Friday, May 01, 2009

All in the mind?

(I haven't been blogging much lately because I've been rushing around checking my accounts. My credit card was cloned, but cancelled before they made off with any money, but now I have to double-check everything. It actually ended up saving me money, since I'm now paranoid about using any kind of card).

There's a very interesting article on methods for faking telepathy here. Telepathy isn't a subject I study, and I've no experience of it, so I'm not going to take sides on whether it's real or not. It can certainly be faked. Stage magicians do it all the time. That does not prove there's no real telepathy out there, but if there is, all those fakes will make it very hard to find.

What struck me was that the methods used by the fakes involve extraordinary skill. Reading subtle eye and body cues, holding someone's wrist and deducing their unspoken response from the tension in their muscles, are talents that are wasted on fakery.

Why fake a particular skill when you have a real one? When these people claim to be telepathic and are found out, that's it. End of career, and rightly so, because fakes are a bane to any investigator.

If, instead, they claimed 'I can tell what you're thinking just by holding on to your wrist and feeling the tension in your muscles when I ask you questions', wouldn't that be something to show off? They would pass tests designed to see whether they really can do this, because they can. Why don't they take up careers on stage, showing off their real skills?

It amazes me how much effort people put into fakery. They develop skills that could make them famous but then use those skills to deceive, and thereby end up as objects of ridicule.

My sympathy is, of course, limited by the research time these people waste. If not for the huge numbers of fakes, then researching the paranormal would not be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Worse, it can be like looking for hay in a needlestack because an investigator taken in by a fake gets stung when the fake is exposed. Not many careers can survive that.

Come on, fakers, get a real job using your real skills.

And get out of the way. Maybe then we'll have more luck working out where the real paranormal investigations should be concentrated.

Some hope. We're stuck with the needlestack for some time yet.

1 comment:

Southern Writer said...

I agree. All quacks should retire immediately.

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