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Interview with Connie Sonne, Dowser PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

tamyspeakerIf you are attending The Amaz!ng Meeting 7 and will still be at South Point at 1pm on Sunday, you will have the opportunity to witness the largest preliminary Challenge test ever conducted in the history of the Million Dollar Challenge.

Connie Sonne, a dowser from Denmark, will attempt to dowse for the contents of sealed envelopes in front of a live audience that will hopefully include you.

Famed mentalist, Banachek, will conduct the test, and it will be attended by famous skeptics and critical thinkers from all over the world like Penn & Teller, Dr. Michael Shermer, Captain Disillusion, George Hrab, and more.

If you attend the Million Dollar Challenge workshop, you will have the opportunity to earn an MDC Guru pin, which will get you VIP seating at the test.

But as exciting as all this is, you might be a little confused about who Connie Sonne is and what her claims are. I interviewed Connie via e-mail to introduce her to you.

Here are some of her comments, which have not been altered in any way.

Alison: Would you please give our readers a summary of your abilities?

Connie: My abilities are several, it depend on the situation I`m in, what I`m allowed to do. About dowsing: I can get question answered, they write sentence for me, using letters and numbers and they can write on my computer too. If I have the letters written on cardboards  on the table with the backside up, I can dowse names of persons I don`t know, I can find numbers, places, names, anything, eventhough I can`t see what`s on the cardboards. People can give me questions. Only the persons, who are asking, knows the answer. I can give the right answer in three ways. YES og NO answer with dowsing or I can give the answer with sentence, using letters on the table, dowsing for it, OR I get the answer directly in my head and can answer.

I can get answers from the animals too or other people, I can get dogs shaking their heads, yawn and other things. I can get people scratch themself, yawn and so. I can get goldleafs ( pieces of metal used for decorating things ) move in the air in a uncommon way. But there`s many many other things.

Alison: When did you first discover you had abilities?

Connie: I discovered my abilities in october 2007. I got a pendulum, a cristalball for my window, but a friend told me that I could dowse with it. I had never done such things before, but suddenly(in one night) I were able to do surprising and amazing things. The story is very very long, this is only the beginning.

Alison: Where do you think your abilities come from?

Connie: I know who is behind my abilities. I know whom they are, what they are, and who I am and why it`s me, they "woke" up. I know who they look like, where they are and much more, but I will wait telling about this until after the challenge. But I can say: There`s no ghost`s, no spirits, no religion or whatever, and I`m only the contactperson.

Alison: How have you previously tested and verified your abilities?

Connie: I have tested all my abilities in different way with different witness many times. The first time ever, I told my parents of this, I convinced them like that: I wrote all the letters down  on cardboards. Placed them in a horseshoeshape on the table with the backsid up. It was very thick cardboards, so I couldn`t see the letters at all. My dad mixed the cards and placed them on the table in front of me. His name is Viggo, and I spelled his name, by dowsing, without one missing letter ! He was convinced.

Several people have seen me dowsing and my parents and other people have a connection too now. With my mom as a witness, I placed my foot/leg in a pond in winthertime 2007 without being wet at all. I grew tropical gardenplants (orchids) in my garden( in frost and snow) and several people have seen me talking with animals, where they answered me. So yes, all my abilities are tested with witness too. And this is only a small part of it.

Alison: Where did you first hear about the JREF's Million Dollar Challenge?

Connie: About JREF, I had never heard of it until I, last year, came to the website, when I was looking for other things on the internet. Then I realized that it could be the way to "open up" people`s eyes among other things.

Alison: Do you think that the JREF has treated you fairly in regards to the Million Dollar Challenge?

Connie: Yes JREF has been treating me very fairly and kind all the way.

Alison: Do you believe you will pass the test?

Connie: Yes, I believe I pass the test.

Alison: Are you excited about attending TAM?

Connie: I don`t know if I`m excited, it`s not the right word to use. I`m very happy to attend TAM, because it will give me the possibility to show many people at the same time, that there`s much more than we can see.

Alison: Do you plan to attend other TAM events?

Connie: I have not planned to attend other TAM events, but we`ll see, what happend.

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Comments (59)Add Comment
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written by C. Watts, June 25, 2009
What will Connie's excuse be if she fails the challenge?
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written by KingMerv00, June 25, 2009
Good luck, Connie. Nothing personal, but I think that's your only hope.
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written by The_Libertarian_Otaku, June 25, 2009
I just know Connie's gonna fail the test, hands down. (Safest bet.)

Just why do people still believe in dowsing and other woo-woo in this day and age? People should know better by now!
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Poor Girl
written by Sadhatter, June 25, 2009
This is going to suck for her when she fails. They should have someone there with a box of kittens to cheer her up. Penn and teller i'm looking at you
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written by SonOfScience, June 25, 2009
Ya know, and she sounds like a sweetheart, too. Yea, this is going to suck for her. And that sucks.

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written by rjh02, June 25, 2009
Fail? No she is not likely to fail. She has tested herself so she have proved her abilities to other people. So how can she fail? It would be great for the people who have seen her come onto the forum and verify her abilities.
See this thread http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=146532

The day after she passes I will demonstrate my abilities to make pigs fly.
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What is her age?
written by Sa Janes, June 25, 2009
...she sounds so young -- a child.

I have been a skeptic since I was very young. I am close to 70 now, and I have been a personal friend of James for many years.

I want to add here -- I had a miserable, abusive, lonely childhood, and what kept me going were the many fantasies I created of magical worlds full of loving people and kind, omnipotent beings that came to my aid and swore to protect me and my brothers and sisters.

Of course, as I grew older, I came to realize on my own that, in order to survive, I had to become a realist and learn to evaluate each and every circumstance in order to better protect myself from those real people that would do us harm.

I think now that those childhood fantasies were, not only necessary, but helped me develop as a writer and creator of imaginative music and fiction. It is possible that many adults never leave this fantasy realm -- for whatever reasons -- and endeavor to continue living in their dreams rather than face the unfettered truth.

Be that as it is, please be gentle on this child, if she is such. I contend that it may be perfectly normal for children to have and enjoy -- even in some cases actually benefit -- from such dreams of magic and wonder, and only need to be gently and carefully guided by we adults as they mature in mind and thought.

B.R.
Sa


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written by asmith, June 25, 2009
To be clear - Connie Sonne is forty-six years old.
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Definitely not a child
written by perkan, June 25, 2009
Hello from Sweden everyone, my first post this. I'm a big fan of JREF and it's purpose.
This is a (long) url with a picture of Connie and as you can see she's not a child:
http://www.dr.dk/Templates/New...HINT=Guest

Since she is Danish she is not fluent in the English language, which is most likely the reason she seems young in writing.. (same with me perhaps)

I wish her all the luck at TAM but I really hope she stops doing what she's doing if she fails (yeah right!).

//Per
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written by rjh02, June 25, 2009
What I do not understand is how they can demonstrate their skills to other people. Are most people easily fooled?
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written by perkan, June 25, 2009
Are most people easily fooled?


Isn't that obvious? smilies/smiley.gif
How else would woo-woo be a billion-dollar business?
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written by TDjazz, June 26, 2009
Of course Connie is going to fail, but she's going to be surrounded by strangers and could be crushed by the results.

But afterward there's still the possibility she will complain there was too much negative force in the room, or she was having an off day, or use any other excuse that will be convenient. I think she will go back to Denmark and continue dowsing because she will still believe she has the power. Funny how belief works, isn't it? smilies/wink.gif
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written by asmith, June 26, 2009
Item number six of the agreement we forwarded her, and will have her sign at TAM, states:

6.I do not believe that taking my Challenge test in front of a large audience will influence my claimed ability in a negative way.

Additionally, items 11, 12, and 13:

11.I agree to having James Randi in the front row of the auditorium during the testing, and I do not believe this will affect my claimed ability in any negative way.
12.I agree that the JREF has treated me in a fair and unbiased manner regarding my claimed ability.
13.I agree that if the test is conducted in accordance with the finalized testing protocol and I still fail, it is not the fault of the JREF or associated parties.
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written by JoeyDonuts, June 26, 2009
Well, since this is Las Vegas...

What's the over/under looking like?

You might be able to get this into the 'sports betting' rooms at the casinos.
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written by MadScientist, June 26, 2009
@KingMerv00:

I have enough confidence in Banachek to say luck will have no part in the challenge. Such a pity I'll have to read about these things rather than being there myself. smilies/sad.gif
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written by asmith, June 26, 2009
Assuming that there are no technological hiccups, the test will be streamed live via webcam to all the folks at home. Keep an eye out for the URL.
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written by SonOfScience, June 26, 2009
I agree: please be gentle on this little lady, child or not. She is no Sylvia Browne, she truly wants to "help".
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written by perkan, June 26, 2009
Plenty of nutcases here today it seems...
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Be Nice
written by BatBoy, June 26, 2009
I admire Connie for having the bravery to conduct the challenge publicly in a roomful of skeptics. She is our guest and I expect everyone to be on their best behavior. Right! I look forward to it, I think it will be one of the major highlights of TAM.
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written by The_Libertarian_Otaku, June 26, 2009
Fail? No she is not likely to fail. She has tested herself so she have proved her abilities to other people. So how can she fail? It would be great for the people who have seen her come onto the forum and verify her abilities.


Did she perform a controlled experiment, though? If not, she's proven nothing.
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written by kenhamer, June 26, 2009
The day after she passes I will demonstrate my abilities to make pigs fly.

Making pigs fly is easy.

Making them land is much harder.
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No Just Nice
written by Sadhatter, June 26, 2009
"What I do not understand is how they can demonstrate their skills to other people. Are most people easily fooled?"

While i do think this is the case, i don't think that it has to be the reason in this case.

Like what i was saying with my previous comment, when someone is told that something they think is real is fake, it can be a bit of a turd in the punchbowl.

Personally i tend to back away in a debate when someone shows signs of being emotionally tender at the content.

Now this lady, is convinced she has a superpower, has probably lived her entire life as if she has had one, and your at least an passing friend of hers ( if you know her well enough to have seen her dowse), i don't know about anyone else, but i would not like to be the one dropping that particular turd in that particular punch bowl.

I would probably just smile and say " sure i'll confirm you did this" and wait for someone like James, who has made it his mission in life ruin the punch no matter the person.

And this is what needs to be done, because sometimes, the punch,it ends up being kool-aid.
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does she mean well?
written by jer, June 26, 2009
It's interesting to see so many people here thinking that, while she's mistaken, this woman is sincere in her belief. Is it possible she sounds more innocent than she is when we read her using English as a second language? That was my first impression of her too... However, it may be possible that Sylvia Browne, if she were trying to speak something other than English, would sound more sympathetic (a stretch, I know) in that language.

I agree that everybody should be courteous to Sonne and give her a fair chance to perform. But given what Sonne claims she can do, it seems likely there is a measure of deliberate trickery in her routine.
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jer
written by Amos M., June 26, 2009
I think jer has a valid point, to an extent. A lot of fakers are very good at what they do, so even aside from the language, it might seem at first glance that somebody genuinely believes in something which they actually only use as a tool to take money from the credulous. However, I think it's usually best to cautiously give people the benefit of the doubt until evidence shows otherwise, as far as whether or not they are being malicious. Also, far more convincing than any childlike qualities in her writing is the fact that she has agreed to the challenge. This makes me think she most likely believes what she says, for while there are other possibilities (Hoping to cheat, betting on the tiny chance of success without ability, etc.) it's worth noting that Sylvia Browne has yet to show up for her testing, and most others have been very careful to come up with excuses for not agreeing to any in the first place.
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Excuses
written by Son of Rea, June 26, 2009
You cannot possibly cover every specific excuse she might have in the agreement.
I suggest that a broader statement also be agreed to, such as:

"If at any time, I notice any condition that will negatively affect my performance, I will voice such concerns so that the moderators will have an opportunity to rectify the interference."

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Excuses
written by rjh02, June 26, 2009
I like that! I suggest they go further and give her the right to stop the test and ask for changes to be made or reschedule it for any reason, at any time during the test. Give her no excuses for failing the test.

This is my opinion and nothing more.
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Making pigs fly
written by trawnajim, June 26, 2009
Responding to kenhamer:

Making pigs fly is easy.

Making them land is much harder.


Actually, making them land is easier, since gravity takes care of it. Making them land safely, now that's another matter. smilies/grin.gif
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written by kenhamer, June 26, 2009
"If at any time, I notice any condition that will negatively affect my performance, I will voice such concerns so that the moderators will have an opportunity to rectify the interference."

The problem with that is it could conceivably allow the person being tested to get unlimited "do overs." Each time they fail they could claim a different person in the audience is sending negative vibes, preventing my powers. Eventually they are likely to make a correct "guess" simply by random chance, at which point they would claim "this attempt was real."

As for Ms. Sonne, I would not compare her to people like Browne. She seems sincere enough to be tested in front of a group of people, and her comments are respectful.

Browne, on the other hand, would just keep screaming "Atheist!!!", and then run and hide. I don't think Browne would agree to be tested in front of a group of believers, never mind skeptics.
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written by rjh02, June 26, 2009
This is why I said 'during the test'. Once the test is over and the results are announced then that is it. No more excuses by either side allowed. Either she passed or failed.
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written by Son of Rea, June 26, 2009
Well, they are not obligated to allow do overs, or even allow changes if the moderators feel it would in any way interfere with fair testing. But it would allow for silly, insignificant things to be eliminated.

Also, they should not tell her the results until they ask her if she feels that she was in any way hindered in her attempt. If she truly believes she has powers, she would believe her guess to be accurate before results were revealed, so there would be no reason for her to make an illegitimate excuse prior to the results being revealed.
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A dismissive, superior attitiude is not called for in this case.
written by BillyJoe, June 26, 2009
It is very unlikely that Connie is a fake.
Fakes do not take the MDC - they know they can't do it.

Also the attitude of some commentators here disappoints, but doesn't surprise, me. Whatever your view of claimed abilities such as these, once you are planning a test, or doing a test, or watching one being done, it is necessary to keep an open mind (for the purposes of the test). To prejudge the outcome means you have closed your mind to being proved wrong and that is the wrong attitude, however justified you may think it is.

I only hope the testers take the correct approach. There is no point at all in being dismissive, or superior, in this situation. Connie comes in good faith and she should be treated with respect.

The other point is that you can never prove she does not have these powers. The null hypothesis is that she does not have this power. But, if she fails, the null hypothesis is not proven but merely not disproven (ie that she does not have these powers is not proven but merely not disproven). Big difference. I hope that at least is clear.

Another way of saying the above is that, if she fails, she has failed to demonstrate her claimed abilities only on this occasion under these particular circumstances.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

BillyJoe
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written by KingMerv00, June 27, 2009
@MadScientist:

Luck is always a factor. The is a small but non-zero possibility that she will pass the test based on pure chance. Even the mighty Banachek can't do anything about that.
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amos
written by jer, June 27, 2009
That is a good question. Why would someone who knows they are faking take the challenge? I think it depends on whether the benefits outweigh the risks/drawbacks. For someone like Sonne, this could be her big chance at making it big. Whatever the outcome, she's gained huge publicity. If she succeeds, she's golden. And yes, if she fails she can fall back on excuses, no matter what she's agreed on or what allowances we give her. Remember, she only has to present her excuses to true believers, who are invested not only in believing her, but in believing the Challenge is crooked. She might be embarrassed to an extent, but it's a calculated risk that depends on whether you can use the publicity. Browne will never take the challenge because there's no payoff; she's as famous as she needs to be.
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dismissive attitude
written by jer, June 27, 2009
I agree we should give Sonne our courtesy - and be open-minded to the extent that we watch the test fairly and not truly arrive at conclusions until the test is over.

However, I think there is nothing wrong with going into the test feeling extremely skeptical, given that Sonne is making claims that 1) outrageously contradict reality as we understand it, 2) can be explained through known mechanisms of trickery, and 3) have always failed controlled tests in the past. While we should be respectful and fair, we would have to consciously deny reality to convince ourselves she has a realistic chance.

As for proving the null hyhpothesis, I can't prove there is no leprechaun hoovering behind my head that nobody else acknowledges, that is invisible in mirrors, and that flies away only when I lie down or lean into a solid object. But to keep our minds going in useful directions we have to file such things under the "technically it might be true but it's so far fetched that there's no use in acknowledging it so I'll dismiss it" category.
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@ jer
written by BillyJoe, June 27, 2009
I agree with most of what you say except that, to test fairly - and just for the duration of the test - we need to leave our pre-conceived, sceptically derived, opinion at the door so that we can give Connie our full attention just in case she has the evidence that contradicts our view.
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How Much Respect is Too Much?
written by Sadhatter, June 27, 2009
While i agree no one should treat Mrs. Sonne poorly. One does not need to have an open mind during the testing, one simply needs to follow scientific procedure.

I could hate someone and want them to fail, but as long as i follow correct scientific procedure then nothing i can do will change the results.

Mrs Sonne will never get a group that is both serious about finding the truth and sympathetic to he claims. The two are mutually exclusive the best that can be done is not to purposely skew the results. Which if Mrs sonne has put as much effort as the jref into test design should not be possible.

The problem all boils down to why can someone not do what they say they can do in a situation in which they say they can do it?

I mean i have many useless skills, and if someone were to ask me for a proper test of any of them i would be able to come up with something simple, something fairly quick, and a full list of possible things that could screw me up. The list of things that will screw them up is my biggest pet peeve.

For example, if someone bet me a million dollars i that i could not fix a computer i would be able to say.

"I can do this assuming the computer is not physically damaged, or if it is i have a replacement part. I need power to the computer, and the computer cannot be any older than about 20 to 25 years old. As well the computer must have all interface equipment required for its proper use. The computer must be a common pc intended for commercial or small business use. And finally all software required needs to be known by myself."

I mean that is a pretty nit picking specific list. But assuming those criteria were met i could do my ability. And if i could not, well i was obviously lying. Why is it so hard for psychics to admit if they can't do it in a situation they pick they can't do it. No one is asking them to do anything different than what they do every day.
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written by BillyJoe, June 27, 2009
One does not need to have an open mind during the testing, one simply needs to follow scientific procedure.
The two are mutually exclusive.
Following the scientific procedure includes being open-minded about the result.

Mrs Sonne will never get a group that is both serious about finding the truth and sympathetic to her claims. The two are mutually exclusive
Now you're getting the idea. smilies/wink.gif

The problem all boils down to why can someone not do what they say they can do in a situation in which they say they can do it?
Cart before the horse and you are assuming failure.
The problem at present is defining exactly what this person says they can do and under what circumstances they can do it and tehn coming up with a test of those claims under those circumstances.

BJ
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Prediction
written by Michael K Gray, June 27, 2009
I shall record here my predictions:

1) She will not score significantly above chance.
2) Less than a few days later, she will offer countless lame excuses,
(other than the obvious: "I cannot do what I claimed to be able to do"),
then blame her abject failure on everyone and everything apart from herself.
3) She will rely on her appearing to be a "sport", and a "sweety" to deflect robust criticism.
4) The JREF $1m is quite safe.

Let me see if I am more accurate in predicting the future than Sylvia!
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written by BillyJoe, June 28, 2009
The odds of you being correct is in no way comparable to the odds of Connie succeeding, so I would say that Connie is by far the braver contestant here smilies/wink.gif
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Hmm?
written by stacyhead, June 28, 2009
I am questioning why people are worried this woman will be treated poorly?
She is putting her claim out there, and when it fails, I don't believe anyone is going to throw food at her or scream, "(place obscenity of choice her)". This isn't a middle school playground. I feel sure she has been treated well and will continue to be treated well when her claims have been debunked. Bravery is not the issue here if she is confident in her claim.
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The forum
written by rjh02, June 28, 2009
She will not have been the first to be tested recently. See this thread for an example of Patricia Putt being tested http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=120794. All very polite, even after the test.
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But you're doing it now!
written by BillyJoe, June 28, 2009
I am questioning why people are worried this woman will be treated poorly? She is putting her claim out there, and when it fails, I don't believe anyone is going to throw food at her or scream, "(place obscenity of choice her)". This isn't a middle school playground. I feel sure she has been treated well and will continue to be treated well when her claims have been debunked. Bravery is not the issue here if she is confident in her claim.
That is poor treatment of somone about to undergo a test of her claimed abilities.
...and you don't even realise you're doing it.

BJ
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The forum
written by SonOfScience, June 28, 2009
Thank you for that link, that was interesting. I'd like to read more about past tests. I also hope this event will be streamed via web cam as mentioned above. Thanks in advance for that also.

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written by rjh02, June 28, 2009
There is a whole forum you can access from the link I gave above. This will tell you about previous tests. Plus about previous applications that never got as far as a test and the reasons why.

It would also tell you something about the results of the test that will take place at TAM that makes BillyJoe's comments reasonable.
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written by SonOfScience, June 28, 2009
Excellent. Thank you again, rjh02.
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written by tctheunbeliever, June 29, 2009
Why would she be afraid of ridicule and abuse? Maybe she reads this forum.

And in cases like these, the scientific method must take precedence over personal beliefs, even if they're resoundingly persuasive (I won't say "correct"--I'm being scientific). That's how science finds the right answers--it's universally open-minded, because we can't be. That's why science isn't "just another religion".
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adversus solem ne loquitor
written by stacyhead, June 30, 2009
I don't believe my prior comments were poor treatment of Ms Sonne. Let me be clear in saying, I have the right to believe she will fail. Just as Ms Sonne has the right to believe she will succeed. Personally, if Ms Sonne needed a pat on the head to make her feel more confident in her abilities, I would be happy to oblige. If she would like me to dress in a cheerleading uniform and cheer her on, I'll do that.


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Missing the point.
written by BillyJoe, June 30, 2009
Quitre apart form being unfair of the person whose abilities are being tested (put yoursself in her shoes), you miss the point that your scepticism is lacking in one essential element.

The possibility that you are wrong.

There is always the possibility that you are wrong. Right?
But, if you dismiss other possibilities out of hand even before they have been examined, you risk not finding out that you are wrong when you are wrong. Right?

Okay then,

BillyJoe
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written by BillyJoe, June 30, 2009
oops, sorry for the errors above

I have the right to believe she will fail
smilies/grin.gif
Where exactly is this right enshrined.

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Billie Joe
written by Michael K Gray, July 02, 2009
I freely admit that I might well be wrong, but am willing to wager a 1,000:1 bet that I am not.
Any takers?
Connie Sonne has 1st right of refusal.
After that, you may wish to join the vanishing queue.
Are you skeptical enough, Mr. Joe?
What's your stake?
AU$100?
As you suggest, it would be out of character for you not to put yourself 'in her shoes' as it were.

How deep is your commitment to your assertion of skeptical 'impartiality', kind sir?
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written by BillyJoe, July 02, 2009
Michael Gray,

I think you misread my post.

BillyJoe
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Careful Michael K Gray
written by rjh02, July 02, 2009
There is about a 1:1000 chance that she will pass the test by chance alone.
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...
written by stacyhead, July 03, 2009
Where exactly is this right enshrined.


Please refer to the Constitution. smilies/wink.gif
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written by BillyJoe, July 03, 2009
I have the right to believe she will fail.

Where exactly is this right enshrined.

Please refer to the Constitution.

smilies/grin.gif
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Perhaps we could learn something from Connie Sonne after all?...
written by SheldonHelms, July 12, 2009
I attended Ms Sonne's preliminary test today, and felt very bad for her that she did not succeed in demonstrating the "powers" she believes she possesses. Looking at the JREF site's forum and at the comments here, I was surprised that so few of my fellow Skeptics chose to demonstrate the same respect, decorum, and grace that Ms Sonne did today after failing the test. I think Randi, Banachek and everyone else in attendance will agree that Ms Sonne showed a great deal of patience and politeness throughout, even though protocol required some tedious steps at the end of the testing.

Here's hoping everyone on OUR side can learn to behave in a similar manner, and save the name calling and ridicule for the playground.
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Respect, decorum and grace?
written by Tricky, July 14, 2009
Maybe she handled herself well at the demo, but now she's crying that she was cheated.
http://forums.randi.org/showth...st4901904

It looks like we haven't found the dowser who could admit they were wrong yet.
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Connie's remarks.
written by Tricky, July 14, 2009
Sorry, my previous post did not contain a proper link. Here it is.
http://forums.randi.org/showth...ost4900202

And here is what she said:

Hi out there...now I know why Banacheck was "the card handler". I have been cheated. I did find the right cards. And there is one more thing. At the stage, Banacheck said to me BEFORE he even looked in the envelope I had cut...and here is spade ace, the one you looked for!!!! I first hit me now about that ....but maybe you can see it yourself if someone get the video. I don`t care about the money, that wasn`t the reason why I came. So no matter what you think out there......I was CHEATED!!!!!

Connie

So much for respect, decorum and grace.
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written by BillyJoe, July 14, 2009
Sounds like she acting a bit like some of the sceptics here. smilies/wink.gif
Enjoy the company.
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Connie's remarks
written by daverich7, July 16, 2009
I think where Connie comments about being cheated stem from the fact that Banachek probably made a slight judgment error as far as his timing in announcing the values of the cards, especially the ace of spades... the cards were a very tight fit in the inner envelopes. Banachek had trouble removing several of them. Of course, once the end is cut open and he's reaching inside to extract the card, he can see what the card is, even though the applicant can't. And of course with his quick intellect and experience handling cards, he only needs a brief glimpse of the card in the envelope to see it isn't the desired one, even though it wasn't visible to Connie. It might have been a little wiser if he hadn't been so quick to name the card, until it was out of the envelope and face up on the table where Connie could see it. Only then should he have named the card for the benefit of the audience. But hindsight is always 20/20.

I'd also like to add for the benefit of people who may have been watching it on video -- the tables used were completely open underneath, and the audience could see Banachek's entire lower body the entire time. Although Connie may not have been able to watch his hands at all times, there was no time during the test where his hands were hidden from the audience.
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