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Asunto:[debunker] Usted también puede ser psíquico.
Fecha: 5 de Marzo, 2002  09:20:15 (+0100)
Autor:El Ciberescéptico <El>

Tomado de,4273,4361450,00.html

Psychic? It could just be the power of persuasion 
Umberto Eco on investigators of the paranormal

Umberto Eco 

Saturday February 23, 2002

If you're not satisfied with your financial situation and want to switch
careers, why not become a psychic? It is among the most profitable lines of work
and - despite what you might think - among the easiest. All you need is a certain
degree of friendliness, a minimal ability to understand others, and thick skin.
And even without these traits, there are always the laws of probability to work
in your favour. 

Just try this experiment: sidle up to any person, chosen by chance (though it
certainly helps if they are willing to verify the accuracy of your paranormal
capacities). Look him or her in the eyes and say: "I sense that someone is
thinking intensely of you, someone who you haven't seen for many years, but
someone who you loved very much at one time. You suffered, though, because it was
an unrequited love. Now that person is starting to realise how much she/he made
you suffer, and regrets it, even if they understand that it's too late." 

Is there anyone anywhere, beyond childhood, who hasn't had an unhappy love, or
at least, love not returned? And that is why your subject (or "victim") will be
the first to collaborate with you, telling you that they have figured out who the
person is whose aura you picked up. 

You could also tell someone: "There is a person who underestimates you and goes
around speaking ill of you, but does it out of jealousy." The odds are pretty
slim that your subject would respond that he is universally loved and has no idea
who you're talking about. Rather, he'll be quick to guess who it is and admire
your extrasensory perception. 

Or you could tell your subject that you can see the ghosts of his deceased loved
ones all around him. Go up to someone of a certain age and say you see nearby the
shadow of an old person who died from some sort of heart problem. Every living
soul has had two parents and four grandparents and, if you're lucky, also an
uncle, aunt or godfa ther who was much loved. 

If your subject is already of a certain age, it's probable that these relatives
are already dead, and out of a minimum of six deaths, there has to be at least
one who died of heart failure. If, however, you are extremely unfortunate,
there's always this back-up plan: since you would have had the foresight to
approach your subject while he was near other people who were equally interested
in your paranormal abilities, you could say that perhaps you were mistaken - what
you saw was not a relative of your initial subject, but a relative of someone
else nearby. 

It's almost certain that someone among the group will start to say that you're
talking about his father or mother, and that's when you know you're back in
business. You can talk about the heat that the shadow is emitting or the love
that it feels for your new subject who, by this point, is putty in your hands. 

Shrewd readers will recognise these techniques as those used by charismatic
characters on television shows. Nothing is easier than convincing a parent who
has just lost a child or someone who is still crying over the death of his mother
or husband that the loved one's good soul has not dissolved into nothing and is
still sending messages from the great beyond. 

I repeat: Being sensitive is easy - the pain and belief of others works in your
favour. Unless, that is, there is someone in the vicinity from the Italian
Committee for the Verification of Paranormal Assertions, which provides
information on its website and in its magazine, Scienza & Paranormale . 

Their researchers go in search of phenomena that are purportedly paranormal,
from poltergeists to levitation, from mediumistic phenomena to circles in wheat
fields, from UFOs to divining, not to mention ghosts, premonitions, bending forks
with telepathy, reading tarot cards, crying Madonna statues, etc. And they
disassemble the mechanism, reveal the trick, scientifically explain that which
appears to be miraculous. 

Often, they redo the experiment to show that they understand the tricks and that
anyone can become a magician. Two sleuths from this organisation, Massimo
Polidoro and Luigi Garlaschelli, are now jointly publishing (by gathering the
test results of their colleagues) a report: Investigatori Dell'Occulto: Dieci
Anni di Indagine sul Paranormale " (Investigators of the Occult: 10 Years of
Investigating the Paranormal). As long as you're not among those who cry when
they're told that Santa Claus doesn't exist, you're sure to find their many tales

But enough about entertainment. The fact that their organisation is so busy
means that believers are more widespread than we thought. At the end of the day,
thousands of copies of this new book will circulate, while those psychics who
appear on television preying on the pain of others are watched by millions. Who
can we blame for misguiding so many people? 

The jury is still out. 

© 2002 Umberto Eco/L'Espresso

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