I need some help from some of you skeptics

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Hayes, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    I bet some of you thought you would never hear me say that![​IMG]
    I have a friend who lost her only child two years ago to a tragic accident. Naturaly it has affected her deeply, as it would anyone.
    Here is the problem. She is going to get together some money and try to go to the Jonathen Edwards show, she has even said she will pay what she has to, to try to get a private reading from the guy. She is desperate to hear from her daughter again.
    I know how the cold readers work. Edwards seems to use a differant technique that I cant figure out yet. He seems to use specific information.
    For instance, last night he started out by saying that he was being contacted by someone who sounded like Angelous or angela something with AN, sure enough a guy says he had a father Angelo. Edwards asks if he was missing an arm or had a serious accident to his arm, but the guy sys no. Edwards says that its not for you. so he starts agin with the AN sounding name agian. Imediatly a family says that there mother Angela had an amputation on her arm. Of course the crowd oohs and ahhs. Edwards says it must be for you. says that Angela is telling him about a family member eating worms to make her laugh, sure enough one of the kids had done just that.
    This routine went on and on Edwards, without guessing came out with very specific things, wich according to the family were all corect.
    Now I immediatly think this has to be a setup, but he was this way with every one. I have watched this show with my friend many time to try to debunk him so to talk her out of spending what little money she has. I know alot about traditional cold reading, I have an old friend who excells at it, and has taught me alot about it, he even says that he cant figure out how Edwards does it, but like me is convinced it is a scam.
    Edwards seem to use very specific info, the only thing he seems to guess is the name, after that he gets pretty specific. I have started to search the internet for a possible explanation but no luck so far.
    Any of you skeptics have any suggestions? Although I sympathize with my friends wish to have contact with her daughter, I would hate too see her defrauded out of her money.
    Thanks
    Scott Hayes
     
  2. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    It's reasons like this that Edwards should be run out of town.

    He is giving hope to people, when he can't deliver.

    As far as what to tell her, I've got no idea. But, no matter what, some amount of damage has already been done.
     
  3. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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  4. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    It won't stop with just one session. She'll want more. She'll end up going to other cold readers, psychics, etc. She'll never be satisfied. If she's able to "make contact" just once, then why not again. It will become an obsession and an addiction. I agree with Buzz. She needs to spend her money on a grief counselor. She needs to learn to get over her daughter and move on. She will most likely come out of this "reading" more damaged than when she went in.

    As for how he does it...not all of the audience needs to be setup. He just needs one or two actors in there and give them a "reading" that seems ultra real. This makes the rest of the audience believe in his abilities and when he gets to them they will actually begin to feed him the information he needs without knowing it. They've left their skepticism behind. Once he can get an audience to dismiss skepticism then everything becomes much easier to him.

    Think about what he does. He's got a room of about 50 people. Now how many people have lived and died on this planet? Assume for a moment that a part of us lives on after death and can actually communicate with people like this guy. Why would he only be able to communicate with the deceased loved ones of people in the audience? One could say that the deceased follow their loved ones around. But once word got out in this spirit realm about this guy there would be thousands if not millions of dead people screaming at him...trying to get their messages through to him. He would live with utter chaos constantly and would probably put a bullet in his head just to make it all stop.

    I'm a believer in spirits, ghosts, whatever you want to call it...but this Edwards guy is full of crap. He's an entertainer, not a do-gooder. Not some guy that wants to help people make contact. He doesn't want to heal anybody's emotional wounds. He wants to entertain. And he does it really well.
     
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    There have been reports of cameras and recording equipment set up around the studio before the session begin. Guess what most people in the audience would be talking about at that time?

    Even without recording equipment, it can easily be done. Edwards is extremely talented- not with reading the dead, but with reading the living. He can coax info out of people.

    What amazes me is that people are shocked by the fact that he can guess a dead person's name. But he doesn't even do that! He just points to some general area and says, "I'm getting a 'P,' something with a 'P.'" Well, duh, someone is bound to have a dead relative whose name starts with 'P.'

    Edwards pulls what I call a 'Barbara Walters:' he wins when he makes people cry. That's just sick.

    Oh, and one other thing- his show is on the Science Fiction Channel. 'Nuff said.

    What frightens me is that people are so willing to accept vague, muddy ideas of paranormal nonsense from charlatans but are unwilling to accept basic scientific truths that actually have evidence to support them. Amazing.
     
  6. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Have her read this thread who know it might open her eyes a little. Unfortunately it sounds like she is far enough into believing it may take a slap to her face before she would even listen. Its a shame when people like John take advantage over something so sacred to these people. Hopefully you can convince her that he is not for real and to seek real counseling which will help her to move on with her life and to let her know someday, just not right now, she will be able to see her daughter again.

    Kyle
     
  7. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    The people who go on Edwards' show WANT to believe and WANT to make him look good. He guesses, then they frickin' fall all over themselves trying to help the guy ("yes, yes, John!") You see it on Larry King. King will fawn over the guy and play his game, feeding him clues. A skeptic knows the game and will refuse to give the guy clues, revealing how pathetic his percentage of guesses are.
    Scott, direct her to the following link:
    http://www.csicop.org/genx/edward/index.html
     
  8. Kolya

    Kolya Stunt Coordinator

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    Hopefully Scientific American is a good enough reference.
    Last August they exposed Crossing Over.
    HTH
     
  9. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    Kolya, Thanks alot, that is exactly what I was looking for. Anybody else have anything like that?
    I showed her the site, she was surprised, her only knowledge of the show is on SCI-fi and me constantly bad mouthing it[​IMG]. She says it gave her something to think about, we will see.
    By the way, Edwards is syndacated on ABC now. His lies are spreading. I wonder if he can be sued for fraud?
     
  10. Eve T

    Eve T Supporting Actor

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    I speak from experience when I say that John Edwards will not take away the pain she has...that lost feeling, that empty feeling it never goes away. I lost my only child. She would be ten years old this year. All I can say is that the pain is always there but it gets a little easier to cope with over time. Her best bet is to get help from a professional who can help her deal with her grief.
    It can be hard to talk to people who have lost children, you have nooooo idea how many people approached me at the funeral who said ALL the wrong things...such as "she's in a better place" I felt like screaming NO SHE'S NOT! The better were place would be right here with me! Or how about this one..."it's better that you didn't have her for that long in your life and that you didn't get that attached to her so it shouldn't be too hard to pick up and move on it'll be okay." WTF????? Yes, someone actually said that to me as I watched the casket being lowered into the ground. So I understand what you are saying as not knowing what to say to her. Best thing you can do is be a shoulder to cry on and to just be "there" I had a few people mention grief counseling to me and I went to a group session that had other parents that had lost children. That didn't work for me. I had to go to private counseling. Depending on how close you are to her you might want to gently ask her if she would consider some type of counseling. Ask her if you can drive her there, or maybe even sit in with her. Good luck in your endevor.
    People on the Johnathon Edwards show have to request tickets sometimes a year or more in advance. They have to leave their full name, address, telephone number etc. PLENTY of time for a little ummmm background check shall we say?
    By the time she gets there (if) and only if he decides to speak to her he will only know personal things because of an extensive background check done by his research team.
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I want to echo what Eve said. I lost my younger brother three years ago (and so see a parent's grief through mine).

    Her obsession with Edwards is not the problem, it's a symptom. I strongly urge you to take a step back, and not worry about that issue so much as the more important one: she is still tremendously grieving over her child.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    - "Good Grief" a little green pamphlet (I'll have to check the author when I get home); it summarizes the general traits of mourning, and is helpful to just know you're not crazy.

    - Counseling. Meeting with a professional counselor can be very helpful it figuring out what the actual problems are, and thus looking for ways to deal with them.

    - Local church/mosque/synagogue. She's struggling with all the big questions: pain, death, eternity, meaning of life. Look for those answers in places that struggle with such things.

    - Talk with her. More specifically, listen. Ask her how she is. When she says, "fine", ask how she *really* is.
     
  12. Ken Wagner

    Ken Wagner Stunt Coordinator

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    I have to agree with everyone that suggested counciling. These so called links to the other side have been around for years. My cousin was born with cerebral palsey and when she was fairly young (she's almost 50 now) my aunt took her to one of the so called faith healers. Even though she was a faithful church going person she was willing to try anything. Since I was pretty young then myself, I don't remember much about it. I'm sure she was disappointed to say the least.

    Desperation will drive a normally rational person to try anything. Who knows what any of us would do if placed in a similar situation. I feel for your friend and the pain she and everyone has gone through in the loss of a loved one. As great as the human body and mind is grief is the one emotion that is not predictable. Good luck with your friend.
     
  13. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    Thanks for all of the advice. Especialy from you Eve, you know first hand what she is going thru. It is awful, some of the things I have heard people say to her. About two or three days after the funeral the pastor of a local church stoped by to "minister to her soul" in the process of his "ministering" he actually told her that unless she believed in god he daughter was in hell. I knocked him out. The bastard actually ended up pressing charges on me. My father was a pastor when I was a kid. He never would have said or even believed such a thing. This is why I think she wants to see Edwards, to make sure her daughter really is in a better place. Normally I just keep quiet and listen to her. But I cant were it comes to Edwards. He is going to play on her grief take her money and accomplish nothing. Makes me mad.[​IMG]
    She has belonged to a support group for a while now. She has asked me to go with her and I have on numerous occasions, they are a good group of people. I cant claim to be able to know her true thoughts and emotions, all I know is what she tells me and I figure out for myself. She is past the crying herself to sleep at night, for along while after the accident I would catch her sitting in her daughters room staring out to space, but about a year ago she packed everything up. That was hard for her and hard for me to help her and see her go thru it, but she made it thru. Actually I think it helped her somewhat. Strange, I still get a lump in my throat when I think of that. Now I think she just wants to know that everything is ok with her daughter. She wants to be certain that she does exist in a better place somewhere else. I can understand that, I just dont want to see someone defraud her of her money and tell her lies.
     
  14. Eve T

    Eve T Supporting Actor

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  15. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    Here's a great quote from the one of the articles linked above.

     
  16. Paul Richardson

    Paul Richardson Second Unit

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    Edward uses mostly "cold reading" techniques. Keep in mind that the show is edited, so you don't see a lot of the misses or build up to the specific information. Also, he could easily edit in an audience member nodding yes to information that was actually a miss. He is also reputed to use "hot reading" where his staff gathers information before the show (through cards filled out by the audience or listening via microphones). The film LEAP OF FAITH shows how this works. Also, the disclaimer at the end of the show is worded in a way that anything goes (I forget the exact wording...but basically it says that the show is for entertainment only). He could use actors and shills in the audience and it still would be within the rules of the disclaimer.

    Anyway, it's a combination of techniques...but the most important technique he uses is cold reading...something Edward is very very good at.
     
  17. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    I figured the show was edited to a certain extent, most tv shows are, but I didnt know it is edited as much as it is. Plus the mikes picking up what people say before the show, explains some of his miracoulous hits. He's laughing all the way to the bank.

    What a fraud!

    On the plus side I called up my friend to see what was up, usually we watch the wrestling and she watches Edwards, after. She says she doesnt see it the same way now. I am hopeful. I am interested to see what she has to say about it tonight. I sent her the links you guys posted, plus some of the stuff I've been reading out in The Demon Haunted World. Like I said she is an educated, smart woman. Grief certanly twisted her up though. As it would anyone.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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