The ABC-TV program

James Randi --- Wizard (
Thu, 2 May 1996 03:24:15 -0400

Well, well, well! The reaction and responses to the "Put to the Test
II" show were hot and heavy! I got a load of mail on it, with really
excellent remarks and observations.

Let me suggest that a proper test of the "police psychic" would have
been to have her work one of the three cases, chosen at random,
without anyone present who knew the answers to prompt her -- which was
so obviously the case here -- and then ask an independent panel to
decide which of the three cases she was talking about. That would
require that clues in her "reading" identifying anything, be removed.
It wasn't too tough to figure out that "Josephine" with a hearing aid
was an elderly woman, nor that there was some sort of a slant to the
roof of the house. It was appalling what the TV hosts oohed and aahed
at. And that drawing looked more like Queen Victoria than the
convicted killer. Amazing.

As for the Russian "doctor," I'd suggest that 5 men of roughly similar
age be placed in that room, that one of them be chosen at random as
the subject, and the first name and age be given to the "psychic," and
not identified to anyone but him. After his "reading," all the items
would be presented to all the subjects and the "experts" who sat in,
to decide which of the five persons was the chosen subject....

But ABC doesn't know much about conducting a proper test -- or doesn't
want to know.

And, Noreen, how about a REAL test of your abilities? There's now
$624,000 waiting here for you, just for ONE test that works....!

Hmmmmm. Not interested.....
James Randi


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