How con artists use the Ouija board effect for their scams

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I wonder if you could market something people hold in front front of their computer screen till it points at the cryptocurrency they should invest in. " arrr matey the stick say pirate coin"


“If it reads on the meter, it’s true.”


ah-ha! but did it ever work? (evidence only)

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Very interesting. Maybe it’s because I just came from a Trump related story, but while reading this:

I thought how well that same line of thinking could be applied to his supporters.


For example, in 2014, James McCormick, a British businessman, was convicted of selling fake bomb detectors to various international police forces. McCormick’s devices were marketed as using principles similar to dowsing, with extreme life-or-death stakes.

McCormick was working on the flawed assumption that if the device failed to work as advertised only the operator would be upset and that he’d be unable to complain.

Sort of like Anti-Tiger Rocks do.

I think you’re confusing the ideomotor effect with the idiot-motive effect. Related but distinct.



And then earlier today I saw that anecdote about how a driver beat a speeding ticket by challenging the validity of the radar guns used by the policemen in court. “Have the machines been calibrated in a verifiable manner? Do you have certificates to prove it?”

I totally believe in the ability for people to convince themselves and others that this stuff works. My father in law believed in his ability to dowse for underground utilities (water lines, power lines, etc.) When you’re over a hundred miles from a town with more than 1000 residents, armed with no tech other than a pair of bent copper wires, and you stick a spade in the dirt and turn up the missing pipes, people tend to believe it.

Of course, what he was really doing was looking for clues. Having been in construction for 50 years, he always knew where utilities enter and exit the building, and where there were septic tank cleanouts, pump heads, or the transformer junction. It didn’t take a lot of imagination to draw a straight line between two points, and twitch his wrists as he crossed those paths.

I have no idea if he was consciously or unconsciously making those observations, (and it’s all academic now.) But it worked well enough that he had a lot of people convinced he had some kind of ability.

Knew I’d find an E-meter in the comments. At a demo of one once, one of the audience kept squeezing the sensors, making the needle whack against the end stop. The presenter wasn’t amused; we were.


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