Deus in Machina: Religion, Technology, and the Things in Between

By Jeremy Stolow | Go to book overview

The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam
Body, Technology, and the (Dis)authentication
of the Pentecostal Supernatural

Marleen de Witte


Introduction

In July 2007 a Ghanaian preacher was arrested at Entebbe airport in Uganda on the accusation of trying to import from the United States an “Electric Touch” machine to lure people into believing that he could pass on the Holy Spirit. The device is purported to give its wearers an electric charge, which they can transfer to people or objects through the medium of touch. The website of the manufacturer of the Electric Touch machine and other magic tricks—the American company Yigal Mesika—promotes its products as “incredibly innovative, clever and a must for those who want to create miracles anywhere at anytime” and “the realest magic ever seen.”1 The Electric Touch promotional flyer promises: “This amazing new product will create excitement, mystery, curiosity, and supernatural powers all in one unforgettable experience!” The website tells us how: “Have a volunteer touch any part of your body, and watch them receive a pleasant electric static shock that will amaze them! They will believe you have supernatural powers!” Not wanting to “expose the secret to non

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