Hocus pocus: x-ray eyes and spoon-bending

Did you know they’ve taken the word ‘gullible’ out of the dictionary? This one went around endlessly at school and I almost fell for it the first time, but never again. Why would I?

And so I segue mysteriously (yet relevantly) into the Channel 4 ‘Bodyshocks‘ series of documentaries. This week’s programme focussed on ‘the girl with the x-ray eyes’. Natasha, a seventeen-year-old from Russia claims to literally see inside people in order to diagnose their medical conditions. Having submitted to the sceptic’s tests, she was debunked, but not entirely satisfactorily.

And now my final, and not so mysterious segue, is into Professor Richard Wiseman’s research into spoon-bending. He had two sets of undergrads witness the trick. In half, the wannabe Yuri suggested that the spoon continued to bend after he put it down. Sure enough 40% reported the spoon continuing to bend – as if by magic.
→ Read on about why the debunking might not have been satisfactory.

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 17 February 2005

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