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Richard Osterlind
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Quote:
On 2005-09-13 02:09, Brian Turntime wrote:
But, Geller's objective legacy will be... "a fraud." Rich, but a fraud. Let's exchange his name for another: Benny Hinn. He has detractors in and out of religious bodies, some inimical, others pointing out his untoward methods with hope he'll change, such as Andre Kole (Mind Games). Think of the many sacrificially living volunteers, some indigenous, some expatriate, in hard and challenging places all over the world; meanwhile Hinn lives like Croesus, and makes false claims hurting the most vulnerable. Couldn't one say the same of him-- look where he is, and where his attackers are?

For this, I am stepping out of my identity as a magic journeyman and asserting a role I have more experience in, as a 36-year old former law enforcement official, former overseas volunteer, and current researcher.
Quote:
I think many of the attacks on him have been somewhat self-serving for the attackers. The bottom line is look where he is now and where they are! Following his career almost makes me want to root for him! One guy against all the rest and he still comes out on top.
Perhaps, but doesn't exposure of flimflammery serve the greater good? Don't people suffer when they live under the oppression of delusions? To believe in a lie is like a little death... time and life are yielded to an unreality.

It's one thing to sell tickets to a fun show, quite another to accept a million dollars to wave his hands over a map and lie that he knows where veins of minerals are.... How many jobs did that cost? and you know all about his history of deception on TV, his followers and later exposure.

James Randi is a polarizing figure, but he never soaked anybody. In the Geller/ Randi dynamic, one shouldn't see Geller as David versus an attacking Goliath. Geller is a component of a kind of collective Goliath: the Philistine aggregate of a gullible, existentially fearful public and credulous media. I don't see him as one against the rest: it's Randi and Kole who get vilified regularly for their work, and have seen precious little decrease in the amount of deception worldwide. Rational Davids fighting the deception Goliath (or Gargantua). They don't quit, they keep telling the truth, which could make the world stronger and better... yet they may never get an estate on the Thames. I think they came out on top anyway.

One of the hardest things in the world to do is to change someone else's beliefs, delusional or not. Evidence might do it, usually won't. ESP symbol creator Dr. Rhine, when told of how he was deceived, couldn't accept the evidence. A California conman scifi writer bet his friends that he could start a religion, and proceeded to do so, even though his daily drug-using life was a testimony to the rancid bullplop he was excreting, meaning he was a better actor than the Hollywood A-list that strives for "clearing."

When magicians or mentalists perform, do we as an audience really change our beliefs? We're not usually asked to, but the vacillating mystery is what's so fun. But you hear it described: "wow, that effect could change someone's life..." "you could start a religion with this trick."

Real miracles, one would think, could rattle a perception barrier or two: signs and wonders could,contingent on choices, alter one's fundamental relationships (eternally?). Miracles claimed by the ersatz psychic could also alter those relationships towards the negative. Delusion is almost never good (exceptions: those suffering who believe in a placebo painkiller). Thus, it's imperative that what is real be called real and what is false be called false, if we're accountable. If we don't know what is which, that's something else.

With great respect,

Brian


Brian,

Please, I said I was "intrigued", not supportive! Much in the same way as when I watch a movie like "Catch Me If You Can" and what Leonardo Dicaprio does. I certainly don't condon that behavior nor would I ever do something like that myself, but it is intriguing to watch. Likewise, I found Geller's antics to be very stimulating especially as it relates to magic techniques and philosophies. There was a lot to be learned from his actions. But no, I don't condon his philosophy.

And there are some other issues concerning his distractors that I won't go into here, but that bias my feelings.

Richard
Richard Osterlind
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Brian,

I answered your posting earlier when I was answering a bunch of emails and PM's, so I was a bit hasty.

I will, however, take a little time now to go into this matter further. I will begin again by stating that I said I was "intrigued by Geller" and nothing more. I am not saying here I support him or believe in him or his abilities. I don't even know him, but there are certain things you said that need a little clarifying.

You say Geller is regarded as a "fraud". I was on an airline to Europe where the video monitors did a whole feature story on him and the current state of affairs. I didn't get the feeling they were calling him a fraud at all. They showed his beautiful house, family and the way he is living in England. As to his work finding oil, minerals or whatever, they implied that he was very successful. You mentioned that he fraudulently took money for his services and deprived many workers of their jobs. Do you have any references about this? I would like to read them. It has been my experience that large corporations are very reluctuant to pay anyone for services if they don't produce. I am not questioning you. I just want some documentation.

I know some very influencial people (including some very famous magicians) who know Geller personally and have told me repeatedly they are just not sure of how he does some of the things he does. They did not say they necessarily believe him to be psychic, but did say they were pretty amazed. (And these are people who are VERY KNOWLEDGABLE!)

You seem to be assuming there is absolutely no such thing as psychic phenomena and expect all knowledable magicians to feel the same. I am not sure if that is valid. I am even not sure if that is valid for me. (I am using the term "psychic" in a very broad sense.)

As far as Randi, and you were the one who brought up his name, let me relate a story to you that I believe I already posted on the Café.

I was doing a radio show that went over very successfully. I was told that Randi was to be the guest the following day. I, of course, listened to that show. The host told Randi how the day before he had a mentalist on (he didn't mention me by name) who really was amazing and who bent spoons, read minds and did all kinds of things. Randi replied that before making a judgement he would have to see what I did because he could not believe anything he could not see. The host (in typical radio show fashion!) said to him, "There are millions of people who put their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal savior and they have not seen him." Randi responded, "Yes, and they can do that if they choose to. That's why we call it MYTHOLOGY!" (caps mine)

Now I found that very insulting and would have even if I had no personal beliefs of my own. As a matter of fact, although I respect the right for anyone to believe what they want, I am very often offended by attacks on Christianity by certain atheist magicians who use crude and offensive ruses to get in people's faces, even duing public performances where, I believe, that type of behavior is completely out of place. Many of these same individuals seem to be at the forefront of the group protecting the innocent public from psychic scoundrels. It seems to be OK for them to attack established religions while it is a great crime for anyone to even remotely suggest the use of a "psychic" ability.

It seems to me, and this is entirely my own personal opinion and nothing more, that along with psychic phenomina, many psychic investiators perceive anything spiritual in the same light and category. I have seen articles disparaging Eastern medicine, Biblical findings and many established beliefs.

Spiritual is the key word here. Yes, I know there are a lot of very bad people in this world who will take advantage of anyone they can if given half a chance. Yes, I know that as magicians we are often able to recognize fraud and should point that out when we see it. But to assume that anyone who has any spiritual beliefs is deluded is a conclusion I want no part of. I have some very spiritual beliefs and am insulted by those who think I am "deluded" for having them.

This is obviously a very touchy subject. My only goal here is to point out that there is more going on here than meets the proverbial eye. To simplify such matters is foolish.

Richard
Brian Turntime
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Hi Mr. Osterlind, thanks for your reply
Quote:
You say Geller is regarded as a "fraud".
To be precise, he is both regarded as a fraud (by many but not enough), and is in fact a fraud.
Quote:
I didn't get the feeling {the media} were calling him a fraud at all.
That's my point: their credulity is allowing the deception to continue.
Quote:
They showed his beautiful house, family and the way he is living in England. As to his work finding oil, minerals or whatever, they implied that he was very successful.
But did they show he waves his hands over maps and calls it "dowsing"? If by some chance he waved his hand over a mineral map and lucked into an accurate spot, this is a case of post hoc ergo proctor hoc fallacy, "after this so because of this." It is absolutely impossible to find minerals by waving a hand over a map.
Quote:
You mentioned that he fraudulently took money for his services and deprived many workers of their jobs.
I wrote: "It's one thing to sell tickets to a fun show, quite another to accept a million dollars to wave his hands over a map and lie that he knows where veins of minerals are...." It is my belief that he is not so deluded that he actually believes he can dowse, so I believe he is intentionally deceiving. Even if he actually believes it, he had no evidence that he could do it, because he can't. It's impossible. Thus, he did fraudulently take money, like any two-bit fortune teller in a carnival, but worse. I wouldn't say "deprived workers," because that would be a hard construction to prove, but I did ask aloud: "How many jobs did that cost?" when idiot corporations hired him lost a million dollars to hire a crooked charlatan to wave his hands over a map, I wonder if somebody lost a job. (I did not make a statement of fact in that case).
Quote:
Do you have any references about this? I would like to read them. It has been my experience that large corporations are very reluctant to pay anyone for services if they don't produce. I am not questioning you. I just want some documentation.
Link: http://www.uri-geller.com/mine.htm
Quote:
They did not say they necessarily believe him to be psychic, but did say they were pretty amazed. (And these are people who are VERY KNOWLEDGABLE!)
I'm certain they are but they did not have the benefit of controlled conditions. Under such Geller has never passed a test yet. No psychic ever has passed a controlled conditions test, and I doubt they ever will.

After that sentence, I agreed with every word you wrote in reply. I have more affinity with Andre Kole's debunking work and his perspective than with Randi's, although I respect his dedication, talent and intelliegence. Kole has a better reference point and probity for his work IMHO: the unexplained is usually the unexamined. I recommend his book if you find the time.

I hope you didn't assume I was calling religious or spiritual belief delusional: I hold the opposite view. That's why I don't like people being deceived by chicanery. "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."-- Thomas Jefferson. That's where I'm coming from: Geller draws fame as part of a tyranny of deception, as proven by the unquestioning acceptance of his claims by that TV report you saw.

Best regards,
Brian
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Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. - Steven Wright
Richard Osterlind
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Brian,

Let me try to respond one thing at a time here.

1. I said Geller is NOT regarded as a fraud by everyone. I am stating a fact and not my own feelings. Your first posting made it sound as if Geller is universally regarded as a fraud. My response is he is not. That was the ONLY point I was making. Your own remarks only substantiate what I said.

2. Your whole quote was, "It's one thing to sell tickets to a fun show, quite another to accept a million dollars to wave his hands over a map and lie that he knows where veins of minerals are.... How many jobs did that cost?" Again, HOW MANY JOBS DID THAT COST. That implies others lost their jobs because of companies paying Geller. That is what I wanted substantiated.

I read the article at the website and don't understand how that contradicts anything I have said. You seem to be saying, and if I am wrong correct me, that Geller might have "lucked out" when it came to his dosing. I don't really think any company that hired him would care very much if he did or not - as long as he produced. Again, my point was that he was somehow successful.

3. The people who I am referring to are very knowledable people right in the midst of some of the top TV magic productions. They were affected by Geller and, again, that was my only point. For better or worse, whatever your perspective, Geller is a very fascinating individual. (Please note, I use the word "fascinating without any reference to good or bad.)

4. I never assumed that you were calling anyone's religious or spiritual beliefs delusional. That honor goes to some others. I suppose I wanted to make the point that if you expect your own personal beliefs to be respected, you have to respect others. For some, psychic abilities come into the picture and that is part of the whole. (Again, "psychic" is used in a very broad sense)


So, to end, I am not endorsing Geller in any way, shape or form. But he sure was fun to watch on TV! Smile

Richard
Cory Gallupe
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I have mixed feelings for both Mindfreak, and David Blaine. They brought magic back to life and made a lot of people interested. But, some of the stuff looks, or is (no, I don't have any proof) fake. And that's when I feel that it is bad for magic. It just makes some people harder to perform on. Cuz now they think that all the magic on tv is fake, and they see us as phonies. And by the way, when I say fake, I mean tv tricks. Anyway, my two cents. -Cory.
J ack Galloway
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I like Geller.

In fact I am quoted on his site.

The artical he has is this from my site.
http://jimclass.com/Geller.htm

Like Richard, I do not endorse him but I do enjoy his work.


Jim
Dannydoyle
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Geller is NOT universally regarded as a fraud or he wouldnt be rich now would he? That is the hook of a good fraud now isn't it? Never give up the con.

So he makes a lot of money, this is what causes a lot of the resentment I think.

Personally I have nothing against the man. I don't enjoy his act, I always regarded the spoon bending as more of vandalisim than mentalism, but PUBLIC likes it enough to keep mentioning him. Even if not by name, certianly by reputation. I am at a point in my career where I would kill for a little of that myself so I kind of like him just for that.

So I do not endorse him for a second, but unlike Richard and Jim, I do not enjoy his work. I do respect him though, I can seporate the 2 in my mind.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Brian Turntime
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Well I guess I'm extreme: I think he is hurting people by through deception. I have no respect for him. He took a million dollar down payment to find gold for a corporation, knowing full well it was impossible. No ethics at all. If he wasn't famous and was poor, few people would admire him.
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J ack Galloway
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Brian,

How would you know what his thoughts were and are?

Maybe he does and did realy think he could.

You are correct about the famouse and was poor thing.

I would also piont out that many macicians owe the guy one big thank you.

Randi should be at the head of it.

Jim
Brian Turntime
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Heh. Well that's one way of looking at it.
I think deep down he knows he's full of $#!t. (Call it a hunch.) Otherwise he wouldn't be so skilled at deceptive methods, would he?!
Why practice as much as he had to-- with drawing duplications, magnets, spoon and key bending sleights-- if he really thought he could do it? I think the self-deceived, deluded to think they really do have powers, NEVER reach Geller's level of fame for that very reason: they don't practice or rehearse because they shouldn't need to!
Only a dedicated faker could acquire the methods and misdirection to successfully fool so many for so long. If he thought he was real, he'd be so bad at it as to wind up in a strip mall in Croydon with a shingle saying "Palmistry/ Tarot."

Best
Brian
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Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. - Steven Wright
edh
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Quote:
...He took a million dollar down payment to find gold for a corporation, knowing full well it was impossible. No ethics at all. If he wasn't famous and was poor, few people would admire him.


Here's a thought. If you could find gold then why not take a percentage of the what he has found? I'm sure it would be worth more than a million dollars.
Magic is a vanishing art.
Dannydoyle
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Lets face it call a spade a spade. He kept magic in the public eye when few others did. A lot owe him big. I have even heard conspiracy theorists who say that him and Randi staged the whole thing just for publicity. Would be a GREAT stunt if you ask me. Kind of like New Coke!!!

As far as taking money for what he didn't do well you must HATE P.T. Barhnam. Heck those were not really monkey boys and such.

Remember it is not possible to cheat an honest man. The people who gave him the money were looking for a deal. They got taken. I would not do it myself, but come on they were adults. It wasn't like he took money from mentally challenged people. The boss fell for it so in my view it was the bosses fault those people lost their jobs. Uri had a great pitch, no need to hate him for that.

Point is a lot of people were involved in giving him the money. So he ran a good con, happens all the time. The secret to being a good con is to have people love you.Nobody would give a million to someone they hate now would they?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Count Lustig
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Quote:
On 2005-09-15 02:47, Dannydoyle wrote:
The secret to being a good con is to have people love you.

Another secret is a complete lack of conscience or moral fiber.
J ack Galloway
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Oh what a silly thought Count.

Don't you guys ever read anything but the drivel put out by skeptics and magicians.

Do you really think what you posted to be the truth?

Is it what you really think?

C'mon this irritates me becouse it is not the truth.

Jim
edh
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O.K. J ack, I give up. What is the truth?
Magic is a vanishing art.
J ack Galloway
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So you look to me for the truth?

Well this is strange.

Jim
Amir
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Another David Blaine wannabe that just happened to get on TV IMO. So much of his stuff is Camera Tricks.
J ack Galloway
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Amir, I doubt one can say Chris is much like David.

If you are implying he wants to make the cash David has I would agree.

Jim
Count Lustig
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Quote:
On 2005-09-15 17:24, J ack Galloway wrote:
Don't you guys ever read anything but the drivel put out by skeptics and magicians.

Sometimes I also read drivel written by those who act as apologists for scam artists.
J ack Galloway
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Oh now I have been put in my place.

C'mon if cannot offer a reasponse better than that I am dissapionted.

This is a mentalism forum.

Does the possibilty exist that you cannot and are trying to duck and run?

Jack


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