Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

The Research with B.D.: A Reply to George Hansen

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

The Research with B.D.: A Reply to George Hansen

Article excerpt

I have never met Bill Delmore and have never attended any tests in which he took part. The confidence I expressed in his case was based mainly on my high regard for those who tested him. If today I would be less confident, this would be due, not so much to any weaknesses in the experiments to which Hansen rightly draws our attention, as to the fact that B.D. himself has remained silent. It would, after all, be hard to conceive of any more dastardly act of treachery and duplicity than that of which he stands accused. An innocent man would seek to clear his name. I shall also want to see what response his investigators offer to Hansen's criticisms.

Hansen believes that B.D. deceived his investigators, exploiting, in the process, their ignorance of card tricks. Let us consider, then, the "single-card clairvoyance tests" that he discusses. I would naturally assume that the experimenter would place the target card in its folder behind the desk at which he/she was sitting and using that desk as a screen, would have "slipped it into the folder, all this out of the subject's view." (See Kanthamani & Kelly, 1974.) I would likewise assume that any observers present would stand on the opposite side of the desk from the experimenter. Am I mistaken in these assumptions? If not, then I see no possibility of B.D.'s making use either of a casual reflection of the target card from a polished surface or from a confederate.

In addition to his prodigious success on these card tests, B.D. also achieved a high score on the Schmidt machine. So far as I know, there is no way in which one could fake such a score on this device without first dismantling it. Hansen complains that the machine had not been tested for randomness. Is he seriously asking us to believe that B.D. was just the lucky beneficiary of a faulty machine? Kelly and Kanthamani (1972) tell us: "Under good conditions at the Institute, with Helmut Schmidt and J. B. Rhine observing, he produced a complete run of 508 trials with 180 hits for a CR of 5.4, p |is less than~ |10.sup.-7~."

Hansen has singled me out, along with Gertrude Schmeidler, as an example of those whose ignorance of conjuring has made them vulnerable to deception. I am honored to find myself in such distinguished company, but I am sure Gertrude does not need me to defend her. I will therefore confine myself to just three instances where my own judgment is impugned. …

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