ABC News Special:

The Power of Belief

Content and programming copyright 1998 ABC News.
Transcript by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.
All rights reserved.

How Our Beliefs Can Impact Our Minds

October 6, 1998

Announcer: This is an ABC News Special. The supernatural -- could the believers be just plain wrong? They dance. They chant. (Chanting) They speak for the dead.

First Channeler: God bless you, Dr Peeper!

Announcer: They even try to fly.

Walter Zimmerman, Yogic Flying Student: And you realize, holy smokes, I just levitated.

Announcer: Putting their faith in what they can't see, in fantastic claims no one can prove.

Lisa Brackett, Therapeutic Touch Patient: I don't need explanations because I have faith.

Announcer: Can psychics really sense what you can't? Can the stars predict your future?

Susan Miller, Astrologer: You have Jupiter in the Seventh House.

Announcer: And thousands of nurses say their touch can heal.

James Randi, Investigator Of Unusual Claims: I'll give them a million dollars if they can prove that.

Announcer: Tonight, the supernatural exposed by an expert on the bizarre.

James Randi: I'm married to a man who's dead. I married him after he died. OK.

Announcer: And the ultimate skeptic.

John Stossel:, ABC News (on camera) So what's the temperature now?

David Willey, University Of Pittsburgh: About 1,000 Fahrenheit.

Announcer: John Stossel -- walking on fire, braving the curse of a voodoo priest ... Elmer Glover, Voodoo Priest: John Stossel. John Stossel.

Announcer: ... all to help you see the light about "The Power Of Belief." Here now, John Stossel.

John Stossel:, ABC News Good evening. Usually, before we'll believe something, we want proof. Or as much proof as we can get. Before you buy a car, you try to check it out. Before I'll try to skate across that frozen lake, I'm going to make sure the ice is solid. But when it comes to the supernatural, ESP, psychic powers, astrology and so forth, lots of people have a different standard. They believe because they want to believe. They care less about proof because believing makes them happy. (Children laughing) (VO) Now, if you're only 4 years old, it's OK to believe in things we know not to be true, like Santa Claus.

Matthew: He lives in the sky.

John Stossel: (on camera) Who does?

Child: Santa.

Matthew: Santa Claus.

John Stossel: Tell me about the Easter Bunny. He's real? What does he do?

First Little Boy: He gives you candy.

John Stossel: (VO) To learn more about what psychologists call "magical thinking," Professor Robert Kavanaugh at Williams College in Massachusetts devised a test that involves an imaginary animal and a box. He repeated it for us on these 4 year olds to 6 year olds.

Research Assistant: Where do you want to fly to, Emma?

John Stossel: (VO) First, he divides the kids into pairs, and then his research assistant calls the kids' attention to the large, empty box.

Research Assistant: Well, you guys have been so good.

Emma: What's in the box?

John Stossel: (VO) As we watch from behind a two-way mirror, the children are shown that there is nothing in the box.

Research Assistant: It's empty.

John Stossel: (VO) Then she tells them a story about a hungry fox who lives in the box.

Research Assistant: And his name is Freddy the Fox.

John Stossel: (VO) They're told it's just pretend.

Research Assistant: I think I hear him, and I think he's going to come out of his house.

John Stossel: (VO) And she again tells them it was all make-believe.

Research Assistant: We're just pretending, and there's no fox in that box, OK? Isaac and Emma?

John Stossel: (VO) Then she tells them she has to leave them alone for a few minutes.

Research Assistant: I'll be right back.

John Stossel: (VO) Now, I assumed the kids, having looked in the box, will know that there's no fox in there. But they don't. Some hear the fox.

Second Little Boy: I heard something. He's going to come out in three minutes.

John Stossel: (VO) They worry about it.

First Little Girl: You go hide.

Second Little Girl: That was just the wind.

John Stossel: (VO) Some go to the box to listen but are afraid to open it.

Third Little Boy: One more minute. Uh-oh.

Second Little Boy: No!

John Stossel: (VO) Well, one pair does. Some kids accept that there's no fox in there. But most kids aren't sure.

Third Little Boy: Seven minutes left.

John Stossel: (VO) This is what happens in test after test. Almost every child begins to believe that the animal they helped create might be real.

Research Assistant: Hey, guys, thanks for waiting.

Isaac: We're hiding from the fox.

Research Assistant: You are?

John Stossel: (VO) Even when the researcher explains again that there was no fox in the box, most children believe it was there.

Third Little Boy: I told Riley that the fox will come out.

John Stossel: (VO) Even Emma, who looked in when Isaac opened the box.

Emma: Isaac opened the box, and he saw the largest fox.

Research Assistant: Oh!

John Stossel: (VO) Sometimes when we form beliefs, those beliefs persist against logic or evidence to the contrary. When I talked to the kids later, many were still convinced that the fox was in there. (on camera) Are you sure?

Children: No, no. Yes, yes.

First Little Boy: There is a fox. There is a fox. I know it. There is a fox. We saw one. We saw one.

Child: Yeah.

John Stossel: (VO) Now, while magical thinking's fine for kids, it's another thing when adults do it.

First Little Boy: It's disappeared.

John Stossel: (VO) We're not talking mainstream religion here, but lots of people believe they can talk to the dead.

Unidentified Woman: Yes.

John Stossel: (VO) Or have their illnesses cured by the wave of a hand. Some believe a psychic or astrologer can predict their future.

Astrologer: A relationship is coming to a head.

John Stossel: (VO) Some hope to be taught to fly. This man claims to be at the first stage of levitation. Maharishi University says there's historical proof that people used to be able to fly.

Film Narrator: Virtually conclusive historical evidence in a number of cases. In Europe, they're called the saints, in India, the yogis.

John Stossel: (VO) And now, they say, for several thousand dollars, they'll teach you. Sure looks like bouncing to me, but people pay. Stock analyst Walter Zimmerman says it's brought him bliss.

Walter Zimmerman, Yogic Flying Student: My life pivoted around the first time I lifted off. It felt like I was like a popcorn. You just pop up in the air. And you realize, holy smokes, I just levitated.

John Stossel: (VO) And he's working better.

Walter Zimmerman: It enables me to do my job much, much better than I would otherwise be able to. (Chanting)

John Stossel: (VO) Other people are learning how to walk on hot coals, embers from a wood fire.

Firewalkers: (singing) Release your mind.

John Stossel: (VO) The instructors say to walk on this, you must focus your mind.

Firewalkers: (singing) See what you'll find. Bring it on home.

John Stossel: (VO) Yet you don't have to focus your mind because ...

David Willey, University Of Pittsburgh: Anybody can do this.

John Stossel: (VO) David Willey is a professor of physics at the University of Pittsburgh. He's a firewalker. In fact, this day, he was setting up the world's longest firewalk.

David Willey: OK, gents.

John Stossel: (VO) To walk on these coals, says Willey, you don't have to be in a particular frame of mind. He's heard all those myths.

David Willey: If you lose your concentration, you're going to burn. That the body is putting out some kind of field around you.

John Stossel: (on camera) It's all bunk?

David Willey: It's protecting you.

John Stossel: Bunk?

David Willey: Bunk is a word you might use, yeah. Feet nice and flat and just a nice, brisk walk. Don't run.

John Stossel: (VO) You just have to keep moving, he says. I could do it because wood is a good insulator. When you touch it, the heat doesn't instantly go to your feet. (on camera) Why am I not going to get burned? I mean, that's hot enough to roast the marshmallow.

David Willey: You're not going to get burned because wood is a poor thermal conductor.

John Stossel: What's the temperature now?

David Willey: About 1,000 Fahrenheit.

John Stossel: And I don't have to believe anything or chant anything?

David Willey: You don't. You don't have to believe anything. You don't have to chant anything. A nice, steady walk. You just walk across the fire.

John Stossel: (VO) If he can do it, maybe I can. (on camera) Wow. That's hot. But I'm not burned. (Applause) I don't think I'm burned. No, I'm not burned. (VO) Fifteen people firewalked that day, setting the 165-foot world distance record. Not one of them was burned. There's nothing mystical about it. But the fact that so many people believe in the mystical, exasperates James Randi. Randi, once known as "The Amazing Randi," used to work as a magician, fooling people for a living. But then, annoyed at how often people believed his tricks really were magic, he changed careers. (Telephone rings)

Receptionist: James Randi Educational Foundation.

John Stossel: (VO) Today, Randi spends his time analyzing paranormal and supernatural claims.

James Randi, Investigator of Unusual Claims: Come on. Don't laugh. This is the man's invention.

Randi's Assistant: I think I know what inspired this whole thing.

James Randi: Yeah. It looks like a brandy snifter.

John Stossel: (VO) Randi contributes to magazines like Skeptic, which try to reveal the pseudoscience behind things like cults, New Age beliefs and people who claim they know there's life after death. His offices are cluttered with thousands of discredited claims.

James Randi: I'm married to a man who's dead. I married him after he died. OK? John Stossel: (VO) Years ago, Randi helped put a dent in the fabulous career of psychic Uri Geller. Geller was on magazine cover after cover and on TV with Johnny Carson, Barbara Walters, Tom Snyder.

Mike Douglas, TV Host: This guy is bending this key.

John Stossel: (VO) He supposedly used psychic powers to bend spoons. Here he is with Mike Douglas.

Uri Geller, Psychic: I want it to bend. I just say "bend."

Mike Douglas: You melted it. See?

John Stossel: (VO) This feat that was less amazing once Randi exposed it as just a magician's trick.

James Randi: Whoa, look at it now, son of a gun. That's astonishing, isn't it?

John Stossel: (on camera) So that's magic?

James Randi: It's conjuring. These things are not difficult to do. You just have to do them when people aren't looking. Oh, that's astonishing, look at that? Wow.

John Stossel: (VO) And now, Randi and his foundation have put up $1 million as a prize.

James Randi: Oh, this is the one in Finland.

John Stossel: (VO) ... to anyone who can prove they have paranormal abilities.

James Randi: Ft. Lauderdale, hey!

John Stossel: (VO) All they have to do is pass a scientific test that will demonstrate their skill.

James Randi: If they say they can defy gravity, step over to the window there and step out. And if you don't fall, hey, you win. You win! It's simple to devise a test.

John Stossel: (VO) One million dollars. It's in the bank. We checked.

James Randi: And it is available to any person who can provide evidence of any paranormal, occult or supernatural performance of any kind under proper observing conditions. All they have to do is do what they say they can do every day.

John Stossel: (on camera) Will they come forward? Will someone prove they really have extrasensory powers? We'll keep looking, when we come back.

Announcer: Strange rituals for healing the body, New Age treatments, age-old black magic. Can they do what traditional medicine can't? "The Power Of Belief" put to the test, when John Stossel continues.

(Commercial Break)

John Stossel: When you're sick, whom do you go to? Establishment scientists offer remedies, but often they are cold, impersonal ones. People in white coats with test tubes and computers want to do things to us that we often don't understand. And they're not always right. So increasingly, people turn to alternative therapies. (VO) To try to cure cancer, some people have ozone gas run through their hair. Some people with arthritis drag bees across their skin to get the bees to sting them, which is supposed to make their joints work better.

Iridologist: Open the eye one more time.

John Stossel: (VO) Iridologists say they'll tell you what's wrong with your entire body by looking at your eye. This chart maps out how every part of the eye supposedly corresponds to a different part of the body.

Iridologist: You have a spasmic colon. Something called spasmic. (Applause)

John Stossel: (VO) Millions of people go to arenas to see faith healers like Benny Hinn.

Benny Hinn, Faith Healer: I break your hold on the Devil in Jesus' name. I break your hold on him. I break it!

John Stossel: (VO) This man says faith healing cured his cancer. He did also get conventional chemotherapy, but he says he got better because of this.

Benny Hin: No pain.

Cancer Patient: All gone.

John Stossel: (VO) Some people get the same results going to voodoo priests. Elmer Glover's a voodoo priest. So is Ava Kay Jones. They have big followings in New Orleans. We paid them to get access to their ceremonies. (Chanting) Now, you may think of voodoo as tourist entertainment, but to many people here it's serious business, used for healing and hurting people. It is a fact that voodoo priests have cursed people, who then promptly got sick and died. But scientists say it's not the voodoo. It's the power of suggestion. If you truly believe in the curse, your body may just shut down. (Rattling) But you have to believe. My depraved producers hired Glover to put a curse on me. Break a bone, they suggested. Glover had us send him a sample of my hair and fingernails and an article of clothing I'd worn for a while. Glover then carved my name in a candle which he brought to a New Orleans cemetery. Here, he mixed in my hair and nails. And then, to call up the spirits of the dead, he sprayed some rum around. Blew cigar smoke into a tree in the center of the graveyard, hung my clothing in the tree so the spirits could find me, did something with a rattle and, of course, lit the candle and invited the spirits to hurt me.

Elmer Glover, Voodoo Priest: John Stossel. John Stossel. I ask the help and pray to the voodoo spirits. I call upon all beings of voodoo being to assist me.

John Stossel: (on camera) So far nothing's happened. I'm still riding my bike to work. I haven't broken any bones. Of course, it's only been a few months. And as Glover warned ...

Elmer Glover: Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

John Stossel: (VO) Watching voodoo -- here Priestess Jones says she's pulling out someone's negative energy and shaking it away -- I'm struck by how similar it is to what's being done right now in mainstream American hospitals. It's called therapeutic touch, and it's practiced in hundreds of medical centers, even during surgery. In Connecticut, nurse Ann Minor does therapeutic touch on Lisa Brackett to help treat her leukemia.

Ann Minor, Therapeutic Touch Practitioner: Tremendous heat coming from your heart center. Do you feel it?

Lisa Brackett, Therapeutic Touch Patient: Yeah, I do.

John Stossel: (VO) The nurse supposedly feels without touching, three or four inches away, feels the defective energy pouring out.

Ann Minor: I can feel where the energy is balanced and where it's not balanced. I can feel where it's intense. I can feel where it's depleted.

John Stossel: (VO) Then she says she channels the healing energy of the universe through her hands to you. There's no scientific proof that this works, but the patient says that doesn't matter.

Lisa Brackett: I don't need explanations because I have faith in the process. That's a really wonderful thing when you feel helpless, terrified. When you're given a diagnosis, like I was.

John Stossel: (VO) It's hard to argue with satisfied patients. But two years ago, a 9-year-old girl in Colorado thought that for her fourth grade science project, she'd put therapeutic touch to the test.

Emily Rosa: Today, I'm going to test you on how well you can feel the human energy field.

John Stossel: (VO) Emily Rosa's test was simple. She asked practitioners of therapeutic touch to feel the energy from her hand. But first, she had them put their hands through a towel and a piece of cardboard so they couldn't see where her hand was. She didn't ask them to heal anything, she just asked the most basic question.

Emily Rosa: Tell me which of your hands you think my hand is over.

First Touch Therapist: Left.

John Stossel: (VO) Again and again, touch therapists failed the test.

Second Touch Therapist: Left.

John Stossel: (VO) Amazingly, they kept volunteering to take the test. And even when they failed to do better at picking the correct hand than they would have done flipping a coin ...

Third Touch Therapist: Right.

John Stossel: (VO) ... their faith in their skills was not dimmed. This woman guessed right only three times out of 10.

Emily Rosa: How do you think the test went?

Fourth Touch Therapist: I think it went very well.

Emily Rosa: OK. You got one right. Sorry.

John Stossel: (on camera) So were they embarrassed?

Emily Rosa: No. Not really. Some thought if you got four out of 10 right, they thought you'd pass. And obviously, they didn't know their statistics.

John Stossel: We asked more than a dozen therapeutic touch specialists to come here and take your test, and not one would. Does that surprise you?

Emily Rosa: Uh-uh. No.

John Stossel: Why, is it ...

Emily Rosa: Lots of people think that I've scared them really good.

John Stossel: (VO) Well, not that good. Though Emily's test got publicity, it was published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, since then, therapeutic touch is practiced more than ever.

James Randi: Eighty thousand practitioners, most of them registered nurses who say they can feel the human energy field by passing their hands over the body. Gee, I'll give them $1 million if they can prove that, in a simple test that will take less than 20 minutes. Do I hear anybody at the door, John? No. Where are they?

John Stossel: (VO) Scientists say it's not that therapeutic touch or voodoo directly do anything physically to anyone. It's just that if you believe in them, they sometimes can have an effect. The placebo effect, it's called. If you think a therapy will work, that alone may make you feel better.

Michael S. Aronoff, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, NYU: Group one will be getting a substance that is a stimulant.

John Stossel: (VO) At our request, psychiatrist Michael Aronoff told these students and teachers at Manhattan's Kaplan Educational Services that, for a test, he would give some of them a stimulant and others a sleeping pill.

Michael S. Aronoff: What we are interested in is the effect on your usual sleep pattern.

First Female Student: And if we like it, can we get it anywhere? (Laughter)

John Stossel: (VO) What they didn't know was that they were all given a placebo, an inert pill that doesn't do anything. The result? Well, two students felt nothing.

First Male Student: I had no effect from this at all. It didn't change my sleep patterns. I thought it was a psychology experiment.

John Stossel: (VO) But three-fourths of the group felt a difference. Some, a big difference.

Second Male Student: I felt great in the morning, even though I had much less sleep than I normally did.

Third Male Student: I would love to take this drug every day of my life if I could. So if you know the name of it or where I can buy it, it would be beneficial.

Second Female Student: It was wonderful. It was. I got good sleep, sound sleep. Didn't wake up. The phone could have been ringing off the hook, I wouldn't have heard it. It was that deep a sleep.

John Stossel: (VO) Some reported side effects.

Third Female Student: Thirty minutes after I took the pill, I got a little dizzy.

John Stossel: (VO) Then, they learned the truth.

Michael S. Aronoff: You all received the same substance. You all received a sugar pill. (Laughter)

Fourth Female Student: I'm not looking forward to being on national TV and saying that I took a sugar pill and, boy, it made me tired.

Fifth Female Student: I did feel tingling in my hand. (Laughter) I did.

John Stossel: (VO) So the placebo can be a powerful medical aid.

Michael S. Aronoff: Sweet dreams.

John Stossel: (VO) But it has its limits.

James Randi: If you start to believe in magical thinking, the next time you go to a doctor and the doctor doesn't give you a satisfactory answer, you'd rather go to a -- an alternative healer who's going to give you some boiled bark or some stone to wear around your neck. It's a dangerous thing to start on.

John Stossel: (VO) In New York, Dr Nicholas Gonzalez treats cancer with things like coffee enemas, pancreatic enzymes and organic food. The National Cancer Institute wants to study part of his treatment, which many patients say helped them. But others feel they've been seduced by a quack.

Flynn Warmington, Holly's Friend: It's a lifesaver to cancer patients, he says, a lifesaver.

John Stossel: (VO) Flynn Warmington was Holly Schafer's best friend. Holly died of cancer just four months after Gonzalez told her cancer wasn't her main problem. This is a guy giving coffee enemas. Why would she believe him?

Flynn Warmington: If you get someone who's vulnerable, who has a desperate need having to do with life and death, whose life is threatened, they're very vulnerable to hearing what they want to hear.

Jack Gray, Holly's Husband: This guy had killed her. He had lied to her.

John Stossel: (VO) Jack Gray, Holly's husband, says Dr Gonzalez discouraged Holly from getting a bone marrow transplant that might have cured her. Gray is suing Gonzalez.

Jack Gray: All of this hope that he was pumping her full of was just slime.

John Stossel: (on camera) Maybe he kept her alive longer by giving her hope. I mean, bodies do heal themselves.

Flynn Warmington: Hope is a very good thing. There's no denying the value of hope. But hope is very unlikely to cure Hodgkin's Disease.

John Stossel: (VO) Gonzalez would not do a television interview with me about this, but he defends his alternative approach and denies the charges in Jack Gray's lawsuit. And natural treatments like his are more popular than ever.

James Randi: It's exciting. And it's natural. Well, tobacco and bird droppings are also natural. Does that give them any particular charm? Is -- are they good for us because they're natural?

Michael Shermer, Publisher, Skeptic Magazine: We are wonderful at self-deceiving.

John Stossel: (VO) Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, is upset at how popular New Age therapies have become.

Michael Shermer: There's a good reason why we live in the age of science, why the lifespan of humans has doubled in the last 150 years. It's entirely due to medical science, not medical pseudoscience.

James Randi: We're in a battle all the time to survive, to move ahead. And we're going to lose that fight if we start trying to use magic and spells and incantations. We've got to depend upon reality.

John Stossel: (on camera) We'll be right back with James Randi's hoax that fooled everybody.

Announcer: Their voices change. So does their body language. Millions believe they speak from another world. But are the faithful being fooled by the power of belief? More revelations, when John Stossel continues.

(Commercial Break)

John Stossel: Life is scary, unpredictable. Many of us would like to believe that someone, somewhere has the answers and will give them to us. Maybe JZ Knight (ph) can help. (VO) Knight charges people hundreds of dollars to hear her channel Ramtha.

JZ Knight, Channeler Indeed! I am Ramtha, the enlightened one. And I am exceedingly pleased to be here.

John Stossel: (VO) Channeling means Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old warrior philosopher from the lost city of Atlantis, speaks through JZ Knight.

JZ Knight: That which is termed life, the only reality.

Group:The only reality.

JZ Knight: Forever.

Group: Forever.

JZ Knight: And ever.

Group: And ever.

JZ Knight: And ever.

Group: And ever.

JZ Knight: So be it!

Group: So be it.

JZ Knight: Drink up.

John Stossel: (VO) Through her, Ramtha predicts the future and gives vague advice.

JZ Knight: And for whatever you deem, that which I am, it is what you are that is important. Now, get it? (Applause)

John Stossel: (VO) Knight has had thousands of followers, including actress Shirley MacLaine. And Knight's just one of many channelers around.

First Channeler: God bless you, Dr Peeper!

Second Channeler: All right. How are you this day of your time as you create time to exist?

Jose Alvarez, Artist: I am a very old spirit.

John Stossel: (VO) This channeler brings us Carlos, a 2,000-year-old spirit from Venezuela.

Jose Alvarez: Next question.

John Stossel: (VO) Carlos is really Jose Alvarez, a Florida artist coached by James Randi on how to fake being a channeler so that this Australian TV station could show how easy it is to fool people, especially the gullible media.

First Australian Reporter: His name is Carlos, and you've probably seen him on a television or mentioned in the press.

John Stossel: (VO) Randi's angry at how quick the media is to give attention and therefore credibility to all kinds of paranormal claims. ABC News has done it.

Diane Sawyer, ABC News: You're convinced you're getting mental images communicated from this dog to you?

John Stossel: (VO) We say we're just covering phenomena that fascinate lots of people.

Tom Brokaw, NBC News: Are we alone?

John Stossel: (VO) That's our job. And after all, these are mysteries that haven't been disproven.

James Randi: It's politically correct to allow everybody to have their opinion aired whether it's nonsensical, pseudoscientific, whether it's crackpot or whatever.

John Stossel: (on camera) But that's not fair. We don't suspend our critical thinking. We check these people out before we put them on TV.

James Randi: You'll get more viewers and sponsors will like it better if it's a positive point of view about mystical stuff. And this, this terrible man with the beard, this nasty little gentleman. What is he doing coming on saying these things aren't so?

John Stossel: (VO) Ten years ago, Randi and Jose, who was then only 19, created Carlos.

Jose Alvarez: Your reality.

James Randi: Also, keep very wide ...

Jose Alvarez: Yeah.

James Randi: Keep very wide because you're going to be on a big stage.

John Stossel: (VO) They invented a press kit that portrayed Jose as a famous South American channeler who gives meaningless advice like, "All answers are right answers. It is so. Do you see?" The press kit included a videotape of faked stage show. (Applause)

Jose Alvarez: Good evening. We cannot recognize time!

John Stossel: (VO) Amazingly, most of the Australian media fell for it.

Second Australian Reporter: One man who's been making a name for himself here in the United States is now doing the same in Australia.

John Stossel: (VO) One phone call would have exposed Carlos as a hoax, but the reporters didn't call.

Third Australian Reporter: His body is frequently taken over, he says, by a spirit called Carlos.

John Stossel: (VO) One station did check one of his gimmicks. Jose claims that before the spirit enters his body, his heart stops. So the station hired a nurse to check his pulse.

Nurse: Okay, it's gone.

John Stossel: (VO) Of course, stopping your pulse was a trick Randi had taught Jose. You just tape a ball to your skin and squeeze it in your armpit. That stops the pulse in that arm. And then, he becomes Carlos.

Jose Alvarez: I am Carlos!

John Stossel: (VO) Jose went on to give all kinds of interviews, with Randi backstage supplying the answers through a wireless microphone.

Jose Alvarez: First question!

Questioner: Can you give us any idea of what this event might be?

James Randi: It will be astronomical in nature.

Jose Alvarez: It will be astronomical in nature! Next question.

John Stossel: (VO) Carlos's Australian tour culminated with an appearance at Sydney's famed Opera House. The crowd listened in awe as Carlos explained that their aches and pains could be cured by the authentic crystals he'd brought back from the lost city of Atlantis, not the fake ones some in the audience wore.

Jose Alvarez: If they were real crystals, she would not have this migraine. (Applause)

John Stossel: (VO) Later people offered to pay tens of thousands of dollars for crystals Randi and Jose had bought for a dollar or two. (on camera) He conned all these people?

James Randi: Yes.

John Stossel: And did you think people would be so gullible?

James Randi: Oh, yes. Naturally. They were being told something that was nice. Something they would like to believe was true.

John Stossel: (VO) Channel 9 then told the truth about the hoax.

Channel 9 Reporter: What is frightening is that it was so easy.

John Stossel: (on camera) And even after exposing it, many people still believe in channelers and in Carlos?

James Randi: Oh, absolutely.

Jose Alvarez: At the end, there were people saying, "We know everything they're saying about you. We don't care. We believe in you."

James Randi: No amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary.

Announcer: Coming up--the truth about psychics. Can they really lead police to a missing person?

James Randi: There's a car. A light colored--I think a small car. And I smell--I smell rain or water flowing.

Announcer: John Stossel with more revelations when "The Power Of Belief" continues, after this from our ABC stations.

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