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James Randi Educational Foundation

September 6, 2002

The Robbins Matter, Edward Again, Astrology in Entourage, Surviving Without Magic, Deadly UK Cat, Kyborg Pyramids, Allah in a Tomato, Magnetized Water, and Roe in the UK......

Reader Michael Roes offers us this two-part article on an Anthony Robbins' [AR] "Unleash the Power Within" [UPW] seminar. It's most revealing, and indicates the amount of money that changes hands in the "feelgood" business. Part One:

My wife and I attended the July 26-29 UPW seminar and loved it! We are both committed to personal growth as an integral part of our marriage and our lives and we have attended many different seminars together. We regard the UPW as a great value and would recommend it to anyone who wants to make the most of their one-and-only precious life! Hell, we went for it: We've got some of Tony's nutritional formula, we're working through his CD sets, we're off the meat and dairy, and we've even signed up for the big $10,000 Mastery University program — complete with AR-Logo baseball caps — and we are looking forward to our trip to Fiji in November!

This all sounds great, right? Am I looking good? Peak state? OK, well, all is not peachy, I'm afraid. There are a number of aspects of the AR "machine" that really bug me and I'd really like some answers. Now, I'm sure that AR himself would like to discuss impressions with each and every attendee, but clearly, that would never work. Without a doubt, he's got more on his plate than most people could even imagine taking on. So I am posting this here in the hopes that I may get some feedback or perhaps this may cross his desk eventually.

In the program there's pseudoscience, oversimplifications, half-truths, and lies of omission, and the pitch about the Mastery University is, shall we say, rather deceptive. Does that sound too harsh? Well, maybe it is, but here's the story behind it....

No doubt, Tony is a master at working the crowd. There we were, Saturday afternoon, we'd done the firewalk the night before and we're now fully engaged in the process and enjoying the show. The Mastery University, including the Life Mastery course in Fiji, Date With Destiny and Wealth Mastery courses, is available at a hugely discounted rate if we act now! We rush to the sign-up table for the event special at $9,995 each, plus an added $500 discount for the second person in a couple. Now, we're not millionaires (yet!), but we have the means to do this. A glance at the back of the form tells me that there is a 72-hour cancellation clause. Cool, I think. That gives us until Tuesday afternoon and if we have second thoughts, we'll get our money back. These guys believe in their product!

Back to the seminar...

No other word for it: Awesome... Tony is compelling and has great material. It's clear that Tony just lives this stuff through and through and we lap it up. The lighting is fantastic, the video projectors on either side of the stage look great and the sound system is loud but clear. Obviously, no expense or effort has been spared in making the whole experience simply outstanding. But over the course of the next couple of days, there are a number of blows to Tony's credibility.

This is an approximation: Tony invites this guy out of the audience up on stage and proceeds to lift him up off the ground. "Now," he says to the guy, "I want you to feel centered and grounded. Imagine you are connected to the earth, you are one..." Then Tony tries to lift him again and can't. To my astonishment, most of the audience is amazed. Give me a break. This guy glued himself to the floor? By mere thought, this guy made himself really, really heavy? I'm sorry, but this totally insults my intelligence. This is supernatural and if Tony could prove that this really works, there's no doubt he could collect the James Randi Educational Foundation's one-million dollar prize! Now, I remember that the first time Tony lifted him, the guy actually knew he was about to be lifted and jumped as Tony held him under his arms. The second time, the guy just stood there and of course, he would have been much harder to lift. No magic here really. What gets me is the message that Tony was trying to convey.

During a break later on, I'm wandering around the foyer area and I'm checking out the Q-Link — endorsed by the man himself and even by Deepak Chopra. I chat with the lady behind the table (didn't get her name) and she spoke eloquently. "We have many testimonials and endorsements from the science community, but what really matters is the double-blind tests that have been done." "Oh?" I said, "Can I see a copy?" "It's on our website" she replies. Now, I am an electronics engineer, although like Tony, I am almost completely self-taught. I have no college degree. However, I do know quite a bit about radio frequency and electromagnetic fields (EMF) and I look at this thing with more than a hint of skepticism. I also know how to perform a double-blind test and it is not as difficult as many people make out. So, I'm thinking that if there was a double-blind test done, proving that the Q-Link pendant works, why isn't it displayed on a HUGE banner, above everything else? But, I keep telling myself, "keep an open mind..."

It's Sunday and Tony touches on what's coming up on Monday: Nutrition. OK, I am not an expert in the field of nutrition, but I have taken an active interest in it for a number of years. This is the first time I have ever heard someone mention the term "energy frequency" in the context of nutrition. Here's a question: How exactly, is the "energy frequency" of Kentucky Fried Chicken measured (quoted as 3 MHz in the Living Health manual)? Frequency is not, by itself, a measure of energy. It is simply a measure of how quickly something is oscillating or vibrating. Light oscillates just about as fast as anything and I can stop it with my hand. Anyway, all will be revealed tomorrow, I tell myself, so I keep an open mind.

At the end of the program on Sunday we feel like we got great value already, despite the eyebrow-raisers above. Although we learn at this point that Tony will not be around tomorrow, except on video. OK... So we feel like we've been a bit misled somewhere, but we let it slide.

Monday morning, we enter the auditorium to the usual music and people dancing on stage. After a while, this super-energetic guy comes out to get everyone even more excited. His name is Joseph McClendon (sp?), and he's an excellent entertainer and the facilitator for the videos of Tony explaining the "Living Health" program. This guy talks a mile a minute and a ton of facts and figures are flying. One thing that stood out for me is that caffeine increases breast cancer tenfold. A lady behind me wows... Well, I'd never heard that before. I've now looked on the web and can find no confirmation of this assertion. How much caffeine? How often? Age? Race? It's only part of a story, no doubt. In spite of this I agree that being dependent on caffeine (or any drug) is not a healthy state to live in. So my wife and I are weaning ourselves off it. On the video, Tony goes through the "energy frequency" thing again, but alas, is no more convincing.

It's afternoon and we're in for a real treat. Herbert Ross from Q-Link is on-stage explaining his product. I immediately get the impression that this guy is very nervous. He is definitely not at ease on-stage. Joseph mentions that the following demonstration will be put on one of Tony's distribution tapes. Tony! Don't do it! Can you hear me? Don't! It's the "arm test." Again, some guy from the audience is invited on stage and asked to hold a cell-phone to his ear in his right hand and stretch out his left arm horizontally to the side. Herbert explains that the EMF from the cell-phone will weaken him and proceeds to show how easy it is to pull down the subject's outstretched left arm. Now the Q-Link pendant is placed around the guy's neck. Cell-phone back to ear and look! Herbert can't pull down the arm anymore! It doesn't seem to occur to anyone that if Herbert did pull the arm down, he would humiliate himself. Furthermore, his subject, being human, is on-stage for possibly the first time in his life and wants nothing more than to help make Herbert look good.

Randi comments: this is the old "applied kinesiology" scam we're already familiar with. It's used by chiropractors, dentists, all sorts of "new age" systems, and it just doesn't work. But, it's very convincing to the naive, so the Robbins folks have dragged it in to sell the unicorn they're offering.....

Why do people buy this stuff? For the simple reason that people want to trust. Is it possible that Herbert's nervous because he's trying to dupe the entire audience? He makes a quick correlation between the rise in breast cancer and the proliferation of technology. More "wows" from the audience. C'mon, it's a correlation, not necessarily a cause. Don't people think? Maybe that's it. Crowds don't think very well. They just follow. I know, because I can also feel the powerful seduction of this phenomenon.

It's Monday evening, our car is loaded with boxes of Tony's CDs, $10,000 baseball caps and whatnot, it's late and we're driving home to San Diego. Little did I know that our opportunity for a Mastery University refund was slipping away.

A restless night... Almost 20,000 dollars. Were we swept on a wave of enthusiasm? OK, it's nothing in the grand scheme of things... We're worth the investment, but still... "How about a nice six-week trip to Australia?" I ask my wife. "Around the world?" The frequency of chocolate cake compared to my freakin' laptop computer? Kirlian Photography? God! So much hype! The Q-Link! That stupid "arm test!" The more I think about it, the more bogus it seems! How can Tony endorse that? How much are they paying him? I must check out the website in the morning! Toss. Turn. Sweat.

Next week, we'll join our hero on Tuesday morning when his rude awakening continues.....

Re my comments last week about only living, identified persons appearing on U.S. postage stamps, I've now been informed by Jim Adams that the candidate must be deceased for at least five years unless he was a US president, who only has to be dead. Actually, it's ten years, but that's close enough for government work, Jim. Two readers wrote me that John Glenn had appeared on a US postage stamp many years ago; not so, it was his space craft, with him supposedly inside....

Frequent correspondent Jaime Arbona writes, in comment about my recent compliments to Stanley Krippner and John Beloff:

I agree with you that competent, dedicated, parapsychologists should be looked upon the same as scientists in all other fields. Certainly a good and competent scientist should exert himself to the utmost to find something when he is "convinced that there's something there to be found." But it is also true that competent scientists, no matter what their convictions, must finally accept the evidence when nothing is found after decades of efforts and not a single experiment in that discipline has been replicated. More so if, as in this case, what the scientist is looking for cannot be explained by existing laws of science and there is not even a theory to explain it.

As far as we know, there are only four forces in nature and all of them fade or vary with distance in some way. None of them can explain what's supposed to be happening in parapsychology, in which many of the effects that are postulated (but not detected!) are not affected by distance. (I've never understood why this assertion can be made if experiments have not been replicated, but that is beside the point.) So either we must postulate a new Chaotic Principle of Nature by which certain laws keep changing at random — hence experiments are not replicable — or we must find a new law whose practically undetectable effects invalidate all experiments. I find this hard to swallow. A law or laws of Nature so much at variance with existing science, which produces effects that do not vary with distance (i.e. its "force" retains its strength and does not fade as we move away from the source) should have easily detectable effects.

Jaime speaks here of what's known as the Law of Inverse Squares. With sound, for example, a source twice as far away from the detector (an ear?) provides just one-quarter of the strength of signal. ESP has been said to show no fall-off at all, let alone any diminution of strength. Well, we must admit that zero signal won't show any change....

Is there something similar to this undetectability problem in science? Yes, of course. Right off one can think about "gravity waves." They have been postulated by Einstein's General Relativity, and so far have not been detected, no matter how hard we have tried. But we knew in advance that they would be hard to detect because the theory predicts that they are extremely weak. So, scientists are "convinced that there's something there to be found" and will eventually find it. In fact, astronomers have detected two neutron starts in close orbit around each other which show the effects that are caused by emission of gravity waves, although they have not detected the waves themselves. So, there is something there to be found.

Not so in Parapsychology. Therefore, as much as I may respect parapsychologists who persist in their experiments because they believe there is something there, I would respect them even more if and when they finally admit that theirs has been a quixotic quest. One hundred years of non-evidence and unrepeatable experiments is, to me, evidence enough.

Jaime, I thank you for your opinion. But I neglected to add that such persistence also requires courage. In science, as in so many fields, peer pressure and ridicule are tough to bear.

A media write-up on John Edward innocently [?] tells us that he is astonished at the stature of those who will appear on his show:

Even Edward is surprised that singers and actors are agreeing to be on his show. "They are the most skeptical," says Edward. "I have celebrities that come to me privately, it's never discussed or made public, and they have anonymity." Soap star Linda Dano has communed with Kirsten Dunst, Roma Downey, Ricki Lake and Gene Simmons. And in his new season, [Edward] has readings with Jenny McCarthy, Backstreet Boys A.J. McLean and Brian Littrell, and former teen icon-turned-TV-star Anthony Michael Hall.

News department: Who ever thought for a moment that these folks were intellectual giants? These are the kind of celebrities who need script-writers to appear with David Letterman! "Most skeptical"? No way. Picture this: a performer needs TV time to promote a public presence. A major, popular, provocative and talked-about show named "Crossing Over" asks him/her to appear. Agreed? Duh!

Also, says this same article, "[Edward] refuses to respond to naysayers." Really? I must wonder why, though I think I know.

To help boost his credibility, Edward says his producers never tell him ahead of time what celebrity he'll be reading.

I believe this. Of course, I believe that Nixon was unaware of Watergate, too. I'm easy.

Reader Jordan Barker makes a point for the existence of the JREF that I think we should all remember....

I recently installed Microsoft Entourage on my Macintosh Computer. Entourage is a multi-purpose program which includes e-mail, schedules, tasks, and contacts. After filling in initial contact information, one has the option of filling in more detailed information about the contact. For instance, you could put in a spouse's name, children's names and birthdates. I was troubled to see that not only was a permanent field included for the astrology sign, but it was automatically filled in!!!

Should I be grateful that the more practical zip code is included even though it isn't automatically filled in once you put in the city? Where is the field for lucky crystals associated with a given contact? I guess that's what the custom fields are for.

I've always had an eye for the bigger travesties. Your continued work has not only given me an eye for such things as described but also made me realize how these small things insinuate themselves into our lives, and soon a national television company is airing a charlatan who claims he can talk to the dead.

I'll never get around to reading all the books I should. A particularly heavy (699-page) tome titled, "The Human Agenda: How To Be at Home in the Universe — without Magic," by Dr. Roderic Gorney (1968), has had to be thumbed through for interesting items, and I came up with the following interesting observations. I've always made a heavy distinction between belief based on blind faith, and belief based on evidence. I cannot accept the former, I do accept the latter. And, I've pointed out that there are two quite different types of faith: blind faith requires only need, the other kind requires evidence. I have great faith in the Sun showing up tomorrow morning because evidence — my experiences, some 27,073 of them to date — have established for me that it's quite probable that the event will occur. For other, but just as compelling reasons, I do not expect that Sophia Loren will be awaiting me this weekend.

The JREF, among all the lessons offered, has this underlying theme: you don't need magic (read: supernatural, occult, miracles) in your life in order to have a good grasp of the world around you. And that understanding will never be exact; it can only be expected to be a working understanding. The author of this book says it well in his dedication: "To all who insist on understanding — not perfectly, but better."

As usual, I'll butt in a few times to express myself. It's a privilege I reserve....

In the last few thousand years, man has learned how to protect himself from most dangers on Earth with knowledge instead of magic. Supernatural help in daily life has been needed less as man's power has increased. But he has continued to dread death and the erasure of his identity. Thus the main focus of religion gradually has shifted from achieving temporary survival in this world to ensuring permanent salvation in the next, from the here and now to the hereafter. However, even in creating this new assurance of man's importance, religion had to build on his concrete old insistence that he is central in the universe.

As you read this, bear in mind that it was written some 34 years ago, in a somewhat different philosophical atmosphere. The author even mentions, in a foreword to the latest edition, that he would now replace the word "mankind" with "humankind," and "man" with "humanity." We're growing up, you see. Dr. Gorney's comments are still pertinent and correct, but you must add three decades to all his references to our species in the time-scale of history.

The emotionally precious view of Earth's centrality in a fixed, unchanging universe was crystallized by Ptolemy in the second century A.D., and then taken over by the Christian church. What had been ancient pagan punishments for contradicting pagan theology became orthodox Christian punishments for questioning orthodox Christian dogma. Despite man's continued secret probing, fourteen centuries brought no serious challenge.

Ironically, it was a Catholic priest who next had the leisure and inclination to unravel this solar security blanket. In 1543 at the end of his life Copernicus hesitantly published his view, which concurred with Plato's as to the Earth's movement and also located the Sun at the center of the solar system. In 1600, Giordano Bruno taught Copernicus' theory, and was burned alive for his temerity.

Randi comments: Copernicus was aware that in the third century B.C.E., Greek thinkers had suggested a heliocentric system, and he himself had arrived at his conclusions decades before he dared to publish. As early as 1510, when he was 37, he had prepared manuscript copies of his daring view of the solar system, for private circulation among his close — and trusted — friends. It was not until 1543, the year of his demise, that his work was actually available to be read by the public.

In 1604 Galileo used the appearance of a new star in the constellation Serpentarious to show that the universe changes. A few years later his telescopes brought evidence confirming the Copernican theory. Panic-stricken churchmen brought Galileo before the Inquisition with the dreaded epithets "atheist" and "heretic." Ill and alone at seventy, imprisoned and probably under the threat of torture, Galileo kneeled and publicly recanted. Thus ended his attempts to bring to the parliament of the mind a matter too long tabled by the terrified.

Lest this all seem remote, consider that it was not until the time of Newton that even Protestants openly accepted the Sun's centrality. It was not until 1835 that Popes ceased to dignify with their "infallibility" the dogma that the Earth is the center of the solar system. Only in 1870, a century ago, was infallibility restricted to matters of faith and morals so that future Popes would not be tempted to forbid the Earth to move or the universe to go about any of the rest of its regular business. And it is only now, some four hundred years after his brilliant mind ceased to be troubled by truth or tormentors, that the shamefaced inheritors of the institution that condemned Galileo have preposterously considered re-trying and "exonerating" him, thus belatedly bringing authority into conformity with fact.

Just a few years ago, the Vatican, in a burst of generosity, officially reconsidered the Galileo matter and thus rehabilitated his reputation, so that now we no longer need fear being burned alive for stating the facts about what revolves around what. How refreshing and progressive.

How could a different idea concerning celestial movement have so threatened defenders of the faith? The Inquisition's inferno of words clarified its devotion to flames: "If Earth is a planet, and only one among several planets, it cannot be that any such great things have been done specially for it as Christian doctrine teaches. If there are other planets, since God makes nothing in vain, they must be inhabited; but how can their inhabitants be descended from Adam? How can they trace their origin to Noah's ark? How can they have been redeemed by the Saviour?" The astronomer's "pretended discovery vitiates the whole Christian plan of salvation" and "casts suspicion on the doctrine of incarnation; in short it upsets the whole basis of theology." Incredible though it seems, the doctrine of the Sun's central position was denounced as "of all heresies the most abominable, the most pernicious, the most scandalous."

In spite of the fact that science is almost daily discovering awkward facts that indicate the material realities, we still have religious restrictions that date from centuries past. Yes, in spite of attempts to keep us in The Dark Ages, we're growing up. But slowly.

In the little town of Griffith, New South Wales, Australia, superstition once more triumphed over common sense and rationality when the local law removed a statue of a black cat "in fright" from outside a supermarket. That statue had been placed there on July 26 of this year as part of an upgrade of the entire Griffith shopping center.

And this removal was done for good reasons! Consider the facts: there was a fire at the Om Shanti Massage and Yoga College above that supermarket on August 7, and an asthma attack was suffered by one of the men who helped clean up the store after the fire! This is obviously positive proof of the bad luck brought about by this figure.

After merchants complained to the officials, it was promptly removed. Artist Bev Hogg, who sculpted the cat, said it was sad that her work had been seen as bad luck and that people were still so superstitious. The cat was only one of several sculptures there, another being a bone-shaped affair placed outside the butcher shop, to be used for tying up dogs. Apparently no dogs had contracted fleas, so the bone remains in place.

A representative of the merchants had asked officials to remove the cat because some shopkeepers and customers believed black cats were bad luck, and had linked the sculpture to the recent unfortunate occurrences at the shops — the fire and the asthma attack. "It created disquiet," said the merchants' agent. "Some liked it and some didn't."The owner of the shopping center said that he'd received a lot of comments from customers about the matter. "There were more negatives than positives," he said. "It was a funny-looking thing." He did not want the cat outside his shop, he declared. "Enough is enough," he said.As further proof, a Chinese restaurant owner said she was pleased that the sculpture had been removed, as in her culture it was bad luck to have animal statues outside shops. Well, who would dare to fly in the face of such well-established superstition? Just think of the lawsuits if a diner had spilled soy sauce all over a new dress!

Wouldn't we think that maybe that incredible silly notion back in the seventies about "pyramid power" had long ago vanished into Never-Never Land? Well, it's back, folks. You just must take a look at, where you'll find an hilarious rant on absolutely classic pseudo-science. Here's just a sample:

We are beginning a new era of technology with the unique bioactive Energy fields from Kyborg-Energy Pyramids: You can purify your living and working place and advance your life's quality with the Energy Pyramids: through a screening from geographical zones and water routes. Protection from electrosmog by stabilizing your immune and resistance system. Relax and sleep better after the screening from your home with a overwhelming amount of PRANA / life energy.

The special bio-active power field of the Original Kyborg Energy Pyramids insures you a high achievement level and happiness in life: Use the creative potential of the subtle energy fields to increase your spiritual being (capacity) and to reach your goals. Bring harmony into your working area by reducing human tensions with the harmonious, bioactive Powerfields. Gain a new feeling of security and harmony!

In my opinion, the inventor of this claptrap had an overabundance of "electrosmog" in his cranium. But I'll bet he's rich! The model "A" sells for US$435.53, and includes a compass and condenser plates, but it's only 18 cm. (7 inches) high. Moving up the scale, model "F" is 450 cm. high, just under 15 feet. It has a compass included, too, but no "gemstone." It retails for a whopping US$30,932.33. But the top-of-the-line model, "G," is 900 cm. (30 feet) high, with a compass but still no "gemstone." It's jumping off the shelves at US$193,999.03 a pop!

(The last two models cannot be purchased with PayPal, I hate to tell you....)

While you're deciding which model of pyramid you'll buy, you can subsist on a selection of books, crystals, videos, vitamins, bath salts, and tea that is offered on this site. These folks don't miss a thing, do they?

It had to happen. We've had Christ-on-a-tortilla, the Virgin Mary on a window, and angels-in-plywood. Now it's Allah in a tomato. A reporter from the Express newspaper, UK, tells us that in June of 1997 he interviewed a schoolgirl in Yorkshire who sliced a tomato in half and found written inside what thousands believed to be a message from God. It's now known as the Miracle Tomato of Huddersfield. Moslem Shasta Aslam, 14, was astounded to see spelled out in Arabic, "There is only one God" and "Mohammed is the messenger" in the veins of each half of a tomato she was cutting up to prepare a salad. She had paid about sixty pence for a bag of tomatoes on a trip to a store across the road, and when she returned she cut up the first two tomatoes into small pieces. But as she took a third from the brown paper bag, she said, something made her stop. She turned to her grandfather and asked: "Which way shall I cut the tomato, granddad?" He told her to slice it top to bottom.

Just think how close a call that was. If she had chopped it up like the others, or sliced it in the regular fashion, the message would have been lost. Shasta is convinced that "God made me buy that tomato. These words are a message from God. It's a miracle." Her mother said of the girl, "She keeps up her prayers and goes down to the mosque as often as she can. God has sent us all a sign." She added, "You hear about these things in foreign countries but never here in Britain — let alone Huddersfield!"

Very true, though just the year before, hundreds of Asians flocked to the home of a man in Bolton — just 43 km. (27 miles) away from Huddersfield — who also believed he had received a message from Allah in an eggplant, said the Express reporter. Factory worker Salim Patel had sliced one open and saw that the seeds spelled out the name of the Moslem deity.

"Someone else could easily have sliced the tomato the other way round, or even eaten it without noticing the message inside," said Shasta's mother. The family was very busy, greeting hundreds of worshipers a day. They had hoped to preserve the fruit for as long as possible, since more than fifty worshipers a day were making pilgrimages from all over Britain to see the wonderful tomato, but it eventually decomposed. And the shop which sold it did a roaring trade in the fruit since the find on that Sunday afternoon. The shopkeeper at the food store was selling out of tomatoes every day. "We're thinking of opening a tomato trade," he said.

Hearing about this wonder, a wag issued a notice to residents of Shasta, California: the local yams at the grocery store, he said, contained channelings from the Ascended Master of the I AM, Saint Germain. Do not confuse the yams with beets, he told them, which have John 23:5 in them, as these are false teachings.

Ian Macmillan notes:

Eric Krieg has pointed out that it is a characteristic feature of free energy pioneers that they almost always have a wide range of weird and wonderful claims. Tom Bearden (mentioned here recently as the "inventor" of the wonderful MEG device) also claims that the Soviets used psychic weapons to cause Legionnaire's disease, UFO abductions, cattle mutilations and the sinking of the submarine USS Thresher. This, according to Mr. Bearden, has aroused mankind's collective unconsciousness, which he calls ZARG (no, I'm not making this up). The Soviets may also have caused the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986, according to a recent internet posting by Mr. Bearden. The link shows Mr. Bearden's thoughts on this matter.

These folks never fail to produce sillier nations and claims than we could think possible. I'm tempted to test them on their Easter Bunny theories, really.

Another reader submits:

There's a magnet miracle peddler in the UK name John Bain who is one of the more skilled abusers of logic on a few newsgroups. He's finally said something that appears testable. To wit: Water tastes different after the glass container it's in is placed on a bipolar magnet for a short period of time. Let's assume that he's using tap or well water and that an unadulterated sample would be used in a test. He claims that you [James Randi] wouldn't test the claim because the effect is scientifically plausible.

Here's some of the exchange:

[From "George"] To John Bain & the other magnet "heads" here: When I changed tap water filters recently and re-filled my water containers before storing them on top on one-inch thick magnets, it took about 12 hours for the magnets to do their work before my taste buds could sense the softer, smoother tasting "magnetized" water.

Hi George, I can't tell the difference at all, my wife tells me when the water filters need changing, etc. But I do a demo pouring water into a glass on top of a bipolar magnet (Both poles towards the glass), and participants (other than me) can tell the difference straight away. You might find some form of non-electrical stirrer would speed up the process. Best wishes — John Bain UK TV Sound Director, magnotherapy user & distributor Surround Sound for Television.

[To George] Sure you do. It works just as well as the magic fuel conditioner you sell. Ad nauseum, I note that this "demo" would win you a million if you could do it double blind. But you won't even try, because Randi won't accept such a challenge. The studies have been done and demonstrate the difference between magnetically treated and untreated water. Kronenberg published the before and after magnetic treatment pictures and you saw them. Cranfield University has similar before and after pictures on their web site from their studies and you saw them. Trinity College Dublin have before and after pictures from their study and you saw them.

Well, I heard from this strange person Bain, and he is exuberant over my immediate agreement — of course! — to test him for this claimed ability. The test is easy to do, inexpensive, and definitive. The only fly in this ointment is that Bain will decline to be tested, as sure as spoon bending is silly. I know these blowhards. Lots of noise, much rumbling and posturing, but never any actual submitting to the test. The alibis are ingenious, the rhetoric colorful, and the conclusion inevitable.

You may remember a chap named Malcolm Roe. He was part of the group of entrepreneurs who got rich offering the "Quadro Locator" fakery (discussed here in depth some time ago) to state and federal agencies in the USA. It was a simple dowsing rod dressed up with non-functioning electronic junk. When the FBI closed him down, Roe moved off to the UK, and continued to sell the Quadro under a new name: The Mole. The Royal Corps of Engineers endorsed and invested in this con game, much to Roe's delight.

I'm told that he is presently the Proprietor of "The Club and Spa at Glynneath," in South Wales, UK. The person who is selling The Mole for Roe is a Gary Bolton from Kent, who gets �13,000 for it, plus extra for a training course and other "signal cards." In the USA, the gadgets were made in a small assembly location that was raided by the FBI when they closed it all down. Now it's made in the basement of an apartment building in a town called Brynmawr, about 40 miles north of Glynneath. It's fronted as a plastics firm.

Apparently Roe's well-known cantankerous nature has led him into quarrels with the local council, the residents and the local brewery. He has a tiresome, annoying, rude attitude. And one of the numbers on Roe's mobile phone is Uri Geller's. Well, Geller has claimed that he invented a number of devices as wondrous as the Quadro/Mole, so maybe they're exchanging technical pointers....?

Roe has said that his ideal retirement spot would be Portugal, so if he ever finds that the UK authorities are finally moving in on him as the FBI did in the USA, that might be a good place to look. But beware, Portugal! The Quadro/Mole just might emerge there under a new Portugese name.....!

Off to Italy in a week. I'll try to keep material coming in here for the Friday renewals of the web page. More anon....

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