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Tags David Thompson , victor zammit

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Old 4th July 2006, 12:35 PM   #1
Mike D.
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Victor Zammit attends a David Thompson seance

The first link is to Zammit's account of the seance, and the second is to a critique of Zammit's account by novelist Michael Prescott.


http://www.victorzammit.com/articles/davidthompson.html

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/m...rescotts_blog/

Last edited by Mike D.; 4th July 2006 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 4th July 2006, 01:47 PM   #2
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Well firstly Michael Prescott says this:
Quote:
Now, I think paranormal phenomena - including materializations - are sometimes genuine. But materialization seances are an area that has always been rife with fraud.
It's a bit hard to know how to take this guy.

Yes he knows that this area is 'rife with fraud' yet for some reason he thinks that sometimes it's real? Why?
It reminds me of the whole "Well sure Uri bent the spoon with his hands that time, but maybe he did it with his mind another time".


Also I don't know why but his next article kind of annoyed me:
"
From Drudge: a photo of actual honest-to-God vultures roosting near the space shuttle.

I wouldn't go up in that thing for a million bucks. "

I was at the Space Centre 2 weeks ago and, er, vultures are all over the place there.
They live there Michael. Why are vultures so scary to him?
Is the implication that if a vulture lands on something then anyone who gets in it will die and they will eat them?
It's just weird.

And I personally would pay to go in the space shuttle.
I met astronaut John Blaha while I was there and had a totally superb day.

In fact it struck me while I was there that we all know the names of pointless celebrities, footballers, baseball stars, Big Brother contestants etc. but how many of us could name Space Shuttle commanders?
These are people who really deserve respect. Massively talented, educated, dedicated and hardworking men and women.

People who probably wouldn't go "Eurgh, a vulture is sitting on the Space Shuttle! I'm not getting in that."
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Old 4th July 2006, 01:54 PM   #3
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Oh I've read a bit more of his blog.

Quote:
Having given the impression that mediums consist mainly of untested celebrity figures, Montenegro then launches into the standard litany of complaints.
Why do recently dead people have trouble communicating? Where do they get these [symbolic] objects that they show Edward and Van Praagh? Why can’t they just project their thoughts into Edward’s mind? Why are their messages so prosaic and, well, boring? The picture one gets of these creatures certainly does not present a very interesting company of people to pass the time with.
Sigh. How many times do these objections need to be answered? The triviality of the messages is necessary because it is only trivial personal details that are evidential. If a medium says that the spirit of your grandmother is coming through, you will probably not be convinced unless Grandma tells you something that only you and she would know. Of necessity, this will be something obscure, unimportant, and personal. As for the difficulties of communication, well, why should we expect messages from a dimension outside the space-time universe to be delivered flawlessly? This is like saying that telephones don't work because sometimes there is static on the line.
*Bigger sigh*

Well that's one author to avoid.
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Old 4th July 2006, 02:04 PM   #4
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Oh now I'm really annoyed.

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One of the strangest skeptical objections to psychic research is that psychic phenomena cannot be "replicated on demand." In other words, it is impossible to predict the outcome of any single psi experiment with certainty. One person may score well above chance in a mind-reading test, while the next person may score at chance or below. Since replication is a key concept in science, skeptics conclude that psi has not been scientifically verified.
This criticism is strange because it overlooks the crucial distinction between the hard sciences and the social sciences. In a hard science, such as chemistry, replication of individual test results can indeed be expected. If you mix two chemicals together under the same conditions, you will get the same chemical reaction - every time. But social science experiments are not like this, because the test subjects in these experiments are people, and people vary in their abilities and biases and behavior.
Suppose you're a social scientist testing memory. You place a large number of items in a room, then have a volunteer sit in the room for a few minutes. Next, you remove the volunteer from the room and ask him to list all the items he remembers. If you run this test with twenty different volunteers, you may get twenty different responses - because people's powers of observation and memory vary widely. How, then, can you get any usable data? You must run the experiment a hundred times or a thousand, until you have collected a large enough database to permit drawing statistical inferences. Then you may conclude that the average person remembers, say, fifty percent of the items in the room.
The fact that no two people may remember the exact same list of items certainly does not prove that there is no such thing as memory. It merely shows that memory varies from person to person.
Parapsychology is a branch of the social sciences, and the same rules apply.
Is he really implying that a psychologist could not devise a replicable experiment to demonstrate that memory actually exists?

What an utter idiot. Really - I quite despise him.

I hate this whole argument that parapsychology is like psychology.

Psychology has demonstrated many replicable observations about the mind and the nature of thought, speech, memory, perception etc.

Parapsychology... hasn't produced replicable results about anything. At all. Ever. Not even that the subjects it studies actually exist.
Comparisons of the two are idiotic.

And even this guy still thinks Zammit's been had? Victor - that don't look good.
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Old 4th July 2006, 02:11 PM   #5
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Ashles, you haven't yet said anything about Prescott's specific criticisms of the seance Zammit attended. Do you have any thoughts on those?
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Old 4th July 2006, 02:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mike D. View Post
Ashles, you haven't yet said anything about Prescott's specific criticisms of the seance Zammit attended. Do you have any thoughts on those?
Yes - most people here would probably come to the same conclusions on most of those points.

Trickery in a seance like that is not very difficult.

What sort of comments were you looking for? I just found it more interesting that someone could appear to be sceptical about certain aspects of a specific seance, and then totally the opposite in various other areas.
It's clear he believes that seances can be genuine
Quote:
Now, I think paranormal phenomena - including materializations - are sometimes genuine.
So his account of how a very standard seance could be faked is not really the most interesting aspect of this to me.
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Old 4th July 2006, 02:42 PM   #7
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Ashles, I was looking for any comments you might care to make that related to the seance Zammit attended or to Prescott's specific criticisms of it. You have now shared your comments on that, so I am satisfied.
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Old 4th July 2006, 02:47 PM   #8
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Oh, well that's good then.
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Old 4th July 2006, 05:31 PM   #9
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You need to remember this salient point: Victor Zammit is off his trolley. He's lost it, he's a kook, he's nuttier than a fruitcake. He's not unintelligent nor incompetent, just that his cogs are definitely slipping most of the time.
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Old 7th July 2006, 06:16 AM   #10
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I love Vic Zammit's weekly reports as there's always a guarantee of a belly laugh. This week's revelations:

"WORLD SHATTERING SCIENTIFIC AFTERLIFE EXPERIENCES:– David Thompson - one of the World’s Foremost Direct Voice & Materialisation Mediums. Next meeting tonight Friday 7th July 06. This has NOTHING to do with faith, nothing to do with belief. This has nothing to do with theories or theology or what somebody said thousands of years ago. This is here and now. This is empiricism. This is science. This is a scientific repeatable experiment. The results are just revolutionary. Tell your friends – tell everyone. This is the greatest proof for survival in the history of mankind."
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Old 20th July 2006, 05:01 AM   #11
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Michael Prescott has continued to post on his blog about this topic. And at one point he references Ashles' posts in this thread. He also discusses Victor Zammit's rebuttal to Prescott that Zammit has posted on his (Zammit's) website.

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/m...rescotts_blog/
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Old 21st July 2006, 07:50 AM   #12
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Smile

Originally Posted by Mike D. View Post
Michael Prescott has continued to post on his blog about this topic. And at one point he references Ashles' posts in this thread. He also discusses Victor Zammit's rebuttal to Prescott that Zammit has posted on his (Zammit's) website.

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/m...rescotts_blog/
His satire's as funny as hell but still not a patch on the real thing.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Zep View Post
You need to remember this salient point: Victor Zammit is off his trolley. He's lost it, he's a kook, he's nuttier than a fruitcake. He's not unintelligent nor incompetent, just that his cogs are definitely slipping most of the time.
Refute his book then.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
Refute his book then.
probably better if you tell us about one thing his book establishes....otherwise you could waste some time refuting the invisible unicorn I have in my pocket....interested?
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by The Fool View Post
probably better if you tell us about one thing his book establishes....otherwise you could waste some time refuting the invisible unicorn I have in my pocket....interested?
The existence of the afterlife.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:13 PM   #16
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I have been in email contact with Victor Zammit for several weeks. As a lawyer myself, I though Victor was not being honest with himself about the serious flaws in his arguments.

In our correspondence, he frequently changed the subject, retreated from some points and made the most ludicrous statements of "fact." The truth of the thing really has to be taken as a given in order for him to prove the truth of the thing - his arguments about "ectoplasm" being a prime example.

I have to say that he has been a remarkably polite, well-spoken and deferential correspondent and I enjoy his emails immensely.

His emails are at work and I will post excerpts tomorrow if anyone has an interest.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
...The truth of the thing really has to be taken as a given in order for him to prove the truth of the thing..."
Okay, that's clear.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
Okay, that's clear.
Well, for example, Victor says the medium exudes ectoplasm. I ask for a sample and he says that he can't get a sample because, as everyone knows, if you interupt the medium during the seance the ectoplasm will "snap back" and kill him. You have to believe in ectoplasm in order to see proof of ectoplasm. Does that make it less unclear?
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:27 PM   #19
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It may be clearer but I disagree. It is possible to be at a seance and not be cognizant of ectoplasm.
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Old 24th August 2006, 01:30 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
It may be clearer but I disagree. It is possible to be at a seance and not be cognizant of ectoplasm.
Uhhh...how does that disagree?
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Old 24th August 2006, 06:56 AM   #21
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My first email to Victor and his rather long response were published by him on his website. My email appears in its entirety at the bottom of the page.

Go here to read our first round of correspondence.
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Old 24th August 2006, 11:36 AM   #22
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Loss Leader,

You certainly have more patience than I do for this kind of thing.

Quote:
This ectoplasm was the ‘medium’ which reduced the afterlife vibrations of the etherians to physical vibrations for materializations - for the etherians to become solid. Those with scientific background have scientifically explained materialization process in my chapter 6 of my book, Einstein’s ‘E=mc2 and materialization’
Mr. Zammit needs to keep an eye out for the Loony Detector Van.
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Old 24th August 2006, 01:20 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by juryjone View Post
Mr. Zammit needs to keep an eye out for the Loony Detector Van.
I don't think I've ever seen as many ad hominems as on this forum. Zammit's premise is quite simple. Read the book. Then either accept it or refute it. Get some cash if you can replicate some of his experiments. Name calling and belittling is for the school yard.
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Old 24th August 2006, 01:24 PM   #24
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Nothing of significance to contribute, but every time I see the name Victor Zammit, Eddie Murphy pops into my head and yells, "I'm Victor, Dammit!"
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Old 24th August 2006, 01:26 PM   #25
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David Thompson is dead?
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Old 24th August 2006, 02:03 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
I don't think I've ever seen as many ad hominems as on this forum. Zammit's premise is quite simple. Read the book. Then either accept it or refute it.
The JREF can provide documentary evidence, in the form of a copy of a bank statement, that the award they offer genuinely exists. Can Zammit? If not, perhaps he can provide evidence of a pledge for his monetary prize? How exactly is 'The Committee' drawn up? Why would anybody of a sound mind agree to condition 7? ("The applicant agrees that the level of proof required to rebut the evidence will be the Cartesian test, "beyond any doubt". This means that there has to be absolutely no doubt at all in the minds of the Committee that the 'evidence' has been rebutted.").
Quote:
Get some cash if you can replicate some of his experiments. Name calling and belittling is for the school yard.
You don't get the award if you replicate his experiments*. You get the award if you can convince him he's wrong.

Edit: *If you mean that replicating the medium's feats via non-paranormal means will put the onus back on Zammit to show they weren't faked, read his response to Loss Leader's email (described as an attack on Zammit's home page) - see link above. Zammit totally fails to realise the significance of what this would mean.

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Old 24th August 2006, 03:08 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by JimTheBrit View Post
If you mean that replicating the medium's feats via non-paranormal means will put the onus back on Zammit to show they weren't faked, read his response to Loss Leader's email (described as an attack on Zammit's home page) - see link above. Zammit totally fails to realise the significance of what this would mean.
I argue to Victor in a later email that asking a magician to replicate the seance would be pointless because the "magic" is in the eye of the beholder. With a medium, he sees paranormal phenomena. But with a magician, his mind wouldn't let him past the idea that it's all a trick. In not arguing the point, he sort of (as much as Victor could) agreed with me.

I will post those emails tomorrow.
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Old 24th August 2006, 03:13 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
I don't think I've ever seen as many ad hominems as on this forum. Zammit's premise is quite simple. Read the book. Then either accept it or refute it. Get some cash if you can replicate some of his experiments. Name calling and belittling is for the school yard.

Victor's premise is anything but simple. He weaves his way through such a mess of evidence, justifications, cherry-picked history and more that unravelling any testable kernal is hopeless. I am trying to get him to focus on some single claim that he can prove or disprove but he is a slippery individual.

Still, as far as ad hominem attacks, I will repeat that he is the nicest pen-pal I have ever had and I would be happy to trade emails with him all day.
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Old 24th August 2006, 06:02 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by JimTheBrit View Post
You don't get the award if you replicate his experiments*. You get the award if you can convince him he's wrong.
Not entirely. If you read Zammit's site you'd find this: "There is an irresistable allurement of $500,000 for any debunker to try to duplicate what we do in our materialization experiments."
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Old 24th August 2006, 10:10 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
Not entirely. If you read Zammit's site you'd find this: "There is an irresistable allurement of $500,000 for any debunker to try to duplicate what we do in our materialization experiments."
And you get the $500,000 if you can replicate the experiment without doubt in Victor Zammit's mind?
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Old 24th August 2006, 11:14 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
Not entirely. If you read Zammit's site you'd find this: "There is an irresistable allurement of $500,000 for any debunker to try to duplicate what we do in our materialization experiments."
This seems rather too vague for any meaningful comment. What is it exactly that he "does" in his "experiments," precisely? And why should we believe that he actually does this? One difficult-to-reproduce example would be sufficient.
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Old 25th August 2006, 04:32 AM   #32
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Randi's challenge does not depend on getting Randi to agree to anything. Victor can ensure the money stays safe simply by saying "no" regardless of what happens.

If Randi chose to be that obtuse he could be sued if someone performed the challenge successfully--someone dealing with Victor has no such recourse.
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Old 25th August 2006, 07:46 AM   #33
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In response to Victor's long answer to my first email, I sent him the following message (edited for space):

Victor -

Imagine, for a moment, that there some court case has come to trial in which the issue is whether the phenomena experienced during the David Thompson seance were paranormal in origin. Imagine that I am the attorney for the plaintiff and you are the star witness for the defense, testifying as you have in your initial report and in your response to me. My question to you is this: Do you believe that you have presented enough evidence to convince an unbiased jury that your experiences that day were more likely paranormal than normal?

I ask if you believe that your case has already been shown by a preponderance of the evidence.

The reasons that I believe an impartial jury would not be swayed by your presentation is that the seance you described with David Thompson left too much room for other explanations. The absence of light is a terrible blow, in my opinion, to your credibility. Vision is our most precise perceptive tool; precise in a way that hearing simply is not. There is a reason the person is called an "eye-witness" and not a "sound-witness."

Adding to the problems with your first-hand testimony is the fact that you could have done so much more to assure yourself of the reality of these materializations, even within the confines of the total darkness Mr. Thompson required. You could have worn night-vision or heat-vision goggles. Neither emits any energy whatsoever; they just passively observe the energy in the room. These would have put to rest much doubt right away.

Now, you have stated that ectoplasm is a very delicate substance. Any energy, even photons of light, would disturb it. However, the night-vision and heat-vision equipment emits no energy. There is no reason why it could not have been employed except, of course, that doing so would have revealed the trick.

In my closing, I would have invited the jury to marvel at ectoplasm - apparently the world’s most shy material. Scientists can rip atoms apart but no one can produce a clearly testable sample of ectoplasm. You may say that some samples of ectoplasm have been gathered and tested, but this would contradict your earlier statement that it could not survive light. In fact, you blame it for the death of Helen Duncan. I would be sure the jury learned that Helen Duncan was a three hundred pound woman who, in reality, died five weeks after the police raid on her seance.

I would not let up on the subject of ectoplasm. Only gifted mediums can produce it, but I would ask the jury to wonder whether they were mediums before they started producing it or did they become mediums after they realized they had this power? If it is the latter, it seems to me that some hospital somewhere should have received a call from some very frightened individual stating, "Help! My body is exuding a sticky white substance and when I turn on the lights it vanishes!" If ectoplasm "snapping back" can cause injury, I would wonder why there is no medical record of any such injury. At the very least, there should be records of mental health inquiries as people, not yet understanding their gift, sought help because they believed they were going insane.

Maybe one first becomes a medium and then gains the power to emit ectoplasm. If that is the case, it still presents problems for your case. There would basically be no observable difference between the charlatan that becomes more adept and brazen in his deceit during fake seances by slowly including his "ectoplasm" bit and the real medium who becomes more in touch with the spirit world and slowly starts to emit ectoplasm. My alternative explanation seems, to me at least, to be more likely than not.

I would never let the jury out of their seats without suggesting that you could have taken a much more active role in the seance. What I would have done when shaking hands Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is this: I would have tackled the man to the ground. I would have lunged at him and held fast to him while screaming for someone to turn on the lights. One of two things would have happened: Mr. Doyle would have disappeared and left you in a heap or the lights would have revealed you accosting Mr. Thompson’s confederate. Either way, you have a much more definite answer.

The fact is that you did not attack the spirit who shook you hand. You did not use night-vision to observe the room. You took in the spectacle. This leads to a point that I would not let escape on my cross-examination: You may well have been biased in favor of one interpretation of events. Many witnesses have personal biases. It is a fact borne out in experiment after experiment that preconceptions shape experience. People who expect to see X will be more likely to report having seen X.

This is why your demand that a magician recreate the Thompson seance is unacceptable: If one knows it is a trick, the mind will not allow one to perceive it as supernatural. If one believes it is supernatural, the mind will not allow one to perceive the trick. I would make certain the jury knew this and I would ask them to dismiss your challenge on such a ground.

But your dismissal of the James Randi challenge is another matter. You state that the challenge is propaganda and that Mr. Randi does not negotiate in good faith. I counter with this: Such negotiation is free. Except for the cost of a few stamps for the initial application, it is completely free. It can all be done over the internet. There is no cost to you to submit an application and negotiate the test protocols with Mr. Randi’s organization and/or a local Australian organization appointed to oversee the challenge. If, as you say, Mr. Randi negotiates in bad faith, changes his terms, or refuses to accept reasonable protocols, you will have the proof to back up your beliefs. You would be able to post the entire exchange on your website and prove, at almost no cost, that your allegations about him are correct. Your refusal to do so, I would argue to a jury, is more evidence that you know your claims are unsupportable.

The last point I would make to the jury is a historical one. I would describe the work of Mesmer, the Fox sisters and others. I would make sure that the jury knew of the work of Harry Houdini, who investigated the mediums of the nineteenth century and wrote, "Nothing has crossed my path to make me think that the Great Almighty will allow emanations from the human body of such horrible, revolting, vicious shapes, which like 'genie from the bronze bottle' ring bells, move handkerchiefs, wobble tables and do other flapdoodle stunts."

I would suggest to the jury that every event that took place in the Thompson seance also took place in nineteenth century seances that were proven or confessed to be fake. . I cannot find a single event in your description that did not occur in a fraudulent seance. In fact, many seances back then were far more intricate and included levitation and the production of ectoplasm in broad daylight. If Mr. Thompson produced these phenomena by paranormal means, I would conclude, he did it the hard way.

Hearing the case that I would put on, I ask again whether you think your argument would sway an unbiased jury. I look forward to your response.

(To date, Victor has not directly responded to any points I made in this email.)
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Old 27th August 2006, 04:22 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by jazzalta View Post
I don't think I've ever seen as many ad hominems as on this forum. Zammit's premise is quite simple. Read the book. Then either accept it or refute it. Get some cash if you can replicate some of his experiments. Name calling and belittling is for the school yard.
I don't consider what I wrote to be an ad hominem. Zammit names at least three things in the first sentence of the quote that he believes to be real and which I consider imaginary. He considers them to be real even though they have not been scientifically proven, despite his statements to the contrary. Could you please point me to scientific proof of any of the following:

1) ectoplasm
2) afterlife vibrations
3) etherians

Until I see the proof for these items, I feel I am justified in thinking that Mr. Zammit may need professional help.

Besides, ad hominem is attacking the argument fallaciously because of a characteristic of the person that puts forth the argument. I am attacking Mr. Zammit directly on the grounds that he is a loon.
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Old 27th August 2006, 06:23 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by gnome View Post
Randi's challenge does not depend on getting Randi to agree to anything.
Well, both Randi and the applicant have to agree on a protocol. Mind you, that's before any demonstration/test takes place.



My question is: has Victor ever caught anyone faking these seances even once. How would he know if he's being fooled?

If you can get Victor to attend a staged seance without his knowledge that it's fake, he'd probably endorse it as paranormal. *Then* ask him for his $0.5M prize when you show him he's been had. You might need lots of video evidence - both of the seance and of his endorsement of its paranormal genuineness and authenticity.

When he doesn't pay up, put the videos on the web for all to see.
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Old 27th August 2006, 09:35 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by juryjone View Post
I am attacking Mr. Zammit directly on the grounds that he is a loon.
I will second that!
Having corresponded with him a few times over the years,
I can second the notion that this guy is barking mad and a raving loon.
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Old 28th August 2006, 07:41 AM   #37
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Victor never directly answered my email about his seances. Instead, he changed the subject to an attack on Randi. I believe his point was that Randi lacked credibility and that is why Victor wouldn't deal with him. but, as usual, his evidence and his conclusion didn't match.

He wrote:

Originally Posted by Victor
Here is something which is worth ‘millions’ as evidence. Here is J Randi caught cheating on television. Talk to you soon. Enjoy: YouTube - Don Lane and James Randi 1980
I replied:

Originally Posted by Loss_Leader
Victor - You really do make my point for me. People see what they are expecting to see. I don't know what evidence you think the Don Lane video presents for your case. Of course Randi cheated. Of course he bent the key first. James Randi has no magic powers. He cannot bend keys by paranormal means.

Now, the question is why did Randi do such an amateurish job with the key? The answer is simple: he was unprepared. In order to practice their illusions successfully, magicians must prepare. Don Lane sandbagged Randi by demanding a trick after promising Randi that he was there to confront a local psychic. Even then, Lane does not catch Randi bending the key but only becomes angry after Randi successfully performs the illusion.

But Randi at least tried to perform while unprepared. How did Uri Geller do in similar circumstances? Geller was similarly sandbagged on the Tonight Show. He did not even attempt a trick. Instead, he did nothing. Why? he was unprepared. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O90yvyTd5Y

And here's a page that shows step by step exactly how Geller bends spoons including the very frame of film where Geller is caught bending the spoon with his own hands: http://www.skepticreport.com/psychics/urispoon.htm Will your beliefs in the paranormal allow you to see the trick?

Your post regarding Randi on the Don Lane show leads me to believe you think Randi and Geller are somehow different. They are not. They are both magicians, they both need to prepare and they both suck when they are not completely in control of the environment.
Here is Victor's astonishing answer:

Originally Posted by Victor
I thought the video clip was rather funny really AND it showed Randi cheating!

You know very well that clip would be fundamentally harmful for Randi in litigation. “Do you cheat …” – indubitably, the yes/no answer will unqualifiedly be “YES.”

So when he says he ‘rubs’ the key to ‘bend’ it, he is cheating, lying, misleading, being deceitful and fraudulent.

Is he cheating, lying, misleading etc… in other matters – eg his alleged $1m offer?

“Of course, he is” one claim would be.

Uri Geller is a different case. We are dealing with Randi and his cheating. Is he credible?

Of course he’s not credible– especially when he told one of the founders of CSICOP, something Randi never disputed, that Randi will ‘always have a way out of paying’ (re challenge).

Being prepared or unprepared – the viewers judged Randi on that erformance.

As to spoon bending, I some years ago watched a documentary about psychics in the military - an Army general stated that he himself learnt how to bend spoons a la Geller.
I responded to Victor as clearly as I knew how, deleting all references to Geller and concentrating on his claim that James Randi's career as a magician made him an unreliable person overall.

Originally Posted by Loss_Leader
Victor - For the record, I don't believe that the Lane appearance is any blow to Randi's credibility at all. It's not just an insignificant blow, it is of no weight or consequence whatsoever. I don't believe a court (at least in my jurisdiction) would even admit it into evidence, it is so irrelevant.

Here's why I think so: All magicians do magic tricks. The rings don't really pass through one another; the lady isn't really cut in half; the Statue of Liberty doesn't really disappear. Magic is a lie. It is deception. If you believe that Randi being caught performing the critical maneuver on TV damages his credibility, then you must believe that all magicians lack credibility. Just because we haven't caught Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear doesn't mean he didn't cheat. We know he cheated because we know that the Statue of Liberty cannot disappear. Since declaring all magicians incompetent to testify in court is an absurd result, I don't think you can declare any magician unreliable due solely to his profession.

But there's more. Randi is a very special magician. He is one of the only few who repeats publicly, loudly and frequently that everything he does is a trick. He reminds the audience that he does not really have any magic power and that he is deceiving them through sleight of hand. That, to me, makes him an excellent witness. Here's a guy who cannot lie even to advance his professional career, even just to make it through a single show - he feels compelled to confess that he has misled us the moment he does so. Compare that to, say, David Blaine or Chris Angel who refuse to admit that they're doing tricks but encourage a certain supernatural air about themselves. Compare that to, dare I say, Uri Geller who loudly and persistently insists that he is in fact performing supernatural fetes.

Then add in Randi's almost lifetime obsession to exposing cheats and frauds. He has run down faith healers and psychic surgeons and all manner of con artists. He was the one who snuck the equipment in to a Peter Poppov revival and caught the preacher's wife broadcasting people's names and ailments in his ear. His passion for revealing people who refuse to admit that they are doing tricks for entertainment purposes makes him an even more reliable witness.

You have not, to my mind, given me any reason at all to doubt Randi's credibility. Unless, of course, Randi were to suddenly jump up and announce that he could psychically bend keys. In that case, I would disbelieve him based on your evidence. For that matter, if anyone anywhere jumped up and announced he could psychically bend keys, I would also disbelieve him based on your evidence. Now whom do we know who makes a claim like that?
Victor then abruptly dropped the subject and has not brought it up again.
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Old 29th August 2006, 05:32 PM   #38
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That last email is great. You won't get a reply.
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Old 29th August 2006, 05:46 PM   #39
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People are still doing ectoplasm?

That is amazing! Simply amazing that people still fall for that crap.

Zammit needs to read The Psychic Mafia to see every single trick used in the seance he attended explained.

What a rube!
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Old 29th August 2006, 05:57 PM   #40
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Quote:
Prior to entering the room I was asked to search the medium and confirm that he had nothing under his clothing. Rosheen and I checked his track pants, pockets, his cardigan and his shoes to make sure that they were normal. All of the other sitters were searched as well and asked to leave outside anything metal, lighters, matches, mobile phones etc.
Flashlights...

Anything which could be used to illuminate the room or take a photo at a crucial moment and expose what was really going down.

No matches. Says it all.

Last edited by Luke T.; 29th August 2006 at 06:00 PM.
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