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(Some Guy)   Remember when Houdini threatened to shoot all psychics? Good times   (skepticblog.org) divider line 22
    More: Silly, Harry Houdini, Tim Minchin, credible threat  
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3697 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Mar 2013 at 8:20 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-29 08:24:39 AM
And the world would have been a much better place.
/Fun fact. He left instructions to his wife that in case he died go to every psychic and medium and ask them to contact him. He left a list of things he would say to prove it was him. Not a one passed.
 
2013-03-29 08:39:33 AM
I don't understand why we aren't throwing these "psychics" in jail. They're defrauding the weak and the stupid.
If you've actually got psychic powers, it should be child's play to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.
 
2013-03-29 08:39:42 AM
How is this silly? This is no difference to questioning rhe powers of a Benny
Hinn. Big money is made fleecing believers.
 
2013-03-29 08:39:42 AM
Sometimes, as in his exposures of fraudulent psychics, his craftiness served the public good.

Redundant adjective is redundant
 
2013-03-29 08:39:59 AM
The psychics would know the shot was coming and get out of the way.
 
2013-03-29 08:42:02 AM
Houdini and I drew up a letter that we sent to the  New York Mercury. It read:

To the Editor of the  New York Mercury:

As I frequently attend spiritualistic seances, where materialized spirits are said to come out of a cabinet, I wonder if I would be breaking any law if I fired a pistol shot at one of these figures and a dead body was found on the floor.
D. G.

This bit of lighthearted terrorism was no joke for the practitioners of the psychic trade. According to Rinn,

This letter, when published, created consternation among spiritualists, especially mediums, and for fully six months no medium advertised that he was giving materializing seances, for fear some fanatic might be tempted to fire a shot at a cabinet spirit. During that period only flowers were materialized.

HAHAHhahahahahahahah.....  Houdini, you were quite the character.
 
2013-03-29 08:45:03 AM

WhippingBoy: I don't understand why we aren't throwing these "psychics" in jail. They're defrauding the weak and the stupid.
If you've actually got psychic powers, it should be child's play to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.


On the flip side, if I did actually have psychic powers, I would never want to let anyone know.  I would have a bunch of religious nuts wanting to burn me at the stake, or some government agency would lock me away for experimentation.
 
2013-03-29 08:49:07 AM
He didn't find it at all funny that his mother finally learned  English but couldn't speak Hungarian anymore when the medium brought him a message.
 
2013-03-29 08:51:12 AM
I worked for a CEO that spent thousands consulting with a psychic--- all while being embezzled by the CFO. Naive stupid people--- educated and otherwise sane.
 
2013-03-29 08:54:01 AM
I don't remember Houdini doing any such thing.

The man never said squat to me....
 
2013-03-29 08:59:16 AM
Can someone with a time machine go fetch him and take him to the Long Island Medium's house?
 
2013-03-29 09:09:01 AM
RTFA he wasn't threatening to shoot the psychics...He only wondered if : , I wonder if I would be breaking any law if I fired a pistol shot at one of these figures and a dead body was found on the floor.

It Was the ectoplasmic apparition he was talking about
 
2013-03-29 09:48:00 AM

Alonjar: This letter, when published, created consternation among spiritualists, especially mediums, and for fully six months no medium advertised that he was giving materializing seances, for fear some fanatic might be tempted to fire a shot at a cabinet spirit. During that period only flowers were materialized.


Houdini to "psychics": "Put up or shut up!"
"Psychics": "we'll shut up, sir"
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-03-29 09:57:59 AM

WhippingBoy: I don't understand why we aren't throwing these "psychics" in jail. They're defrauding the weak and the stupid.
If you've actually got psychic powers, it should be child's play to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.


They would just claim to be entertainers.
 
2013-03-29 10:28:52 AM

fzumrk: WhippingBoy: I don't understand why we aren't throwing these "psychics" in jail. They're defrauding the weak and the stupid.
If you've actually got psychic powers, it should be child's play to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.

On the flip side, if I did actually have psychic powers, I would never want to let anyone know.  I would have a bunch of religious nuts wanting to burn me at the stake, or some government agency would lock me away for experimentation.


While both those things are true, another reason is that they would have far more to profit from an uneven playing field.  If people knew psychics were real, and tin foil hats stopped their powers, then everyone would be wearing tin foil hats and their powers would be worth considerably less.

/adjusts tin foil hat
 
2013-03-29 10:34:29 AM

vpb: WhippingBoy: I don't understand why we aren't throwing these "psychics" in jail. They're defrauding the weak and the stupid.
If you've actually got psychic powers, it should be child's play to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.

They would just claim to be entertainers.


So, if I make fraudulent claims when I'm selling my house or car to someone, I can just claim to be a "house and car sales entertainer"?  ("Termites?   No.  Never even heard of a termite in this county.")  That's how this works?
 
2013-03-29 11:41:59 AM
IF there are real psychics they are living fairly anonymously as lottery winners and Wall Street investors, If they are the latter they make sure to lose money often to not give the game away.
 
2013-03-29 12:11:34 PM
Hey, baby, wanna kill all psychics?

(Except for Fry.)
 
2013-03-29 12:52:39 PM

capt.hollister: Sometimes, as in his exposures of fraudulent psychics, his craftiness served the public good.

Redundant adjective is redundant


OP was being scientific and open-minded. You are being obtuse.
 
2013-03-29 01:08:36 PM

WhippingBoy: I don't understand why we aren't throwing these "psychics" in jail. They're defrauding the weak and the stupid.
If you've actually got psychic powers, it should be child's play to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.


You could say the same thing about anyone promising you life after death in some magical far off land.  When it comes down to it, enough people want to believe that the overarching movement will stay, even if occasionally certain members get arrested.  Psychics rely on people who are already emotionally vulnerable.  And if their victims do come to their senses?  Well, then the victim has to make a couple choices- do they give up all hope and their belief system, or just hope in this one particular charlatan?  Do they go to the police at let everyone know what a moron they've been?

More organized religion, of course, makes bigger bucks... that's because they figured out how to institutionalize and share the wealth.  Individual psychics have to provide better 'results' than a church does, because they only have time to scam victims face to face.  Churches play the long scam though.  They know the priest in the next town has their back.  They aren't as territorial.  As long as you stay within their denominational 'flock' it's all good, and because they are promising things that happen after you die, well, they don't need to provide miracles for most of their parishioners.  They can rely on a few handlers, a few deluded faithful boosters and positive confirmation bias.
 
2013-03-29 01:44:17 PM

DeathCipris: capt.hollister: Sometimes, as in his exposures of fraudulent psychics, his craftiness served the public good.

Redundant adjective is redundant

OP was being scientific and open-minded. You are being obtuse.


Obviously, I'm not psychic, 'cause I sure did not see that one coming.

BTW, can you identify any psychic who cannot be shown to be fraudulent in his or her claims ?
 
2013-03-29 03:32:21 PM

cajunns: RTFA he wasn't threatening to shoot the psychics...He only wondered if : , I wonder if I would be breaking any law if I fired a pistol shot at one of these figures and a dead body was found on the floor.

It Was the ectoplasmic apparition he was talking about


Well, the point is that these "ectoplasmic apparitions" were in fact really just the so-called psychics themselves pretending to be a ghost... He knew it, and the psychics knew it, so it was taken as a threat to themselves...

But, I agree that the wording doesn't seem to rise to the level of a legal threat... It's merely asking a rhetorical question about the legalities of a hypothetical situation... And, it does actually make me kind of curious... Obviously, if Houdini himself did it, fully knowing it was a mortal human, he'd be culpable... But, what about a believer who really thought it was a ghost and just wanted to prove it to everyone else? I wonder if such a person would be convicted?
 
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