The Higher Source - a Dead End.

James Randi --- Wizard (randi-hotline@ssr.com)
Fri, 28 Mar 1997 19:18:00 -0500

This morning we've seen another example of organized madness, with the
mass suicide of thirty-nine cult members in California. The immediate
question: how do otherwise intelligent people get to believe the crap
that they're offered? Certainly, the need to "belong" drives them
together, but the bizarre ideas that then separate them from society
need to be encouraged and cemented into place.

How to do that? Judging from other "successful" cults such as Jim
Jones and his Peoples' Temple -- another such suicide crowd -- and
from the recent Solar Temple suicides, heavy preaching of nuttery does
the job. And, without question, any support that can be obtained
through the media is eagerly sought and embraced. The strange notion
that media and media personalities would not give attention to
worthless ideas, seems to persist; exactly the opposite is true.

We're told that this cult embraced the stupid assertion that comet
Hale-Bopp is accompanied by a huge UFO, to which these dupes thought
they could migrate by killing themselves. Strange, weird notion. But
it was invented, promoted, and encouraged by two men who I believe
should now be confronted with the result of their callous "joke." Ed
Dames, a would-be "remote viewer" who has peppered the media with
outright lies about my long-standing challenge to "psychic" powers,
and who has said that I've refused to test his wondrous powers, came
up with the Hale-Bopp/UFO farce, and may have given the deluded Higher
Source people the final item they needed to convince them that suicide
would deliver them to Nirvana. Behind Dames, feeding off his nutty
notions, is radio personality Art Bell. Bell proudly claims that he's
heard nightly on 400 stations across the USA, and to hold on to that
audience, he unconscionably promotes every sort of stupidity that he
can attract; Ed Dames is his special pet and current "star."

I've been advised by a colleague that it was actually a Chuck Shramek
who first came up with the absurd claim of a "Saturn-like object"
supposedly following Comet Hale-Bopp around. Not to our surprise, he
was quickly put on the air by Art Bell, to spin his fantasies. Bell
knows how to pander to silly folks.

And a former "student" of Ed Dames, Courtney Brown, of the Farsight
Institute (maybe that should be Farside"?) says he dispatched a team
of Remote Viewers to go off into space and see this Hale-Bopp
companion close-up. Had we watched, we might have seen the Tooth
Fairy and Easter Bunny in that giddy group.

I understand that Brown and Dames aren't speaking now. Brown had the
nerve to offer remote-viewing videotapes for sale, the same as his
mentor is doing.

A nut breaking off from the tree.

Dames and Bell, j'accuse. You've giggled at those who have been
terrified by the lies, and you've chosen to ignore the possibilty that
suggestible people would accept those lies, and might act on them.

And I'm sure you have no trouble sleeping.

James Randi

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