Michael Cook (and Randi "Psychic Investigator" TV show)

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Ian Pegler
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Re: Michael Cook

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After much trial and error, I have managed to superimpose a semi-transparent version of Randi's map onto a Google Maps image of the same area.

Image

It's not a perfect fit because the camera wasn't quite pointing down squarely onto the map, nevertheless it's pretty good I reckon.

I don't know what Google Maps' idea of north is, but there seems to be quite a considerable angle between the two, wouldn't you say?

The dashed squiggly line running east-west is a county boundary, not anything physical.

Ian
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Re: Michael Cook

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Ian...

:shock: now your showing off :mrgreen:

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

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ledgehammer wrote:Ian...

:shock: now your showing off :mrgreen:

Tom
Neat eh? 8) :mrgreen: Done using another great piece of free software The Gimp. Actually relatively simple (but fiddley) to do.

At least we can now scrutinise this map without pausing the VCR and turning the television upside down - which is what we would have had to have done in 1991. Either that or do a hand-stand.

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Re: Michael Cook

Post by ledgehammer »

Ian Pegler wrote:
ledgehammer wrote:Ian...

:shock: now your showing off :mrgreen:

Tom
Neat eh? 8) :mrgreen: Done using another great piece of free software The Gimp. Actually relatively simple (but fiddley) to do.

At least we can now scrutinise this map without pausing the VCR and turning the television upside down - which is what we would have had to have done in 1991. Either that or do a hand-stand.

Ian
:mrgreen: Perhaps that was Randi's idea hoping the rush of blood to the head would have disguised his "non scientific scrutiny"...

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

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ledgehammer wrote::mrgreen: Perhaps that was Randi's idea hoping the rush of blood to the head would have disguised his "non scientific scrutiny"...
The alternative would be to have the map the right way up and the dowser with his back to the audience, although, thinking about it, there was nothing stopping Michael walking around to the other side was there? This didn't happen because actually the board (the "big big graphic display") wasn't that big at all.

Carleith cairn (square D4) was scheduled in 1974. Castle Campbell (square C6) was originally scheduled in 1921 and again in 1950. So they are both, I presume, ancient monuments in the strict legal sense as well as the natural sense of the phrase.

Ian

(mod edit - links restored 04/2020 - GG)
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Re: Michael Cook

Post by ledgehammer »

Ian,

well done!

It just shows the mindset of the skeptic really doesnt it!

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

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To recap, here's what was actually said:
Michael Cook: I presume from your question you picked AN ancient monument ?

James Randi: Yes we did. We very carefully, I must say, we carefully combed the whole area to make sure there was nothiing else that would match that description.
At no point is Michael told the nature of the ancient monument until Randi opens the envelope. When Michael did the dowsing he asked "is there an ancient monument in this square?" and not "is there an ancient abbey in this square?"

And as anyone who's read this thread will know by now, Randi's statement quoted above falls apart when the area represented by the map is scrutinized. There are hundreds of ancient monuments on Randi's map, by anyone's definition of the term.

I've been looking at the YouTube comments and forum conversations on this topic elsewhere and some of them are just plain silly. This is my favourite silly comment so far, from the Skeptics Society forum:
If you really think the dowser is real you would write to him. You are confused because you do not understand the difference that; he was asked to go on the show to demonstrate what dowsers "do", not for a "full experiment". The man was probably a stage actor. Do you realise that "Star Trek" is no a documentary?
A "stage actor"???!??! :shock: :lol: Honestly.

Here's a YouTube [url=ttps://youtu.be/SUQ4j5Vq03s?t=348]comment[/url] from a couple of months back:
I wonder what made him pick that square as holding the ancient monument...maybe the fact that all the roads and rivers on the map led to and circled that area.
This is wrong for a couple of reasons. First, as we have demonstrated on this thread there are plenty of ancient monuments in the more rural areas of the map. Second, there are some quite prominent ancient monuments even in rural areas of Britain - has no-one ever heard of Salisbury Plain? Is the Uffington White horse in the middle of a city? I don't think so.

Here's another YouTube comment:
See how the map dowser even pretends or rather suggests to us,there is another monument - we are told however there is only 1 so he is wrong!
I think we've scotched that one, don't you? Interesting logic: "we are told" - and therefore it must be true. Critical thinking at its best????

Ian
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Re: Michael Cook

Post by ledgehammer »

Ian,

Fear and arrogance overtake many unfortunatly, you tube comments are ruthless and counterproductive and as a fellow dowser said to me recently the internet has unified the human race, it unfortunatly has also opened up a pathway for timeless misguided folks to voice their opinion, alas one day these will also choose to experience these things, however with the greatest respect for them it is not their time.

The great thing is anyone reviewing our thread here cannot call themselves truthfull without acknowledging your work here Ian, so thanks!

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

Post by ledgehammer »

Ian,

I watched the clip an indeed found Randi asks for a "famous monument", M.C asks for an ancient one...

any thoughts?

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

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Hi Tom

At 2: 25 Randi says:
Do you think a dowser could find an ancient monument from this map alone, even though we've removed all identifying landmarks? My first guest believes he can...
At 3:21 Randi says:
Now there is a famous monument within this area and it's this that you hope to be able to find...
A couple of thoughts...

A famous monument could be modern. An ancient monument need not be famous, but in terms of the questions that Michael initially asked ("is there an ancient monument in this square?") the dowsing responses he got were correct - so far as they went.

Dunfirmline abbey is both famous and ancient, so when Michael asked the same question of square A2 the response he got was correct, because Dunfirmline abbey is ancient. The fact that it can also be described using other adjectives doesn't affect the answer.

At 4:39 M. C. then refined the question by asking:
So I'll take that particular question: the ancient monument your side were dealing with: is it in this square?
So it was after Michael refined the question that he got the square that Randi et al were after.

For my money the term "famous" is a bit vague - Castle Campbell (square C6 on Randi's map) could also be regarded as ancient and famous. Who can say that it isn't? But the phrase "the ancient monument your side were dealing with" is very, very specific and overcomes the vaguaries of terms like "ancient" and "famous".

P.S.: At 3:13 Randi says:
Well, this is our map and at your suggestion we've remove all placenames and information except roads, rivers and contour-lines
A couple of points:

The contour lines are not at all obvious, in fact, I can't see any at all. Also, there is a (non-physical) county boundary, which should not have been there.

They did, however, remove a few lakes, from D6, C2, B1 etc.

Ian
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Re: Michael Cook

Post by ledgehammer »

Ian,

thanks,

wy do you think he only picked up on the two "ancient monuments"?

Tom
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Re: Michael Cook

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ledgehammer wrote:wy do you think he only picked up on the two "ancient monuments"?
Well, actually he selected two squares with multiple ancient monuments in each. So when he said "is there an ancient monument in this square?" for A2, he could have been picking up on Malcolm Canmore's tower! But yes, there were other squares that theoretically he could have selected, but he still did very well I think, bearing in mind that he's the only dowser to have emphatically beaten Randi on TV.

That's if you discount the Australian dowsers in the 1980's who found twice as much water as they should have done by chance - a statistically significant result. Here's what Adam Hart Davies had to say about it:
Adam Hart Davies wrote:Yes I do know about Randi's cheque, and I have also looked critically at the footage of a massive dowsing test he carried out in Australia. In that test he bamboozled the contestants with muddled statistics. They did indeed show a significant effect, but he managed to flannel his way out of it.

So I am not prepared to deny dowsing out of hand.
see THIS THREAD.

Ian
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Re: Michael Cook

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I've managed to super-impose the map onto an OS map-image for that area.

Image

Again, it's not absolutely perfect because of the slight camera-angle, but pretty good and you can even see Castle Campbell winking at you from C6. :lol:

Ian
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Re: Michael Cook

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For the record...

I just came across the IMDB entry for the show. It first aired on August 7th 1991. The film editor was some guy called Keith Aldred.

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Re: Michael Cook

Post by ledgehammer »

Ian,

agreed, !

just found out I am doing a radio show talking about topics such as dowsing, ley/energy lines and new science and hopefully If I have time "the green children of woolpit", they will also be playing some of my music as well :-)

Tom
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