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In Pursuit of Flummery PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

psychicreaderWell, the infamous Marks family of Fort Lauderdale, professional gypsies who use the venerable “bazhoor” – rhymes with “azure” – to separate the terminally beguiled from their money, is in the headlines again. Rose Marks, currently considered the head of the family, is depending on her lawyer Michael Gottlieb, who explains that Rose and her eight family members were only helping their “clients” via their devout religious convictions. In the current atmosphere of jaw-dropping naivety about mystical religious claims, so well promulgated and flouted in the colorful Republican contest for the White House, the Florida gypsies were just trying to remove the obviously bad “vibrations” that radiated from their clients' cash and jewelry, explains Rose. Those evil spirits, whether of the Christian or the Romany variety, can be tough to banish, and sometimes the money and the baubles must be kept in treatment for a long time, as we all know.

In fact, police investigations show, the Marks family held onto some $40,000,000 to perform the cleansing process, which is apparently still in progress, since the loot has now gone bye-bye…!

Mr. Gottlieb stoutly defends his clients, insisting that their religion allows them to do this, by constitutional right. My own examination of the U.S. Constitution has – so far – failed to spot the applicable clauses that Mr. Gottlieb’s keen eyes have found, though he embraces the First Amendment – which guarantees all citizens’ rights to freedom of religion. Lawyer Gottlieb also respects that religion, it seems, if it also involves stealing.

Another of the Marks family, Nancy, also claims to be only 42 years old, another questionable statement that is being looked into, contained in 24 pages of legalese – an archaic tongue spoken by lawyers.

Lawyer Gottlieb wrote:

Nancy Marks' conduct is rooted in her religion and spirituality. Based upon this prosecution, the defendant has lost her livelihood and has been unable to make a living using her historical religious and spiritual gifts.

The Marks family not only sanctifies jewelry and cash – permanently – but conducts hand-waving and mumbling “healing” procedures very similar to the popular “reiki” moves also used by the wife of popular TV physician Dr. Mehmet Oz* to “even out the body auras” of the ailing – and both sets of practitioners are equally ineffective, so “real” medical science is hand-in-glove” with the Romanies, it seems.

But if the customers were unhappy with the “cleansing” or “healing” procedures, they were assured that they had a money-back guarantee, yet somehow, that promise was never met, probably because the Marks family is in such heavy demand, and can’t be expected to attend to such onerous, frivolous, requests. After all, their stylish mansion and the $1,800,000 in gold coins and luxury cars that federal agents discovered there, must be regularly counted and maintained. That seems only fair.

The Marks family members were released on bail pending trial, though there is no evidence that they were restrained by electronic trackers or by any other means that would prevent them fleeing jurisdiction of the courts.

*no, not a citizen of that foreign country, to our best knowledge