Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

A Champion Grubby Speaks Out

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on April 22, 2009

I hardly know where to start… First, see americanchronicle.com. This account is just so packed with mis-statements, outright lies, and scientific howlers, it would take me all day to itemize them – but it can still do a lot of harm just because the ignorant reporter – Peter Fotis Kapnistos – has published the material. I suggest he may now want to return to his former calling in fashion and advertising photography, rather than continue to pose as a “journalist.”

To quote him, he says, first:

…it was alleged that Uri Geller was caught cheating in an Israeli TV documentary that has lately also circulated on YouTube.

No, it was proven that Geller was doing one of the only five tricks he knows, and second, that was not any “TV documentary,” at all.  It was simply a TV entertainment show. Kapnistos continues:

The accusation was that a slow motion shot revealed him producing a small magnet from behind his ear or out of his hair to influence a compass needle.

Well, anyone who might have said that, would not have been a magician, I’ll tell you that. In any case, I’ve never seen such a statement, except from Geller himself – because he knows that it’s a ridiculous scenario, as I’ll show you up ahead, one that can’t be supported. No “slow motion” was required to show that Geller blatantly placed a thumb-tip – a very common and often-used magician’s prop – onto his thumb, which then seemed somehow magnetic, because it caused the very sensitive marine compass to turn as soon as it was brought near the instrument. Kapnistos, again:

…we see a wide overall view of the controversial Israeli TV video scene where Uri Geller’s critics accuse him one way or another of allegedly plucking a slightly thick “hidden magnet” from the edge of his hairline.

No, that’s not true. The magicians – particularly the Israeli magicians, who are seriously embarrassed by this crude trick from their countryman – never made any such silly statement. That’s like saying that a magician produced a rabbit from a hat by having it shot there from a concealed offstage cannon. But this “journalist” really reveals his ignorance by this next statement:

…the video footage makes it readily understood that Uri could not possibly have placed pointlessly thick thumb magnets on both of his hands.

“Both his hands”? Suddenly we have two “thick thumb magnets” being wielded by the magician? Believe me, one is more than sufficient, folks, as I’ll show you next week. But just how “thick” – or massive – does a magnet have to be to dramatically affect a marine compass, one of the size that Geller used on the TV show? Just 1/16″ thick by 3/16″ diameter – and you can easily get a number of those tiny discs into any thumb-tip! Does Mr. Kapnistos really think a responsible journalist would describe such a miniscule object as, “thick”? The fact is, that we magicians are astonished that Geller actually chose to use a plastic thumb-tip, rather than just taping a tiny disc to his finger!

As for the Swedish person Kapnistos says has so carefully researched magnets and their effects on compasses, he’s an incompetent, too. His ignorance of the subject is apparent. One statement by Kapnistos says that

…a magnet small enough to hide in someone’s hairline can’t possibly make a compass needle shift as much as it does in the Uri Geller video.

Au contraire, both of you “experts”! A tiny neodymium magnet contained in a plugged-on thumb tip sure can!

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RANDI.ORG”

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