Michael Cook (and Randi "Psychic Investigator" TV show)

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Michael Cook (and Randi "Psychic Investigator" TV show)

Postby Ian Pegler » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:25 pm

moved from the General forum, I.P. 4.3.13

I was saddened to learn from the BSD online newsletter of the passing of Michael Cook.

Those of you with long enough memories may remember him from James Randi's old Granada Psychic Investigator series in which he PASSED a map-dowsing test in front of a live studio audience.

(The following youtube link also includes a discussion on psychic surgery, the dowsing follows that)

(dead link -see dowsing segment here - GG)

Ian



Edited by I.P. 16.10.11 - changed Subject line
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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:28 am

In a way it is quite satisfying that 20 years down the road, the topic of the late Michael Cook's performance on Psychic Investigator still niggles the skeptics. It still irks and pokes at them.

Hurrah for YouTube ! :lol:

Ian
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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Grahame Gardner » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:25 am

Also interesting to see how Randis 'revisionist' version of history regarding the alleged map marked with the target location left out in the corridor for Michael to see now appears to be accepted truth; yet he first mentioned that theory in a podcast interview relatively recently if I recall?

There is probably no way of proving that allegation one way or another, but as no map showing the target location was shown on the programme, it seems unlikely that they would have made such a thing if they were not intending to show it, surely?

I think the burden of proof is with Mr. Randi to prove that such a map existed in the first place, to explain why it was never shown on the program, why it was carelessly left in a corridor, and to prove that Michael Cook actually saw the alleged prop before entering the studio. His allegation would not stand up in a court of law without further evidence (sorry, I've just finished reading Stieg Larsson's trilogy :lol: ).
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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:12 am

Grahame Gardner wrote:Also interesting to see how Randis 'revisionist' version of history regarding the alleged map marked with the target location left out in the corridor for Michael to see now appears to be accepted truth; yet he first mentioned that theory in a podcast interview relatively recently if I recall?


It was mentioned in the accompanying book of the series, years ago. However Randi's quoted words on the JREF forum are completely wrong:

quoted Randi wrote:"the rest of his performance was a failure"


The footage on YouTube shows this not to be the case at all.

Here's the link to the podcast you mentioned.

Grahame Gardner wrote:I think the burden of proof is with Mr. Randi to prove that such a map existed in the first place, to explain why it was never shown on the program, why it was carelessly left in a corridor, and to prove that Michael Cook actually saw the alleged prop before entering the studio. His allegation would not stand up in a court of law without further evidence (sorry, I've just finished reading Stieg Larsson's trilogy :lol: ).


I think the "map" is a reference to the board they used on the show. However you are right, the onus of proof is entirely on them. I've not met anyone who was in the audience who remembers anything whatsoever about seeing this board being left carelessly in a publicly accesible hallway, with the marker left on it. Even if they did, I doubt if that would stand up in a court of law either.

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Re: Michael Cook

Postby ledgehammer » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:02 pm

Ian,

fantastic footage!!

regards

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:35 am

The following is a transcript (slightly abridged) of Randi's comments taken from the "Amazing Show" podcast mentioned previously (dated to Wednesday, March 26th, 2008)

James Randi wrote:"They had a gentleman there [Michael Cook] who said that he could dowse maps...the guy was hugely successful on the first trial because he had to find on a city map (we had removed everything but the I think the major streets and the major monuments the churches and whatnot, the cathedral, a few things like that) and he zeroed right in on where the thing was that we were supposed to be looking for - but it wasn't too difficult to solve how, because what they [Granada] had done, contrary to my instructions - my specific instructions - they had left the whole display - it was a big big graphic display - left it out in the hall with the position marked by an indicator and of course he passed right by that when he came in and he saw where the marker was on it and he came in to the studio, I didn't know that it was out in the hallway, they couldn't store it at a more convenient spot they didn't have a place for it, it was very large and it was left out in the hallway. So it was no great mystery to me when I found out afterwards one of the prop men came over and said "oh we had that out in the hall and the answer was clearly displayed on it." "


A couple of points:

What cathedral?

Looking at the board on the YouTube footage, it's small enough for Michael to have leaned over and put his finger on a square on the opposite side. It's hardly enormous, maybe 4 ft by 4ft. Did not a professional TV studio like Granada have space to stash this behind the scenes? It hardly seems credible. What Randi claims the prop guys did also stretches credulity.

If he didn't know that it had been left out in the hallway, how does he know that Michael must have seen it? Was this anonymous prop guy aware of Michael's movements the whole time?

Where are all these people who must have seen the board-map on the way in? There must have been a few hundred of them, if Randi's story is to be believed.

The monument correctly pinpointed by Michael was Dunfirmline abbey in square A2. It is instructive to compare the map being dowsed with the same area on Google Maps. Also have a look at the O.S. map for that area and see if you can spot the cairn, the multiple churches etc. (What exactly is meant by "removing the churches and the major monuments"??) all or at least some of which might have been correctly dowsed as "ancient monument" but still declared incorrect.

Ian


Edited by I.P. 4.10.11 - modified Google link
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Re: Michael Cook

Postby ledgehammer » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:24 pm

Ian,

I agree with you! His story seems unlikely and he sounds like is covering his back!

Why they would have had to mark anything?, the only one who would have needed to know would have been Randi himself and the video editors who would have been prepped long before he would have made his way onto the stage, and would an earpiece not have sufficed?
During the dowsing he noted two possible locations, why go to such lengths if he as-stated cheated, Randi replies "we were very careful to pick an area with only one ancient site", presuming that his researchers knew the ancients so well, to assume there were no sites not known about! When he re-phrased the question, to ask for the ancient site they were referring to and low and behold a yes, but a check of no for the other. Pretty extravagant deception. Did you see the dismissive body language of Randi, he looks frustrated!
Also the three spots (following experiment) were dowsed correctly by Michael, they agreed with the first three as highlighted with the flashing arrows, also the comments from the strongman seemed to agree (although I'm not sure if they hadn't this would have been an accurate measure of Geopathic stress).

The best piece of footage I've seen!

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:18 am

I've just been looking at the "Canmore" database provided by the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments, Scotland. If you just type in "Dunfermline" you'll find any number of monuments of all kinds listed for that area. Granted, some of them are fairly recent (even 20th Century) but many are older.

So much for "very carefully combing the whole area"! :roll:

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Re: Michael Cook

Postby ledgehammer » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:54 pm

Ian, must have been a comb made From teeth...:-)
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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:19 pm

ledgehammer wrote:Ian, must have been a comb made From teeth...:-)


IMHO they neglected to use a comb at all !

James Randi Psychic Investigator was made by Open Media - another British TV company with a track record of programmes aimed at debunking the paranormal (along with IWC Media and Objective Productions).

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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:59 pm

I finally sussed why I've been having so much difficulty with this map of Randi's...

IT'S UPSIDE DOWN !!! :!: :!: :!:

You need to spin it around through 180 degrees - South is at the top.

The vast majority of the map is actually the rural area to the north West of Dunfirmline.

I've already spotted three ancient hill-forts, a Standing stone, cairns etc.

In the other square pointed to by Michael D4, I can see the remains on an ancient church and Tullibole Castle which dates to the 1600's.

So again, no evidence of a comb...

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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:01 pm

Ian Pegler wrote:In the other square pointed to by Michael D4, I can see the remains on an ancient church and Tullibole Castle which dates to the 1600's.


Arguably these are a bit close to the edge of the square, but Carleith cairn is definitely within D4.

In the A2 square (i.e. the same square as Dunfirmline Abbey) are the remains of Malcolm Canmore's Tower which according to the RCAHMS database goes back to the 14th Century if not earlier.

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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:20 pm

Here are a couple of still images from the show, annotated by me, showing Michael correctly indicating ancient momuments in squares D4 and A2. I have rotated the images through 180 degrees so that the map can be compared against online maps. The RCAHMS website's Canmore database has a mapping facility which makes this fairly painless.

Michael indicating D4. The red dot indicates Carleith Cairn.
Image

Michael indicating A2. The red dots indicate Malcolm Canmore's Tower and Dunfirmline abbey.
Image

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Re: Michael Cook

Postby ledgehammer » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:25 pm

Ian,

Great detective work! Case closed!

unless Randi states that he is a liar on t.v and they had in fact marked two points on it and left it in the corridor! Maybe he would care to comment on this ??

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Re: Michael Cook

Postby Ian Pegler » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:10 am

Great detective work! Case closed!


I haven't finished, m'lud.

In C6 is the 15th Century Castle Campbell. This is a magnificent castle and grounds still in a good state of preservation judging by the photos. How could anyone miss this? Plenty more like this.

The Canmore mapping facility has a rectangle-selection tool which does a search for everything within the specified rectangle - very useful ! It turns out that there are a LOT of entries in the database for Randi's map, nearly 1900 of them although, granted, many are things that most people wouldn't consider to qualify as "ancient monument" but I've found cup-and-ring marked stones, standing stones, "tower houses", roman roads, you name it.

Point is there's loads of ancient stuff on this map - so how does one dowse the "correct" square? What is meant by "correct"? This would seem to be an exercise in dowsing the intent of the experimentor rather than map-dowsing for an ancient monument - almost a species of telepathy.

This neatly spotlights the difficulty in designing psi-power experiments, it's much harder than people think. You not only have to eliminate mundane interference like foreknowledge, subconscious cues but also other forms of psi-power or you won't have a clue what's really going on. And how is anyone supposed to do that???

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