Cause for rejoicing?

James Randi --- Wizard (randi-hotline@ssr.com)
Tue, 20 Aug 1996 01:02:01 -0400

Three items present themselves for our attention this week.

First, we're assured that the cause of the TWA800 crash has been solved by one
of the "psychic" opportunists who always trail along after disasters hoping to
get lucky. Now that much of the details are coming to light, this marvel has
outlined a scenario that brings banality to the status of a criminal act. When
its shown that he was wrong, no one will bother to mention the fact. Yawn.

Second, the preposterous claims made by a UK "psychic" who turned out a
"Mind-Power Kit" much like the one that Kreskin once peddled, have been dampened
by the UK Advertising Standards Authority. Geller claimed that he had put some
sort of charm upon the quartz crystals that came with the kits, by sticking his
hands into a pile of them, and that he had also put his hands in the printing
ink used to print orange dots on the "meditation cards" sold with the kit, to
"power" the dots. The Authority was naturally concerned that no evidence had
been produced to show that the crystal and meditation card had been instilled
with Geller's claimed powers. The Authority asked the advertisers not to use
the claims again.

And third, we have a big win with the Inset Industries, manufacturers of a quack
device -- the Fuel Stabilizer -- that was claimed to "align the fuel and air
molecules" in auto engines. The Division of Consumer Affairs in New Jersey has
charged Inset with violating the Consumer Fraud Act. A jury in the Superior
Court will decide the case soon.

But there are so many, many, more....

(Next week I'll send out a summary of the status of the James Randi Educational
Foundation, what's coming up, and how you can get involved.)

J.R.

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