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The Fabulous Georgia Magnet - Revisited in 2010! PDF Print E-mail
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…