Many worthless books by writers who call themselves parapsychologists have been published in recent years, but Psychokinesis ( Souvenir Press, 1982), by John Randall, a biology teacher at Coventry School, tops them all. It is not just that he rakes over stale ground but that his book is hopelessly out of date.
Consider, for example, his enthusiastic endorsement of the psychokinetic (PK) powers of Uri Geller, the Israeli magician turned flimflam artist. Randall makes much of John Taylor's high praise of Geller, and of the spoon- bending children featured in Taylor book Superminds ( Macmillan, 1973). He never informs his readers that in 1980 Taylor wrote a book called Science and the Supernatural, in which he repudiated his earlier book and denounced all psychic metal-bending as fraud.
Consider the pages in which Randall rhapsodizes over Geller's alleged alteration of the chemical structure of a piece of nitinol wire, giving it a new "memory" that experts could not remove. That is totally false. Eldon Byrd was in error when he made this sensational claim, reporting on his nitinol tests with Geller in Charles Panati now discredited anthology, The Geller Papers ( Houghton Mifflin, 1976). Experts at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, in California, removed the wire's memory easily. This was carefully detailed in my paper, "Geller, Gulls and Nitinol" ( 1977; reprinted in Science: Good, Bad and Bogus), but either Randall never read it, or what is worse, read it but did not want to mention it.
Consider too the section in which Randall extols the "thoughtography" of Ted Serios, a Chicago bellhop, who for a short time was apparently able to project onto Polaroid film his memory of photographs he had seen earlier in magazines. No one, says Randall, ever found evidence of trickery. Nonsense. In 1967 Charles Reynolds and David Eisendrath published in Popular Photography a complete exposé of how Serios. performed his whimsical trick. Ted has been unable to replicate it since,____________________