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Author Topic:   Charismatic Chaos
Member (Idle past 2212 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008

Message 215 of 531 (656757)
03-21-2012 8:50 PM
Reply to: Message 214 by dwise1
03-21-2012 8:42 PM

Another one; Peter Popoff
From Wiki:
Exposed as a fraud by James Randi
During his appearances at church conventions in the 1970s, Popoff routinely and accurately stated the home addresses and specific illnesses of his audience members, a feat many believed was due to divine revelation and "God given ability".[5] In 1986 when members of CSICOP reported that Popoff was using a radio to receive messages, Popoff denied it and said the messages came from God.[6] At the time of his popularity, skeptic groups across the United States printed and handed out pamphlets explaining how Popoff's feats could be done.[2] Popoff would tell his audience that the pamphlets were "tools of the devil".[2]
Popoff's earlier claims were debunked in 1986 when noted skeptic James Randi and his assistant Steve Shaw researched Popoff by attending revival meetings across the country for months. Randi asked investigator and crime scene analyst Alexander Jason [1] for technical assistance and he was able to use a high-tech (at the time) computerized scanner during a Popoff appearance in San Francisco. Jason identified and intercepted the radio transmissions[7] that were being sent by Peter's wife Elizabeth Popoff who was backstage reading information which she and her aides (Reeford Sherrill) had gathered from earlier conversations with members of the audience. Popoff would listen to these promptings with an in-ear receiver and repeat what he heard to the crowd.[8]
Randi then went on to plant imposters in the audience, including a man dressed as a woman pretending to have uterine cancer, of which "she" was "cured".[9] Jason produced video segments showing several Popoff "healings" which included the previously secret audio. After these were shown on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Popoff's popularity and viewing audiences declined sharply.[2] In September 1987, sixteen months after the Carson airing, Popoff declared bankruptcy, with more than 790 creditors having claims against him.[10]
As Randi explained in The Faith Healers, he originally took his research to the United States Attorney's office, but never heard back from them.[2] This led Johnny Carson to invite Randi on the show to explain how Popoff operated. Popoff at first denied that he used the tactics Randi claimed, even asserting "NBC hired an actress to impersonate Mrs. Popoff on a 'doctored' videotape."[2] However, as the media pressed with more questions, "on day three Reverend Popoff admitted the existence of the radio device, claiming, that 'almost everybody' knew about the 'communicator.' And, he added, 'My wife occasionally gives me the name of a person who needs special prayers'."[2]
Popoff's shows also featured audience members who were brought on stage in wheelchairs and then rose dramatically to walk without support. These were some of Popoff's most incredible "healings", but what believing audience members and television viewers did not know was that wheelchairs were used by Popoff to seat people who were already able to walk.[11]
Popoff wrote several paperback books in the early 1980s that were published by Faith Messenger Publications. He was also known for collecting donations to be sent to the Soviet Union, which earned him a profit.[2]
In 1991, the NOVA episode "Secrets of the Psychics" aired footage of Popoff with his wife's radio transmission dubbed in. Since then, that episode was released on video to teach critical thinking.[12]
Peter Popoff - Wikipedia

Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 214 by dwise1, posted 03-21-2012 8:42 PM dwise1 has not replied

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