I wasn’t going to comment on the Criss Angel / Phenomenon videos, since it seems almost everyone else already has. But Randi is hosting the videos on his site and, now I’ve seen them, I had to post briefly on this.
If you haven’t heard, there is a reality TV show called “Phenomenon”, with Uri Geller and Criss Angel judging conjuring acts. Except that there was this bozo called Jim Callahan who pretended he was not a conjuror but that he really was doing something paranormal by channeling a dead person. Or something. Angel had already promised he would bust anyone who claimed paranormal skills, and so the result was, to some extent, inevitable.
Anyway, go to Randi’s site and watch the video of Angel busting Callahan – it’s short, just over a minute. It ends with Angel and Callahan apparently having to be held apart by the two other hosts.
Then watch the other video (longer) with interviews with the three players. First up is Geller, with a load of drivel about how you can’t disprove the paranormal (channeling James van Praagh), and ending with the lame argument about how energy can’t be destroyed, so “where does it go” when we die? Oooohh – good point. Except it isn’t. Dipshit: the live human body is at a temperature of 98.6 F, so my guess would be when you die, the energy is given off as heat. No paranormal explanations required. Oh well - at least we didn’t have to witness him bending spoons “with just the power of my mind”.
Then comes Angel with a fairly level headed and reasonable explanation of why he did what he did. Angel is irritated that Callahan is passing off something that he (Angel) could do when he was 14, as if it must be paranormal. I don’t know how that trick was done but I’m guessing Angel does. As does Randi, Penn & Teller… and any number of professional magicians.
The best bit though is Callahan, with a long sorry rant about Angel – how he’s trying to prove Jesus is not real (he does a walking on water illusion), and how he’s “hiding” behind his clothes and jewelry. (Someone’s been watching Dr Phil. Actually, I think Callahan would have more luck on Oprah.) And loads on how Callahan “doesn’t like being questioned”. All in all though, it was a load of whining about Criss Angel, but nothing about why anyone should believe that Callahan actually has any paranormal powers. The truth is though, it was really about Callahan, and not Angel, despite Callahan's attempts at misdirection.
But the funniest bit was where he rambled on about how Angel needed “people between me and him” – a reference, presumably, to how the two other hosts kept Angel and Callahan apart, although Callahan gave the appearance of wanting a fight. If you want to know why it’s funny, you have to go back and watch the first video. Right near the end (13 to 14 seconds left on the counter), you see that Callahan accidentally breaks free of his minder, and could actually get to Angel if he wanted. So what does he do? He quickly goes back and links his arm with the host – because he just had to make sure he had someone holding him back. Even the losing his temper / wanting a fight was a lame act. What a loser.