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Here's Your Proof! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

A self-styled “author and physics researcher” named James A. Conrad, in a discussion of the “Columbus Poltergeist” case of 1984 that involved a 14-year-old girl named Tina Resch, inserted this hilarious “proof” that certain skeptics were – and are – scallywags:

As for hoaxers and jokesters retaining their reputations...

In Operation Fortitude in World War II, the U.S. military set up inflatable tanks, trucks, and artillery units in Kent, England and faked radio traffic in an attempt to mislead the Germans about the size and location of Allied forces. We do not then dismiss the real tanks, trucks, artillery units, and radio traffic of World War II because the U.S. was also engaging in some self-serving hoaxing, for which the U.S. side probably had a good laugh.

Comment: This operation, which was created under the direction of the famous illusionist Jasper Maskelyne, had the desired result. It confused and mis-informed the Axis powers, and helped in the success of D-Day. There was no “laugh” involved, Mr. Conrad. It was a deadly serious project…

Also, famous singers sometimes have to lip sync their songs due to temporary vocal cord problems and musicians pretend to play to prerecorded music onstage, on television, and in music videos, in effect hoaxing their claimed talent, simulating perfect instances of their works so as not to disappoint. No one then calls into question the evidence for the real performances recorded in a studio or the witnesses who were physically present and saw and heard it happen.

Comment: So? Does this empower a 14-year-old girl to deceive and mislead reporters and naïve “investigators” by lying and doing tricks, so that she could get headlines? Ah, but this man has hardly shown his colors. Read on…

More: The esteemed scientist Carl Sagan wrote many serious nonfiction science books, but then in 1985 he proved that he was capable of making up scientific stories when his novel Contact was published, later made into a Hollywood movie.

What? This book was clearly labeled as fiction! Does this indicate that anyone who can write fiction, also lies?

And while on the subject of movies, in 1994, esteemed paranormal investigator James Randi entered the world of makebelieve and pretended to be a fictional coroner in Beyond Desire, an R-rated thriller set in Miami's South Beach – and he was caught on camera doing it!

Duh! Yes, I played the part of a coroner, dumbo! I was working as an actor, you see? That’s what I do. I wasn’t “caught on camera,” I was filmed, purposely, knowingly, and deliberately. And I didn’t at that point “enter the world of makebelieve.” I’ve never been there, where you apparently live. At the age of 17, professionally, I became a conjuror, and we conjurors do tricks. They’re designed to entertain folks… Oh, forget it…

He was also the originator/planner of two paranormal hoaxes of his own (Project Alpha, 1979, on a team of American scientists at the now defunct McDonnell Laboratory for Psychical Research in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Great Carlos, 1988, on the Australian public and media).

Yep, and both projects were highly successful, Mr. Conrad.  They exposed both the ineptitude of the scientists at the MacLab, and the “channeller” craze that had seized Australia. Both of them showed – conclusively – that learned persons, when out of their areas of expertise, could be easily deceived by frauds. Frauds such as Tina Resch…

Remember that famous photograph of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein on his 72nd birthday sticking his tongue out and looking goofy for pestering news photographers who wouldn't leave until they got a picture of him? Einstein liked that photo so much that even he used it on his personal greeting cards to show his friends that he was not all serious. So, my point is that the body of evidence of an individual's serious side should not be disregarded just because they also have demonstrated that they are capable of entertaining others or engaging in momentary acts of "just fooling." This was a 14-year-old who didn't understand the ramifications of such mistakes of judgment.

Sir, Tina Resch knew full well what she was doing. Her “serious side” was thoroughly developed. She saw the media falling over themselves to create her myth, and she encouraged it. She connived to attract gullible investigators, she was very successful in doing so, and the fame she attained so buoyed her ambitions, that she figured she could get away with anything.

In 1994, Tina Resch was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of her 3-year-old daughter.

(This article had a followup here.)

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written by IndridCold, November 22, 2008
"At the age of 17, professionally, I became a conjuror, and we conjurors do tricks. They’re designed to entertain folks… Oh, forget it…"

It sounds like you're sick of explaining this concept to people now, and it is sad that some people still don't get it.
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written by Lingua, November 22, 2008
She murdered her daughter? Wow. I guess someone involved with the poltergeist thing should've realized back in 1984 that the kid needed serious help. This is just a sad, sad story.
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cwniles
written by AMFCook, November 23, 2008
She plead guilty, but did not admit to any guilt?

Come now. How does one plead guilty and not admit to any guilt? She didn't have a jury trial because once she plead guilty, there was no need for a trial. The matter moves on sentencing, and thus becomes closed. If she accepted a plea offer from the prosecuting attorney, she would have had to allocute to the charges, admit what she did, in order to satisfy the deal.
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written by Caller X, November 23, 2008
written by AMFCook, November 23, 2008
She plead guilty, but did not admit to any guilt?

Come now. How does one plead guilty and not admit to any guilt? She didn't have a jury trial because once she plead guilty, there was no need for a trial. The matter moves on sentencing, and thus becomes closed. If she accepted a plea offer from the prosecuting attorney, she would have had to allocute to the charges, admit what she did, in order to satisfy the deal.


You're right. Mr. Randi did indeed phrase this poorly. Perhaps the kids on his lawn distracted him. Never take legal advice from magicians unless the magician happens to be a lawyer. When you grow up, you can be a lawyer too! It's called an Alford plea. Just like where babies come from, it's something grownups know about.
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written by Caller X, November 23, 2008
And I see that I wrongly attributed the phrasing to Mr. Randi, when it was another poster. I apologize.
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written by Caller X, November 23, 2008
written by cwniles, November 23, 2008
I know the subject of this post was not Tina Resch's conviction but I feel it must be noted that yes, Tina Resch pleaded guilty to several charges in regards to the sad and untimely death of her three year old daughter. While she did plead guilty, she did not admit any guilt nor did she have a jury trial. She has been in prison for nearly 17 years.

Also, Mr. Randi,you seem a bit unforgiving of something a fourteen year old adopted girl did almost 25 years ago.


Perhaps she was on his lawn.
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"Unforgiving"?
written by PieterB, November 23, 2008
Also, Mr. Randi,you seem a bit unforgiving of something a fourteen year old adopted girl did almost 25 years ago.


The subject of this article is not Tina Resch, but a professional nitwit's invoking of the Geller Excuse (sure, some of might be trickery, but that doesn't mean it's all trickery) on her behalf, and with some thoroughly inane and dishonest arguments.

Tina Resch by all appearances perpetrated a hoax 25 years ago. I don't see what her age or adoptive status has to do with the fact that it was a hoax, nor why hoaxes should be "forgiven." They are what they are, demonstrations of the ability of some people to exploit the gullibility of others. Calling a spade a spade and a hoax a hoax are simply pointing out reality.
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written by Cuddy Joe, November 24, 2008
"Tina Resch by all appearances perpetrated a hoax 25 years ago."

If you consider actual video footage of her throwing objects when she believed no one was looking, caught on tape by an unattended TV camera that she didn't realize was filming. It didn't 'appear' she was hoaxing - she was caught red-handed.

She was adopted and many adopted kids require adoption because things in their home of origin were so horrible. Whatever happened to this kid when she was young caused deep emotional illness which later culminated in her murder of her own child. The point is that this was an unfortunate but common enough natural causation for behaviors labeled 'supernatural' by an uncritical media, pure attention-seeking on the kid's part, and no doubt a cry for help at some deeper level. That help was delayed due to all the misdirected media hype and frenzy.

Conrad's apologetics are incredibly feeble, a testament to the convoluted and idiotic reasoning require to keep woo woo beliefs afloat.
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Yeah, I know, the US laws are weird
written by cwniles, November 24, 2008
AMFCook, you should know that the laws of the U.S. are multitude and confusing, as such, you should refrain from making uneducated comments about them.

As CallerX pointed out, it's called an "Alford Plea", Google it

PieterB, sure, it's up to you, you don't want to forgive a child, fine. Me though, I think I could get over something a child did. And I know it wasn't the point of the article, I even said as much.


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written by cwniles, November 24, 2008
By the way, just thought I would mention that it is pretty amusing to me that AMFCook's completely inaccurate comment at this point in time has a +5 in the votes. If you are one of those that voted it up, perhaps you should take a refresher class on U.S. law.
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Here's My Alford Plea
written by rancemohanitz, November 25, 2008
Since you are reading this, you probably think that I wrote it. I doubt that I'll be able to convince you otherwise, so I'm going to go ahead and plead guilty to writing this, but I'm not going to admit that I actually wrote it.
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written by BillyJoe, November 28, 2008
rancemohanitz,

I see you recognise BS when you see it. smilies/cheesy.gif

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