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The Fabulous Georgia Magnet - Revisited in 2010! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Back in 1883, all of the USA went a bit crazy over the so-called Magnetic Lady, a Miss Lulu Hurst of Georgia, whose success on the vaudeville circuit was phenomenal. She soon also had a few imitators who had solved the tricks she used, but they had relatively minor success with the act. The public couldn't figure out how she could match the strength of even the strongest men to appear onstage with her, and in default of a better explanation, her wonderful powers were put down to electricity. The reasoning was somewhat like this: Electricity is a mysterious agent, therefore all that is mysterious is electric. And who thought of logic when they saw three men tugging furiously at a broomstick or billiard-cue, and being vanquished by a tiny and fragile-looking lady.

How were these apparently astounding feats – or rather tricks – performed? It's simply a question of the laws of equilibrium. Consider: A pair of scales exactly balanced can be in equilibrium by being equally weighted and with the distances between the fulcrum and the weights also equal. But there are more ways than one of balancing the scales. It's not merely a question of weights; the lengths of the arms on each side of the pivot or fulcrum have just as much to do with the matter. Thus an ounce weight at the end of a long arm can be made to outweigh a hundred ounces at the end of a short one. Everybody knows this, and there is the whole mystery of the magnetic lady – and the iRenew salesman – in a nutshell. They utilize leverage and equilibrium to make things move, or not move, in ways that one wouldn't necessarily expect.

Yes, Lulu's simple trickery has now been resurrected to provide video proof of the wondrous powers of a bracelet sold as "iRenew," whose promoters claim magical powers for their device. Now, I strongly suspect that we'll shortly hear that this has been a big – and rather expensive – hoax just to prove the naivety of the American public (as if that needed proof). But just in case it's serious...

Here's the video.

Impressed? I didn't think you would be. If you wish to show this around, I suggest that you quickly save it. Who knows - it may magically evaporate once the folks a "buyirenew" realize you're onto them.

Watch it from the very beginning, so you’ll see the build-up. Then, when you get to the 56-second point, freeze it to see that the man controlling the demo quickly steps back to allow the subject to fall over, an inevitable result of the pressure applied to him, moving his center of balance. Then go ahead to 1 minute and 21 seconds in the video – when the magical bracelet is being worn – and you’ll see that the demo performer steps up close to the subject while placing one foot behind himself as a prop; he presses down while standing against the subject’s back. He’s simply holding the subject in place, supporting him, and the subject/victim doesn’t fall back now, because he can’t!

Look at the other video demos you’ll see shown on the site, and you’ll solve those, too…  But don’t bother trying to make an unsatisfactory comment. Any such attempt will fail. iRenew apparently discourages discussions of its product. (I think I know why...)

Again, it may be a purposeful hoax, but knowing how easily money is made in this business, it may also be just another swindle, a useless device that the public will snap up just as they do the countless bracelets, medals, nostrums, charms, and “vibrational” gismos that have earned millions for the hustlers…

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written by daveg703, July 20, 2010
Such a pitifully obvious scam. You wonder why those simpletons don't see how phony that "demo" looks to even a casual observer. Oh, of course! It is because they ARE simpletons, of the same ilk as those that would spend even a dollar for that bracelet.
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Applied Kinesiology - How it's Done
written by Richard, July 20, 2010
Readers might like to see a video I made on the subject.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Piu75P8sxTo
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written by HarveyC, July 20, 2010
BAAAAAH HAAAAAAAA, I can't believe people still fall for this load of dog squeeze. Next thing you know they will be talking about this curing certain disease states. A fool and his money are soon seperated.
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written by tomfoolery_101, July 20, 2010
There are a lot of these products coming out of the wood work at the moment. Power Balance (which has a bunch of celebrity sports stars endorsing it) and CieAura (which I think is sold via multi level marketing)to name just two, that use similar tricks and are selling basicaly the same thing. It seems that a lot of people who have paid for these trinkets, and they are not cheap - powerbalance will set you back $59.95 here in Australia- are true believers. The comments I see on videos explaining the tricks are along the lines of "well thats a trick, but I've got one and it works for me" I wish it wasn't the case but I think the kool-aid's nearly all gone.
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written by rjh02, July 20, 2010
It is one of the few videos where the number of people who dislike it outnumber the number of people who do like it.
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written by kenhamer, July 20, 2010
I think the kool-aid's nearly all gone.


I wish. But I'm pretty certain there's an unlimited supply.
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Stability
written by Kuroyume, July 20, 2010
In the first demonstration, notice that the guy blue shirt has his feet closer together so that there is only a two-point system - very unstable like a two legged chair or a bicycle. In the second demonstration(with the amazing bracelet - whatever), notice that he now separates his feet to create a triangle with the other subject - a more stable platform like a tripod.

So, not only was there an allowance for motion instability, there was instability built into the system in the first demonstration (evidenced by blue shirt almost falling back as well).
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written by harpman, July 20, 2010
wonderful video Richard smilies/smiley.gif
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written by RobbieD, July 21, 2010
In the second video - the core flexibility test - watch the subject's feet. Without the bracelet he twists around without moving his feet. With the bracelet his feet pivot and he turns much further. Cheap tricks.
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Submit your complaint
written by William, July 21, 2010
Submit the company and product to the FTC, https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx
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i-renew
written by sschlimgen, July 21, 2010
They're also spamming people - I just got one.
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written by rjh02, July 21, 2010
sschlimgen - If it is from a_zulkarnaen then I got the same spam for commenting on their youtube.
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written by gerdbonk, July 21, 2010
Report the spam to YouTube.

I have flagged the video as scam/fraud. I wanted to send the link to Richard's video with the flag, however YouTube does not allow adding a comment to the flag, so they may not understand how the scam works.
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One, two, four!
written by kenhamer, July 21, 2010
My favourite part starts at 0:15:
...and we're gonna do, actually, a total of four different tests; we're gonna test strength, balance, flexibility.

Strength, balance, flexibility. Sounds like four tests to me.

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written by Able, July 21, 2010
Really enjoyed the Magnetic Lady post by Mr. Randi. However, for the first time, in my many years of following TAM (the amazing Randi), a secondary post (by Richard) got me going more than the original post. Took me awhile (because I am slow) to link to Richards video but it was very much worth the time. I am sure Mr. Randi doesn’t mind that I liked Richards video a little more than his because that is one of the things he has been trying to teach us to do, be a little objective as well as being skeptical. Good stuff!
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need to have a closer look
written by TDjazz, July 22, 2010
For the life of me, I can't see any chicanery going on in the Wrist Strength test video. smilies/cool.gif
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I tried to post a comment on the YouTube page
written by Kritikos, July 23, 2010
I wrote a comment offering Randi's observation (and citing this blog post) and tried to post it on the YouTube page, but, guess what, comments are "moderated"! I don't think that comment is ever going to appear.
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RE: "need to have a closer look"
written by ccolazo, July 23, 2010
you sure as hell do. it's all about leverage! look at his thumbs on the first test: they're much closer to the woman's first knuckles. in the second "test", his thumbs are much, much closer to her wrist; damn near right on top of it by comparison (considering how short the hand is). at first, i simply thought the woman was faking. especially with her little thing she does with her shoulder in the first test. this capitalizes on the classic societal assumption that a woman is weaker, which is also emphasized by the demonstrator's exaggerated chauvinism. but i decided to give it a shot myself without the aid of this miraculous gizmo or its ridiculous price. at first, it looked like he was possibly twisting her wrist in, but noticed on myself that didn't seem to make me appear weaker. so then i paid more attention to the placement of his hands. again- as in the balance "test"- they space out the demonstrations in order to change positions without us noticing. that's when i began to focus on the placement of his hands. b/c the bones of the hand are acting like a lever when he "pushes" down, (which is really just pivoting the joint as it's made to do which is also twisted into the misinformation that the wrist is a "weak area") . hence the importance of the placement of the thumbs: more torque at the end (further away from the wrist) and less torque right up against the wrist. you can reproduce this concept easily by moving an open door with one finger on the edge away from the hinge and then trying to push it with one finger closer to the hinge. very simple concept of leverage both physically and psychologically smilies/smiley.gif anyone else agree? or were you teasing us with sarcasm, TDjazz? lol also, i would like to note that he begins twisting her wrist down in the first exercise before he even tells her to resist, which is kind of like saying "1, 2, 3, go!" at the start of a race and running on "2". but i also suspect there's a bit of faking going on since she looks directly at the camera immediately afterward and awkwardly stops herself... and in the second exercise, they're also making eye contact & nodding, which seems to be a potential cue for her to flex if you scrutinize it closely. plus, you have to account for the placebo effect the purchasers testing this device on themselves will feel. they psychologically desire it to work & will flex more strongly the second time b/c they're already sold on the idea and want to "prove" how magical this piece of crap is. and don't even get me started on warming up the muscles; think of getting out of bed in the morning, or getting up to stretch on a long road trip. a very elegant deception on many levels! it's almost enough to make you want to become a swindler yourself if you didn't have morals. just think of yourself as half magician, half used car salesman! smilies/grin.gif
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What Can These Bands And Chips Really Do?
written by tomfoolery_101, July 26, 2010
A look at what can and can't be done with one of these devices.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdCKI5QjwE0

(No Science Content Warning)
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