information on the Terry Apostolidis case. Leo Berzins for the claim of Riley's American Indian descent. Mark Schnitzius for the article in "Fate" magazine. Bill Tyler for reminding me of Riley's threats to sue. James Rice for the claim of Riley's gun permit. David Wright for the issue of the "Fate" article. All those who informed me of Riley's alleged last name. All persons who have mailed support, encouragement, suggestions and questions.

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