Scientists put psychic’s paranormal claims to the test

In an article from The Guardian:

Professional medium Patricia Putt was last week subjected to a rigorous scientific test of her powers as the first stage of her bid to claim a $1m prize from the James Randi Educational Foundation

The young female volunteer in front of me could not suppress an embarrassed giggle as she sat there wearing a ski mask, wraparound sunglasses, an oversized graduation gown and a pair of white socks, a large laminated sheet hung around her neck displaying her participant number.

Then things got even weirder. Professor Richard Wiseman knocked on the door to collect our volunteer. He accompanied her into a large room where she was instructed to sit in a chair facing the wall and do nothing for 15 minutes or so. Professional medium Mrs Patricia Putt was then brought into the room and sat down at a small table around 12 feet away. Sometimes Mrs Putt would request that a volunteer read a pre-specified short passage, as she had found from past experience that often “the Spirit enters and makes contact through the sound of the sitter’s voice”. After that, no talking was allowed whatsoever as our medium wrote down a “reading” describing the volunteer using her alleged paranormal abilities. At the end of the reading, Mrs Putt left the room and the volunteer was allowed to change back into somewhat more conventional garb and given a reminder to return later in the day for the all-important judging phase.

What was going on here?

Read the rest of the article here.

Very interesting to see the great lengths the Randi Foundation goes to to make sure the tests are very scientific and are acceptable to the participants. Also interesting to see the excuses brought forth afterwards.

James Randi’s talk at Google.

James Randi is always worth paying attention to:

Found over at The Friendly Atheist.