Many believers in dowsing, applied kinesiology, and related machines that go ‘Ping’ think that they can detect parasites and poisons in the body and tell what medicines will help, all based on ‘frequencies’ of ‘energy’ which are somewhere between unproven and disproven.
Proponents dodge the pursuit of James Randi’s Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge with personal attacks and rumors. However, here’s a fellow, James McCormick, who made over $70 million selling dowsing-based gadgets to governments and militaries around the world. He claimed that by putting various cards in the machine, they could detect bombs, drugs, money, or hidden people.
He unwittingly created his own $70 million dollar challenge, with the added incentive of 10 years in jail for fraud. Unable to show that his machines work as claimed, the courts were unimpressed that he relabeled novelty golf ball ‘finders’ into bomb and drug dowsing devices, then marked up his $60 gadgets to $300,000. Iraq’s security team bought 6000 of them, and is apparently still using them.
Like most bloggers, I appreciate comments my readers share. It’s good know I have readers who find my posts thought-provoking, whether or not they agree with me. Here are some recent comments which deserve more space for proper response than the comments format permits:
From: Arthur Grollman MD on Kidney Failure and Bladder Cancer due to Aristolochic Acid, is Xi Xin/Asarum implicated? What would Zhang Zhong Jing do?
As the (American) co-author of the PNAS paper that stimulated this thoughtful blog, I commend those who wrote it for the constructive criticism it contains and its wise recommendation that Asarum in the form of Xin Xin should
never be used in TCM, as the toxic component (aristolochic acid) accumulates in the body in the form of carcinogenic aristolactam-DNA adducts. In other published research, we have detected these adducts 40-50 years after the Aristolochic acid containing herb was last taken.
How fabulous to get a comment from a co-author of this study! Thank you, Dr. Grollman for stopping by. I realize that he is probably also thrilled that an acupuncturist has paid attention and taken his findings seriously. How sad to think that some acupuncturists remain determined to dodge the science and law and continue prescribing these herbs just because they are in some very old books… I have written many posts about the herbs which contain Aristolochic Acid and how these events have crossed my path. ”Sleuthing Beverly Hames’ Kidney Failure” is the one I’d recommend most. There are thousands of Traditional Chinese Medicine patients around the world who now have this DNA damage (detectable for 50 years!) which vastly increases their cancer risk. Most of them don’t know about it, so they aren’t looking out for the early signs of kidney and bladder cancer. Acupuncturists should note that some US-based herbal supplement manufacturers who knew their products caused kidney failure never did recalls or notified acupuncturists to throw away their existing stock and warn patients to stop using it. So much for trust and prevention…
Dynamo Jack’s magic tricks were the subject of an earlier post. At the time, I didn’t know that Jack (aka John Chang) was still a Big Deal to some people. A 1980s documentary showed him lighting newspaper on fire with “Ch’i,” poking a chopstick through a table, and delivering electric shocks from his fingers. I offered plausible explanations such as the Electric Touch gadget by magician Yigal Mesika. There’s more info on Yigal’s site; it looks like a new version is coming soon. Here’s a video with Criss Angel using the Electric Touch:
A “pastor” was arrested with one of these devices going through an airport. He tried to tell security that he needed it to do “God’s Work,” as he shocked people during prayer services. Fail.
I just learned that the Electric Touch’s sparks can also ignite flash paper (another magic gimmick which has been around a long time). I thought Dynamo Jack’s burning newspaper trick was done another way, but it could have been this combo.
If you’re going to fall for a Chinese magician, I recommend ‘Magic Babe’ Ning.
A comment from Tom last week showed me that some still take Jack Chang’s magic seriously: Continue reading
Today I got an e-mail from “Anonymous” from a “no_reply” address. Anon said he e-mailed me yesterday with detailed first-hand information expanding on some serious health fraud I’ve blogged about. I didn’t get that e-mail yesterday; it must have disappeared down the spam drain. But I’m very interested in it! Anon asked for help in getting the word out about how bad the situation actually is.
Today’s e-mail from Anonymous requested I guard his confidentiality as he’s in a position where exposure could have serious negative repercussions. I understand totally, and am serious about respecting confidentiality. I’ve had a few contacts from people who have found themselves involved in cult-like organizations I’ve written about, letting me know that my posts were helpful and accurate, but only are the tip of the iceberg. Some of them are still involved and are afraid for their physical safety, so I know it is a big deal to reach out and trust me with any contact information.
A brochure for a new type of Applied Kinesiology (AK/Muscle Testing) for Acupuncturists showed up in the mail recently. Any ad mailed to me is fair game as blog fodder. One would hope my posts would cut down on junk mail!
Allergy Elimination Made Easy & Applied Kinesiology for Acupuncturists
I’ve written about AK before. In fact, I’m still offering a $500-$500,000 prize for anyone who can demonstrate to me that it’s a reliable way to tell between two very different substances. My offer is a first page the top Google hit for many Muscle Testing related searches. I’ve paid to advertise it and directly contacted some proponents, like the guy who runs MuscleTestingDoctor.com (no response after 3 tries), to offer them my money and help. But I think they need a different kind of help…
Permission was granted to share this correspondence. I anonymized it and bolded a few phrases that stood out for me. The Taiwanese lady’s letters are in blockquote, my responses are normal text.
I found your article Dr. Yan Xin’s Qigong: Top Secret Scientific Superweapon or Fraudulent Scam Artist? when I googled “Yan Xin Qigong Fraud”. My sister joined the group about 15 year ago, and yes, I have heard all the miracles this group claims.
Now, my concern at this point is, I have strong feeling that this group is taking a lot of money from my sister. From what I heard 10, 15 years ago, they already charged a hefty fees to participate in events. Over the years my sister became more and more secretive about her financial situation and at this point she does not discuss much about their qigong activities. This is so far only my speculation, and I do not yet know if it’s the organization, or certain individual taking advantage of her.
I tried to google but don’t seem to find anything about people complaining about giving money to this group. Have you come across this when you were doing your research?
Many thanks if you could shed some lights here. I am still in the very beginning on this research project, and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Yeah, fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
Yeah I saw it, I saw it, I tell you no lies
Yeah fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
I saw it, I saw it with my own two eyes,
All right now!
So I went to the doctor
See what he could give me
He said “Son, son, you’ve gone too far.
‘Cause smokin’ and trippin’ is all that you do.”
–Black Sabbath, “Fairies Wear Boots”
The Coming of the Fairies, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The story of the Cottingley Fairies is a fascinating tale of a creative childhood prank which spun out of control into an international deception less than one hundred years ago. Two English girls, Elsie and Frances, used Elsie’s father’s darkroom to develop pictures they took of paper cutout fairies propped up in their forest. Swearing each other to secrecy, they playfully claimed the pictures were authentic. They didn’t expect the famous author of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, would encounter and promote their photos as real proof of fairies. He was certain two little girls wouldn’t be able to fake such convincing photographs.