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High Woo-Woo at Work PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Reader Mack Hitch sent us a news item from Denver, where the rarified high-altitude atmosphere seems to be getting to some citizens. A woo-woo vendor named David Stevens is a "Home clearer" who helps real-estate agents by erasing those dreaded negative vibes from properties that aren't selling... Last Monday, Re/Max City Horizon broker Steve Kinney, in his experienced wisdom, summoned guru Stevens to dissipate the negative energy from a new home in the Berkeley neighborhood, vibes that came from the "resentment seeping in from the older property next door." Makes perfect sense, don'tcha think...?

Stevens is the owner of "Yoga of the Mind." He mystically waved his hands, clearing the way for the house to sell. The home had been completed in November, and the developer hadn't had a single offer on it, a sure sign of clogged-up evil vibes. Broker Kinney had purchased these magical gestures several times previously, paying the hand-waver $100 to $200 to have a home "cleared."

We've heard before of the brand-new ancient tradition of burying a cheap statue of St. Joseph in the front yard of a home that's being offered for sale, and feng shui consultants say they're being called in as well, to make sure that evil forces aren't being trapped in crevices or corners of resistant homes. So, in Denver, you should be sure that your real estate agent is thoroughly woo-woo, or you'll get vibes all over you... Even Ann Atkinson, an agent with Fuller Sotheby's International Realty, started using the woo-woo services about a year ago, and actually believes that this hocus-pocus helps her sell real estate. Hey, she has evidence: a pair of elderly clients moved into an assisted-living facility last May, the magic waves were performed last November, and the house sold just a few weeks ago. Direct cause-and-effect, as you can see!

Said Ms. Atkinson,

It may be coincidence, but it's happened more than once. If it's coincidence, I want to keep having those coincidences.

Hey, you can't fool Kinney or Atkinson, can you? They're both just chock-full of common sense and rationality. The only thing that concerns me is that these people also get to vote...

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written by MadScientist, March 27, 2009
Gee, they're lucky - imagine what would happen if they couldn't find a hand-waver - they might be out of a job!

In a previous life I'd tell people things like "you're asking for way too much money, no one in their right mind would pay that much for this hole". Or "there are no well-paying jobs within 50 miles of here, so don't imagine that someone will come up with that sort of money overnight". Most people have some attachment to a house and usually want more than a sensible person would pay - that's fine because the market is all about bargaining. Unfortunately it is incredibly rare to meet a real estate agent who is honest and would tell the client "I don't think anyone will pay that; if someone makes an offer, how much are you wiling to knock off your asking price". Oh no, agents are always spouting BS and saying "I can get you a better offer". Over at least the past 20 years, personal loans have been too easy to get and people who really can't manage money have bid up prices. Now that loans are a bit more difficult to get we can expect a lot more bargaining. If an agent posts too high an asking price because they've promised their client the moon, many people might take a look and not even bother to bargain, so no offers and no sale.
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written by BillyJoe, March 27, 2009
We could do a trial of hand waving but, of course, we don't need to, and the hand wavers won't want to.
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written by Avary, March 28, 2009
At least his woo-woo isn't government-subsidized : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...-dead.html
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written by ackbar, March 28, 2009
This reminds me of the Catholic superstition of burying a statue of St. Joseph in your yard. You're supposed to bury it somewhere in either the front or back with its head down. I'm not making this up. My parents were having a hard time selling their home a few years ago. It still took them a month after they did it, and I told them, "See, this didn't help." Mom's response? "Well, it may have taken longer if we hadn't!"
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written by drahcir87, March 28, 2009
"written by Avary, March 28, 2009

At least his woo-woo isn't government-subsidized : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...-dead.html"

unbe-effing-lievable, not only is this in happening in my own Country (Wales) its actually hapening not far from where i live. For the first time i am actually incredibly dissapointed with where i live. the only way of hope i have is that this is in the daily mail which isn't exactly what you would call top notch journilsm so maybe their wrong (i can only hope.)
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figures....
written by CasaRojo, March 28, 2009
>> The only thing that concerns me is that these people also get to vote...
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written by CasaRojo, March 28, 2009
" The only thing that concerns me is that these people also get to vote..."

Maybe we could convince them that they can vote telepathically!?
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Hand-Waving Training
written by GusGus, March 28, 2009

Training as a hand-waver cannot amount to much. I like to wave to little kids (maybe 6 months to a year-and-a-half or so) who are being carried by their parents. They wave back quite expertly!
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written by LovleAnjel, March 28, 2009
Of course, most homes will eventually sell, if you work at it long enough. So the hand-waving gets the credit rather than a drop in asking price?
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Watch me wave!
written by CasaRojo, March 28, 2009
I'm an expert hand waver from way back. I always thought that I might become a professional waver for parades and travel the world exhibiting my skill. Maybe some day. But now I have a new career avenue to explore thanks to the woo! YAY!
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written by tmac57, March 28, 2009
Re 'hand-waving' How's this for irony? The following is a definition of hand waving from Answers.com:
"n.

Usually insubstantial words or actions intended to convince or impress: resorted to hand waving instead of arguing rationally."
Steve Novella likes to use this term in that context often.
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WARNING RREGARDING THE ABOVE CRANK
written by BillyJoe, March 29, 2009
I see you changed your name but same old $#!+

For anyone not familiar with this crank, he post links which contain further links which contain further links and eventually you link right bact to where yu started from, never ever getting to the information he's sent you on a wild goose chase for.

BJ
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James Randi the Douche Bag, Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by nelson650, March 29, 2009
200 bucks to clear a home? C'mon, He needs to charge 2000 to be taken seriously!
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written by tctheunbeliever, March 30, 2009
Do you need a license to sell telepathic voting booths? Or do they follow the homeopatic policy?
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written by CasaRojo, March 30, 2009
"Do you need a license to sell telepathic voting booths? Or do they follow the homeopatic policy? "

I don't know but the woo continuously give me wonderful money making ideas! Ain't the woo great!? ScamWOW!
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Denver... Home of Woo
written by ghostchaser, March 30, 2009
It is sad to see when this kind of thing happens. This is just another case of people who are confused by what they believe to be paranormal activity getting scammed by a person who attacks when they see someone in a vulnerable position.

We have talked to people who have had something even more para-stupid done. The latest fad is to not even go to a home to conduct a “Cleansing – Blessing” now they tell the “client” that they have conducted a “Psychic walk through and cleansing” thus saving the actual costs of travel. This allows people who are not located in an area to rip off people from a distance.

But as we all know Colorado is one of the worst locations when it comes to Woo.
We are the home of The Telephone to the Dead, Franks Box, Ovilus, Paranormal Puck, The Luminator spirit photography, A large portion of Kangen water, MUFON, The Denver Extra Terrestrial Affairs Commission,The Vibe machine, Metatron Technology, The Stanley Hotel piezoelectric effect, and that is just the start of it.

Thanks,
Bryan (From Denver)
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Shut UP
written by charlieocean, March 30, 2009
I'm now working on a national franchise of house woo-woo clearers. Don't rain on my parade.

I need a title..."Spirit Be Gone," "Guaranteed Ghost-Free," Verified Poltergeist-Clear"?

Willing to accept ideas for the franchise.

I think all franchise owners should wear a "swami" hat ala Carnac on The Tonight SHow with Johnny Carson.

Maybe some incense.

CO
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written by Weatherwax, March 30, 2009
markuze1972: You need help. Seriously.
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I agree with Mad Scientist
written by Brookston John, March 31, 2009
I had a Realtor who told me he could get me $180,000 for a house that I eventually lost in a foreclosure which then sold at auction for $30,000. After that experience (3 realtors, the last one couldn't get me enough to pay off the loans) I came to the conclusion that Real Estate is the next biggest Con, right up there with Televangelism.
Oh, this was back in my just getting-out-of-christianity-and-trying-other-flavours-of-Woo period, so the place had been smudged, Fung Shui'd, and crystallized out the wazoo and it still didn't sell.
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written by CasaRojo, March 31, 2009
"I came to the conclusion that Real Estate is the next biggest Con, right up there with Televangelism. "

I took a real estate course at a community college some time ago. By the time I finished the course I didn't want to be a Realtor anymore. Caveat emptor! I recall a Simpson's episode where Marge sold real estate. Great epi! "The episode sees Marge becoming a real estate agent", "Marge does not disclose the entire truth about the "murder house" she sells to the Flanders family." "Marge returns Flanders's down payment, and is fired."---> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realty_Bites
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My new begging sign: "Will wave my hands around for food."
written by Desertphile, March 31, 2009
Hell, I'll wave at a house for *HALF* the going rate of $200. For an additional $55 I'll even throw in a few pinches of corn meal.
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written by Steel Rat, April 13, 2009
I'm now working on a national franchise of house woo-woo clearers. Don't rain on my parade.

I need a title..."Spirit Be Gone," "Guaranteed Ghost-Free," Verified Poltergeist-Clear"?


Polter-Gone?

Ex-Spiritus?

Casper-Off? (hehe get it? Casparov? Casper-off? Oh NEVER MIND!!)

Anti-Boo?
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