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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:14 PM   #121
The Central Scrutinizer
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
That's simply one example of my #5.
When I saw there was no #6, I dismissed the rest of your post.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:14 PM   #122
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Facebook?

However they got the guys name, and I suppose they had to have gotten it someplace, it doesn't take long to look folks up on Facebook.

You got pictures, names, interests, age... Seems like everyone has a page these days. Does Liam?
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:25 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
We're going to need to have ten people in the audience who are paying attention to who gets a reading during the show. Then we're just gonna have to walk up to those people as they exit, corral them, and ask them what's up.
Yikes. I wouldn't expect any sort of cooperation from them. Even if we were to walk them through what happened, if they've just received a 'reading' from JE given them a message from a loved one, they're going to remember the 'hit' and how gosh-darn good it felt. Now, along comes some stranger relating details about their reading that, although true, they haven't fixated on, or have been pushed to the side from the emotional weight of the experience. I'd expect them to be either outright hostile or bawling buckets of tears.

If one was to do this, it would have to be handled very delicately, and it would probably only happen once, since if JE ever got wind that there were large groups of organized skeptics in his audience (shouldn't he KNOW that already?!?) he would probably do something to make sure it didn't happen again.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:27 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
He pointed toward the table behind me, where Liam was sitting, and said that he was getting the name 'Joshua'. I am again using a fake name of the same level of popularity. And I don't mean that he said he was getting a 'j' or the name 'Josh' or the feeling of a male presence. I mean that John Edward pointed at the table where Liam was sitting and said he was getting the name Joshua.

So Liam stood up. One of the ushers brought him a microphone so that he could communicate with Edward. Edward again said that he had gotten the name 'Joshua', and then said that there was something weird about it, because he had the sensation that the name was LIAM's. Then Edward paused for a moment. Liam had not said anything at this time. Edward said that, though Liam's name was Joshua, he had not introduced himself that way to the rest of his table. Edward then asked Joshua to hand the microphone over to someone else at the table, and then asked that person what Joshua had introduced himself as. The person said, "Liam."

Edward then asked Joshua to take out his driver's license and show it to everyone else at the table. The driver's license said that his name was Joshua Liam Smith.

This screams to me that the likely source of Edward's information was a glance by someone at Liam's license.

I think it's possible that someone who works for Edward happened to see Liam's license - perhaps through a transparent window of his wallet - when Liam opened his wallet to do anything from paying for a drink to checking that he had cash to making sure he had his identification just in case it was required for entry to putting his ticket away after entering.

What if he put his ticket stub in his wallet at the table in front of the other guests after introducing himself as Liam?

I've read several stories where mentalists (including James Randi) would luckily come by information through the natural course of events before or during showtime and feed that information back. In fact, I can't remember which author it was, but one mentalist said he always kept an eye out for these sorts of things, because nothing impresses the audience more than these apparently impossible feats.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:32 PM   #125
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By the by, for those who are curious, here is my John Oliver stuff. It's crazy impressive, and it comes down to two possibilities: either he is extremely dedicated to appearing psychic and really does his homework, or he's really psychic. I find the former to be more believable, and yet somehow it isn't an entirely satisfying explanation. I feel I'm missing a step. This is similar to when I sat down and decided I was going to figure out exactly how Penn & Teller's bullet catch is performed. I took the trick apart, came up with an explanation, and thought, "Yes, that's how it could be done, but it doesn't feel quite right."

Months later, I found out the real explanation. Mine had been a single step off. It feels like that.

When I was on shoot for 'Door to the Dead', I met medium John Oliver. I decided early that I was going to ask him for a reading regarding my missing uncle, Duane. Duane has been missing since 1989. When I met Oliver, he claimed to not know me or my work. I was added to the cast very late in the game, so this is not terribly surprising. Additionally, he claimed to not know I worked for Randi.

The shoot was three days long. The hotel had bad internet which rarely worked at all. Cell phones didn't work anywhere - not in the hotel, or at the shoot site. You could occasionally get a signal when in the car travelling in between.

I told the make-up artist early on that I planned to ask Oliver for a reading on my uncle. I did not give her details about my uncle, and I did not give his name.

My web site, if you dig around, has information on my uncle. You have to at least sort of know what you're looking for, or wade through around a hundred articles.

On the day that I told Oliver I wanted a reading, I did it from the actual shooting location. We did not, thereafter, leave that location - meaning that there was no cell service or internet from the time I asked until the time he gave the reading.

The reading was given in a dark car on the way back to the hotel. Oliver had his eyes closed. I did not speak at all.

1) Oliver said he was getting 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', and felt that it was a hospital environment.

- My uncle was schizophrenic, and was, for some time, committed to a mental facility.

2) Oliver said he was getting military service.

- My uncle was in the Navy.

3) Oliver said that he was getting military hospital, but not the same hospital as the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest one.

- My uncle was born on a military base.

4) Oliver said that he was getting the sensation of more than one person within this person, one arguing with another.

- My uncle was, again, schizophrenic.

5) Oliver said that my uncle had tattoos.

- Unverifiable.

6) Oliver said my uncle had gastrointestinal issues.

- Unverifiable.

7) Oliver said that my uncle listened to the television very, very loudly.

- When my uncle lived alone in his apartment, the neighbours frequently called the police for noise disturbances based upon how loud his television and/or radio were.

8) Oliver said that he could see my uncle wandering away down a road with no clear idea where he was going.

- My uncle used to leave home and hitchhike without telling anyone.

9) Oliver said that my uncle is dead.

- Unverifiable.

10) Oliver said that the body is in the woods.

- Unverifiable.

11) Oliver said that my uncle shot himself.

- Unverifiable.

The majority of that information can be gleaned from my web site. Oh, it's twisted up into a nicer package than the way that I phrased it. It looks prettier, and more otherworldly, but it's the same information.

The reason I feel unsatisfied with that explanation, as though I am missing a piece of the trick, is that so far as I can tell this would require Oliver to have looked up what he was supposed to say far in advance of saying it. No one on the set knew the full story, and those are some crazy details. At best, someone might have told him that I would like a reading, and he might've gone online to see what I might be asking him, and might've sat there and memorized the whole thing. But it doesn't seem quite right. It seems like a step is gone. I don't know what.

Anyway, my point in relaying that... Edward wasn't doing cold reading. He just wasn't. Cold reading doesn't impress me, and I know how to identify it. What he was doing was more along the lines of what Oliver did with me - somewhere between warm and hot reading. In Oliver's case, even though I don't know the precise mechanism, I err on the side of not-psychic. Now what would be really interesting is if I could come up with the answers to those unverifiables, and determine if they were correct. If they were, I may have to reassess my belief structure.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:34 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Tamarillicent View Post
Facebook?

However they got the guys name, and I suppose they had to have gotten it someplace, it doesn't take long to look folks up on Facebook.

You got pictures, names, interests, age... Seems like everyone has a page these days. Does Liam?
He has a Facebook - it's set to private. You can, however, see a photo of him - and he is dressed like a clown.

I don't deny that there are ways of figuring this out that are non-paranormal. I'd just like to know what the mechanism was - in the same way as I mentioned in my previous post that the bullet catch explanation I came up with didn't seem quite right, neither does this - UNLESS he had everyone's names that would be in attendance in advance of the show. And that is the part I do not see.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:49 PM   #127
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Josh/Joshua is one of the most popular names in the US. I suspect throwing out the name was a shotgun thing that just happened to hit a target. After "Liam" reacted it was all cold reading.

-- Roger
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:57 PM   #128
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Ok, I said this earlier in the thread but it doesn't look like anyone was paying attention, so I am repeating it:

How about if JE had some people stationed by the box office to get into conversation with people purchasing tickets before the show? A person probably would not have remembered that they had a conversation with a random person before a show. Especially if it was hours before or the day before the show.

They could have people there a number of times until they got enough useful info and then just stop. This is something that you could actually watch for without having to attend his show or stand on line and pretend you were going to attend his show. This is one way that you could definitely get info on the last minute ticket buyers.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:57 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by jadebox View Post
Josh/Joshua is one of the most popular names in the US. I suspect throwing out the name was a shotgun thing that just happened to hit a target. After "Liam" reacted it was all cold reading.

-- Roger
Hah... Well, it turns out that when assessing the popularity of the name, I chose wrong.

Joshua is #4 most popular name in Canada.

The real name is #40 in Canada.

Liam is #5 most popular name in Canada.

The real name is #839 in the United States, and not listed in Canada at all.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:01 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
1) Oliver said he was getting 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', and felt that it was a hospital environment.

- My uncle was schizophrenic, and was, for some time, committed to a mental facility.
He felt that it was a "hospital environment" - that could cover a lot of things. Plus, he wasn't specific about who was involved with this "environment" or in what capacity. And was 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' mentioned that day within his hearing?
Quote:
2) Oliver said he was getting military service.

- My uncle was in the Navy.
But he didn't give any details about who was in the military, or which branch. If it was the Navy, I'd have expected to hear something about sea, or water, or ships.
Quote:
3) Oliver said that he was getting military hospital, but not the same hospital as the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest one.
- My uncle was born on a military base.
The 'Cuckoo's Nest' hospital was a civilian one. And why the second mention of that film, I wonder? Maybe the first mention had made you involuntarily give something away, a sigh or gasp, perhaps?
And, again, he said nothing specific about the hospital that would have connected it to your uncle. It was you who made the connection, not him.
Quote:
4) Oliver said that he was getting the sensation of more than one person within this person, one arguing with another.

- My uncle was, again, schizophrenic.
That's the popular idea of schizophrenia, and it's usually wrong. OK, some schizophrenics do hear voices, but only a minority of them (My ex was schizophrenic and he didn't hear voices, he just had delusions.)
To me, that particular 'hit' sounds quite a lot like warm reading - especially when coupled with the repeated mentions of 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'. He didn't give any details of your uncle's actual behaviour - schizophrenia doesn't mean "double personality" and is in fact just a general term that covers a huge variety of symptoms. I think Oliver just had a general idea of "mental illness!" and gave you his misconception of it.
(Of course, if your uncle's symptoms did consist of hearing voices and arguing with them out loud, it would be a different story.)

Quote:
7) Oliver said that my uncle listened to the television very, very loudly.

- When my uncle lived alone in his apartment, the neighbours frequently called the police for noise disturbances based upon how loud his television and/or radio were.
He could have guessed that your uncle was old, and old people often are a bit deaf and put their TVs and radios on very loudly.
Quote:
8) Oliver said that he could see my uncle wandering away down a road with no clear idea where he was going.

- My uncle used to leave home and hitchhike without telling anyone.
That's you making the connection again, not Oliver. He said nothing about it being a vision of a literal event - if it hadn't meant anything to you, he'd just have said that it was what your uncle had often felt like, or something similar.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:02 PM   #131
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I still think a 'hostile interview' would be the best way to catch JE in something.

Put him in a situation where he doesn't have control of the process. Change things up on him.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:05 PM   #132
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Yet, another "please debunk my anecdote" thread about psychics....
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:07 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by jadebox View Post
Josh/Joshua is one of the most popular names in the US. I suspect throwing out the name was a shotgun thing that just happened to hit a target. After "Liam" reacted it was all cold reading.

-- Roger
Joshua was not the guys real name. She just used that as an example.

Neither was Liam.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:11 PM   #134
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You're working awfully hard to make Edward's trick seem more amazing than it was. Just because you found yourself caught up in it doesn't make it special. Nothing you describe requires more than a simple case of cold reading.

-- Roger
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:12 PM   #135
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Regarding the Oliver reading, I'm with Sophia8. Add on top that Oliver knew you before hand (and may well make it a standard practice to conduct basic research on those who are on his show) and that you mentioned to the make-up artist that you were going to specifically ask about your uncle, and I see no mystery here, simply skill.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:12 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Joshua was not the guys real name. She just used that as an example.

Neither was Liam.
Okay .... but that doesn't affect my point. It's still likely to have been a shotgun approach - just calling out a name and looking for a reaction.

Even unusual names are more likely to produce a "hit" than most people think.

-- Roger
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:12 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
By the by, for those who are curious, here is my John Oliver stuff. It's crazy impressive,

1) Oliver said he was getting 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', and felt that it was a hospital environment.
- My uncle was schizophrenic, and was, for some time, committed to a mental facility.
2) Oliver said he was getting military service.
- My uncle was in the Navy.
3) Oliver said that he was getting military hospital, but not the same hospital as the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest one.
- My uncle was born on a military base.
4) Oliver said that he was getting the sensation of more than one person within this person, one arguing with another.
- My uncle was, again, schizophrenic.
5) Oliver said that my uncle had tattoos.
- Unverifiable.
6) Oliver said my uncle had gastrointestinal issues.
- Unverifiable.
7) Oliver said that my uncle listened to the television very, very loudly.
- When my uncle lived alone in his apartment, the neighbours frequently called the police for noise disturbances based upon how loud his television and/or radio were.
8) Oliver said that he could see my uncle wandering away down a road with no clear idea where he was going.
- My uncle used to leave home and hitchhike without telling anyone.
9) Oliver said that my uncle is dead.
- Unverifiable.
10) Oliver said that the body is in the woods.
- Unverifiable.
11) Oliver said that my uncle shot himself.
- Unverifiable.
 
I’m at a complete loss as to exactly what you find “crazy impressive” about any of this.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:13 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Somehow, I'm still not impressed.
Neither am I, Ask 1,000 psychics to guess a random card your holding out of a deck and the odds are at least one will be very close or exactly right.

I'm still certain he got his info beforehand, if and only if this Hit is as spectacular as it really seems to be, memory can be a funny thing.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:13 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
Yet, another "please debunk my anecdote" thread about psychics....
Not really. The difference is that Remie really is neither looking for nor defending a paranormal explanation.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:14 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
Yet, another "please debunk my anecdote" thread about psychics....
Wow, this thread sort of passed you by in both lanes, didn't it?
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:15 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by jadebox View Post
Okay .... but that doesn't affect my point. Perhaps the name Edward actually called out was more popular?

-- Roger
Did you even bother to read the OP?
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:29 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Did you even bother to read the OP?
Yes, I read it ... and I corrected my post.

Since we don't know what the original name is, we don't know how popular it, or names similar to it, are.

-- Roger
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:30 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Wow, this thread sort of passed you by in both lanes, didn't it?
Oh ... I see.

[plonk]

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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:33 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
When I saw there was no #6, I dismissed the rest of your post.
Well, at least you read to the part I hadn't written. It's more than I deserve.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:36 PM   #145
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This is one of the more amusing threads I've seen lately.

For the ten billionth time, I am a skeptic. A professional skeptic. I worked for the JREF for three years. I have my own skeptical organization. I have written on the subject, lectured on the subject, been interviewed on the subject, and consulted as an expert on the subject. Freakin' BOGGLE, people.

This thread is, however, definitely inclining me toward making out with Scrut.

Look, I've already said that with the Oliver reading, I accept the non-paranormal explanation. I merely feel that I'm missing an important step in determining HOW he did it. I accept the non-paranormal explanation for basically everything. Leaving a door open to the possibility is NOT an acceptance that anything paranormal is real. It is the acceptance that some people believe in that stuff, and that I am taking everything on a case-by-case basis. In fact, being the Challenge administrator for three years rather REQUIRED that I believe in the possibility - otherwise negotiating claims and building protocols would've been impossible because it would've all had a neon sign over it that read "WHAT'S THE POINT?"

To Koch:

It is possible that he could have stationed someone next to the box office desk, and it could've worked with Liam (potentially) because Liam bought his ticket the day prior to the show. However, most people who purchase tickets for shows do so online in advance of their trip. Of the remaining, very few are going to purchase theirs at the box office immediately prior to the show's commencement. In other words, whoever was stationed there would have to be there all hours of the day, every day, or risk not running into anyone who was going.

So, while possible, it too seems unlikely.

Now, one thing that occurred to me is that some people might be randomly surveyed (on paper) with the claim that the survey is for something else. Clearly, they don't offer said survey to everyone (as I would've had it on multiple occasions). It might not appear to be because they are attending the show, and might seem totally unrelated. The thing is, the box office folk more than likely would not get in trouble for not exercising discretion if this was the method - since the customer would be filling out the paper by choice.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:39 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by Robert Oz View Post
This screams to me that the likely source of Edward's information was a glance by someone at Liam's license.

I think it's possible that someone who works for Edward happened to see Liam's license - perhaps through a transparent window of his wallet - when Liam opened his wallet to do anything from paying for a drink to checking that he had cash to making sure he had his identification just in case it was required for entry to putting his ticket away after entering.
I've been scrolling through since post #1 to make this very point. He pays for the ticket, and while opening his wallet to make the transaction leaves his wallet open enough that the ticket seller is able to gleen information off the license, which is now exposed. That information is then passed along to JE staff, along with the seating location. Don't see why it needs to be any more complicated than that.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:39 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
So, important facts garnered there:

1) I know that Joshua introduced himself as Liam, because that is how he introduced himself to me. He never intimated in any way that it was his middle name.
Presumably, Liam introduced himself to his tablemates in the same way.

Quote:
2) Edward pulled, out of thin air, not only the guy's real name, but also the fact that the man wasn't using his real name.
My guess is that Edwards was quick to pick up, through body language and facial expressions, that "Liam's" tablemates were bemused by the fact that he stood up as "Joshua" when he had introduced himself to them as "Liam", and Edwards spontaneously adjusted his "reading" to include the possibility of a nickname or alternate name. (After all, if I'm sitting at a table with someone who introduced himself as "Fred" and then he stands in response to a "Herbert", I imagine I'd look rather confused myself.)

C'mon. This is what Edwards does for a living. He's had a lot of practice.

Quote:
Edward then did a reading for Liam. And it was a good reading - really good. At the very least, an excellent exercise in cold reading.
From a "mentalist" experienced in cold reading. There ya go.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:46 PM   #148
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Let’s look at the “unverifiables” to see how impressive they might have been . . .

Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
6) Oliver said my uncle had gastrointestinal issues.
Many people have, especially the elderly. Very safe “fishing“. If he did and you knew it would be an “impressive hit”. Even if you said “No he didn’t” have he could have said he kept quite about it.

Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
9) Oliver said that my uncle is dead.
Very safe bet, but no better than abducted by aliens without proof.

Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
10) Oliver said that the body is in the woods.
It’s always - Woods, water or a dark place. But what woods?

Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
11) Oliver said that my uncle shot himself.
Did your Uncle carry a gun when he went missing? If not where did the gun come from?

Not even anything potentially "impressive".
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:51 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
This is one of the more amusing threads I've seen lately.

For the ten billionth time, I am a skeptic. A professional skeptic. I worked for the JREF for three years. I have my own skeptical organization. I have written on the subject, lectured on the subject, been interviewed on the subject, and consulted as an expert on the subject. Freakin' BOGGLE, people.
Perhaps when you say things like - “I err on the side of not-psychic” as if it’s a 50/50 choice it doesn’t reflect the above.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:52 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by patchbunny View Post
I've been scrolling through since post #1 to make this very point. He pays for the ticket, and while opening his wallet to make the transaction leaves his wallet open enough that the ticket seller is able to gleen information off the license, which is now exposed. That information is then passed along to JE staff, along with the seating location. Don't see why it needs to be any more complicated than that.
You haven't been ignored. It's been stated in different ways. Some of us re-stating it have actually read your original point.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:56 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
This is one of the more amusing threads I've seen lately.

For the ten billionth time, I am a skeptic. A professional skeptic. I worked for the JREF for three years. I have my own skeptical organization. I have written on the subject, lectured on the subject, been interviewed on the subject, and consulted as an expert on the subject. Freakin' BOGGLE, people.
Look. Maybe you were born in Hawaii and maybe you were born in Kenya, but it isn't unreasonable to ask that you provide a freaking copy of your Skeptics card. Not the short version, but the long form. Verified by the Governor. And just because you're black, it doesn't mean I believe in psi.


Originally Posted by RemieV
This thread is, however, definitely inclining me toward making out with Scrut.
Not me?

Carry on. I'll just be in my usual corner crying as usual.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:03 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
This thread is, however, definitely inclining me toward making out with Scrut.
I have won the thread.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:08 PM   #153
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RemieV - Why do you find it “crazy impressive” that a person only gives you information that was already known and you already knew? Would it be “crazy impressive” if I gave you last week’s Lotto numbers?

What was “given” was obviously more vague fishing than specific information.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:09 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Not me?

Carry on. I'll just be in my usual corner crying as usual.
Well, second place isn't that bad.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:13 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Well, second place isn't that bad.
Have you seen your butt lately?
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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:13 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
I have won the thread.
This entire thread was obviously a long-winded setup on Remie's part to flush out potential suitors.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:21 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by Scrut
Guess who "Guy" just happens to work for? It was a stroke of luck that he sat next to Liam. That's why it didn't happen again, or at least doesn't happen regulary.
Heck, he doesn't even have to be employed by Edward. He may simply know how Vegas works. Give Edward's crew a call and offer some information.

It's Vegas. Everyone who lives there is in on it.

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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:22 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
It's Vegas. Everyone who lives there is in on it.
Which would include Remie. Curses, we've been had!
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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:22 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by desertgal
C'mon. This is what Edwards does for a living. He's had a lot of practice.
Lest we forget.

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Old 3rd January 2011, 02:23 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by JoeyDonuts View Post
This entire thread was obviously a long-winded setup on Remie's part to flush out potential suitors.
I'm not even sure how I won. If I was, I'd bottle it and become a millionaire.
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