Upcoming test

James Randi --- Wizard (JREFInfo@ssr.com)
Mon, 9 Nov 1998 13:28:51 -0500 (EST)

(This will be a long posting. I'm doing it as a
going-on-the-record-in-advance move. You may wish to skip it.)

This posting is being made early on the morning of Monday, November
9th, 1998. I am in Los Angeles, California, where in less than three
hours I will be meeting a video crew from the TV show "Extra" to
conduct a preliminary test of a Kam Yuen, who claims to be a healer.
Should Mr. Yuen pass this test, he will be eligible to be tested for
the million-dollar prize offered by JREF.

Mr. Yuen, in common with most persons who believe they have such a
magical power, says that he is 100% successful, and heals all
ailments, instantaneously, merely by thinking about them. In several
phone conversations with Mr. Yuen during the past few months, I have
had him reduce his claim to one of simpler and more reasonable
proportions. He now agrees that he can think about a specific person
with an illness, and immediately make them "feel better." That is a
bite-sized claim that we can handle and test in a practical manner.

I can be accused of shooting fish in a barrel, here, but please
understand that the commitment made by myself and the JREF regarding
the million-dollar challenge, requires that we test ALL claimants,
without exception -- when they present a testable set of statements.
Rule 5 of the challenge calls for the claimant to be subject to a
possible preliminary test, in order to get around the need for
EVERYONE to be formally tested by me, wherever in the world they may
be. For this present preliminary test, the TV producer is paying the
costs.

Involvement of a TV crew, with their urgent needs for certain
liberties in covering the event, can be an interfering factor. I am
determined that this will not be allowed to happen, but there
doubtless will be friction during the taping today. For that reason,
and since the testing protocol is not by any means ideal, this test
today has been clearly designated as only a preliminary one.

I anticipate that upon failing the test today, Yuen will offer all
sorts of excuses, despite having agreed to the protocol in advance.
That's what always happens. I also can predict with certainty that in
advance of the actual test, he will offer the TV crew, the other
personnel, and anyone else standing by, diagnoses of ailments they
have, most obscure and not yet showing symptoms, and he will describe
nutritional and environmental changes we should make to avoid these
illnesses. This is a sort of general offering all healers make and
will later refer to as a buffer against the failure of the test
itself.

Chest problems, back aches, respiratory situations, and other common
symptoms will be referred to frequently, even while Yuen is doing the
actual test, in reference to the subjects (see ahead) involved. He
will say that he has discovered, through his powers, un-diagnosed
problems he will warn about. As I will point out at that time, these
"asides" have nothing to do with the test at hand -- though I'm sure
the TV folks will seize upon them as residual evidence of a miracle,
which they very much want to find here. The TV piece, as aired, will
close with the comment that says, in effect, "There's still some
evidence of magic here." That's par for that course.

Dr. Michael Shermer will be present, along with a Dr. Fleissman, M.D.,
obtained by Kam Yuen to participate in this test. I had previously
asked for Dr. Wally Sampson, M.D., to be present, but Yuen objected to
so many M.D.s being on the scene. I had no problem going along with
this.

Here follows the latest document sent to Richard Pollmann, the agent hired
by Kam Yuen to promote his claims, and to Karen Zuker of the EXTRA show.

.........................................

Friday, November 6, 1998

Mr. Pollmann:
Outlined here is the protocol for the preliminary Yuen test. A
copy has been sent to Dr. Shermer.
Kam Yuen says he can heal a person (relieve symptoms) by
concentrating on them. Yuen must agree in advance that:

(1) He will not claim that "negative vibes" or "bad thoughts" caused the
test to fail.
(2) He is satisfied with the persons we have chosen as subjects, and our
personnel.
(3) The filming of the event will not inhibit results.
(4) He agrees that his powers will not "spill over" onto other persons he
is not treating.
(5) He agrees that this is a preliminary test, described by rule 5 of the
"Application for Status of Claimant," and that my presence at this test is
only to satisfy the request of the TV persons.
(6) He will read and sign the "Application for Status of Claimant," on
camera, this personal witnessing being equivalent to the action of a notary
public, normally called for.
(7) He understands the rules and will abide by them.

We will have 5 subjects (with one or two "stand-bys," see ahead),
held remote from the "healer," subjects who have NOT been informed about
the nature of the experiment. They will bear visible number-badges, 1 to
5.
Dr. Fleissman will be in the area with the patients, along with
Shermer, and these two will interview the patients about their symptoms.