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Tags withdrawn , spirit painting , mdc , margaret waterhouse , challenge application

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Old 27th December 2004, 12:31 PM   #1
KRAMER
Former challenge facilitator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,434
MARGARET WATERHOUSE, Painter of the DEAD

This is one of the very first claims I handled after arriving at the JREF in March. It remains one of the very best examples of the type of claims that do not endear us to our colleagues in skepticism around the globe.

The JREF Million Dollar Challenge is a very important tool, and one of the best methods the JREF has of showing the world that paranormal claims are devoid of substance.

It can also be one royal pain in the butt, particularly when the job of finding a qualified investigator rears its ugly head. The nuttier the claim, the more difficult that job becomes.

And so it goes...

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

SPECIAL ABILITY: Images appear in my oil paintings of people who have passed away.

TEST PROCEDURE: I will do an oil painting on an 18x24 board. Using a genuine subject of your choice, I will produce in the painting an image of a loved one who has passed away.

PROVIDE GUIDELINES: I will need my art supplies and board which will already have one layer of paint (at this stage no subject is needed). The demonstration comes with the 2nd layer of paint. I will need your subject to tell me what animals the deceased was fond of or provide photos of pets.

The negative opr positive results will be obtained in one painting session by your subject saying if they recognize their loved one in the painting.

Yours Sincerely, Margaret Waterhouse

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

I accepted this claim and directed Ms. Waterhouse to a list of Australian Skeptics Groups, asking her to chose the one most convenient to her. She did, and we both wrote emails to the address noted in the group's website. Neither the applicant nor JREF received any reply. After a few months, we had contacted each and every Skeptics Group in Australia and received no response.

I then asked Randi to write an email to Barry Williams in Australia, and soon received the following in reply...

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

Hello Kramer,
Yes we think we can handle this OK. We had contact with Ms. Waterhouse a couple of years ago but then it was very hard to get her to specify what she could do, so we didn't get far.
Regards, Barry Williams

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

Thinking that this had finally set the wheels in motion, I relaxed a bit, but soon began to receive more emails from Ms. Waterhouse, this one arriving in late November 2004;

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

Mr. Kramer,
It has now been over 6 months since I approached Barry Williams of the Australia Skeptics Society. I feel I have waited a polite amount of time and would like to approach someone else. I'm quite happy to travel interstate. I will wait for your views on the subject.
-Margaret Waterhouse

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

I have apologized to Ms. Waterhouse, and initiated further attempts to correspond with Barry Williams in order to see whether or not he had spoken with this applicant and encountered much the same difficulties he had during his initial contact with her a couple of years ago, which may be the case.

There are some types of claims that no one (amongst "the sensible", anway) wants to waste their time with. This, sadly, is one of them.
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KRAMER,
JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk
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Old 27th April 2005, 12:17 PM   #2
KRAMER
Former challenge facilitator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,434
After Much Ado About....

Randi shared a brief email exchange with this applicant during which she became more and more unclear about what she could do, how she could do it, and under what circumstances. One confusion led to another before Randi finally offered her terms that would be acceptable for the test. Contrary to the applicant's assertion in her email to me (see below), Randi did NOT tell her that she "would not be tested".

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

Dear Kramer,

I have received an email from Randi saying that I will not be tested but I would just like to thank you for your civility and professionalism.

Regards,
Margaret


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

You are quite welcome, Ms. Waterhouse. I regret that matters which kept us from agreeing on a protocol were unable to be resolved.
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JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk
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