Friday, 15 March 2013

Project Alpha

"What would happen if two young Conjurors posing as psychics were introduced into a well-funded university parapsychology laboratory?"

"Generous funding doesn’t make scientists smart . . . Nor are they able to detect trickery without help."

James Randi.

In 1979 James Randi enlisted the help of two young magicians to demonstrate something which by now, at least in the circles of Showmen is taken as axiomatic; the supernatural abilities of psychics disappear if there are magicians present during the experiments. Most scientists and researchers still believe today that they are to educated to be fooled by "simple" trickery. This of course is absolutely wrong. There is no such thing as simple trickery. A trick is only simple after the secret has been revealed. Jim Steinmeyer claims that "magicians guard an empty safe. There are few secrets that they posess that go beyond grade-school science class, little technology more complex than a rubber band, a square of black fabric or a length of thread." Well, that might be so but these tricks non-the-less are effective enough to become the seeds of religions.
A CONTROVERSY is rippling through the borderlands of science over how best to aid the quest for truth in the marshy backwater of psychic research.
The debate was touched off by a brilliant hoax in which two teenage tricksters, working under cover for more than three years at the behest of James Randi, a magician and psychic debunker of international repute, fooled researchers at Washington University into believing they had paranormal powers.
The ostensible aim of Mr. Randi's hoax was to make psychic researchers rely more widely on the advice of magicians, a goal advocated by many scientists as a sensible way of routing out trickery and self-deception. But even critics of parapsychology are now crying overkill. Some scientists say Mr. Randi, during a press conference in January sponsored by Discover magazine, and on a recent NBC television special, ''Magic or Miracle,'' has exaggerated his victory over the ''classic fatheads'' and set back relations between skeptical scientists and those probing the paranormal.
At best, Mr. Randi's hoax is a masterful triumph of the scientific method - as exercised by a magician - over the crude dabbling of scientists who should be more adept at what they do. At worst, it is an example of science victimized by showmanship. 
''The worst we can say'' about the McDonnell laboratory, Mr. Randi said, ''is that they were far too confident of their abilities to detect fraud, and refused outside assistance because those who offered it lacked academic credentials.'' 

Phillips did indeed present a tape to the parapsychology community and in it he states that Schaefer was able to corroborate his findings and even found more abilities in reference to our "powers".  This is direct evidence of him stating he believed what we did was real.
 Banachek from Michel Prescott's blog
Parapsychologists have been lamenting for decades that they are unable to conduct proper research due to the lack of adequate funding, but I felt strongly that the problem lay in their strong pro-psychic bias. The first hypothesis, therefore, was that no amount of financial support would remove that impediment to improvement in the quality of their work. Moreover, I have always been in accord with many others in the field – such as Stanley Krippner, current president of the Para psychological Association – who insisted that qualified, experienced conjurors were essential for design, implementation, and evaluation of experiments in parapsychology, especially where deception – involuntary or deliberate – by subjects or experimenters, might be possible. So the second hypothesis was that parapsychologists would resist the accepting expert conjuring assistance in designing proper control procedures and, as a result, would fail to detect various kinds of simple magic tricks.

I do believe that the parapsychologists are searching (or searched) for what we Showmen have presented. For it is Showmen which provides evidence for the Supernatural. Showmen everywhere has their fingers on societies pulse and are constantly searching for new collective dreams to fulfill. In the same way that we have worked out how to thrill by physically slinging people around in roller coasters, carousels, and ferris wheels Showmen has provided intellectual, emotional and metaphysical thrills in fortune tellers, mind readers, and spiritualist seances.
As David Berglas, the International Man of Mystery, said in an interview on the Magic NewsWire: "When they ask to see another trick I say No, you haven't finished thinking about that one. The more they talk and think about it, the more impossible it becomes." I believe the manifestations of the supernatural, the so called proofs have all been provided by Showmen. Project Alpha is merely an example of where the Showmen revealed themselves as what they were. With the explicit aim to show researchers how difficult it is to rule out deception from any laboratory trials.
Whether this taught anyone any lessons is hard to say, but perhaps some scientists realized that the powers of manipulating minds is so great in magicians that they will look at the necessity of including them in future studies of the so called paranormal.
Only showmen can debunk other showmen. The tricks of deception are so many and so clever, as well as deceptively simple that no amounts of PhD's, degrees or professorships can detect them. What we need is a well versed old fashioned Master Showman on the research team since in all studies of this nature, the parapsychology and the supernatural, is square within the explicit field of expertise for Showmen.

If one truly love mysteries and genuinely want to explore the limits of our understanding we first need to know that what we are dealing with is a mystery. I love mystery. As a kid I loved the mysteries surrounding the bermuda triangle, the pyramids, the extinction of the dinosaurs, the giant statues of the Easter Islands, but even as a kid I negan finding literature which gave rational explanations of these things. I might have wished for UFO's to have been involved in creating the pyramids and Easter Island statues, but the truth - the fact that we humans managed to create these wonders without the help of aliens or any supernatural means where also fascinating. Human kind were more amazing than I had previously imagined. The feats of engineering they successfully achieved were astounding. Instead of thinking that we needed help from above, (aliens of gods,) we could do it ourselves. My exploration of the mysterious was revealing to me a similar experiene as my own life was. I no longer needed my parents help for everything. I could do more than both I and my parents thought I could. I could do it all on my own and if I could what couldn't mankind do?
But I still loved mysteries and kept searching going from one unexplained mystery to the next as their mysterious nature withered away turning innocence into experience.

The following two clips are a conversation between Michael Edwards and James Randi about what happened back in the early eighties during Project Alpha.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Some Crazy Contortion

I found this sweet contortion clip by random. The title etc is in Russian so I know very little about him. When I run his name, Мухтар Гусенгаджиев, through the google translate I get Mukhtar Gusengadzhiev. From there I found some pictures, and this is what Limbermen have to say about him:

An excellent male frontbender, currently lives in Russia.
The first 5 pictures are from Alexander Zhukov's World of Contortion.
Thanks to Lee for the framegrabbs.
He's was apperaing in the theater play "Genesi, from the museum of sleep" which is currently playing here then has has been a part in Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity in Las Vegas.
The clip below is from the french TV show Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde, (the biggest cabaret in the world...)

And finally here he is from a Cirque de Soleil TV show.