End-of-month-notes

James Randi --- Wizard (JREFInfo@ssr.com)
Mon, 2 Mar 1998 10:29:56 -0800 (PST)

AN IDEA FROM DOWN UNDER

I'm borrowing a simply swell idea from the Australian Skeptics. I'm
now offering a "finder's fee" of US$50,000 to anyone who can locate a
"psychic" who will (a) take us up on our Pigasus Prize offer
(http://www.randi.org) and (b) will win that prize. But I don't
expect a rush of applicants, though the rabid believers out there will
have a difficult time explaining why their favorite psychic hasn't
accepted the challenge.....and made them financially happy, as well.

LOOKING IN ON SWEDEN

I've described here previously how a pompous-assed "dowsing expert"
named Nils-Axel Morner, associate professor of geology from Stockholm
University, has consistently refused to be tested for the Pigasus
Prize. A helpful correspondent in Sweden referred me to
http://www.tdb.uu.se/~karl/dowsing/ where I found that Morner was
tested -- amateurishly -- on a prominent Swedish TV show, "The Plain &
Simple Truth," on TV2 on February 27th. Morner was first provided the
opportunity to brag about anecdotal successes, then he was tested. A
local celebrity -- a singer -- was involved, as is usual with these
drearily predictable affairs. The singer chose one of ten cups under
which to conceal a packet of sugar. He chose number seven; are we
surprised? Morner had designed this test, saying that it was
especially difficult for him to do. (???) He said that water or
metal could be located "right away," but not sugar. Morner blathered
on about "interference" and mumbled about "influences" and "might be
here" and the usual alibis, then chose number eight. Wrong. But,
said Morner, it was "in the right sector!" But no cigar.

There were 3 serious errors in what could have been a good test: One,
the target was not selected by a random means. (3 and 7 are the
most-often-chosen positions in a line-up of 10.) Two, an audience
member could have secretly signaled Morner. Three, Morner was allowed
to do a test of his own choice, one that he said in advance was
difficult and strange for him, instead of doing one which he'd done
before, for which he has claimed 100% success. Why were water and/or
metal not used? This is ridiculous!

Did Morner mention that I've offered him the million-dollar prize if
he can do his usual, familiar dowsing trick? No.

COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT
I've had two comments that the prize offer of the 2000 Club is being
offered for something non-paranormal. I think not. I easily and
confidently offered this strange Duffie character the Pigasus Prize if
he could produce one of the multitude of "blatant lies" he said I'd
put out, knowing that if he could do so, he'd be performing a
paranormal (occuring without scientific explanation) event, since
those lies don't exist. And I'm still waiting! Patiently, however.

A PARAPSYCHOLOGIST OUT OF A JOB?
Also, since I pay no heed at all to the fence-sitting antics of
Truzzi, it may be that he is no longer at Eastern Michigan University,
as he once was, and as I claimed recently. Retired, no doubt, or
perhaps undecided about it.....? Several readers tried to find him
there, and were unable to do so. Or is sociology just such a soft
science that it's not listed in the curriculum?

SPOON-WATCHING IS STILL BORING
In conclusion, I note that Uri Geller, ever eager to annoy and
titillate, claims to have paid 31,000 for a spoon that once belonged
to the Duchess of Windsor, at the recent auction of the Windsor
trifles. He says he'll bend it and rivet to that silly car, a 1977
Cadillac festooned with 5,000 pieces of bent cutlery. This was part
of a hilarious plan he had to drive the bristling vehicle through the
Near East in order to bring peace to the region. That figures; the
soldiers there would drop their weapons from laughing hysterically at
a vintage car studded with spoons. Said Geller, "People will probably
be angry that I will be bending [the spoon], but that is what I do."
No, Uri. I think they just won't care. And yes, that's what you do.
That's ALL you do. Get a life.

Randi.

****************************************
Subscribe to SWIFT!
****************************************
SWIFT our quarterly (hardcopy) newsletter, is $10/annum Checks payable
to JREF (address below). Tax deductible in the USA. Overseas, add $6 for
airmail.

****************************************
SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING:
****************************************
Send an emtpy mail message to JREFInfo-help@ssr.com for details.

****************************************
CONTACTING RANDI
****************************************
James Randi Educational Foundation phone: +1 954 467 1112
201 SE Davie Boulevard fax: +1 954 467 1660
Fort Lauderdale FL 33316-1815 http://www.randi.org
U.S.A.

General questions: randi@randi.org

Mail directly to Randi: JamesRandi@COMPUSERVE.COM

****************************************
BACK ISSUES OF THE HOTLINE:
****************************************
<http://www.mindspring.com/~anson/randi-hotline/>
<ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/an/anson/Mailing_Lists/geller-hotline>
<ftp://ftp.ssr.com/Randi>

ftp.ssr.com is the home of the hotline, but we are very over loaded,
so please try the other sites first. European users please try:

<ftp://mercurio.iet.unipi.it/pub/Randi>

Thanks to Anson Kennedy and Massimo Macucci for providing the ftp
sites at netcom and unipi.it.