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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

crystal power The enchantment with crystals is understandable. People are fascinated with the wonderful organization and symmetry observed in these attractive natural formations. Even common salt assumes quite square shapes when it is given the opportunity, and more esoteric substances produce intricate forms that are typical of their composition. Water, in the form of snowflakes, is one of the most beautiful expressions of this phenomenon.
      Mystics have taken up this expression of nature as further proof of their claims, and they now ascribe to crystals various powers of healing, influences to bring about financial gain, precognitive ability, and other potentials. They point to recognized attributes of crystals, long recognized and used by science and technology, as support for their own notions. One of these is the piezoelectric effect, which simply means that when certain crystals such as quartz are squeezed, a small electrical signal is given out. When, conversely, an electrical signal is applied to the crystal, it expands or contracts in response. There is nothing at all mysterious about this phenomenon, and it is fully explained within the parameters of basic physics, but it has been pressed to serve the theories that amateurs publish in the literature asserting that therefore crystals give out some sort of vibrations that psychics can detect.
      Simple tests of the claim have been designed and carried out. In every case, it has been shown that the claim is spurious.
      In shops that cater to the need for supernatural guidance and benefits one can now pay fifty times the former price for what was once only an attractive addition to a mineral collection but is now touted as a magical remedy for many problems and afflictions as well as a key to infinite wisdom and power.
      Crystals are pretty rocks; they are not keys to psychic powers or healing modalities.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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