ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags Alexis Didier , clairvoyants , mediums

Reply
Old 3rd August 2017, 10:48 PM   #41
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 82,119
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Would agree with some of your points but do you have any ideas on how he duped Robert-Houdin a professional magician?
The Bible talks about how magicians such as Moses could turn staffs into serpents. Do you have any evidence Moses couldn't do this?
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd August 2017, 11:44 PM   #42
Kid Eager
Philosopher
 
Kid Eager's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 6,535
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The Bible talks about how magicians such as Moses could turn staffs into serpents. Do you have any evidence Moses couldn't do this?
Well snake oil has been around since forever, so I suspect that once Moses lubricated his snake, it loosened up. Easy to see how this could become lost in translation over time. Or something.
__________________
What do Narwhals, Magnets and Apollo 13 have in common? Think about it....
Kid Eager is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd August 2017, 11:49 PM   #43
Craig B
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 22,444
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The Bible talks about how magicians such as Moses could turn staffs into serpents. Do you have any evidence Moses couldn't do this?
It seems just about everyone could do that. Moses' brother Aaron could do it. Pharaoh's wizards could do it.
And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments (Exodus 7:10-11).
Nothing special.
Craig B is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 05:31 AM   #44
Crossbow
Seeking Honesty and Sanity
 
Crossbow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 11,889
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
lol
After you are finished laughing, then I hope that you will do yourself a favor and actually find out what and "anti-scientific outlook" really is.
__________________
On 28 JUN 2018 'yuno44907' said: "I am god and you have to help me."
On 03 JUL 2018 'yuno44907' got banned from the Forum.

A man's best friend is his dogma.
Crossbow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 05:33 AM   #45
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The Bible talks about how magicians such as Moses could turn staffs into serpents. Do you have any evidence Moses couldn't do this?
1. Moses was not a magician
2. The Bible is mostly a fictitious book filled with contradictions and fabrications
3. There is no evidence Moses existed
4. What has Moses got to do with Alexis Didier?
5. No I do not have any evidence for what Moses supposedly could and could not do!
6. Last time I checked we were not discussing religion. We were Alexis Didier, a man who has been well documented, tested by a magician and scientists and lived in the 19th century.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 06:20 AM   #46
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 82,119
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
1. Moses was not a magician
2. The Bible is mostly a fictitious book filled with contradictions and fabrications
3. There is no evidence Moses existed
4. What has Moses got to do with Alexis Didier?
5. No I do not have any evidence for what Moses supposedly could and could not do!
6. Last time I checked we were not discussing religion. We were Alexis Didier, a man who has been well documented, tested by a magician and scientists and lived in the 19th century.
I should have set my sights lower.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 10:26 AM   #47
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I should have set my sights lower.
Why are you talking about Moses on a thread about Alex Didier? Do you have any comments about what this thread is about. Alex Didier
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 10:28 AM   #48
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Red face

Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
After you are finished laughing, then I hope that you will do yourself a favor and actually find out what and "anti-scientific outlook" really is.
Quote:
I did look up the subject and I could not find any data on this Alexis Didier person.
There are about 200 accessible books and booklets on Google books that mention Alex Didier. But sure no data exists
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 10:39 AM   #49
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
My guess would be by using tricks he'd invented that Robert-Houdin didn't know. Guessing is all we can do over a century later but new tricks are still invented by magicians occasionally, and even other magicians can't always work out how they're done, so that would seem the most likely explanation.
Didier was 21 years old when he was tested by Robert-Houdin yet he outsmarted him.

Would you agree then that if Didier was a magician utilizing trickery, he must have been one of the greatest magicians of all time?
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 10:52 AM   #50
Pixel42
Schrödinger's cat
 
Pixel42's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Malmesbury, UK
Posts: 10,409
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Didier was 21 years old when he was tested by Robert-Houdin yet he outsmarted him.

Would you agree then that if Didier was a magician utilizing trickery, he must have been one of the greatest magicians of all time?
Judging by the quotes presented on this thread Robert-Houdin was surprisingly easy to bamboozle. Didier didn't need to be a great magician, or even a particularly good one, just a bright young man with a trick or two that was new to Robert-Houdin.
__________________
"If you trust in yourself ... and believe in your dreams ... and follow your star ... you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things" - Terry Pratchett
Pixel42 is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 11:19 AM   #51
Crossbow
Seeking Honesty and Sanity
 
Crossbow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 11,889
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
There are about 200 accessible books and booklets on Google books that mention Alex Didier. But sure no data exists
You are a quite unscientific person.

If you actually have such data, then you should provide such data since you are the one who is asking about Alexis Didier.

I did check 'Google Books' and by doing so I did find a book entitled A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairnoyance of Stefan Ossieki which does mention Alexis Didier a few times, but there are certainly not the 200 works about Alexis Didier that you describe.

https://books.google.com/books?id=eS...Didier&f=false

So if you have better data on Didier, then use a scientific approach to resolve your issue and share this data about Didier.

__________________
On 28 JUN 2018 'yuno44907' said: "I am god and you have to help me."
On 03 JUL 2018 'yuno44907' got banned from the Forum.

A man's best friend is his dogma.
Crossbow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 11:23 AM   #52
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 82,119
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Why are you talking about Moses on a thread about Alex Didier? Do you have any comments about what this thread is about. Alex Didier
Or perhaps underground.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 12:45 PM   #53
xjx388
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 6,227
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Didier was 21 years old when he was tested by Robert-Houdin yet he outsmarted him.

Would you agree then that if Didier was a magician utilizing trickery, he must have been one of the greatest magicians of all time?
The problem is that you want us to evaluate a clairvoyant who lived quite a long time ago. All we have is descriptions of what he did along with some contemporary accounts. How are we supposed to evaluate whether or not his magic was real powers or tricks?

What we are left with is the fact that every person who claims similar things and has been tested has proven to be using trickery. There is no reason to suspect that Didier did anything different from his contemporary peers.

As to whether or not fooling one magician (who may not have been as well-versed in magic as his legend suggests) is enough to say he is one of the greatest of all time, I don't think so. We don't have enough info to evaluate that claim either.
__________________
Hello.
xjx388 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 01:51 PM   #54
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
You are a quite unscientific person.

If you actually have such data, then you should provide such data since you are the one who is asking about Alexis Didier.

I did check 'Google Books' and by doing so I did find a book entitled A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairnoyance of Stefan Ossieki which does mention Alexis Didier a few times, but there are certainly not the 200 works about Alexis Didier that you describe.

https://books.google.com/books?id=eS...Didier&f=false

So if you have better data on Didier, then use a scientific approach to resolve your issue and share this data about Didier.


Perhaps type into Google books his real name which brings up many books. Tip: His name is "Alexis Didier". Not "Alex Didier".

Would agree you do not get much information on an "Alex Didier" but then again that isn't his real name!

But sure great scientific research you are doing. You can't even get his name correct when researching the man

Quote:
If you actually have such data, then you should provide such data since you are the one who is asking about Alexis Didier.
Already quoted from three books that mention him. But sure no data exists.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 01:58 PM   #55
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Post

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
In the first few lines of the Introduction we see this devastating assessment.
Robert-Houdin's explanation of tricks performed by other magicians and not included in his repertoire, proved so incorrect and inaccurate as to brand him an ignoramus in certain lines of conjuring.
An entirely valid point but note that this has been disputed:

Quote:
The publication ultimately did more to tarnish Houdini's reputation than to refute Robert-Houdin's claims to originality and distinction especially in France, where magicians rallied to defend their spiritual progenitor against aspersions cast by an American parvenu.
Jones, Graham M. (2011). Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician's Craft. University of California Press. p. 208.

Quote:
"Stung by the refusal of the widow of Robert-Houdin's son Emile to receive him in 1901, Houdini launched a literary vendetta against his former hero in the form of a book, The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, published seven years later. While the book did not achieve its aim, it remains of considerable historical interest as the first sustained attempt to mine Houdini's large and growing collection for historical information. Its errors and oversights became the subject of two extensive rebuttals. The first was Maurice Sardina's Les Erreurs de Harry Houdini, translated and edited by Victor Farelli as Where Houdini Was Wrong. The second was Jean Hugard's Houdini's "Unmasking": Fact vs Fiction."
Inge, M. Thomas; Hall, Dennis. (2002). The Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture, Volume 3. Greenwood Press. p. 1037.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 02:07 PM   #56
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
The problem is that you want us to evaluate a clairvoyant who lived quite a long time ago. All we have is descriptions of what he did along with some contemporary accounts. How are we supposed to evaluate whether or not his magic was real powers or tricks?

What we are left with is the fact that every person who claims similar things and has been tested has proven to be using trickery. There is no reason to suspect that Didier did anything different from his contemporary peers.

As to whether or not fooling one magician (who may not have been as well-versed in magic as his legend suggests) is enough to say he is one of the greatest of all time, I don't think so. We don't have enough info to evaluate that claim either.
I am not really asking for anyone to evaluate whether or not he had genuine powers, we are dealing with historical matters. He was never detected in fraud but from what I have read so far it was entirely possible and likely he may have been a fraud.

I started this thread for a request to help into researching the man and his life or if anyone had heard of him and could help me with my research. I do not believe in paranormal powers but I will not call a man a fraud without even researching the man beforehand. I believe all claims should be investigated, even historical ones. Just calling a man a fraud without even reading up on him is what I object to, that is not skepticism.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 02:11 PM   #57
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Or perhaps underground.
facepalm. As an admin you should post things which are on topic in relation to the thread. Perhaps I can report your posts so another admin can delete them
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 02:12 PM   #58
Lucian
Illuminator
 
Lucian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,160
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Why are you talking about Moses on a thread about Alex Didier? Do you have any comments about what this thread is about. Alex Didier
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
There are about 200 accessible books and booklets on Google books that mention Alex Didier. But sure no data exists
Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
You are a quite unscientific person.

If you actually have such data, then you should provide such data since you are the one who is asking about Alexis Didier.

I did check 'Google Books' and by doing so I did find a book entitled A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairnoyance of Stefan Ossieki which does mention Alexis Didier a few times, but there are certainly not the 200 works about Alexis Didier that you describe.

https://books.google.com/books?id=eS...Didier&f=false

So if you have better data on Didier, then use a scientific approach to resolve your issue and share this data about Didier.

Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Perhaps type into Google books his real name which brings up many books. Tip: His name is "Alexis Didier". Not "Alex Didier".

Would agree you do not get much information on an "Alex Didier" but then again that isn't his real name!

But sure great scientific research you are doing. You can't even get his name correct when researching the man



Already quoted from three books that mention him. But sure no data exists.
Wait, who can't get his name right? You have referred to Didier as "Alex Didier" several times, including in the post to which Crossbow was responding. In his post, Crossbow called Didier "Alexis Didier," and there's nothing to indicate that the post was edited. Now you're chastising him for calling Didier "Alex Didier"?!
Lucian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 02:17 PM   #59
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Lucian View Post
Wait, who can't get his name right? You have referred to Didier as "Alex Didier" several times, including in the post to which Crossbow was responding. In his post, Crossbow called Didier "Alexis Didier," and there's nothing to indicate that the post was edited. Now you're chastising him for calling Didier "Alex Didier"?!
I may have referred to Didier several times on this forum incorrectly out of many mentions of the man. Look at his Google search though. He is searching "Alex Didier" and got very little hits. He then comes back and says there is no data on "Alexis Didier" but he was typing in the wrong name, he was spelling it "Alex". That is not good research. Do you think it is good research? Claiming no data exists on someone because you are misspelling his name. Remember I am not the one claiming no data exists on this guy, he is.

He stills holds the false claim that there is no data on Alexis Didier. But I will wait till he acknowledges his mistake.

Last edited by BillSkeptic; 4th August 2017 at 02:20 PM.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 02:31 PM   #60
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Judging by the quotes presented on this thread Robert-Houdin was surprisingly easy to bamboozle. Didier didn't need to be a great magician, or even a particularly good one, just a bright young man with a trick or two that was new to Robert-Houdin.
Well I disagree with your statement in bold. You are talking about the father of modern magic here not some amateur!

Quote:
French conjurer Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin's innovations earned him the sobriquet "the father of modern magic."
https://www.biography.com/people/robert-houdin-9344559

Quote:
Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, original name Jean-Eugène Robert (born Dec. 6, 1805, Blois, Fr.—died June 13, 1871, St. Gervais, near Blois), French magician who is considered to be the father of modern conjuring. He was the first magician to use electricity; he improved the signalling method for the “thought transference” trick; and he exposed “fakes” and magicians who relied on supernatural explanations for their feats.
https://www.britannica.com/biography...-Robert-Houdin

Quote:
Throughout history all arts, all human acts, have had their ups and downs. Painting, music, literature… all arts evolved and reached new heights no one would have imagined before thanks to the genius of people who devoted their lives to taking something that already existed, revolutionize it and set it on a new path. In the art of magic, one of these people was, without a doubt, Jean Eugène Robert Houdin, considered the father of modern magic.
http://magicagora.com/2011/11/10/rob...magic/?lang=en

The father of modern magic was easily bamboozled? What makes you say this?
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 03:30 PM   #61
Craig B
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 22,444
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Didier was 21 years old when he was tested by Robert-Houdin yet he outsmarted him.

Would you agree then that if Didier was a magician utilizing trickery, he must have been one of the greatest magicians of all time?
I would agree that if he outsmarted Robert-Houdin using supernatural forces he was the only authentic wizard of all time.
Craig B is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 06:26 PM   #62
dropzone
Master Poster
 
dropzone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2,014
BillSkeptic, riddle me this: In the USA we have the saying, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" Didier apparently made a living as somnambulist, showing he had no ethical problems with using his skills to make money, but he never became the richest man in France, which would be ever so easy if he really had the Second Sight. Why not?
dropzone is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 09:57 PM   #63
Pixel42
Schrödinger's cat
 
Pixel42's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Malmesbury, UK
Posts: 10,409
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
The father of modern magic was easily bamboozled? What makes you say this?
The remarks about him by Houdini etc quoted earlier in the thread.

And has been pointed out, even Penn and Teller can't always work out how another magician is doing a particular trick. If Didier invented a new type of trick it's not difficult to believe that another magician who didn't know it could be fooled by it. "The father of modern magic" suggests a pioneer, not an all knowing infallible genius.
__________________
"If you trust in yourself ... and believe in your dreams ... and follow your star ... you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things" - Terry Pratchett
Pixel42 is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 10:38 PM   #64
Lukas1986
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 269
I am not a expert on Alexis Didier but after reading a blog post about him he was not so successful. He was not able to convince everyone even when he convinced Houdini:

Quote:
Alexis and Marcillet stayed in London until the end of the summer, and where invited for private cessions by aristocrats; Lord Adare was one of them. They met skeptics too,convinced some of them, but needless to say, they could not convince Dr. Forbes, the leading skeptic figure, and Dr Elliotson[1]’s greatest enemy.
Source: http://goalhypnosis.blogspot.sk/2012...-his-time.html

So even when Houdini was not able to explain it and thought it was not produced by his art, he was not able to convince skeptics of that time. Which shows he had some losses and not only wins.

Last edited by Lukas1986; 4th August 2017 at 10:42 PM.
Lukas1986 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th August 2017, 10:51 PM   #65
Pixel42
Schrödinger's cat
 
Pixel42's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Malmesbury, UK
Posts: 10,409
Robert-Houdin, not Houdini.
__________________
"If you trust in yourself ... and believe in your dreams ... and follow your star ... you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things" - Terry Pratchett
Pixel42 is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 09:08 AM   #66
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Quote:
The remarks about him by Houdini etc quoted earlier in the thread.
These remarks though have been disputed (see my post above). Houdini took his name from Houdin, was a huge fan of him. He only turned against him after he was denied permission to visit Houdin's grave.

Quote:
Whilst on tour in Europe in 1902, Houdini visited Blois with the aim of meeting the widow of Emile Houdin, the son of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, for an interview and permission to visit his grave. He did not receive permission but still visited the grave. Houdini believed that he had been treated unfairly and later wrote a negative account of the incident in his magazine, claiming he was "treated most discourteously by Madame W. Emile Robert-Houdin." In 1906, he sent a letter to the French magazine L'Illusionniste stating: "You will certainly enjoy the article on Robert Houdin I am about to publish in my magazine. Yes, my dear friend, I think I can finally demolish your idol, who has so long been placed on a pedestal that he did not deserve."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Houdini
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 09:33 AM   #67
dropzone
Master Poster
 
dropzone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2,014
Read his book, bro. It's not some petty gripe but a thoroughly researched demolishment.
dropzone is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 09:43 AM   #68
Pixel42
Schrödinger's cat
 
Pixel42's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Malmesbury, UK
Posts: 10,409
Regardless of whether either praise or criticism of Robert-Houdin is warranted, the fact remains that any magician, even good ones like Penn and Teller, can be fooled by a trick with which they are unfamiliar. Robert-Houdin's endorsement of Didier can be plausibly explained by assuming that Didier knew at least one trick that Robert-Houdin didn't. There is therefore no good reason to think that Didier had genuine paranormal abilities. Unless someone invents a time machine so that Didier can be properly tested, there is nothing more that can be learned.
__________________
"If you trust in yourself ... and believe in your dreams ... and follow your star ... you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things" - Terry Pratchett
Pixel42 is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 11:55 AM   #69
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Smile

Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Regardless of whether either praise or criticism of Robert-Houdin is warranted, the fact remains that any magician, even good ones like Penn and Teller, can be fooled by a trick with which they are unfamiliar. Robert-Houdin's endorsement of Didier can be plausibly explained by assuming that Didier knew at least one trick that Robert-Houdin didn't. There is therefore no good reason to think that Didier had genuine paranormal abilities. Unless someone invents a time machine so that Didier can be properly tested, there is nothing more that can be learned.
Yes I agree with this. But what I am saying is, Alexis Didier was literally a 20 year old kid when he was tested by Robert-Houdin but he managed to get one over on a very experience and talented magician.

Didier grew up from a poor household, there is no evidence he attended magic shows. I am not saying he had paranormal powers. If we go with the fraud hypothesis he must have been a very talented magician to have convinced the 'father of magic' from a trick he must have invented himself. But certain users here seem not to even consider this possibility. Instead they claim Houdin was an easy dupe. Should we not give credit where it is due?

This whole thing is extraordinary in itself.

Last edited by BillSkeptic; 5th August 2017 at 11:57 AM.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 11:59 AM   #70
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
Read his book, bro. It's not some petty gripe but a thoroughly researched demolishment.
I have read the book. It is riddled with errors and there is an entire rebuttal to the book by another magician almost page by page, but perhaps this belongs on another thread.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 12:23 PM   #71
sadhatter
Philosopher
 
sadhatter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,977
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Yes I agree with this. But what I am saying is, Alexis Didier was literally a 20 year old kid when he was tested by Robert-Houdin but he managed to get one over on a very experience and talented magician.

Didier grew up from a poor household, there is no evidence he attended magic shows. I am not saying he had paranormal powers. If we go with the fraud hypothesis he must have been a very talented magician to have convinced the 'father of magic' from a trick he must have invented himself. But certain users here seem not to even consider this possibility. Instead they claim Houdin was an easy dupe. Should we not give credit where it is due?

This whole thing is extraordinary in itself.
I know a lot about historical weaponry, but I am a layman there are people out there that devote their lives to this subject.

If I happened to be talking to a professor of this subject and knew a fact he did not, would you assume I had supernatural powers? It's the exact same thing, someone could know hundreds of times more information than me but if they happened not to read one book I have, in going to know something they don't.
sadhatter is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 12:25 PM   #72
dropzone
Master Poster
 
dropzone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2,014
Houdini's book is just to show that Robert-Houdin is an unrelible witness.

Last edited by dropzone; 5th August 2017 at 12:27 PM.
dropzone is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 12:28 PM   #73
dropzone
Master Poster
 
dropzone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2,014
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
I have read the book. It is riddled with errors and there is an entire rebuttal to the book by another magician almost page by page, but perhaps this belongs on another thread.
Undoubtedly, but do you have a link to that book?
dropzone is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th August 2017, 01:29 PM   #74
steenkh
Philosopher
 
steenkh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 5,308
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Yes I agree with this. But what I am saying is, Alexis Didier was literally a 20 year old kid when he was tested by Robert-Houdin but he managed to get one over on a very experience and talented magician.



Didier grew up from a poor household, there is no evidence he attended magic shows. I am not saying he had paranormal powers. If we go with the fraud hypothesis he must have been a very talented magician to have convinced the 'father of magic' from a trick he must have invented himself. But certain users here seem not to even consider this possibility. Instead they claim Houdin was an easy dupe. Should we not give credit where it is due?



This whole thing is extraordinary in itself.
What exactly are you asking us to do here? A young Didier was able to convince an experienced hand that he had paranormal powers. It all happened a long time ago, and we have no reliable sources for what happened. Are we supposed to believe that Didier really had paranormal powers because Robert-Houdin thought so, or what?

You claim to be skeptical, and yet you do not seem to accept the obvious conclusion that Robert-Houdin was fooled by someone who could do a number or two that Robert-Houdin did not know.

It has been pointed out that even the most experienced hands today can be fooled, so what is your problem with this conclusion?
__________________
Steen

--
Jack of all trades - master of none!
steenkh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th August 2017, 04:40 AM   #75
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
What exactly are you asking us to do here? A young Didier was able to convince an experienced hand that he had paranormal powers. It all happened a long time ago, and we have no reliable sources for what happened. Are we supposed to believe that Didier really had paranormal powers because Robert-Houdin thought so, or what?

You claim to be skeptical, and yet you do not seem to accept the obvious conclusion that Robert-Houdin was fooled by someone who could do a number or two that Robert-Houdin did not know.

It has been pointed out that even the most experienced hands today can be fooled, so what is your problem with this conclusion?
You have obviously misinterpreted my posts slightly, I am not arguing for paranormal powers - I am giving credit to a man who managed to 'fool' the father of magic. If we go with the hypothesis that Didier managed to fool Robert-Houdin by a trick, do you accept Didier was a very well trained magician? A 21 year old peasant kid duping an experienced magician, 'the father of magic', do you not acknowledge that this itself is rather spectacular and worth researching? One question comes to mind, how did he do it?
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th August 2017, 04:52 AM   #76
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Here is what Eric Dingwall wrote in his conclusion about Didier's abilities:

Quote:
"The evidence for the paranormal acquisition of information seems to me to be very strong: the travelling clairvoyance also and the discovery of lost objects can be linked with it; and the evidence for thought-transmission cannot just be put on one side. It is true that a good deal of the sealed letter reading and ecarte playing is very suspicious, as ample evidence exists that, in the majority of cases at the time, successes in these directions were almost certainly due to faulty blindfolding and other sources of error. But many of the phenomena with both Alexis and Adolphe seem to me to be of a different order from those reported with other somnambules; and even if we go so far as to assume that the sitters were merely getting back what they told the subject without knowing what they were doing, it would not account for correct facts being given which had to be verified later."
Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena: France, 1968, p. 205

Dingwall was Honorary vise-president for The Magic Circle and a former member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th August 2017, 05:10 AM   #77
Craig B
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 22,444
@ BillSkeptic

In #75 you're not arguing for paranormal powers. In #76 you cite a commentator who does claim such powers on Didier's behalf. Please make up your mind and please stop talking out of both sides of your mouth at once.
Craig B is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th August 2017, 05:47 AM   #78
Craig B
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 22,444
Originally Posted by BillSkeptic View Post
Here is what Eric Dingwall wrote in his conclusion about Didier's abilities:



Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena: France, 1968, p. 205

Dingwall was Honorary vise-president for The Magic Circle and a former member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Eric DingwallWP was an extremely interesting person, it seems. Link to wiki biography above. Definitely worth a read.
Craig B is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th August 2017, 08:22 AM   #79
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
@ BillSkeptic

In #75 you're not arguing for paranormal powers. In #76 you cite a commentator who does claim such powers on Didier's behalf. Please make up your mind and please stop talking out of both sides of your mouth at once.
I quoted a former member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry who believed Didier had paranormal powers. I am not agreeing with what he wrote I wanted to see what users here think about Dingwall's conclusion. A user on this thread said no reliable sources discuss Didier. Would you agree Dingwall is a reliable source?
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th August 2017, 08:29 AM   #80
BillSkeptic
Scholar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 53
Post

Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
Undoubtedly, but do you have a link to that book?
It is called Where Houdini Was Wong (1950) and the subtitle is A Reply to "The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin".

http://www.geniimagazine.com/magicpe...dini_Was_Wrong

Irish magician Victor Farelli wrote it. It is not online.

Magician Jean Hugard also wrote a small book. I don't have it currently. But here is a review:

Quote:
Erich Weiss so admired the great French magician, Robert-Houdin (regarded by many as the father of the modern style of conjuring) that he adopted the stage name of Houdini which he believed meant “like Houdin.” All this changed, with his first visit to Paris. Houdini learned that the widow of Robert-Houdin was living in a suburb. Without any advance announcement, Houdini appeared at her doorstep. He presented his card to the domestic who answered the door. The domestic took the card to the mistress only to come back saying, “Madame Robert-Houdin does not know a Houdini.” The card was then unceremoniously returned, leaving Houdini enraged at the perceived insult. Seeking revenge, Houdini wrote The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. Here he accused the French conjurer of falsely claiming the invention of many of his illusions, and charged that Robert-Houdin’s autobiography was ghost-written by a Parisian journalist.

Jean Hugard, a magician himself, knew Harry Houdini. He admired his ability to get publicity for himself, but “was not enthusiastic about Houdini’s technique as a magician or his reliability as a historian of magic.” In his book, Hugard examined the charge that Robert-Houdin took credit for illusions that had been invented by others. He wrote, “It is an axiom in the ethics of magic that one is allowed to use another magician’s trick provided than an original improvement is added to it…When a magician invents a new presentation for an old trick, he is completely justified in claiming that presentation as his own invention.”
https://www.goodreads.com/review/sho..._review_page=1
BillSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:32 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.