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Theos-World Re: So was this materialization/precipitation "a big CON" too?

Nov 18, 2002 10:15 AM
by Steve Stubbs

--- In theos-talk@y..., Bart Lidofsky <bartl@s...> wrote:
There is, at
> this point, no proof that ANYBODY can do the infamous "Indian Rope
> Trick"; the latter is quite probably just a legend.

Blavatsky saw it and so have numerous others who have traveled in 
India. I read an explanation of how the trck was done some years ago 
but do not remember all the details. You have to do it inside a 
building because part of the technique is to fill the air with 
smoke. You could do it at night in a heavily wooded area, but not in 
a clearing. The rope is thrown into the air and hooked on a wire or 
wooden beam in the ceiling which the audience cannot see because of 
the smoke and the way the building is lit. Itf the demo is not done 
in a building but a wooded area you would have to use a wire strunbg 
between two trees. That causes the rope to stand up. The rest is 
legerdemain. You can see how the magician's assistant could climb 
the rope, then walk on a wire or wooden beam to sneak into the basket 
while the audience is looking elsewhere. Nobody claims there is 
anything "occult" about it. There is a certain amount of 
exaggeratiion on the part of tourists to wow the people back home 
which explodes the original demo into something even Houdini could 
not accomplish.

Josephus described a demo in which a magician wouild fill a vessel 
with water and use it to "exorcise" soome possessed person. He would 
read some gibberish ffrom one of the magical books attributed to 
Solomon, then the "demon" would come out of the possessedperson and 
kick over the vessel with water in it to demo that it had gone. 
There is no question that he saw this, but what he apparently did not 
figure out was that the exorcist distracted the audience's attention 
to the possessed person while his assistant kicked ovet the vessel 
without being observed. Any ten year old with a magic set could do 
the same miracle.

Now suppose someone wanted to accuse me of "unpacking" Josephis' 
story for the purpose of being an "aggressive skeptic." In that case 
I would admit that perhaps the story is a miracle story, but that we 
have a right to expect one performed under better conditions before 
accepting it as a candidate for evidence that such things occur. 
With thousands of miracle stories handed down to us from antiquity we 
can reasonably toss out the ones which are embarrassingly poor 
evidence and scan the remainder for better quality evidence without 
being a total infidel. Using that criterion one would have to toss 
the Ootan Liatto story (and most of the others) but we would end up 
with a small group of quality stories after throwing out all the low 
quality stuff. Those high quality stories can then be studied and 
discussed without cynics thinking we are all a bunch of morons. 
There is, I believe, some evidence that there are phenomena in the 
world which challenge our naive assumptions about how the world works.

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