Friday, October 19, 2012

Michael Tymn: Paid Debunkers: How the Public Is Misinformed by the Media and Academia About Psychic Phenomena

Michael Tymn has a new post on his blog: Paid Debunkers: How the Public Is Misinformed by the Media and Academia About Psychic Phenomena. It is well worth reading. Here are a couple of excerpts to excite your curiosity:

Schwartz, who had done some significant research with clairvoyant type mediums at his University of Arizona laboratory, stressed that there are two sides to each story – the medium’s and the skeptic’s. However, when the researcher, such as himself, found evidence favoring the medium’s side, the TV producers and other media people found it necessary to call in a paid “skeptic” or debunker to “balance” the issue. In effect, the TV producers saw Schwartz as having joined sides with the medium, as if he had become the medium’s advocate, and therefore insisted that “balance” be restored with a paid debunker, who, in all likelihood, had done no research of his own but based his arguments on debunking theory, such as cold reading, chance guesses, etc. The contestants in the debate then became the medium and Schwartz on one side versus the debunker on the other side, when it should have been the medium vs. the debunker with Schwartz as the judge. Instead of the viewing audience appreciating the strong evidence supporting mediumship, the desired result was a draw or a standoff. And so it seems that this was also the desired result of this academic anthology.


Crawford brought in a scale large enough to hold the medium while she was sitting in her chair. He discovered that when a table was being levitated, the weight of the table, usually around 16 pounds, was transferred to the medium through the psychic (ectoplasmic) rods extending from the medium. Most of the time, the transfer of weight would be a few ounces short of the weight of the table. Further experimentation revealed that the extra weight was being transferred to the sitters in the room, who apparently furnished small amounts of the “psychic force.”

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