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[escepticos] lectura fria

Perdon por el documento que mando pegado, porque es un poco grande, y porque esta en ingles... Pero creo que merece la pena leer el analisis de James Randi de la sesion espiritista que se pudo ver ayer en el programa "48 minute" de la CBS-TV, y que cuando la grabaron debio durar 60 minutos, aunque posteriomente fue editada. Randi fue invitado a ver la grabacion entera y a comentarla.
    Alguna otra vez se ha comentado lo facil que es engannar a cualquiera con trucos bien elaborados. Lo que hace este vidente, Van Prag, es un claro ejemplo

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THE ACTUAL READING....(Figures in parentheses indicate the elapsed timein a one-hour-long reading.)      Van Praag began with a prayer designed toestablish that this is a religious exercise, andhe established that interruptions or doubts arenot encouraged.  Next, he provided loopholes forhis failures to guess correctly: he said that hemight "get" a message from any of a multitude ofentities out there -- he said there were hundreds-- and he often just can't sort them out.  (0:47) He said that they all "come through" at once, andconfuse him.  He warned (01.20) that skepticismslows things down, makes things difficult.  Hesaid that he would only "get" what "they" wouldgive him, so he should not be blamed for errors,and that if he is wrong, he will ask the spiritsto "refine" the facts for him.     This reader is typical of the profession.  Heworks with stereotypes and generalizations. Expressions like "Who is....?" are used frequentlyand are very general, and require the victim tofill in the details.  They can be narrowed downquickly and then they appear to be specific. Heart disease and cancer are the two predominatecauses of death in middle-aged or older persons. He tried   and hit   on both these, in thisreading.  Glaringly obvious and quite safescenarios were offered: "Many times you've feltthat  you're alone."  (4.45)  "Are there stairs inthe house?"  (16.20)   Quoting the spirit of thehusband, after the woman said her husbandsometimes gave her jewelry, and that she waspleased by this act: "She used to love it when Igave her jewelry."  (22.10)       He tentatively suggested something many times,and when he got a "no," he passed right on.  Butif it was a "yes," he quickly invented a clear,direct word-for-word quote from the spirit thatexpresses this "hit," and delivers it:  (9.06) "He's very strong, and I'm not sure what.... Isthis your husband?"  "Yes"  "Cause he just said,'Husband, I'm her husband, I'm her husband.' Okay?"  And, (21.10) "Was he in the hospitalbefore he passed over, please?  "Yes."  "Becausehe's talking about being in the hospital before hepassed over."  "Did he die in a hospital?"  "Yes." "It's like, I'm waiting for him to come throughwith this.....Yeah!  I died there!  He says hedied there."     As with all these operators, he constantlyasked questions, requiring the victim to establisha connection between what he said, and somethingin her life.  It's her failure to find aconnection that made the "misses."When he got a direct, unequivocal "no," he toldthe victim to "Keep that," as if the connectionwould later become evident, which it never did. (5.45) "She's mentioning something about the headarea, here.  Have there been headaches, problemswith headaches?  Do you know about that?"  "No." "Okay.  Who had trouble with the head?  Ah... headproblem, or past the head condition?  Like a quickhead problem?"  "I don't know."  "You're not awareof that.  Keep that, please."  And he rushed on,never coming back to this bad guess.     Typically, in these scams, the victim isportrayed as a person of virtue, and the readerused that ploy, too.  (9.45)  "You've always beenthere for everyone else.  And you're not there foryourself.  You're very good at helping otherpeople, and taking care of people's problems.  Andalways there for other people but not foryourself."  etc.     He offered very common names or simplyinitials, as well as expected events, and thevictim tried to make them fit.  In this reading,he tried 25 common names, in less than 60 minutes: (Alphabetically:  Ben.  Bernie.  Betty.  Bob. Fran.  Frank.  Frankie.  Howard.  Howie.  Jack. Jackie.  Joe.  Joey.  John.  Joseph.  Lillian. Lilly.  Linda.  Liz.  Lizzie.  Lynn.  Marie. Mary.  Rob.  Robert.  This fact, that he guessedso badly, was not introduced on the "48 Hours"show.     Other can't-lose guesses he threwout were: NewYork City, Brooklyn, birthday, anniversary,reading newspapers in the morning, glasses,cooking, then the initials H,  J, and L, whichcould be for names of people, cities, anything.     A common technique   which he used   is togive the victim back material that was alreadydeveloped or already known.  For example, 30minutes into the reading, he gave her "LongIsland," which he was already told about beforethe session started.     His specific guesses missed badly.  (18.20) He tried for a Cadillac, any Cadillac, belongingto anyone, past, present, or future, and missed. (18.00)  He guessed she has a son; she doesn't. (20.20)  He tried for legal problems with thehusband's will, and failed.  (34.00)  He assuredher she'll have a message waiting for her at homefrom a Lynn or a Linda.  It didn't happen.  Shedidn't find the watch set at 3 o'clock in thatsecond drawer that he assured her she'd find.     He's obviously experienced in his trade.  Whenthe victim slipped and mentioned her husband'sname, Jack, he wisely saved it until later, atwhich point, eleven minutes later, he suddenly"got" a large letter "J" and then "Jack" fifteenminutes later.       He tried standard ploys.  Female persons ofthis age range are very likely to have inherited apiece of jewelry from a deceased relative.  Assoon as he learned that the victim's mother wasdead (she told him this), he tried for thatjewelry "hit," but it was denied.  Even though hecame back to it later, he still didn't get itaccepted.  And knowing that the victim's motherwas dead, he naturally threw in the grandmother,too.  A person of this age is unlikely to have aliving grandmother.  The fact that he says the twowomen were "close," is hardly miraculous.     Another common gimmick in this scam: hequickly followed a guess with the question "Do youunderstand?" all in one fluid sentence, getting a"yes" response.   The "yes" will always followsuch an attempt, but it's an answer that says,"Yes, I understand what you've said or what you'retalking about."  However, the strong  impressionis that it's an affirmation of the guess, not ofthe understanding.     When we can't see the face of the victimcontinuously   as in this taping    we can't knowhow much nodding (affirming or denying) is takingplace.  This subject, when we did see her face,appeared to give such clues freely; it's politeand quite natural to do so, especially when thereader is always asking for a response by hisinflection or by his non-verbal facialexpressions.  Usually, the victim will tend togive a blank reaction if the reader is not goingin the right direction, and a "yes" nod or actualverbal agreement, when he is.  Thus, we can getmany more "yes" responses than are reallyevidential.     There were two predictions made by the"psychic."  He said, "There was a watch....oh, thewatch.  He's saying it's a watch.... something todo with 3 o'clock.....There's a box at your housethat has a watch of his in it.... second drawerdown.  Pull it out."  He said she'd find thiswatch when she went home.  This did not happen,but we were not told this.  He also said therewould be a message from a Linda or a Lillianawaiting her when she got home.  There was no suchmessage waiting, but we were not told that,either.