To: Subject: The Takahashi confrontation (#2) Date: Thu, 2

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From: James Randi --- Wizard To: Subject: The Takahashi confrontation (#2) Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 04:25:02 -0500 DEPENDING ON THE EDITING THAT WILL BE DONE, IT WAS A GREAT SUCCESS FOR THE GOOD GUYS....! The videotaping in Japan on March 25th of the encounter between me and the Takahashi camp was a great success. Takahashi was clearly shown on camera to be cheating. She showed up with her mother, father, grandmother and assorted others in tow. Her lawyer was also in attendance, glowering at all within sight. There was a VERY complicated contract drawn up between us, with intricate details of protocol specified. Even the brand and exact size of the tape that was to be used to seal the "targets" was delineated. But almost every detail of those carefully stated rules were to be changed -- by the Takahashi team. There were to be two groups of tests. In the first set, the audience of 200 persons would be involved. They would be asked to each prepare a simple drawing or character on a 9 cm. X 9 cm. bit of paper. That would be folded (doubled) four times, resulting in a 2.25 cm. square (less than 1 inch). That would be placed onto a wide piece of transparent adhesive tape, which would then be folded over so that there was a 2 cm. border of lamination all around it. I stated in advance that if this were to be done (and it was the producer's suggestion, not mine!) Takahashi would fail that part of the test, without question. Further, it was stated that Takahashi would merely hold this target in her hand, without covering, and would be able to tell us what the target was. She would try this test once, and perhaps twice. The second part of the test was to be of MY design. It consisted of (a) a target prepared as above, but bound in one direction only with the "frosty" tape she had preferred in other, previous, tests. The object, of course, was to trap her. The (b) target would be the same, but would be bound in two directions. That's what she'd asked for, and that's what I was prepared to agree to. Takahashi decided, as one of the protocol violatons at the last minute, that she would do my tests using the dark cloth bag puled over her target hand, as in the tests she'd previously done -- and failed. I let her have this, since it did not interfere with my plans at all. But both my targets would also have an added delight for her. Each would have a hole punched through the finished target. That would mean that if she unpeeled the tape, it would be impossible for her to re-align the holes. And, I planned to apply several layers of tape, to make this even more impossible. First, Takahashi said she would not do the audience test(s) as originally agreed, with the targets laminated under a layer of wide plastic tape. This was the SIXTH time she had changed the rules, but we went along with it. Takahashi had chosen to do these tests without the cloth bag. The targets were sealed with Scotch "frosty" tape, using only one winding of tape. One of the three TV hosts, a naive and rather over-solicitous man named Mine, was very antagonistic in all ways. Whenever Takahashi failed, he told the audience that she had never had so many cameras, never so many lights, never so many people. He asked her, "Do you think you can succeed?" and "Will you try a little longer?" and other similar questions. Every time, to every question, she answered as she did during the tests in November, "I don't know." After several failures in the first set of tests (and there were several more than the original one or two done, to give her more opportunity to succeed) she asked for music to be played while she tried her trick. The whole studio relaxed while they played music, the audience began talking among themselves, and Takahashi began the process of wearing out the observers. The audience and the hosts were just not watching her. But I was. At that point, she had some successes. But the camera clearly showed her cheating. Seen from behind, she was simply opening the targets, peeking at them, and then re-sealing them. (Later, when I examined those targets and questioned the owners, it was clearly seen that the tape had not re-adhered properly to the paper, though Mr. Mine had insisted that it be cut open, rather than just allowed to fall off.) So, she was actually peeling the tape off, using both hands! When her mother became aware of the camera poking over the girl's shoulder from behind, she warned her and also objected to the director. It seemed no effort was to be made to observe the girl, and that any attempt to do so was "unfair"! The producer tried five times, to finally give her a success. But remember, according to the rules that had been dicated by Takahashi, I was not allowed to make comments or to object, or ask any questions, during the audience tests. The camera behind her showed CLEARLY that she was opening the targets! .............................................. With my tests: Takahashi chose to do these tests with the bag over her arm. I made two targets. The first one was on blue paper, with the sealing tape going in one direction only around the folded target. The second was on pink paper, going in two directions. I used five windings of tape, then I made one hole through the blue folded target paper with a pointed instrument, and two holes through the pink target. This was to be sure that if she also opened these targets, it would be impossible for her to replace the tape exactly in the same position, and the holes in the tape would not line up. I also cut the tape at the ends with scissors, squarely, so that she would have a difficult time finding the end to start peeling it. I pressed the tape down firmly with my thumb-nail, so that it would not be easy to remove without tearing the paper. When Mr. Mine saw the targets being prepared, he told her everything as it was being done. We simply could not silence him, and he ran on and on. We also had a difficult time keeping him from looking at the target that I was drawing. He told Takahashi I had used 20 cm. of tape to bind the targets. He should have not told her anything. When she saw my targets, she complained that there should be only ONE winding of tape. Her mother said that it had been agreed in the contract that only one winding would be used. We looked at the contract, and that was not true. I said that I would not accept this condition. Everything stopped. Finally, when we were two and one-half hours past our 4-hour taping schedule, I agreed that I would allow her to use targets that had just two windings of tape. (An aside: what seems not to have occurred to anyone is the obvious question: if Takahashi has psychic powers than enable her to know what's written on a sealed bit of paper, how is it that the amount of tape used to seal the paper, should interfere with the process -- unless she needs to unpeel that tape....?) She took the first (blue) one and began her attempt. She handled it for 15 minutes, and then gave up. When we then examined the blue target, we could see clearly that she had been trying to peel the tape off, but had not succeeded. This piece of evidence is available for examination. She refused to try the second target. I made my speech to the audience, and she replied by Mr. Mine reading a prepared document on behalf of the Takahashis. This document talked about nature, God, and the wonderful universe that I was ignoring by being skeptical. At this point, in accordance with the previously-agreed procedure, the audience was asked to vote. It was 59 for Takahashi, 141 for me. Mr. Aikawa, the major host of this show, is very much on the skeptic side. At one point, I directed his attention to the TV monitor. He saw easily saw that Takahashi was peeking into the target, and he looked at me and nodded. He is convinced that she was doing a trick. Miss Yamaguchi, another of the hosts, also saw Takahashi cheating when I alerted her, and we talked about it. But the irrepressible Mr. Mine was busy flirting with the young girls in the audience and was not watching Takahashi at all. I will send you all a copy of the statement I made after Takahashi tried to turn God and nature against me. But I'll let you in on a bit of additional information we managed to get: when Takahashi was in the process of failing my test, her mother held up a sign to her, written in Chinese. We managed to get it afterwards, and it said, "Try your hardest. Just relax and use the power." Shades of Star Wars! James Randi. ************************************************** ** PROVIDED FOR YOUR REFERENCE BY THE MODERATOR ** ************************************************** Requests to be added to or deleted from the randi-hotline mailing list, must be sent to the service address: Internet: PLEASE BE PATIENT. All requests are processed before each new mailing to the list and these can be widely spaced. You *will* be added if your request was sent to the correct address. Mail to James Randi can be sent to: Internet: The Amazing One reads all mail and will generally respond eventually. This can change with growing volume, of course... Thanks to Anson Kennedy, back issues of the randi-hotline are now available on the World Wide Web: Back issues of the randi-hotline are also available via anonymous FTP to: USA: directory: /pub/an/anson/Mailing_Lists/geller-hotline directory: /Randi Please try first, since is very busy. 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