By Mark Frauenfelder at 5:00 pm Sat, Apr 2, 2011
[Video Link] It's not often that you get to see a coconut possessed by an evil spirit. Keep watching for the terrific surprise ending.
It would be neat if after debunking the whole scam for the villagers, they still passed the hat.
Best YouTube comment: In my land, they call this “Jesus”
God bless those debunkers!
The white-bearded man at the end of the clip appears to be Basava Premanand, a leading debunker of mystics in his country. His main target seems to be Sri Satya Sai Baba, a self-proclaimed incarnation of God and an alleged grifter and multiple sex offender. Seeing as a lot of self proclaimed gurus and mystics of all backgrounds turn out to be grifters and sex offenders, this is not surprising, but judge for yourself, I suppose.
This clip is highly out of context and makes the townspeople out to be primitive folks out of Indiana Jones.. they are just regular small town folks if you ignore the BBC’s colonial attitude and presentation. I wish the post gave more information about this so I didn’t have to look it up myself.
What about the bloody coconut?!?
There were *two* coconuts, one with the mouse, one with the potassium ball and, obviously, red ink inside.
I kept expecting, “And for his next miracle, the god-man pulled out a series of handkerchiefs, finishing with a dove.”
I was hoping for some music, namely “The Final Countdown” and the Godman saying, “Yes, but where did the mouse come from?!”
That’s right… notice that they didn’t explain the bloody coconut. *That* one must be a miracle…
Still, you gotta love a country where wearing bright orange raises your status.
Faith healing? Tricks? Evil spirits? For a second there I thought I was watching an evangalistic church in the US.
Now the villagers can get back to believing in proper modern things, like how comsumer products will make your life feel fulfilled.
That bank manager’s appearance, and moustache in particular, screams “householder.” I doubt he fooled anyone. Imagine Mitt Romney putting on a mohawk wig, and trying to pass for a punk rocker.
I was going to say – as soon as I saw the supposed sadhu, I was wondering what was up. Even his robes looked freshly pressed. Not quite up the the standard of these guys.
Of course, no one in the village seemed to be paying any attention to the camera crew. Seems like a bit of a give-away that this was a re-enactment – they could easily have gone back to a village they’d previously visited and asked “Hey, remember that phony-guru act we did a few weeks back – would you be willing to help out on a re-enactment of it for British TV? We’d contribute X rupees to the village maintenance fund.”
Hey, I wanna know about the bank note trick!! Would be pretty handy in this state of economy..
Somehow the guy in orange reminds me of Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel. :p
I don’t care if it was all a trick, I want to worship him anyway.
If they’re anything like us, and I bet they are, the villagers are now convinced that their faith is being tested. They will pray for a real guru to come, and when he does, they will make sure to reward him well.
Despite these fellow’s admirable work, a lot of people – not just villagers, even “modern” Indians – are gullible enough to fall for these god men’s stunts. Take “His Holiness” Sri Satya Sai Baba for instance. A devotee of his once told me that he’d had a Rolex watch produced to him out of thin air. For a price of course. A little investigation and the watch serial number showed that they were being purchased in bulk by the Sai Baba foundation.
Also, he can apparently cure tuberculosis, AIDS and syphilis. Yet, recently he fell ill and was unable to cure himself because of his absolute devotion to other peoples money.
What does a priest costume go for in the states?
Or one of them evangelical polyester suits?
Didn’t they have a whole bunch of these guys in Guantanamo Bay?
I don’t know about Guantanamo, but I’d sure like to see a team like this going down to Wall Street to expose charlatans.
And a real raising of consciousness would happen if the villagers then realized that just because a magician can make something happen, it doesn’t logically follow that that event will ALWAYS be an act of magic. But if Randi’s followers aren’t that smart, the villagers probably aren’t either.
But since Randi has exposed thousands of fakes and not even 1 verifiable instance of supernatural manifestation, the smart money is on his side.
Tell me, do you also believe Intelligent Design is “another equally-valid theory”?
I’m betting you say yes.
You lose. But there happens to be real evidence in the ID situation, and no real counter-evidence, unlike Randi’s many pseudo-scientific attacks on various things.
“there happens to be real evidence in the ID situation”
No, actually, there isn’t.
“You lose. But there happens to be real evidence in the ID situation, and no real counter-evidence…”
I lol’d, especially since you’re serious.
M’s initial point is technically correct, though it’s not a very useful one.
AFAIK, Randi doesn’t pretend to prove that NOBODY could EVER have supernatural powers. Logically, it’s not possible to prove a negative proposition such as that. So he often says things like, “If this person had chosen to use trickery, there are several ways they could have done it. Here are a few.”
However, there is no good reason to assume that ANYONE ever DOES have supernatural powers. With any mysterious event, you have the choice between a supernatural explanation or a natural one. A supernatural explanation requires far more assumptions than the natural oneâ€”i.e. that we have somehow missed a fundamental force of nature, or that this person has the ability to bend natural laws to their will, versus that this person is tricking us. Which of those is more likely?
In general, the explanation that requires the fewest new assumptions turns out to be correct. M is right, that doesn’t mean it IS correct. But as Peripatet said, it does mean that the smart money is on the skeptic’s side.
“Logically, it’s not possible to prove a negative proposition such as that.”
Just to be pedantic:
In logic, a negative proposition is no different than a positive one, and both can be proven.
Empirically, it’s equally as impossible to ‘prove’ a positive as it is a negative, but both a negative and a positive conclusions can be drawn from evidence (And may change based on further evidence)
If you’re comfortable making a statement like “I can prove I have 5 fingers on my left hand, see?”, then it’s silly to quibble about the use of the word proof for a negative statement like “There are no unicorns”
Didn’t you used to be a serial child molester in post-WWI Berlin?
This seems to be the group started by the great Periyar EV Ramasamy.
Is this from Guru Busters, or Secret Swami? It looks like an interesting documentary.
I don’t believe anyone, for a second, thought that wasn’t staged. You can see some of the villagers rolling their eyes. I understand the need to educate people, but this whole charade stinks of bourgeois condescension.
Still, doesn’t shake my faith in the 3-cheese Jesus.
Make fun all you want, but I know you’d rather go to the cheaper and more entertaining Guru Show on a sunday afternoon than to some insipid blockbuster at the multiplex.
The villagers don’t look very impressed, they look like they’re about to “Meh” very hard.
I strongly recommend this site for people who do not want to be a parody opposite of a religious crackpot: http://www.subversivethinking.blogspot.com/
I strongly recommend this site for people who do not want to be a parody opposite of a religious crackpot
New age crackpottery is still crackpottery.
Very cool, loved every minute of it!
Sorry to have underexplained: what I mean is that there is real evidence in the ID situation that ID is NOT real. Real evidence can be negative OR positive, folks.
Not to go off-topic too broadly, but who is the narrator from the BBC? His voice, so familiar.
The narrator is Jonathan Pryce, perhaps best remembered for playing Sam Lowry in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.
I wonder if there are not more than a few people are actually healed by acts like these. The mind is a powerful thing and belief in a guru’s powers can probably function much like a placebo. But the intention is what’s important here. I really enjoyed this.
These guys are awesome.
It is heartening to see critical thinking and reason gaining a foothold in places that sorely need it.
To echo many here, can these guys come to the US?
1. Ah! that’s why some folks seems so obsequious when I’m wearing my orange power shirt.
2. The mouse is obviously possesed
3. Now they need to debunk the myth of love
4. Obviously, in their previous incarnation they were all real gurus. The wheel of Samsara keeps turning.
5. Guru busting is not cheap, the money collected will help to spread the word
6.Villager #1: Where will they go next? Villager #2: Hmmm, wonder where they haven’t been…
7. Villager #3: Exception that proves the rule
8. Invasive demon: good acolytes!
9. Enlightened villager: May the goddess show them the path
10. No dance number at the end: Fail
If I had superpowers, I don’t think that I’d be wandering around India making coconuts bleed for spare change.
And here i was thinking i was watching David Blaine’s orange wearing cousin. I am devastated…
This reminds me of what Father Guido Sarducci said on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s: “Well, this-a Mother Seton-now they could only prove-a three miracles. … with-a three lousy miracles. I understand that-a two of them was-a card tricks.”
I hope people don’t see this and think that all Hindus believe in that crap.
Well, I imagine most people who think of themselves as “Hindus” believe *some* kind of crap.
I thought it was obvious that I was referring to the fake stuff this magician-like fellow is doing.
Yes, I know. But “Hindus,” that is members of the overwhelmingly dominant religious group in India, believe as a matter of course in all kinds of gods, miracles, fortune telling and other ant-rational things. If by “Hindu” you actually mean “Indians,” citizens of the nation of Bharat, called “India” in the West, what you say is obviously true, since the debunkers pictured in the film are Indians, though not “Hindus.” If you’re interested in these people there’s more information here http://nirmukta.com, here http://indianatheists.com/ and here http://www.indiansceptic.in/
Um…. didn’t any of them think that if he can make money out of thin air, then why does he need their money?
This has been another episode of Undercover Boss INDIA
Instead of spending their time removing the very potent placebo effect these people have, why don’t they give them some real medicine?
Which “people” are you talking about? The only “people” who appeared to receive “treatment” were members of the skeptic team. There’s no evidence in the film that anyone in the village asked for or needed medical assistance.
You put the blood in the coconut and drink dem both up…
Submit a tip
The rules you agree to by using this website.
Who will be eaten first?
Jason Weisberger, Publisher
Ken Snider, Sysadmin