|2nd February 2005, 02:42 PM||#1|
Former challenge facilitator
Join Date: Apr 2004
ERIK BOSTROM, Canadian Malcontent
We first began to hear from Erik Bostrom back in 2001 when he submitted a Challenge application with the following words scrawled across the back page:
I will determine the contents of sealed identical* containers. Without using any of the usual senses, sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste. Thus demonstrating 'Extra Sensory Perception'.
All materials used in demonstration will be purchased from local supermarkets immediately prior to the demonstration. Mr. Amazing Randi and I do purchasing and preparation together.
*Identical means by weight, density, etc. etc. etc.
Apparently, whomever was handling the JREF Challenge at the time did not take notes, or even copy correspondence on what took place between the JREF and the applicant.
The first contact I had with Mr. Bostrom was an irate phonecall he made to us during the Summer of 2004 which indicated that he had been tested by investigators at York University.
"They treated me like sh*t. I'm gonna send a new application but if you tell me to go back to those a**holes I'm telling you the only reason I wanna see them again is so I can kick the living dogsh*t outta them. Period. OK?"
I got off the phone pretty fast.
A few months later (late 2004) Mr. Bostrom sent a new application, with a scribbled claim letter on Viking Tree Service stationary...much of it repeats the same claim as his initial one, but his latest protocol proposal had become outlandish, with specifics on "how the oatmeal is to be poured into the container".
Much of it made little sense, so I responded by stating as such, and requesting a very brief description of how he wants to demonstrate his claim. Here is his response:
So far I have tried to relate to you my position, a better word escapes me, and have thrown an idea into the mix. Haste makes waste, right?
I am hoping you take scientific rather than contentious approach as I do.
Should my position prove untenable I am prepared to graciously accept its defeat as would any honorable man, at this early stage we eye the lay of the land, sniff the air, pace out the field, check and clean our instruments...I would hear back from you on your feel for the situation...let us proceed as gentlemen. at this stage perhaps it is better we consider other options and possibilities and ideas, get a feel for one another and what we are trying to accomplish together.
p.s. you were right Kramer I was initially irritated at having to re-write something but having done so and appreciating the need for clarity and public record I must say I enjoyed it.
I wrote back to Mr. Bostrom suggesting that he join the JREF forum and discuss his position with critical thinkers.
He wrote back with a "Note To Forum Members", and a request for me to post it in the forum. I told him he must do so himself if he wished for it to be posted there. I told him to join.
The letter rambles on about his favorite writers, his philosophical meanderings, the Bible, his love of the Bible, Miracles, Emotion, and the kitchen sink. I will not re-print it here, as there is nothing in it that relates to the Challenge, or to his paranormal claim.
I responded by asking if he had conducted his own tests of his claim, so as to avoid any potential for embarrassment, should he fail in demonstrating it. I also reminded him that the JREF preliminary test would be rigorous and quite conclusive.
I have done this for 25 years, always for my own purpose and demonstration, never under the degree of scrutiny to be expected now. I will be rehearsing prior to the test.
Failure is never embarrassing, not believing in one's self can be disheartening, though. I am completely comfortable with the openness and transparency of our ongoing discourse and preparation and invite any interested parties to communicate with me directly c/o JREF, such communication may be more likely and more meaningful AFTER the test.
To any who may write, I have no truck w/thieves & liars.
OK. At this point, I decided that the guy's bark may well be worse than his bite, so I directed him to contact Eric McMillan at Ontario Skeptics in an effort to see whether or not a suitable protocol could be agreed to, and a test date determined asap. I then emailed Mr. McMillan himself to warn him of a forthcoming email from an applicant.
I never heard from Bostrom again, but I got THIS from Mr. McMillan a few days later:
We have correspondence with Mr. Bostrom going back to December 2001 when he first asked to tested. At that time we were unable to clarify with him exactly what his claimed talent was and he appeared unwilling to accept an objective testing procedure. As we can see in his current message which you passed on to me, he proposes a test which is full of loopholes.
However we would be quite willing to negotiate with him a better protocol, hopefully that would meet the standards of all parties. Have him get in touch with me and we'll be happy to try again to work it out.
To date, Ontario Skeptics hasn't heard a peep from Erik Bostrom, Challenge applicant.
And so it goes.
JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk
|21st October 2006, 07:04 AM||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2003
Received this today via e-mail, sent to the wrong address. I replied that so much time has passed that he should reapply if he's still interested in the challenge. Also, his account "contender" appears to be active, so I'm not sure why he's not using it. - Jeff Wagg
Dear Sir or Madam,