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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

cheating (derived from escheator, the term for an official who collects taxes) A process——physical, sensory, or psychological——by which psychics are able to produce for inexperienced observers the effects of genuine psi. When the performers are caught cheating, the officially recognized scientific researchers——known as parapsychologists——conclude that they were forced into doing so because their powers failed them or they did it unknowingly in trance; when the performers are not caught at it, that portion of the research is said to be genuine.
      An interesting euphemism adopted by researchers is the use of the term “mixed mediumship” to refer to mediums who are caught at fakery, since the remainder is assumed to be the real stuff.
      In his satire Hudibras, author Samuel Butler wrote:

      Doubtless the pleasure is as great
      Of being cheated as to cheat;
      As lookers-on feel most delight
      That least perceive a juggler's sleight,
      And still the less they understand
      The more they admire his sleight of hand.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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