Electric eel man

[Video Link] I saw this video on TV about 10 years ago. A doctor demonstrates his ability to deliver shocks like an electric eel and ignite a newspaper with his bare hand. What's the trick?


  1. Pretty convenient how the flame starts from underneath the paper. 

    He seemed to be pretty picky about crumpling it into a ball too.. like something inside it had to be turned on or it had to be situated in a specific way.

      1. I think that 6 page forum thread should have been the topic of this post.

        It’s lengthy painstaking comments like those of Psychic Spy that give me the most fear about humanity’s future.

        Acupuncture: Made me really relaxed and rested but didn’t help whatsoever with the problem it was supposed to address. The tea tastes awful, though at least the one I had didn’t contain ground up endangered animal.

        I’ll take the good shit cooked up in a lab, thanks.

    1. On this I would go with tiny cigarette butt put into paper (notice he was smoking right before he did it).  It wont burn right away. However, standing over it with arm down. Blowing along arm, it would ignite. He is crushing the paper and spreading it out so the ember really ignites as big as possible. amirite?

  2. xzzy is correct: not real. i can tell from some of the pixels, that the good doctor’s newspaper has an ignition device (a 9v cell w steelwire?) wrapped inside, and the fire doesn’t start from the sparks, but rather bursts from inside. and the filming crew are on it too.

  3. I vaguely remember seeing this on TV years ago. I think it was from a documentary on Indonesia called Ring of Fire. Wikipedia has this entry on the series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Fire:_An_Indonesian_Odyssey_(Film)

  4. I found it a little suspicious that the eel’s assistant was holding the subject’s foot while the process was underway.  Perhaps he was pressing his bare foot to an exposed electrode?

  5. I remember seeing this the first time Ring of Fire was broadcast and it remains a mystery to me. I assume like xzzy that it was loaded with an accelerant or something. Is he around? Can he do it again?

  6. He’s holding a cigarette in his left hand. Then it’s gone. Then the paper catches fire.Clearly, the man is a firebender and sets the paper alight with his chi.

  7. At 2mins 22 secs Electric Eel man smoking fag, at 2 mins 28 secs, Electric Eel Man scrunching up newspaper and creating fire. (fag gone)

  8. I also find it suspicious that when the eel stomps out the burning paper (which is suspicious in and of itself), why does he keep his left foot in the same place?  Could it be to cover up the cigarette butt that started the fire (notice the fairly strong breeze)?  I’d also say it’s strange that the woman had to touch near his junk to get shocked, but that’s probably just the eel seeing an opportunity for a cheap feel.

    1. The tan t’ien is located where he asked her to touch. While this guy is most likely a fraud, the use of the tan t’ien in internal martial arts is vital to bio-mechanical & movement understanding.  Oh, is your name from that one old Skinny Puppy song?

    2. He moves his foot a couple of times. You’re right on the cheap feel though.  Im wondering if he holds the piece of cig in his mouth and drops it in while “making” the ball?  It’s when it gets in the paper im curious about. Blowing on it will make it blow up in flame. A lot of “psychics” use breath to do stuff.

  9. What sort of electric charge would be necessary to ignite newspaper at a distance of a couple of inches? A lot more than would be necessary to make someone twitch on contact, I’m guessing. I don’t think dude’s got his story straight on what superpowers he’s got exactly.

  10. Get yourself a small handheld Tesla coil, also known as a violet wand or violet-ray generator (depending who you ask and …ahem… what purposes it will be used for). Good ones aren’t cheap.

    It generates high-frequency high voltage which cannot penetrate the skin unless you do something really stupid with it (all fun with electricity is dangerous, use caution, yada yada…)

    You can hold onto a paddle electrode with one hand (or tape it to your arm/leg) and shoot sparks from your fingertips. If you draw an arc to something, you can generate enough heat to burn it (just as long as it will burn quicker than the other end of the arc, namely your skin, will..) Igniting newspaper is a definite possibility.

  11. Yes, this is clipped from Ring of Fire, a breathtaking tour by two British brothers of aspects of Indonesia and surrounding islands that almost certainly has disappeared since the series was filmed (in the late ’80s, I think). Lorne, with the monocle handled the sound, Lawrence the film, I think.  These episodes were formative for me – and jawdroppingly amazing in what they could capture on film.  One gets the sense of very, very old ways of seeing the world, and of being in it. 

    The set-up for this scene was an eye infection Lorne had been suffering – and which disappeared after this treatment. So something was definitely going on there…

    These guys were the happiest of mutants.  I would recommend any BoingBoing reader to go out of his or her way to find and watch this. I can say with no irony that it changed my life. For the better.

  12. I’m sure it’s a magician’s trick, perhaps using flash paper set off by the missing cigarette secretly crumpled within the paper. As for the electric shocks, how about a piece of carpet on the floor for him to shuffle his feet on? :D

  13. This guy looks similar to a guy that is on the “Amazing Superhumans”  tv show (created by Stan Lee).  I think in the first couple episodes I saw this guy at some point. 

  14. I also possess the ability to generate an electrochemical charge to cause muscles to twitch.  Haven’t managed to make anyone else’s muscles twitch, but guess I haven’t studied enough for it. 

  15. When I was a youngster in “Indian Guides” we did an exercise where we started a campfire with our mind energy.  But it was obvious to all that there was a guy up in a tree with a battery and a thin wire going to the campfire.  I presume they used a model rocket igniter.

  16. The part where he is sending “electricity” through the acupuncture needles is completely false. I only say this because I’ve had really deep acupuncture and when they hit a nerve you get the same jump, only my acupuncturist would then stop. It was not a pleasant feeling. The potential for your nerves to fire and your muscle to jump is already there, it’s just the needle shorting it out in some way. Not that acupuncture doesn’t heal, I fully believe it does. They also put some in my ear ( the external part, not in the ear canal, can’t remember the term for it) and it felt just like when I had I.V. valium during an operation. I was giggling and feeling really good. Wish that particular acupuncturist hadn’t moved away. I am also suspect of the cigarette he’s smoking before the paper gets lit on fire.

  17. Hang on, rewind. Acupuncture made you feel like IV Valium? I’ve had to have IV Valium twice, and IMHO that is the best high in all of highdom. Felt great for days! I’m getting myself to an acupuncturist ASAP. Thanks for the tip!

  18. This is the ring of fire. The four episodes are some of the most amazing super coolness I know of. Lorne with the monocle died a few years ago when he fell into an open man hole in Bali. Lawrence is still alive, has an eye patch, I think and did a return to the scene episode a few years ago. I found these guys when I typed my dream in the catalog at my library: “Sailing across Indonesia”. It is my favorite documentary of all time. I also read their books including Laurence’s dissertations. Laurence is also listed in the credits of Baraka, for the monkey kechak sequence. I really liked Lorn’s book about Borneo. If you don’t know anything about INdonesia stop everything and order the dvds.

  19. As a STEM type who keeps one foot in stagecraft for fun and occasional profit, and is friends with a very competent magician who has occasionally asked for help, I can offer two points.

    The first is, I can come up with a half dozen ways to convincingly build these illusions with things I have in my house, and a dozen more if I can overnight from eBay, and until he does something under more rigorous conditions, I can’t tell which one he used, since they’d all work, and all look the same- but neither do I have to devote an ounce of thought to him being anything but a charlatan, given their known preponderance and the notable absence of more electric eel men.

    The second is that a decent magician is invariably surprised by the wacky complicated technical nonsense that decent engineers come up with to perform illusions they did with nothing but their nimble fingers, loose talk, and a visceral grasp of the sightlines- a consequence of everyone imagining they are hard to fool and technology being nearly magical anyways. Magicians are uniformly pretty low tech.

    So I’m putting my money on the rusty Zippo that no one saw him fire up while he was aligning his chakras.

  20. I believe his name was ‘Dynamo Jack’.  I loved the Ring of Fire series when it first came out, and this scene made a big impression on me.  But with age, wisdom, and a scientific education, I became a skeptic.  Electric fish have specialized electric organs (an evolutionary modification of neuromuscular synapses) that generate high voltages.  Humans don’t, and no amount of meditation will change that.  Dynamo Jack is a fraud for sure.  But I wonder whether the filmmakers were in on it, or whether they were completely deceived, or whether they were somewhere in that gray area between skepticism and wanting to make a best-selling TV show. 

  21. The igniting newspaper had the very characteristic flame colour of potassium when it first started. I’m guessing a small amount of potassium permanganate and glycerine mixed together and sleight of hand. Takes about 15 sec to ignite.

  22. I train in the Chinese Internal Martial arts, am a licensed acupuncturist, and work with Medical Chi Kung, which is the art of understanding, focusing and using the naturally occurring bioenergetic fields of the body to help foster balance in the bioenergetic fields of others….with nothing but my intention and focused abilities.

    To claim something is a hoax and then to search for a technical western-scientific answer to this “gimmick” is generally hubristic and does not take into the account that you simply may not understand what is happening here. Perhaps this is simply outside of your field of knowledge and experience, and therefore the answer is not within your grasp of understanding?

    Expand your view of human potential. I myself train 1-2 hours every day to understand Body as Technology….and how to generate intense bioenergetic fields that can be used for healing. While I cannot combust newspaper (yet), I can easily generate energy that can be felt as heat, cold, electricity etc…in person and over long distances.

    It is not actually that difficult to do. they key is simple. I PRACTICE EVERY DAY. I have great respect for anyone who works at their craft, and little for those who would shout fakery at something simply because they do not understand the principles behind it….ones that were developed over thousands of years beginning in ancient china with Taoist masters who were TRUE SCIENTISTS in every respect.

    The World was their laboratory. And their equipment was this amazing Mind-Body-Spirit complex we call the human bodies…physical and energetic.

    If you want to understand what is happening here yo must change the reference point. This is not a charlatan with a trick. This is a scientist who understands his technology.


    1. You are wasting (y)our time, and sponging off the ignorant. You TCM advocates are all the same – you either claim it doesn’t work because people are not believers, or you claim that we simply don’t “understand” the complex world that surrounds your bunkum. The fact that your chosen field is taught in so many western universities merely brings disrepute on the names of the universities offering it. 

      What really takes hubris is the confidence with which TCM practitioners talk, especially considering that there is no proof whatsoever that any force (beyond suggestibility) is at work. Tests have proven time and again that the effects of (non-electrical) acupuncture as a cure for ailment “x” are no better than placebo acupuncture (that is, poking people with pointy toothpicks). As ridiculous as this may sound, I’m not making it up. It’s not my job to provide references, but Dr. Mark Crislip (yes a *medical* doctor of internal medicine) provides immensely detailled references on all of his podcasts.
      http://moremark.squarespace.com/quackcast-list-mp3/ (ctrl+f: acupuncture)

      If you can perform such conclusive heat/cold/electricity acts, then surely you’d like to cash it in for $1,000,000. Even if you are not susceptible to temptation of things as vile and base as money, I’m sure the college you “studied” at would appreciate it. Or there are plenty of hungry people in Sudan right now… they’d probably appreciate some food.

      I’m not here to change your mind – you have invested too much money, time and energy into this field and I don’t suspect your mind would ever be changed, even in the face of comprehensive testing. I am merely here to be one of many voices of reason on BB who refuse to let comment sections here become the usual confusing, non-factual dribble the internet is famed for. I’m probably making an enemy for life out of Xeni with this diatribe, but I am tired of hearing TCM/spiritual people tell me how little I understand when logic, reason and fact are all on my side. 

      This is a charlatan with a trick… it’s right there in the post:
      “What’s the trick?”

      1. Again…if you want to look where the science lies…look to David Wilcock’s book “The Source Field Investigations”. And as far as proof goes…I see it every day on my table with clients, and that is enough for me….and if you want to point out the regular argument that it is ‘only placebo effect’ then that right there is something which needs closer examination…
        …if the mind is powerful enough to generate healing results that are equal to and in most cases great than those offered by pharmaceuticals, then what an amazing concept THAT is.

        Open your mind to the possibilities. Chinese Medicine (I only practice acupuncture, not herbs) was developed and refined over 5,000+ years. Sadly, a great deal of it was watered down when it was synthesized with herbs as a result of Mao and the Revolution…but the roots of the Classical approach remain. Let me point this out…do you really think that a culture and civilization which, at its height, surpassed every other one on the planet in its technical prowess and ability to sustain a vast population agriculturally, scientifically and artistically, would be using a sham form of medicine as the basis for keeping every single one of those many people healthy? Just give it a thought.


        1. Yes, the placebo effect is a real effect and I think it does demonstrate that human beings are capable of doing amazing things.  The question that skeptics are worried about is whether the spirit healing paradigm is the correct formalization of this latent human ability, and we very much doubt it.This:

          Let me point this out…do you really think that a culture and civilization which, at its height, surpassed every other one on the planet in its technical prowess and ability to sustain a vast population agriculturally, scientifically and artistically, would be using a sham form of medicine as the basis for keeping every single one of those many people healthy?

          Is a silly argument.  Of course they weren’t using a “sham form of medicine.”  They were using the best medicine they “understood” at the time.  But they didn’t really understand very much and we understand more now.  Some of the stuff they were doing worked.  Willow bark works, that’s why we still use aspirin.  But that doesn’t mean it works for the reasons the ancient Chinese thought it worked.

          1. Um, what was the average life-span of people in ancient China; 30 years
            old, maybe 40? So much for their fantastic medicine

            Okay, first of all, asking a question, imagining an answer and then using your imaginary answer as a cry of triumph is a somewhat less than compelling argument. Second, if ancient China is anything like ancient Greece or Rome, upper class people with access to clean food and water lived almost as long as modern Europeans, assuming that they didn’t die by violence.

          2. I would be very surprised if the AVERAGE life span was much more than 40. If you have info to challenge this, please feel free to present it.

            I think my reasoning is solid, pertinent and telling. Some poking around online seems to indicate that 30-40 is a “reasonable” estimate based on available evidence.. again, that’s a “reasonable estimate”, not an “imaginary answer”.Greece and Rome in Ancient times didn’t have Chinese medicine either, so your point falls on it’s face. Again, speaking of the low average life-span (ie, of a large population, rich and poor), this was due to very high child mortality rates, and lack of antibiotics or vaccines. This situation is the same for ancient China. “Western” medicine addressed these issues; the ancient Chinese still suffered from dysentery, cholera and other diseases and died in droves. If their herbal medicine could have been used to cure such, they obviously would have done so.

            Even without such modern illnesses like heart disease and cancer, people that practiced herbal medicine at it’s height couldn’t expect to live longer than maybe 45, or survive a simple infection that we routinely cure with modern medicine.

          3. I would be very surprised if the AVERAGE life span was much more than
            40. If you have info to challenge this, please feel free to present it.

            No, dude. You made the allegation; you prove it. That’s the way it works here.

            And as I previously pointed out, shorter lifespans have primarily to do with lack of access to clean (or any) food and water, a fact which remains true today.

            “Western” medicine addressed these issues; the ancient Chinese
            still suffered from dysentery, cholera and other diseases and died in

            Diseases which are still caused by lack of access to clean food and water. The primary method for prevention of cholera in 2011 remains access to clean food and water.  The primary treatment is to remain hydrated, which is accomplished by access to clean water.

          4. I thought you like to shake down people with different views than you? Isn’t that how it works here?

            Call it what you will; I made an assertion (ie, average life expectancy at the height of Chinese herbal medicine was about 30-40), based on all the evidence I’ve been able to find. It’s reasonable to anyone who cares to check it out. It’s very hard to pin down such data for ancient China. Some people lived to 80; most, however, were in great danger of dying before their 1st birthday, and if they made it past that, they likely wouldn’t see their 6th year. Once past that bottleneck, you might hope to live to 60 or beyond; UNLESS you got an infection, or any serious disease, from which they had NO effective defense or treatment.

            Those diseases are EXACERBATED and spread by lack of clean food and drinking water, yes; but moreso by lack of medical technology and capability. Bad water makes you sick; lack of effective medicine kills you. Remember, antiseptics are an invention of ‘Western’ medicine! They may have been foreseen by Hippocrates and others even more ancient, they were studied, developed and made practical in the recent past of European medical understanding.

            If you’re suggesting that clean water cures cholera, I’d suggest you think again. Try to survive any of these diseases without Western medical help, I dare you. Use all the herbs you like. You’ll end up just as dead.

            These issues, though, are beside the point: Ancient Chinese medicine made shockingly few advancements towards solving infection or disease. 

            What exactly is your point? Mine is that ancient Chinese medicine was/is seriously lacking. I think I’ve demonstrated this clearly. If you want to disagree, feel free. Convince me.

          5. I don’t like to argue against you because time has shown me that your mind is quick and sharp a steel trap, but my understanding from extensively listening to the aboveliked quackcast podcasts is that Marcus’ assertion is backed by the facts. I can’t remember in which podcast it is addressed, but if I ever come across it again I will send you the specific link.

          6. Antinous is then really the sort of people you should be arguing with, if you like arguing.  Arguing with dolts is not edifying. 

      2. Also….my teacher said that it was not about the needle, and he was right. You can do acupuncture with a spoon…or a toothpick…the ability lies in the intention and the focused power of the mind, just as much as it lies in the touch of a specific point, or the insertion of a needle.

        You may have your idea logic and reason. But I have the truth of my work, and the results of my clients. Testing is selective and typically this type of research has a definite purpose involved with it. Could there possibly be a reason for some research to be done with the intent of discovering the ‘ineffective nature’ of acupuncture? Who is funding the research you cite?

        The reason double blind studies are difficult to design for this kind of work is that it is so different in the nature of its approach and how it works based on the sovereign nature of EACH INDIVIDUAL and in the Clinician as well. As I have mentioned mental intention and observation is a big part of this equation…very difficult to design a test that can take these factors into account.

        Quantum Physics teaches us that the role of the observer changes the outcome of the experiment. I am working every day with this living experiment in the laboratory that is my treatment room. I am sorry that Western medicine is stuck solely in a Newtonian model of physics and can’t catch up with the elegance of the system of medicine I practice…which at its best, triggers the patient’s body to heal itself, without the use of damaging and expensive drugs.

        When your idea of science wants to catch up with quantum mechanics and the rest of the world (i.e. Russian source field science), please let me know…

        My work is incredibly cost effective and has a great deal of success with mental, emotional and physical pain, without drugs that mainly mask symptoms and drive pathogenic factors deeper into the energetic structures of the body, to surface later in life as far more deadly and degenerative conditions. My overhead is nearly zero, requiring a few simple needles a table and good sunlight so I can see my client well. I am the diagnostic tool and this is what my training paid for.

        So let me ask you…what is YOUR medical training? Let me point out, I a still writing about the validity of my field based on empirical experience, while you are trying to prove arguments about things that you are ONLY REPEATING.

        1. Justin there are several problems with acupuncture and other TCM which I have never heard properly addressed:

          You mention that it was developed over 5000+ years, though over time the insertion points have changed dramatically and inconsistently.

          You mention that it is amazing that a person’s mind can heal themselves. I agree, but I do not see this as an argument in support of TCM. If TCM is the required ‘performance’ to trick a person’s mind into healing themselves then surely other more direct, less potentially infectious* methods can be developed.

          *acupuncturists almost never wear gloves when penetrating your skin with needles and cases of infection after acupuncture have been recorded.

          Why is a belief in a supernatural, invisible and non-demonstrable power required in order to utilise the placebo effect? Surely a sugar pill which is guaranteed to cure whatever ailment could be just as effective if the patient is as accepting of the idea that it will help them.

          …if the mind is powerful enough to generate healing results that are
          equal to and in most cases great than those offered by pharmaceuticals

          *Citation needed
          All the studies I have heard summarised have come to the conclusion that the effects observed were no more effective than placebo. That IS kind of interesting, but for me it’s testimony to the power of a person’s mind, not the delivery method. The thing is that pharmaceuticals have to test as more effective than placebo in order to be approved for specific uses. That is the difference between pharmaceuticals and TCM – pharmaceuticals perform BETTER than just the power of the mind alone.

          What is MY medical training? Nothing. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be well read on the subject. I trust that podcast I linked because the guy who makes it, as the doctor in charge of the infectious disease department of a US hospital, is able to make educated decisions on the subject. He reads all the literature and studies, summarises them and references everything in case you want to check it out for yourself. You can’t argue with scientific rigor and his analysis is as rigorous as I have found.

    2. Justin, I, too, have practiced Taijiquan, for exercise and martial insight.

      To suggest that studying/practicing Medical Chi Kung along with the Internal martial arts gives one the ability to generate heat that can be felt at a distance, or to set things alight is just plain absurd, and FAR outside the real tradition of the Internal martial arts. The Internal martial arts – Taijiquan, Hsing-i, and Baqua – all use a very explicit form of body mechanics that can easily be shown, and taught. One must practice to become skilled, but there are no “supernatural” powers attached to the practice. One can generate “heat” or direct heat to various parts of the body using different forms of meditation, as well. There’s nothing special about this – anyone can do it with some practice.

      In fact, because of the rather obtuse and counter-intuitive nature of the body mechanics involved in high level Internal Martial Arts (and, they ARE biomechanical, just like the external arts of Karate, judo, etc.) the Internal martial arts have been polluted with New Age mumbo jumbo and false claims for what seems like forever. The Internal martial arts were suppressed during the reign of Mao, and a lot of crap came after that. Thank goodness for Chen Jia Gao Vilage, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen-style_tai_chi_chuan where the tradition of Chen Taijiquan was kept rather whole, as well as scattered Internal martial arts masters, elsewhere, who trained in the Internal martial arts first and foremmost as a martial style. I know of no person who is teaching authentic Chinese martial arts that would suggest what you have suggested about being able to generate fire, or send heat at a distance. It’s nonsense. You may believe to to be true, and those who profess to teach this “skill” to you may believe it to be true, but I can guarantee you that it’s NOT true, and nothing more than a claim made to get paying students into class – naive students who think that their “masters” have knowledge about how to do superhuman things, while making it sound like it’s really nothing special. I call that fraud.

      In sum, the Internal Martial Arts are MARTIAL arts, and when practiced properly with a true expert (master), one can also benefit from the unique qualities of movement involved, alone, without having to learn to fight. It’s pure baloney to suggest that you or anyone else can start a fire by generating some force from your body, and it’s an insult to the Chinese martial arts that so many who don’t know what the hell those arts really are, are using their “mystical” power-tripping “knowledge” to demean one of the most unique martial art frameworks ever invented.

  23. Well… Occcam’s Razor says it’s a guy running a scam. Bring the Eel Man (or yourself, Justin D.) to a lab, under laboratory conditions, maybe with James Randi overseeing, and get tested for your ability to project heat, and I’ll be interested to see the results. And I promise I will seriously be amazed, and embrace the findings, if it’s under controlled, reasonable conditions. Double blind, etc.  It’s like the NYPD Vice cop said- “I’ve busted hundreds of fortune tellers and swindlers, and not one of them has ever said, ‘You are… a New York City cop… and you are… oh, shit, you’re about to arrest me! I am in great danger!”  AbleBakerCharlie hit it on the head, earlier.

    1. I’d love to work in that scientific setting too…it is exactly what we need in order to move forward in understanding true human potential…and to clarify, I can manipulate these bioenergetic fields to create the sensations of heat, cold, electricity etc…as the bioenergetic fields of mylcients are brought back into a balanced state. If I am actually generating those kind of forces is unclear to me as of yet. But, I do have a lot of faith in my ability, and more importantly I recognize I am only special in the facts of my pursuit, not in my innate nature….these abilities are natural to everyone…as I said, it only takes practice to connect. The mind is infinitely more powerful than we give it credit for sometimes. Look to quantum physics for evidence of that…

      Science is and has been proving a lot of amazing stuff in the last 50 years…and sadly much of it has been hidden, i.e. Russian Pyramid studies, torsion field studies etc. For anyone interested in gaining a greater insight into the science that is out there which challenges a great many daily assumptions we have about the world, I would say look to a new book that has been written by David Wilcock, titled “The Source Field Investigations”. It just came out at the end of August, and signals a real paradigm shift. I hope it is embraced quickly.

      thanks again.

  24. Science is and has been proving a lot of amazing stuff in the last 50 years…and sadly much of it has been hidden, i.e. Russian Pyramid studies, torsion field studies etc.

    Hidden by whom?  Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand how this skepticism thing works.  For the most part, conspiracy theories are less likely than the more obvious non-conspiracy explanation.Gaining knowledge requires caution.  This attitude:

    It just came out at the end of August, and signals a real paradigm shift. I hope it is embraced quickly.

    Is antithetical to the acquisition of knowledge.  Human beings are very credulous.  They will believe any stupid thing if they have been prepared properly.  As Feynman said, science is all about not fooling yourself and you are the easiest one to fool.That’s why skeptics seem so negative all the time, because it’s so much easier to be wrong than it is to be right and so skeptics need to push back on knowledge claims that don’t really have much in the way of evidence behind them.  Folks like you often take this way too personally, though to be honest, skeptics often take posts like yours way too personally as well.Related to that last bit:

    To claim something is a hoax and then to search for a technical western-scientific answer to this “gimmick” is generally hubristic and does not take into the account that you simply may not understand what is happening here.

    Skeptics are obviously going to take offense to them because it’s a direct ad hom attack on skeptics. What seems “generally hubristic” to me is people like you claiming they have magical powers and there is not a doubt in in their minds that they have magical powers and all those stupid skeptics who have bothered to spend time and energy educating themselves on the actual principles on which the world operates are WRONG WRONG WRONG.That said, I’m somewhat sympathetic to human potential-type movements.  There’s plenty of good empirical evidence of Buddhist monks and Hindu yogis doing spectacular stuff (there’s also lots of evidence of them doing cheesy magic tricks, so you’re not completely off the hook here) to suggest that human beings are capable of a great deal more than a typical human being ever achieves.

    1. Today’s magic is tomorrow’s science. Quote me on that one.

      Also…scientific evidence is hidden all the time…by peer journals rejecting valid studies, by the institutions who fund academics through grants, and who fund the studies themselves ( i.e. big pharma), but most importantly, by scientists themselves, who refuse to validate good research because it challenges everything they have built their careers on, and who are afraid to take a leap forward when there is evidence to suggest the contrary…

      As far as attacks of hubris go….just look at the first 30 posts or so on this video, which were the only reason I decided to spend time writing on the forum today at all…

      What has happened to the open mind? I just wanted to see someone saying…hold on here…maybe there is no trick…it is from this stance of ‘I don’t know, but I sure am interested to find out more’ that great discoveries truly come from.

      I am not taking this personally, because I know where my truths lie. I am trying to point out counter arguments and possiblities based on my perspective, because up until that point, there had been only one perspective present here.

      I agree that gaining knowledge and understanding takes time…the book I mention came out in August, true, but it is a compilation of Scientific Fact from the past 60 years! The statements it makes and the story it weaves through understanding the implications of these studies are a wonderful opportunity for humanity and an invitation to look beyond our current limitations in many fields and scientific perspectives.

  25. Justin, the only reliable way to demonstrate that a theory is true is to sincerely and competently try to prove it false and fail.  When you object that scientists try to prove spirit healing doesn’t work, you’re objecting to the very idea of science.  If you want to convince skeptics, you need to take seriously the possibility that you might be wrong, try to demonstrate (sincerely — that’s important) that you’re wrong, and fail to do so.

    Also, your experiences aren’t empirical — they are anecdotal.  The whole point of skepticism is that it is very common for human brains to think they have learned something when they really haven’t.

  26. Today’s magic is tomorrow’s science. Quote me on that one.

    No, some of today’s magic is tomorrow’s science. Most of today’s magic is bunkum.

    As far as attacks of hubris go….just look at the first 30 posts or so on this video, which were the only reason I decided to spend time writing on the forum today at all…

    Those 30 posts were legitimately skeptical. It is not hubris to ask, “what is really going on here?” (especially when it looks like a cheesy magic trick). If you think it is hubris to question your senses and try to see beyond them, then you are the closed-minded one.

    1. Agreed on some the magic…also agreed on the nature of skepticism in general…Ok…lots more on my mind, but no time now. I thin this was a good discussion. I want to say, I love science and think it is terribly important…I am looking forward to the day when science and spirit come together, which I don’t think we are too far away from.

      All the best you you folks.

      1. Ha, OK I am clearly the smaller man here.  Justin, you’re absolutely right that there’s a lot out there we don’t understand.  I think the pushback skeptics put on a lot of explanations for these things get them unfairly branded as “closed-minded” and I may have been reacting to that tendency to a certain extent.  I’m a big believer in half-serious, free-wheeling explanations for this or that as a first step towards knowledge, but since I do think of myself as a skeptic that’s not necessarily the focus I take in these kinds of conversations.

        Both perspectives are needed.  Without skepticism we’re liable to believe falsehoods, but without a playful openness to possibilities we won’t ever learn new truths.  There’s inevitably going to be some tension, but that tension could very well be the force that pulls the whole lurching mess towards better knowledge.

        Best to you too.

  27. Also…scientific evidence is hidden all the time…by peer journals rejecting valid studies, by the institutions who fund academics through grants, and who fund the studies themselves ( i.e. big pharma), but most importantly, by scientists themselves, who refuse to validate good research because it challenges everything they have built their careers on, and who are afraid to take a leap forward when there is evidence to suggest the contrary…

    Considering how many completely legitimate empirical studies have been done recently on the efficacy of mindfulness meditation in treating mental disorders, I’d have to say you’re full of shit.  Scientists and skeptics honestly want to know how the world works, they’re not engaged in some elaborate conspiracy to discredit certain ideas just because they’re special to you.  This kind of poop-flinging discredits you more than your idiosyncratic beliefs about medicine, incidentally.

    1. I did not say all, and I wasn’t talking in specifics….I’m very happy that those kind of studies have been done and been made public. I was simply pointing out that in the scientific field, the system is not perfect, and that very legitimate scientific findings can be ignored because of personal, human bias, or because of corporate bias.

      Not flinging poop, just pointing out flaws in a system when I was asked why I thought science, of any kind, could end end being ‘hidden’

  28. The simplest explanation for the newspaper trick would be phosphorus. A small capsule of phosphorus could be cracked open inside during the bunching process which would need some time before it would ignite. It would leave no obvious ignition mechanism like a battery and wire would.

  29. Great video.  I have had experiences with personal electricity problems myself.  Everyone I would touch or touched me would get shocked.  I seemed to store electricity as a capacitor even without rubbing my feet on carpet.  I never knew why I was that way or why it even quit.  I don’t understand the fire with the newspaper but I have seen someone make a light glow from a crystal by holding it in their hand and concentrating.  Humans can do almost everything we put our minds to.  That’s why skeptics don’t get it.  They are too busy putting their mind to how it can’t work.  Of course it doesn’t work for them.   I gave up sometime ago trying to convince them that their life is worth living and there is so much more that we can do when we try.  We are just becomming even more divided with all the negative people just going their way and the rest of us trying to build a new world that can work for all of us not just the choosen few.  We stand at the greatest need in time of change for a sustainable life on our world.  Current  ways are becomming unafordable and have always been known to be unsustainable.  The best health care facilities in the world will be empty if their care is unaffordable.

  30. well, those are two different discussions. I loved reading the first one, and im feeling like reading some castaneda. The last one… kinda sad. ANGRY INTERNET MEN AND THEIR COLOURED POSTS

  31. What is he gaining from being a ‘charlatan’? He is not seeking wealth or power from his skills/tricks (however you want to look at what he does) He’s not hurting anyone, is he? His ‘business’ is in healing people. And if it works, however it works, why have a problem with it? 

  32. Justin, if you can demonstrate your paranormal abilities to the James Randi Educational Foundation, you can get a million dollars!


    Good luck!

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