Psychokinesis and scepticism

I’m the habit of looking up the words “psychokinesis” and “telekinesis” almost daily on YouTube. I believe in telekinesis (because I can do it), but there are many hoax videos, and they can be spotted with a well-trained eye. What alarms me is that many of these hoaxes are getting a staggering amount of positive comments. It’s like a large part of the general public has given up on critical thinking.

User godspeed09 is the one who peeves me off the most. He can talk the talk. His profile says:

A group devoted in the research and practice of Telekinesis, with support from both philosophical and scientific studies. We seek to discover the untapped potential inside us for the betterment of the community and self. A lot of the things shown here are beyond what many have displayed in the past. Our technique on Telekinesis is a breakthrough from the conventional and our abilities are maximize for the greater that many have deem impossible in the past. We believe this will contribute to the new wave of science.”

It sounds good until you see the kind of videos he puts online. In general, he’s a big fan of “invisible” thread (a magician’s trick you can purchase on eBay). For something a little different, check out this one:

Then go to eBay and search for “folding dollar”. Yep, it’s there! godspeed09 is a clear and obvious trickster and yet he has presently clocked up 680 subscribers.

In spotting telekinesis hoaxes, look out for “constipated” facial gestures, magical hand fluttering, string pulling (pay careful attention to the behaviour of the object being pulled), “too good to be true” motion, use of static electricity or magnets, and misdirection. To be honest, what the practitioner does with his hands is the most common and obvious tell; if you see him doing the same motions that stage magicians do, then he’s almost certainly faking it.

Occasionally something comes your way that really challenges sceptical observation. Take a look at this. It has to be the most creepy psychokinesis demonstration I’ve ever seen. This is something called pyrokinesis (pyro as in fire):

I was gobsmacked the first time I saw this. I couldn’t figure out how it was done. Then somebody said “fibre optic laser.” I watched it all again and the pieces fell into place. Concealed down the man’s left sleeve is a fibre optic laser. My guess is it’s being voice-actived by that “eeeee” sound he makes. At this point I’m just making guesses, but with those guesses in mind, there are several obvious tells that quickly show themselves. He always positions his hand in a strange angle that keeps it out of harm’s way from the laser (and what do weird double-jointed finger twitches have to do with psychokinesis, anyway?). At 6:05 he uses crafty misdirection to make you think he is burning the paper with the finger-tip of his right hand. But if you look carefully at where he rests the paper, it’s in the precise position that allows the laser inside his left sleeve to burn through the underside of the paper. Busted! What would have really made this trick interesting is if one of the other guys present said “eeeeee” at the wrong moment!

People who believe in paranormal phenomena (and I’m one of them) would do well to remember that scepticism is a useful tool for avoiding self-delusion. I think scepticism gets a bad name because some sceptics use it to debunk genuine mysteries without proper investigation. These kind of people occasionally comment on my personal telekinesis videos with explanations like “It’s air currents,” or “It’s body heat.” The sceptic needs to remember that if he wants to hold on to a conventional explanation, he ought to test the convential explanation, rather than simply accepting it by default because it suits his materialist belief system. On the other hand, those who are more open to the unexplained need to get a much firmer grip on critical thinking, or else they will be prey to every psychic charlatan out there.

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6 thoughts on “Psychokinesis and scepticism

  1. Mark says:

    So many beliefs and views of PSI seem to be skewed. The skeptic mindlessly denies all of it, the simple minded mindlessly accept all of it, and the scientists believes it can’t be true because it contradicts his other beliefs. So much for science…

    But one thing is for certain. The true psychics, unlike the millions of frauds, always exhibit certain character traits. They tend to be loving, peaceful, forgiving, patient, intelligent, and unafraid, among other things. You always know them by their fruits, as the bible says.

    At any rate, I would like to make one actual comment here. You aren’t going to hell. Not a chance. Not even a little bit. Not at all. No need to even worry about the possibility.

    And while the people have managed to greatly skew Christ’s message of love and forgiveness into one of hell and vengeance, this does not mean that Christ is not still alive today, working miracles in the minds of people throughout the world, such as yourself. 🙂

  2. Darryl Sloan says:

    “You aren’t going to hell. Not a chance. Not even a little bit. Not at all. No need to even worry about the possibility.”

    Thanks for saying that, Mark. Some may accuse me enjoying an ego-stroking, but it’s not like that. It is just really nice to hear a Christian express acceptance of me in such clear terms.

    When I run into Christians that I haven’t seen since before I spoke against my religion, I often never know whether they’re looking at me in friendship or viewing me as a tool of the devil.

  3. Chris says:

    I came across your site just by doing a google search on psionics blogs. It’s actually refreshing to find someone who is willing to write about the obvious, while still remaining truthful to their own beliefs. I agree with you for most of what you said, but the laser thing… Even though I’m sure that the video could either be real or fake, going on the laser guess… How would the laser hit the object or destination, but not affect his shirt?

    I’m sure it cold no doubt be attributed to practice, but I thought it was slightly puzzling. I think it would have been painfully hilarious if it actually set his shirt on fire as opposed to the object, of course… I’m sure there would have been an excuse for that as well on his part. Anyhow, keep it up!

  4. Darryl Sloan says:

    “How would the laser hit the object or destination, but not affect his shirt?”

    The thing that makes me certain it’s fake is not that a laser explains it, but because the video contains specific “tells” that make it obvious that he must have something up his sleeve. I discuss them above; the real clincher for me is the crafty misdirection he uses at 6:05. A person doing this for real would not have taken such great care to position to pieces of paper in such a way that allows it to burn through from the underside via his left arm.

    It’s beyond reasonable doubt that this is a laser. I imagine it is taped onto the inside of his shirt, with the tip just out of sight inside the cuff. Since this is a very elaborate trick involving a hidden power source and a possibly voice-activated switch, I imagine he has taken great care with the positioning and angling of the laser inside his cuff.

  5. Oh okay. Sorry for the late reply, I wasn’t subscribed to this particular post so was unaware that you had replied. I appreciate the reply and definitley agree with you about the over-preparation.

  6. Andre says:

    The situation get’s really difficult when you have seen Psi/Chi in action. Who wants to know it? Who not? Should you talk about it openly? Sometimes i have the feeling that something is going to happen soon. An Explanaition? The internet is speeding the confrontation with the theme. I experienced very strange reactions when talking to academic people about the theme.

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