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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

dermo-optical perception (DOP; in Russia referred to as “bio-introscopy”) In the 1950s, this was a popular subject for sensational news stories and for parapsychology. It was claimed that some persons were able to “see” without using their eyes, scanning printed matter with their fingertips, with their noses, or even with their feet. At one point, in 1990, it was even claimed that some children in China were able to “read” bits of paper crumpled and placed in their armpits or their ears, or even by sitting on the paper!
      In Mexico, the Instituto Mas Vida (“More Life Institute”) took up teaching DOP to the children of wealthy patrons. Blindfolded, the children specialized in reading large-type books opened at their feet while they were seated. It seems no accident that this is the perfect position in which to peek down the sides of the blindfold. When a piece of blocking paper was inserted below the chin, the child was always struck blind.
      One famous practitioner of the art was a Russian psychic named Rosa Kuleshova, who, like the Chinese children, also read with her posterior. Another Russian, also famous for moving small objects with fine, invisible nylon threads, was Nina Kulagina, who can be seen in a black-and-white film made decades ago at a Leningrad laboratory, reading letter cards posted on the wall behind her. To a conjuror, the method is obvious: She brings her right hand up before her eyes, then it dips into her pocket, emerges and is casually shown empty. This suggests that she was peeking into a small mirror held in that hand, then the mirror was dumped when she'd had her glance. As if to verify this theory, she read off the cards——and even one two-digit number——in reverse order. Certainly there was no reason for her to have held her hand before her eyes, except to accomplish the trick as described.
      The Chinese children were found at one point to be using a one-ahead method with the crumpled papers, and since the controls were nonexistent in any case, they had no problem cheating, if they had wanted to, when their magical powers failed them.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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