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View Full Version : Which episode in Michael Palin's travelogues?


Satyagrahi
04-11-2008, 11:27 PM
I'm looking for a specific incident that was filmed in one of Michael Palin's travelogue films back in the 80's and 90's. I've googled around a bit but can't find a site with enough detail to nail this down for me.

First, it could be in Full Circle, the one where he's traveling around the Pacific. At some point, one of his film crew develops some medical condition where they need to see a doctor. They go to a local doctor who treats the condition by use electric shocks delivered through his hand. When pressed to give demonstrable proof, the doctor holds his hand over a balled-up newspaper and you can see sparks which set the newspaper on fire.

Maybe real, maybe not...but I'd like to find the exact series and episode.

Can anyone help?

Shamozzle
04-12-2008, 12:29 AM
I'm looking for a specific incident that was filmed in one of Michael Palin's travelogue films back in the 80's and 90's. I've googled around a bit but can't find a site with enough detail to nail this down for me.

First, it could be in Full Circle, the one where he's traveling around the Pacific. At some point, one of his film crew develops some medical condition where they need to see a doctor. They go to a local doctor who treats the condition by use electric shocks delivered through his hand. When pressed to give demonstrable proof, the doctor holds his hand over a balled-up newspaper and you can see sparks which set the newspaper on fire.

Maybe real, maybe not...but I'd like to find the exact series and episode.

Can anyone help?
Hmmmmm...... I recently marathoned my way through every single episode of each of Palin's travel series and I don't recall the sequence you have described. I could be wrong though, my lids may have drooped here and there.

scout1222
04-12-2008, 08:03 AM
Like the other comment, I've been on a kick lately, and I've watched the one in the Himalayas and the Around the World in 80 Days and I don't recall that. I haven't yet gotten to Full Circle, though.

Mahaloth
04-12-2008, 03:27 PM
I remember him visiting fake doctors, including the ones that pull "goo" out of you. I never have seen the electricity doctor, however.

Satyagrahi
04-12-2008, 04:23 PM
I suppose that it's possible that I'm misremembering the setting. :(

Maybe it was someone else traveling through the Indonesian part of the work with a film crew?

scout1222
04-12-2008, 07:41 PM
Have you read the wikipedia entries? They have pretty good summaries. I just checked out Full Circle and there's a reference to "psychic surgery" which doesn't sound like what you're looking for, but that's about it. I didn't have time to read all the rest, but if you're curious, you might devote the time to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_Circle_with_Michael_Palin

Satyagrahi
04-12-2008, 10:07 PM
Have you read the wikipedia entries? They have pretty good summaries. I just checked out Full Circle and there's a reference to "psychic surgery" which doesn't sound like what you're looking for, but that's about it. I didn't have time to read all the rest, but if you're curious, you might devote the time to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_Circle_with_Michael_Palin
Yes, I looked at that before I posted here. As you say, it doesn't sound like what I remember...but then maybe the Wikipedia description isn't accurate. I plan to hunt down a copy of that episode, just in case.

Terrifel
04-12-2008, 10:15 PM
I can't help but think that if Michael Palin had stumbled across a man who could shoot death rays from his hands, British TV would have made more of a fuss over it.

fiddlesticks
04-12-2008, 10:57 PM
I've got no memory of this either and I've seen all three of his travel series... :confused:

GuanoLad
04-12-2008, 11:34 PM
...and I've seen all three of his travel series
He's done seven travel serieseseses.

Around the World In 80 Days
Pole to Pole
Full Circle
Hemingway Adventure
Sahara
Himalaya
New Europe

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 10:22 AM
I've seen the demonstration in question, but I'm not sure if Michael Palin was involved, or if it was even one of his series. You might be confusing it with something else.

I found this Chi Fire Demonstration (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HdvNeZDXbk) on youtube, and I believe this is the same guy, however I also remember seeing this guy (or another) do the same thing in the 90's on another more contemporary documentary style film (Maybe one of Palin's series?). This is probably the same guy, but this seems like older footage.

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 10:27 AM
I believe this is the footage in question, and the Chi Master's name is John Chang. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77nD5xmL0kU&feature=related)

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 10:38 AM
A truly amazing New John Chang video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aos0hnwiHt8&feature=related)

TWDuke
04-13-2008, 01:00 PM
A truly amazing New John Chang video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aos0hnwiHt8&feature=related)Sorry, I'm not amazed in the least, but I did find it almost Pythonesque that of the two brothers treated for an eye infection, one wears an eye patch and the other is dead.

Johnny L.A.
04-13-2008, 01:44 PM
Sorry, I'm not amazed in the least...
I wonder how he did it? It seemed as if the paper ignited from the bottom, and not from his hands. Maybe some glycerine and potassium permanganate (on different hands) that got mixed in the paper? (But then, it would be mixed on his hands as well...)

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 08:37 PM
I wonder how he did it? It seemed as if the paper ignited from the bottom, and not from his hands. Maybe some glycerine and potassium permanganate (on different hands) that got mixed in the paper? (But then, it would be mixed on his hands as well...)
See, to me it appears as if the fire is starting at the contact point with his hand. If he is arcing enough electricity or chi through his body, he wouldn't need an accelerant or any type of chemical.

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 08:54 PM
If eels can transmit bio-electrical current at will, why not humans? Perhaps, he has just been able to tap into that bio-potential?

Terrifel
04-13-2008, 08:59 PM
Electric eels can generate a charge because they have large, highly specialized organs for that purpose.

Johnny L.A.
04-13-2008, 08:59 PM
If eels can transmit bio-electrical current at will, why not humans? Perhaps, he has just been able to tap into that bio-potential?
Only electric eels have organs for generating electricity.

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 09:06 PM
Only electric eels have organs for generating electricity.
Not only eels... I believe there are some other species that do as well. But if you want to get technical, all life produces electricity, even you.

Johnny L.A.
04-13-2008, 09:09 PM
Not only eels... I believe there are some other species that do as well. But if you want to get technical, all life produces electricity, even you.
'Only' as in 'But'.

Yes, we all run on electricity. My point (and Terrifel's) is that electric eels possess organs specifically to create a large charge of electricity that they may use at will. Humans don't.

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 09:13 PM
Humans don't.
John Chang is a human.

Terrifel
04-13-2008, 09:28 PM
John Chang is a human.Which means that he very likely doesn't have any electric organs. So if he is discharging electricity, he's not doing it in the same way that an electric eel does.

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 09:51 PM
See, to me it appears as if the fire is starting at the contact point with his hand. If he is arcing enough electricity or chi through his body, he wouldn't need an accelerant or any type of chemical.
Concurrently, one could also easily conceal and wad up a very thin metal wire filament in a Newspaper, leave it poking up, and if one were to happen to generate enough electricity bodily, and complete the circuit, one might have a heat flashpoint. Much like an old car cigarette lighter.

Terrifel
04-13-2008, 10:12 PM
Concurrently, one could also easily conceal and wad up a very thin metal wire filament in a Newspaper, leave it poking up, and if one were to happen to generate enough electricity bodily, and complete the circuit, one might have a heat flashpoint. Much like an old car cigarette lighter.So... he might be secretly concealing a gadget inside the newspaper, which he then activates using his genuine bioelectric power?

But what would be the point? If he can generate electricity, then why would he use misdirection to give the impression that he can ignite paper when he actually can't? If he can heat up a wire to the point where it sets paper on fire, there's your demonstration right there. "I'm going to use my power to heat up this wire until it becomes hot enough to set paper on fire." No need to conceal anything.

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 10:19 PM
So... he might be secretly concealing a gadget inside the newspaper, which he then activates using his genuine bioelectric power?

But what would be the point? If he can generate electricity, then why would he use misdirection to give the impression that he can ignite paper when he actually can't? If he can heat up a wire to the point where it sets paper on fire, there's your demonstration right there. "I'm going to use my power to heat up this wire until it becomes hot enough to set paper on fire." No need to conceal anything.
I'm just sussing it out. Concealment doesn't always infer deceit. I'm just offering possibilities, I have no horse in this race. I don't believe John intends any harm, though. I believe that whatever is happening is genuine. I mean, electrical charges are often applied in modern acupuncture treatments, that do correlate with a statistical therapeutic effect.

GuanoLad
04-13-2008, 10:31 PM
If he can generate electricity, then why would he use misdirection to give the impression that he can ignite paper when he actually can't?For the same reason that Uri Geller doesn't admit he's a talented magician and instead claims he has supernatural powers. To impress his audience/customers.

devilsknew
04-13-2008, 10:35 PM
"I'm going to use my power to heat up this wire until it becomes hot enough to set paper on fire." No need to conceal anything.
Well, he did light the LED in the contemporary footage. That's the trick that you are talking about. But, is it a better demonstration than setting a fire? Probably not, aesthetically.

Shamozzle
04-13-2008, 11:36 PM
I have a pretty interesting story that sort of relates to all this.

When I was a kid I used to watch "That's Incredible!" on TV. One episode I remember was one where they had a guy who could manipulate and control electricity, supposedly. In one section of his piece they showed him roasting wieners with electricity while holding the bare wires. Something like that. Maybe some of you remember that very episode.

Anyway, fast-forward to around 1992 and who should be living next to a friend of mine but this very same man. He was much older and basically penniless. What fortunes he had made in Hollywood where long gone.

So one day he was over at my friends house and we were all drinking beer and he strarted to talk about his past and his supernatural skills. As we went on he decided to run home and grab a video tape of his TV appearance. After we watched the tape we got excited and we were like, "Show us man!". He agreed, and my friend grabbed his old junky toaster, cut the cord off, pulled apart the two wires, stripped the ends exposing the bare copper, and handed this to the old guy.

He got us, about five or six people, to stand in a line and hold hands. He stood on the end holding the end person's hand with one hand and one of the copper wires in the other. The person on the other end grabbed the other copper wire. So the circuit went copper, old guy, chain of people, other copper wire.

We then had a person outside of the chain plug the wires into the wall.....and..... nothing. Then he said, "Ok, I'm going to turn it up a bit." and this gradually increasing current began to flow through us. It ramped up gradually, more and more, until people started getting nervous and would shout "Ok, ok, enough!!", with a nervous laugh. He would then ramp it down to nothing and back up again, at our request. The current would turn off and and on, or ramp up and down entirely at our request. I got the impression that he had complete fine control of the electricity and could release the flood gates at will if he had wanted, perhaps blowing the breaker or frying us.

For his next act, he filled the stainless steel kitchen sink with water and someone grabbed a standard light bulb. I held the light bulb under water with one hand and I had one copper wire end in the other. He held the other copper wire in one hand and I can't remember what he did with the other hand. I can't remember if it was in the water and, if so, if it was touching the bulb. This was 15 years ago... But anyway, basically what happened next was that while I was holding the bulb under water he was saying, "On. Off. On. Off", etc, all while the buld was turning off and on under water while I was holding it. I could feel the electricity running through me and the water around the bulb was beginning to boil of a sort, but it wasn't hot.

So, suffice it to say, I was amazed.

Now, I'm as skeptical as they come. I have a scientific mind. I don't believe in ghosts, ufo's, astrology, religion, curses, superstitions, etc. If you are a scientist, I'm your man in the field. So, amazed, I asked this guy, "How do you do that???" He wouldn't talk about it at first. "I don't know." he would say. But I kept bugging him. I wanted to know. If this dude was on the edge of a science we don't understand- damn, I sure as hell want to know about it, how it works. So I kept bugging him and he paused to explore his thoughts and said, "I see two horizontal red lines and I bring them together." Well, that sounded intriguing and I pressed him for more but he wouldn't have it.

So what does it all mean? I don't really know. Being of skeptical and rational mind, I searched rationally for the trick, but I couldn't find one. It was plainly obvious that he was concealing nothing in his hands. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and I can't really see where he might have concealed an electronic contraption of some kind. And if he had been able to do so, how would such a contraption work? In the end, I have no explanation.

This guy was weird. Once, he invited us over to his home next door and as we walked through it I had a look around. The entire house was filled with open-topped cardboard boxes full of small machine parts. Hundreds of boxes, some as big as a cubic meter, full of gear assemblies, shafts, wires, gaskets, carburetors, etc. I remember one box the size of an arm chair that had nothing but gears in it. Literally thousands of little gears ranging in size from wristwatch gears up to the size of an open hand. I was amazed. Also, on his back, he had a sort of fungus growing in a patch the size of a dinner plate (gross!). It was rough and the colour was that of copper that had turned green, like a courthouse dome. Who was this guy?

GuanoLad
04-13-2008, 11:49 PM
...and this gradually increasing current began to flow through us.Please explain.

You felt it? What did you feel, exactly?
You saw it? What did you see?
The toaster started working?
Describe, in detail.

Shamozzle
04-13-2008, 11:54 PM
Please explain.

You felt it? What did you feel, exactly?
You saw it? What did you see?
The toaster started working?
Describe, in detail.

It felt exactly like electricity: a tingling sensation that becomes painful if it is strong enough.

What do you mean by 'What did you see?'. I can elaborate on a specific part of my description, if you like.

The toaster was, well, toast. The cord had been cut off and it was out of the picture.

devilsknew
04-14-2008, 12:00 AM
I think your post should have a disclaimer...

Danger!:Never plug yourself into the wall. It will result in immediate death.

Shamozzle
04-14-2008, 12:09 AM
I think your post should have a disclaimer...

Danger!:Never plug yourself into the wall. It will result in immediate death.
One would think, yes. But not with that guy around, whatever the mechanism.

Satyagrahi
04-15-2008, 10:08 PM
I believe this is the footage in question, and the Chi Master's name is John Chang. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77nD5xmL0kU&feature=related)
Yes, that's what I was remembering!

No Michael Palin, of course, but a British tourist with a film crew...and that's the footage that stuck in my memory.

Thanks, devilsknew!

devilsknew
04-17-2008, 12:21 AM
I wonder how he did it? It seemed as if the paper ignited from the bottom, and not from his hands. Maybe some glycerine and potassium permanganate (on different hands) that got mixed in the paper? (But then, it would be mixed on his hands as well...)
The big tell for me, is when DJ holds up the newspaper for examination and tears along the 4 creases in that video, prior to wadding and igniting.. It's a sign of a sleight.

Mangetout
04-17-2008, 03:25 AM
He crumples up the paper in a very unusual way - as if he's forming a crude cup to contain something in the middle of it.

He presses down, hard, on the bundle of paper after putting it on the floor - as if he's trying to break or crush something concealed in the middle of the bundle.

He then watches it intently - and you can tell he's reacting to something he has seen, then doing the shaky-hand force gesture.

Really, it's not even a very impressive example of trickery.

devilsknew
04-17-2008, 06:20 AM
He crumples up the paper in a very unusual way - as if he's forming a crude cup to contain something in the middle of it.

He presses down, hard, on the bundle of paper after putting it on the floor - as if he's trying to break or crush something concealed in the middle of the bundle.

He then watches it intently - and you can tell he's reacting to something he has seen, then doing the shaky-hand force gesture.

Really, it's not even a very impressive example of trickery.
I disagree, with pretty much all of your observations.
The crumpling is deliberate, but it's to facilitate airflow...not "cupping".
He barely makes contact with the paper...there is no breaking, and the fire starts after he touches it.

I believe it is a very good demonstration, with minimal trickery. That's why it is impressive.

Mangetout
04-17-2008, 07:11 AM
I disagree, with pretty much all of your observations.
The crumpling is deliberate, but it's to facilitate airflow...not "cupping".
He barely makes contact with the paper...there is no breaking, and the fire starts after he touches it.

I believe it is a very good demonstration, with minimal trickery. That's why it is impressive.
Are you sure you're watching the same video as me?
(I guess you ought to be, as it's the one you linked in post #12...)

02:41 to 02:45 - we see him very carefully constructing a container made from crumpled paper - he's gathering up the edges and corners, handling it as if he's trying to be careful not to spill or tip out something inside it.

02:47 - 02:49 - We see him press down very firmly on the centre of the bundle, twice

02:53 - 02:58 - He's watching the bundle very intently (only taking his eyes off it for the briefest of moments to look up at the reporter)

02:59 - He starts looking as though he's exerting himself

03:01 - The paper flares up

Now of course this is an interpretation (as indeed is your assertion that he's arranging the paper that way for airflow, even though that doesn't really make sense), but I think it's pretty plain what's happening here:

He tears a piece of paper
He forms it into a cupped, crumpled ball - in the process, depositing a capsule of some incendiary chemical in the middle
He presses down on the bundle, rupturing the capsule, initiating the reaction
He must then watch intently so that he can appear to be making the fire start, the moment that the reaction takes off completely.

Or maybe he has electric eel guts. Which is more likely?

devilsknew
04-17-2008, 09:53 PM
Are you sure you're watching the same video as me?
(I guess you ought to be, as it's the one you linked in post #12...)

02:41 to 02:45 - we see him very carefully constructing a container made from crumpled paper - he's gathering up the edges and corners, handling it as if he's trying to be careful not to spill or tip out something inside it.

02:47 - 02:49 - We see him press down very firmly on the centre of the bundle, twice
I believe it is arrangement for concealment as well, I just disagree with you as to what he is concealing. I believe it is arrangement of a fine wire, and that he is compacting and bending the wire so that it is sure to make contact with the paper as well as preset the position and attenuate the wire for later contact. I believe he is also arranging the paper for maximum airflow and combustion as well.

02:53 - 02:58 - He's watching the bundle very intently (only taking his eyes off it for the briefest of moments to look up at the reporter)

02:59 - He starts looking as though he's exerting himself

03:01 - The paper flares up

03:00- He makes contact with the top of paper and compresses it slightly, presumably completing the circuit with the wire.

You are missing the most important part.

Now of course this is an interpretation (as indeed is your assertion that he's arranging the paper that way for airflow, even though that doesn't really make sense), but I think it's pretty plain what's happening here:

He tears a piece of paper
He forms it into a cupped, crumpled ball - in the process, depositing a capsule of some incendiary chemical in the middle
He presses down on the bundle, rupturing the capsule, initiating the reaction
He must then watch intently so that he can appear to be making the fire start, the moment that the reaction takes off completely.

Or maybe he has electric eel guts. Which is more likely?
I believe that if one did have a mechanism, either mechanical or biological for generating a significant amount of electricity bodily, the much easier and more plausible effect in preperation and concealment, would be the palming of a thin pliable wire. I believe yours is the more complicated scenario.

Mangetout
04-18-2008, 02:49 AM
03:00- He makes contact with the top of paper and compresses it slightly, presumably completing the circuit with the wire.I'm saying that by the time he does this, the paper has already started to ignite - it's just not quite apparent to the camera. His whole demeanour at this point is one of someone who is waiting to react quickly to something he sees, giving the impression that his action is the initiator.

I believe yours is the more complicated scenario.
Only because you've handwaved away the complex parts of yours.

mylittleba
04-18-2008, 04:03 AM
Yes, that's what I was remembering!

No Michael Palin, of course, but a British tourist with a film crew...and that's the footage that stuck in my memory.

Thanks, devilsknew!
yeah, that's what in my mind

Peter Morris
04-18-2008, 09:24 AM
paging Ianzin ...

Mangetout
04-18-2008, 09:44 AM
paging Ianzin ...
That's exactly what I was thinking.

(I expect him to say "It's a really obvious trick, but nobody in this thread is anywhere close")

Peter Morris
04-18-2008, 09:52 AM
I've PM'd him, hopefully he'll be along soon to explain.

devilsknew
04-18-2008, 08:45 PM
That's exactly what I was thinking.

(I expect him to say "It's a really obvious trick, but nobody in this thread is anywhere close")
Well, to be perfectly honest all that Ianzin can offer is educated speculation as to how it's done based on an incomplete bit of cut shot and edited video evidence. That's really all I, you or anyone can do. John Chang is the only one who knows for sure.

My speculation is based on 16 years experience as an amateur, close-up, magician... and I am not speaking in absolutes, just offering one possibility to how it is done... or probably more accurately, how I would do it.

Peter Morris
04-18-2008, 10:59 PM
Well, I'm an amateur magician too.

But Ianzin is a professional, and he's written books on cold reading, so he has a specialized knowledge of psychic trickery. I think I'll valur his opinion more than yours, or any guess that I'd make.

devilsknew
04-19-2008, 01:53 AM
I believe the aecondary mechanism was coiled tungsten filament. His first is stored energy.

devilsknew
04-19-2008, 02:42 AM
Well, I'm an amateur magician too.

But Ianzin is a professional, and he's written books on cold reading, so he has a specialized knowledge of psychic trickery. I think I'll valur his opinion more than yours, or any guess that I'd make.
Oooh.. all bow before Pete M and Ianzin! The absolutes.
You're just afraid of innovation.

devilsknew
04-19-2008, 02:47 AM
Hey, aren't you on the wtrong board? Why are you off the JREF forum. DENIZENS OF THE skEPTIKS FOLLOW Mr IN A HERETICAL CAMPAIGN.

devilsknew
04-19-2008, 03:28 AM
What I wanna know from the management of these boards- please tell me why these hostile invasions and prejudiced tones from the JREF board are tolerated? Shouldn't this fall under the Board War jurisprudence?

Or wait...maybe some of the SAB are fanatic skeptikal sycophants of Randii... could it be?

Mangetout
04-23-2008, 04:24 PM
To be fair, I think you kind of invited it when you appeared to be entertaining the possibility that the man has electricity-generating organs.

And it's deeply, deeply ironic that you class Peter Morris as a JREF Denizen.

devilsknew
04-23-2008, 07:28 PM
To be fair, I think you kind of invited it when you appeared to be entertaining the possibility that the man has electricity-generating organs.

And it's deeply, deeply ironic that you class Peter Morris as a JREF Denizen.
I never entertained the idea that he might have electric organs. My statements implied that there are other precedents for this phenomenon in nature and that there is a possibility, however slight, that his is a genuine ability. Unlike some others, I never dismiss any possibilities, no matter how improbable or seemingly impossible-- I try to keep an open mind. And, mostly I was trying to generate some discussion.

Yea, I was thinking of somebody else there... I always confuse Peter Morris with another JREF guy. Sorry Peter, my mistake.

Mangetout
04-24-2008, 02:17 AM
I never entertained the idea that he might have electric organs.I honestly have no idea what ideas you entertained - I can't see inside your head - all I can go by is your words on the screen, which do make it appear that you were entertaining the possibility.

And anyway:My statements implied that there are other precedents for this phenomenon in nature and that there is a possibility, however slight, that his is a genuine ability.That is called entertaining the possibility.

devilsknew
04-24-2008, 02:30 AM
To be fair, I think you kind of invited it when you appeared to be entertaining the possibility that the man has electricity-generating organs.


I never once imply anywhere that he has some extra electricity-generating organ. I didn't entertain this thought, that's what you inferred.

Mangetout
04-24-2008, 07:45 AM
I never once imply anywhere that he has some extra electricity-generating organ. I didn't entertain this thought, that's what you inferred.
Firstly, you can't tell what I'm inferring, because inference is a logical process, occuring (or not) in my mind. I think you mean implied

Secondly, I did not imply that you're entertaining this or that thought, in fact, I'm not implying anything - i'm stating it outright - here it is again:

You appeared to be entertaining the possibility that the man has electricity-generating organs.

Please don't bother to reply to anything other than what I have actually said.

Peter Morris
04-24-2008, 10:20 AM
No, he meant inferred.

You're right that we don't know your thoughts, we can only judge from your words. But your words certainly imply that you inferred that. From such implication I infer that you inferred that which he never meant to imply.

Mangetout
04-24-2008, 10:42 AM
Except I didn't infer it. I was very, very careful to say that he appeared to be entertaining the possibility. This is not a weasel-term either. I'm trying to explain why the 'hostile invasions and prejudiced tones' were happening - that they were perhaps invited by what appeared to be credulity.

- in the same way that people might run from what appears to be a tiger (regardless whether or not it really is one).

devilsknew
04-24-2008, 06:25 PM
- in the same way that people might run from what appears to be a tiger (regardless whether or not it really is one).

- I think a better analogy would be, that it's more like a delusional person, that thinks every animal that they see is a tiger, so they're stuck high in a tree for the rest of their lives.

Mangetout
04-24-2008, 06:35 PM
I have no idea what you mean by that.

I've been trying to explain why I think you got a response that you found hostile and prejudiced. Not what I personally think of you or your beliefs.

Clearly not working. I shall waste my time no further.

devilsknew
04-24-2008, 07:28 PM
Look, I'm sorry. But this is just the kind of lazy, bigoted, thought process that Randi and his ilk promote with prejudiced inference, and baseless assumptions which they employ in unfair and belligerent, internet, ad hominem attacks.
You drew an inference in both the transitive and intransitive that I somehow support this electric organ theory, whichy I have never stated nor implied.

My tiger analogy is a general analogy, it is not directed at you. I just believe that the so called skeptikal mindset that JREF promotes is prejudiced and confining.

Loach
04-24-2008, 08:34 PM
If this guy is generating electricity why bother with the paper lighting schtick? Let's hook him up to a multimeter. I have one in the garage somewhere.....Ok this might take some time. Maybe it would be quicker to just run down to Home Depot. Either way, not too hard to find out if he is generating electricity. We can measure the output of an electric eel, why not an electric person? Or is this some sort of special electricity that can't be measured (which would make it not electricity).

Loach
04-24-2008, 08:36 PM
You drew an inference in both the transitive and intransitive that I somehow support this electric organ theory, whichy I have never stated nor implied.

Then what do you support? He is generating electricity but not in the way other organisms do? Then in what way? What is your proof? Or his proof? Or anything at all?

devilsknew
04-24-2008, 09:18 PM
If this guy is generating electricity why bother with the paper lighting schtick? Let's hook him up to a multimeter. I have one in the garage somewhere.....Ok this might take some time. Maybe it would be quicker to just run down to Home Depot. Either way, not too hard to find out if he is generating electricity. We can measure the output of an electric eel, why not an electric person? Or is this some sort of special electricity that can't be measured (which would make it not electricity).

It appears as if they do attempt that here in this new John Chang video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aos0hnwiHt8&feature=related), or at least they use a voltmeter which is one function of a multimeter. The results were inconclusive...

However, if one has a switch to turn an electrical mechanism on or off then these results are to be expexted/

To be honest, I have no specific theory as to his power source. Just general ideas...I think an electrician or electrical engineer would be better able to offer a conclusive theory.

Loach
04-24-2008, 09:21 PM
Just general ideas...I think an electrician or electrical engineer would be better able to offer a conclusive theory.

Not one that you are going to like, I would bet.

devilsknew
04-24-2008, 09:25 PM
Not one that you are going to like, I would bet.
And what kind of ridiculous inference and foment is that?

I got no horse in this race.

Loach
04-24-2008, 09:45 PM
And what kind of ridiculous inference and foment is that?

I got no horse in this race.

Of course you have a horse. You think he is conducting electricity. You don't know how but that is what you have said you think. I may be wrong but I have a feeling that most engineers will feel it is a parlor trick. Therefore you will be disappointed. I will not bother to quote where you said what you said. It is a short thread, you can read it as well as I can.

devilsknew
04-24-2008, 09:50 PM
Of course you have a horse. You think he is conducting electricity. You don't know how but that is what you have said you think. I may be wrong but I have a feeling that most engineers will feel it is a parlor trick. Therefore you will be disappointed. I will not bother to quote where you said what you said. It is a short thread, you can read it as well as I can.
Parlor tricks are part of my magic act, something of a specialty. Why would I be disappointed?

Loach
04-24-2008, 10:00 PM
Parlor tricks are part of my magic act, something of a specialty. Why would I be disappointed?


Maybe because you said you think it is not a trick? Maybe you are not good at epressing yourself. Go ahead and clarify. Do you think this guy is actually conducting electricity? Do you know of some reason why it would not be able to be measured by a scientific instrument? Do you think it is more reasonable that it was a trick rather than a real event?

I have no horse in this race. I don't believe John intends any harm, though. I believe that whatever is happening is genuine. I mean, electrical charges are often applied in modern acupuncture treatments, that do correlate with a statistical therapeutic effect.

OpalCat
04-24-2008, 10:03 PM
Of course you have a horse.
If he gets a horse, can I have a pony?

Loach
04-24-2008, 10:04 PM
If he gets a horse, can I have a pony?

What was it that I said to my daughter when this came up? Oh yeah. Go ask your mother.

Mangetout
04-25-2008, 03:44 AM
Look, I'm sorry. But this is just the kind of lazy, bigoted, thought process that Randi and his ilk promote with prejudiced inference, and baseless assumptions which they employ in unfair and belligerent, internet, ad hominem attacks.
You drew an inference in both the transitive and intransitive that I somehow support this electric organ theory, whichy I have never stated nor implied.Once a debate enters into the realm of arguing not anymore what people said, but what they must have been thinking when they said it, it never gets any better. You're still just talking past me. I don't know what to say. Sorry.

Mangetout
04-25-2008, 03:59 AM
Actually, one last try. I hate giving up.

Rather than me trying to guess or infer, please would you explain what you were thinking, and what you wanted people to understand you as saying, when you posted the following statements:
Post #16:
See, to me it appears as if the fire is starting at the contact point with his hand. If he is arcing enough electricity or chi through his body, he wouldn't need an accelerant or any type of chemical.and post #17:If eels can transmit bio-electrical current at will, why not humans? Perhaps, he has just been able to tap into that bio-potential?

You've stated that you were not entertaining certain ideas that, in my plain reading of these posts appear to be entertained. I don't know what you were thinking when you posted them, neither do I know what you meant, except in as far as reading the words and trying to work it out. What did you mean?, what were you thinking? and what did you want people to understand these posts as meaning?

lynne-42
04-25-2008, 07:27 PM
Ianzin is traveling around America at the moment. He is an invited guest at the rather exclusive FFFF close-up magicians' convention in Batavia, NY, as I write. Try him again when he gets back to England at the end of the month.

ianzin
05-16-2008, 03:27 PM
One or two people have mentioned me during this thread. I have been away (as Lynne-42 pointed out) so this is my first chance to respond. However, I'm not sure there's much for me to say. The facts of the matter speak for themselves.

Has this guy demonstrated his 'powers' under controlled conditions that eliminate opportunities for error or fraud? No. Until he does, there's nothing to try and 'explain' because there isn't any data. At one point in the video, the scientists were trying to investigate his claims in a scientific manner, but (a) they weren't in a lab or any environment that constitutes 'controlled conditions' and (b) I'm not aware that any of them have any specific knowledge of deception as applied to the faking of psychic phenomena.

I think it is significant that when they were somewhat clumsily hooking up voltmerers and so on to Mr Chang, they didn't get any positive readings. Also, when Mr Chang had had a taste of how closely the scientists wanted to test his claims, he got cold feet and backed out of the tests, citing all this convenient mumbo jumbo about a ghost in the night telling him not to demonstrate his abilities in public. How odd that he has apparantly been healing people with his electric jolts for years... isn't this 'demonstrating in public'? And why would this ghost only come and warn him to stop co-operating with the scientists AFTER the first day of shambolic 'testing'? It seems far more plausible to me to suggest that he took a chance that the scientists would be easy to sucker in, found that they weren't quite so dumb, and chickened out.

This guy may be the real deal. Perhaps he has impressive and astonising abilities that lie beyond what current scientific knowledge can explain. This is perfectly possible, but it's unlikely, and so there's no reason to grant his claims any credence unless and until we have some data that actually supports the claims. Of course, this doesn't affect what people can choose to believe. It's a free country. You can believe in pink unicorns if you want to. But if you want to stick to believing in things only if there's good evidence or good reason to, which I think is quite a good guideline to follow where 'psychic' or paranormal claims are concerned, then we are entitled to say 'no data, nothing to explain'.

One thing I can tell is that the 'paper sets on fire' is a trick. Or, to be more strict and more fair, the demonstration as presented in the video is indistinguishable in every way from exactly what it would look like if it were done by trickery. I used the same trick on an old TV discussion show, 'Leeza', in 1999. In my case, I caused a borrowed cigarette to spontaneously ignite, just by waving my hand over it. It got so hot that in fact it broke the (totally transparent) glass ashtray on which it was resting at the time. In other contexts and live shows, I've made things like envelopes and tissue paper spontaneously ignite using the same method. The method is written up in several different magic books, such as 'Stranger than fiction' by Derek Lever, although in that book one specific technical point pertaining to this trick is not explained as clearly as it could be.

Loach
05-16-2008, 05:14 PM
ianzin someone screw with your homepage?

ianzin
05-16-2008, 06:16 PM
Yes Loach, someone seems to have hacked in. I've contacted my site hosts and we'll see what we can do to put things right.

Loach
05-16-2008, 09:37 PM
Yes Loach, someone seems to have hacked in. I've contacted my site hosts and we'll see what we can do to put things right.

Hope it works out OK.

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