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Old 3rd July 2010, 11:03 AM   #1
RSLancastr
 
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Please read earlier posts tagged "JVPLand" before reading this one.

STOPJAMESVANPRAAGH ========== RSL IN JVPLAND: cHAPTER 7A: PINK PANTHER QUESTION

==========

Back in 2001/2002, I watched many episodes of Van Praagh's TV Show Beyond with James

Van Praagh


It was during one of those episodes that I saw what is still to this day the most

blatant and heartless example of cold reading I have ever seen, which I refer to as Van

Praagh's "Pink Panther reading." It filled me with a disgust and fury which I still

feel all these years later.

As I mentioned earlier in this series of posts, Van Praagh had expressed a desire to

explain to me the "mechanics of mediumship."

So, on June 3 2010 I decided to take him up on this. I would tell him about two things

he does - A LOT - during his readings, and ask him to explain how they could logically

be a part of "real mediumship" rather than the amateurish cold reading they seemed to me

to be.

I sent him an email which included the following:

Quote:
I recently told you on the message boards that if I do end up creating a skeptical web

site about you, that I would gladly run any criticisms of you by you before publishing

them on the site, and would publish any rebuttals or explanations you'd care to submit,

right along with my article. I tried to establish something like this with Browne in

conjunction with things I wrote about her, but never heard back from her. I have

published a few "rebuttal emails" from her staff on the site but, quite frankly, I think

those emails made her staff, and her, look even worse than the rebutted article did!

Anyway, I have not yet decided whether or not to create the site, but at this point I

expect to. (I know, I disappoint you.)

I have yet to write any articles, but I have one in mind, and wanted to run the concept

by you. You have told me that you want to explain to me the "mechanics" of what you do,

and perhaps this would be as good a place as any to start.

As you may guess (It wouldn't take a psychic!) I believe that what you do in your

readings that I have seen is nothing more than "cold reading." I don't recall seeing you

come up with anything specific enough for me to even have to resort to a "hot reading"

theory to come up with a non-mediumistic explanation for it.

But one of the things I have seen you do TIME AFTER TIME is what I call your "because

he/she is telling me" routine. In my less tactful moments, I would say "shitck" rather

than "routine".

What I mean by this - and I don't think I've ever seen you do a reading where you did

NOT do this - is when you ask the sitter a question, then take their answer and repeat

their answer back to them under the (what I see as a) pretense that you just learned the

answer from a "spirit."

The first time I remember seeing you do this it was so blatant that it infuriated me. I

nearly threw a coffee mug at the television.

I acknowledge that the following is from memory, and so is probably not an exact replica

of what went on, but I firmly believe that it is a pretty accurate description of the

reading, but not a word-for-word account. Before I write an article about one of your

readings, I plan to have at least a transcription I have made from a video recording of

the reading. Or, better yet, hope to include an actual video clip of the reading with

the article. I hope there will be no "this is how I remember it went" or, worse yet,

"this is how someone else described it to me."

Now, back to how I remember it went:

A couple stood up in the audience and told you that their daughter had died.

You asked them if she had been an infant when she died. (That's also textbook "cold

reading" James: asking the sitter something instead of TELLING them.) They respond with

a "no." You then proceed to make (what I believe to have been) guesses at the girl's age

at passing, and they kept saying "no." It wasn't as blatant as "One? No. Two? No. Three?

No" but it was pretty close. After a little of this guessing game, they finally told you

the girl's age at passing (around four or five, I believe). You then asked (ASKED, not

TOLD) if the girl had a toy that she loved so much that it about fell apart from her

"love." At this point I yelled at the TV "OH, COME ON!! WHAT TODDLER DOESN'T?!?" I know

that all three of my children did, as did my niece and nephew.

The mother in the couple gasped and said "Yes! She had a stuffed Pink Panther that she

carried with her until the head was falling off!"

You nodded and said "BECAUSE SHE's SHOWING ME A PINK PANTHER"

and the couple broke down into sobs.

Infuriated by what looked to me like a callous manipulation of two fragile people over

the death of their child, for nothing more than TV ratings, I picked up a coffee mug and

hefted it in preparation for trowing it through your smiling face on screen, and yelled

something like "GIVE ME AN EFFING BREAK, VAN PRAAGH - THEY JUST TOLD YOU THAT!!"

I don't recall what, if anything, happend in the reading after that. Perhaps it was one

of those disgusting (to me) post-reading interview with the sitters where they marvel at

howmuch the medium "knew" about the departed, like "How could he have known about her

Pink Panther?!?" "YOU TOLD HIM, THAT'S HOW!!!"

Okay, Deep breaths, Robert... Watch the blood pressure...

I didn't throw the coffee mug, by the way.

So, James... a couple of "Mechanics" questions arise now.

1) Why all of the questions? Why not statements?

2) Why do the "spirits" so often tell you things RIGHT AFTER the sitter has told you the

same thing?

Another example, from a clip I saw recently online.

You were talking to a young woman about a "spirit" you were seeing. She obviously felt

she knew who it was.

You ASKED her "Is this your husband?"

She said that it was, after which you said

BECAUSE HE IS TELLING ME 'I'M HER HUSBAND! i'M HER HUSBAND!"

aGAIN, jAMES: WHY THE QUESTION, AND WHY DID THE "SPIRIT" APPARENTLY NOT TELL YOU HE WAS

THE HUSBAND UNTIL AFTER THE SITTER DID?

pretty transparent cold reading, from where I sit.

I have more questions, but give me a convincing (to me) answer to these two, it will be

a huge start.

My best to [his husband's name] and [his dog's name],

Robert

By the way, any reply you give to this will not be quoted ANYWHERE without your prior

express permission for me to do so.

Not surprisingly, I received no reply. Looking back, I think this email from me may

well have been the end of our "cordiality". Prior to this, I had been openly skeptical

about Life After Death and Mediumship in general, but this was the first time I had been

directly and specfically skeptical of him.

Perhaps it showed him that I was more skeptical than he realized.

Perhaps naively, I did hope for a reply. Not anything which would justify this stuff to

me, but at least an attempt to do so.

I received nothing - not even an acknowledgment he had received it.

Later, I took these questions public - to his site's message board, in what I PROMISE is

the FINAL final chapter in this story.

Mod InfoThread closed; for continued discussion see: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=179581
Posted By:Locknar
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Last edited by Darat; 6th July 2010 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 3rd July 2010, 11:28 AM   #2
Matty1973
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Well that would certainly explain why he doesn't like you any more!

Strange that he wasn't expecting to be confronted by the truth from you. I don't know much about JVP and how much self delusion he has.

Anyway it is great to have you back Robert - waiting for each of these threads to appear has given me butterflies in my stomach similar to I used to get waiting for articles on the SSB site!
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Old 3rd July 2010, 11:58 AM   #3
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Robert, many thanks for the JVP articles. They make fascinating reading and I can't wait until the new site is up and running!
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Old 3rd July 2010, 12:12 PM   #4
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I, too, am enjoying this series. I have yet to see the "cordiality" end. I trust it does in Chapter 7b. I almost wish RSLancastr would release these chapters one week at a time so I could prolong my enjoyment. I almost wish that. Keep 'em comin'.

Ward
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Old 3rd July 2010, 12:41 PM   #5
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Forget waiting a week between chapters, no way! I'm definitely not a "prolong the suspense" type. Can't wait to hear the rest.

Wow, what a well-written email you sent him. That could be an article in itself, with a bit of more solid backup, as you said (such as the actual video taped reading - what are the odds that might still be around?). Do you suppose Eeney and QG would be able to retrieve these older readings from Lexus?
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Old 3rd July 2010, 12:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Matty1973 View Post
Well that would certainly explain why he doesn't like you any more!
I guess so. Oh well. I'd much rather be "not liked" for being true to my convictions than to be liked for abandoning them.

Quote:
Strange that he wasn't expecting to be confronted by the truth from you. I don't know much about JVP and how much self delusion he has.
Hard to say. Perhaps if I had gone to Grant's Pass I would have a better feel for that. Or perhaps not!

Quote:
Anyway it is great to have you back Robert - waiting for each of these threads to appear has given me butterflies in my stomach similar to I used to get waiting for articles on the SSB site!
Thanks, Matty!
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Old 3rd July 2010, 12:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Alice Shortcake View Post
Robert, many thanks for the JVP articles. They make fascinating reading and I can't wait until the new site is up and running!
Thanks, Alice! I'm glad you enjoyed them. I had originally hoped to make this whole saga a speech at TAM8, but, alas, it was not meant to be. It all happened too late, for one thing. By the time I realized what a story it would make, TAM was far too close! Then I thought about making it one big thread, but decided that serializing it might make for a little suspense. I hope that wasn't too contrived! I had intended to map out all of the chapters before writing anything, but I'm afraid I wasn't organized enough for that, and just wrote each as I finished the previous. It seemed to turn out okay for all that.
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Old 4th July 2010, 11:43 AM   #8
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Great series of articles, RSL. You should have no trouble getting enough dirt on this guy to start a website.

Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post

Perhaps it showed him that I was more skeptical than he realized.
He has to have seen the Stop Sylvia site, unless he didn't bother to actually read anything that's on there.

Quote:
Later, I took these questions public - to his site's message board,
Good. As I was reading this I was hoping that his followers would get a chance to see it. It boggles the mind that people could continue to believe when every shred of evidence is shouting "FRAUD! FRAUD! FRAUD! Is there a link to that thread? I won't sign up, I just want to see their reactions to it.

ETA: I just found the 7b thread.

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Old 4th July 2010, 12:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by steve s View Post
Great series of articles, RSL. You should have no trouble getting enough dirt on this guy to start a website.
Thanks, Steve! And yes, every video of one of his readings is worthy of an article. the challenge will be to not just repeat myself.



Quote:
He has to have seen the Stop Sylvia site, unless he didn't bother to actually read anything that's on there.
I thinkhe sees skepticism of her as a totally different thing than skepticism of him.



Good. As I was reading this I was hoping that his followers would get a chance to see it. It boggles the mind that people could continue to believe when every shred of evidence is shouting "FRAUD! FRAUD! FRAUD! Is there a link to that thread? I won't sign up, I just want to see their reactions to it.

ETA: I just found the 7b thread.

Steve S[/quote]
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Old 4th July 2010, 02:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post

I thinkhe sees skepticism of her as a totally different thing than skepticism of him.
He does seem to be somewhat incredulous of skepticism in himself. Do you think he's a true believer or just egotistical?
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Old 4th July 2010, 03:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ysidro View Post
He does seem to be somewhat incredulous of skepticism in himself. Do you think he's a true believer or just egotistical?
I don't know, but I find it hard to believe that someone could be cold reading for decades and not be aware of it. I know that people can cold-read and not know it (our ChillZero has shared with us her story of doing just that), but to do so for decades, along with all of the followup lying that needs to be done to cover it up - I just don'y see how that could be done unawares.
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
all chapter in 1 post.

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Old 5th July 2010, 10:17 AM   #13
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Thanks, Aepervius!

I wish I could edit the OP to add that at the top - sort of a table of contents!
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