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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

biorhythms A notion originated in the 1890s by German doctor Wilhelm Fliess (1859-1928), biorhythm theory says that three cyclical influences are set in motion at the moment of birth, and that by charting these cycles it can be determined which days are propitious and which not. Fliess originally postulated only two cycles, but later a third was added.
      The three cycles——physical, emotional and intellectual——are respectively 23, 28, and 33 days in length, and a day when any curve crosses the zero line (a node) is a “critical” day. When two nodes coincide, it is said to be an especially dangerous day. As for three nodes, well, don't ask. The triple-critical will occur for everyone at the age of fifty-eight years and sixty-eight days, which should produce a plethora of deaths at this point, but no such actuarial bump has ever been noticed. Then, at the age of just more than 116 years, four months, and a couple of weeks, the second triple-critical arrives. If one has lived through the first, this crisis should definitely do one in.
      Followers of this modern form of prophecy look assiduously for correlations between the theory and actual fact, and of course are thus able to find many such relationships which they believe support the theory. Such a process is the antithesis of scientific research.
      Studies in which control groups were established have shown that there is no value to the theory. It is a form of magic and pseudoscience.

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