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Tags mdc , timed out , oliver mills , challenge application

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Old 8th June 2005, 11:52 AM   #1
KRAMER
Former challenge facilitator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,434
OLIVER MILLS & The Dopamine Rush

This morning (6-7-05) the doorbell rang at the JREF. A few minutes later, Linda appeared at my desk to announce that a Challenge applicant was here to speak with me.

A bitter chill ran down my spine. I anticipated the very worst, took a deep breath, and sauntered toward the JREF entrance.

What I encountered (in direct contrast to the worst-case-scenario I'd feared) was a very polite, lanky young Liverpudlian named Oliver, who claimed to have traversed the Atlantic for the specific purpose of hand-delivering his Challenge application and being tested by the JREF here in Florida. "Wow!", I thought to myself.

His application was indeed in hand, and submitted according to the Challenge rules, which he claimed he knew like the back of his hand. It was accompanied by a few pages of extraneous data supporting his belief, but he made it clear that he understood that we would not read it unless we wanted to. "Give it a look, if you like...", he politely offered. He seemed to me entirely sane, and quite the opposite of what I'd expected from an applicant who showed up at our door unannounced and unexpected.

I explained to him firstly that the JREF does not conduct the tests, and explained that we only act as observers. I also explained that
whenever possible, we like to see tests occur at a location convenient to the applicant's place of residence.

He responded by stating that he saw this in the Challenge rules, but that he "wanted to come and try anyway", and was staying at a dingey little hotel on US1.

I reviewed his claim and accepted it. I also advised him that the test would certainly be a costly one, and that he must understand that all expenses involved in the clinical tests would be his sole responsibility. Again, he responded by stating that he understood this, and added that his attempts to secure the necessary facilities in Liverpool prior to the submission of his application were not successful.

I did not inquire as to what made him believe he could do what he was claiming, or if had any clinical proof that his claim was valid. I'm not sure why I decided to avoid such questioning in person. I thought of doing so, but did not, thinking it to be - shall we say - imprudent to attempt face-to-face.

I told Mr. Mills that we had an investigator in the UK named Tony Youens who often worked wonders in such matters, and that the best thing to do would be to contact him upon his return to the UK. He agreed to do so, shook my hand, and departed.

Only moments ago, he called to say that he had found a clinic that would take his blood and provide results within 7 days.
I am now consulting Randi on this matter, and will offer an additional posting here within hours, or sooner.

The following is Mr. Mills' claim, which I post here without the extra pages of "supporting data" he provided. As you can see, his claim was composed according to the Challenge rules; a brief description of his claim, and one paragraph on how he proposes to demonstrate it.

This may turn out to be very, very interesting. This will also mark by very first direct, person-to-person contact with a Challenge applicant, which so far has proceeded quite cordially.

=============================================

By act of spiritual will, chi, yin and yang I can produce significant levels of dopamine on cue. A demonstration of success is, in comparison with the levels of dopamine found in the preliminary Base-Line sample and the floating Base-Line sample, the 3 experimental samples showing a 15% and upwards increase in the level of dopamine found, in terms of ng/ml, in the 3-5 ml blood samples. Failure to demonstrate this ability being anything less than stipulated 15% increase in all 3 experimental samples compared with both Base-Line samples.

After arrangement of the practical elements of the experiment, and the taking of the first Base-Line, the moment the medical assistant attaches the first experimental syringes to a fixed needle in the subject's hand, a confederate of the JREF cues the applicant 25-40 seconds afterward. From which point the applicant has up to 35 seconds to have initiated, by agreed upon signals (arranged between the medical staff, applicant and recorded by him, and assented to by the JREF, when the applicant gives instruiction upon the more delicate aspects of drawing his blood to the medical staff at the time of experiment), the drawing of blood, with the bwhole process repeated three times. The floating Base-Line, prompted for under a single-blind condition in favour of the JREF, interrupts the timing of the experimental conditions, so that when the next experimental syringe is attached to the fixed needle in the subject's hand, the clock starts again - as with the conditions of the first experimental syringe. The conditions of the experiment being observed and observers seated, respecting silence and personal order, undisturbeed for the duration of the experiment except by cue signals, and immediately necessary bloods activity.


=============================================

I was unable to consult Randi today, but in a subsequent telephone conversation with Mr. Mills on the subject of the clinic he had located in this area, I warned him that it was quite likely that Randi would not accept a test protocol in which the blood samples were not immediately examined on-site.

I also advised him that according to double-blind standards, the person taking his blood sample would be required to submit it to another clinician (in an adjoining room) who would NOT know which samples wer the experimental ones, and which were not.

I also told him that the JREF would not chose when to "cue" him, but that dice would be rolled to determine the cue (or some other technique that would guarantee the choice was made randomly).

He immediately and happily agreed to the latter stipulation, and agreed solmenly (but without debate) to the former. He then stated that he would seek alternate venues for the test and get back to me.
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Old 8th June 2005, 12:20 PM   #2
KRAMER
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Wrong Again

I consulted Randi and he has no problem waiting a week for the test results so long as the applicant doesn't know the location of the test facility the blood samples are being sent to.
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Old 8th June 2005, 12:49 PM   #3
KRAMER
Former challenge facilitator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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While waiting for the advice of an expert in this field of study (in order to determine whether or not I made an error in accepting this claim as "paranormal"), this came in to me via PM...

Dopamine is a standard neuroregulator. I frankly don't recall the details, but it's been associated in the past with various "mental states" usually ascribed as "mystical", but that appear (to me) to simply be the results of self-induced shifts in brain chemistry.

For solid evidence you'll need to talk to a REAL biochemist who is into neurotransmitter chemistry, I'm afraid, I'm just a reader of lots of biochem books and such. (I mean real ones, not homeopathic or whatever ones.)
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Old 14th June 2005, 12:38 PM   #4
KRAMER
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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As Mr. Mills presented himself at the JREF headquarters and has not conducted any correspondence with us via email, we have no way of detailing our exchanges with him verbatim, precisely as they occured.

I have discussed much of what we spoke about and how the verbal negotiations were proceeding in the forum Challenge thread, linked below.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...post1870941789
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Old 22nd July 2005, 02:35 PM   #5
KRAMER
Former challenge facilitator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,434
Poo-tee-weet?

Having not heard from Mr. Mills since his presumed departure from the Fort Lauderdale area, I sent the following email to the internet address he provided with his Challenge application.

==============================================

Hello Oliver,

I hope you had a safe trip back to the UK.

It is our intention to close your file now, unless you are able to offer us ample reason to consider otherwise.

What is your intention?

-Kramer, JREF Paranormal Claims Dept.


==============================================

This email came back to me within a few seconds. There is no such email address.

Hence, Oliver's file has been closed.






(For anyone who is confused by the term "Poo-tee-weet", read your Vonnegut...)
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