We have released 7 hoax videos which appear to demonstrate paranormal phenomena. In fact they're all based upon real scientific principles. Over the past few months this hoax footage has been posted all over the internet in an attempt to find out if people would either accept it as genuine or question it in an attempt to discover the real truth.
Can you find the hoaxes before we reveal the secret science behind these scams?
Why is it important for us to question the things we believe?
We have all had the experience of believing something which has turned out to be untrue. That so-and-so hated us, that we were about to die and that we did have our wallet with us when we left the house. Sadly, how deeply we believe something has no necessary correlation with how true it is.
Beliefs often have the capacity to really limit us, because once we believe in something; we tend to look out for anything which confirms it. If you believe that you'll never succeed or that people think you're boring, you're far more likely to get stuck like that, as you'll notice everything which backs up that negative thought and disregard evidence to the contrary. So what supports our beliefs might be real- world evidence, but equally we might just be fooling ourselves. We might just be believing nonsense purely because we've got into a circular pattern of just looking for what supports what we already believe, and then using that to further the same belief!
After that realisation, it depends on how much you're happy to fool yourself. We can't question everything; otherwise we could never get out of bed in the morning. But if we would like to be considered balanced, rational, intelligent people, and if we'd like to be able to make the most informed life-decisions, we might like to check we're not fooling ourselves with the bigger questions. The aim is to step outside of what our own feelings tell us and see whether things happen like that in the real world. That's why science has to be so dispassionate: it's the only way of filtering out all our biases and prejudices..
A lot of people say that things like tarot readings and other psychic readings are harmless fun. What is your view on that?
They can be, and I'm sure they are for plenty of people. Again, it depends on how happy you are to be fooled, and to fool yourself. Some people find the idea of psychics fascinating, but I work so closely to that world that I find the reality far more fascinating: how brilliantly a person might fool herself into thinking she has psychic ability, and how wonderfully the person on the receiving end can be utterly convinced by it all. Those things interest me more, because they say so much about us, as human beings, and how our certain aspects of our minds work.
If someone reads your palm at a party and you don't take it too seriously, then great, have fun. But if you do take it seriously and start to look and sound silly in front of your friends by unnecessarily defending palm-readings, then that's a bit of a shame if it's actually nonsense. Equally if you then start regularly seeing psychics or starting to make life-decisions based on their information, then it's worth checking if it really holds up - in the same way you'd want to find out if a new diet really worked before you changed your lifestyle to fit it.
Some areas are definitely rather more serious: it seems ugly for mediums to be interfering with memories of your loved ones or involving themselves with grieving families if they're just talking rubbish and know how to make it sound good.
So there's a sliding scale of seriousness, and at the darker end there's a massive industry that's clearly ripping plenty of people off, at least some cynical charlatans ready to exploit our capacity for wishful thinking for their own ego, and the intimacies of people's lives being played with.
Have you ever had a real belief in something (ghosts, afterlife, some kind of superstition) and then had to change your way of thinking? If you did then what made you change your mind?
I used to believe in God, until I realised that I was just continuing another circular belief. I couldn't honestly see what distinguished it from something I could just be fooling myself about. All the real-world evidence I had been told about (like the reliability of the Bible as a historical document), I found out just didn't hold up at all. Once I saw that, it just started to seem silly, and no different from a belief in psychic powers or unicorns. So I realised I couldn't defend it intellectually.
Why do you think we have this desire to believe despite the evidence?
As a scientist I understand the 'probability' of psychic abilities being real. I am however fascinated by human nature and the capability of perceiving patterns in vague statements. I have used Tarot cards and find it amazing how the readings can sound plausible. It's all internal however, due to our perception and mental wiring to make sense ... Read Moreof the world from limited and filtered information. Derren, you have made a great career from this phenomenon and presented through honesty rather than the deception of 'psychics'. Keep it up mate.
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ive read tarot for family members and what i found out was so scary i stopped doing? it, just coz some ppl are liars dont mean its all a lie
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lol, i never? believe in psychics..i always felt it was some scam,mostly for making money......well,like churches.lol.......but thanks to scienceofscams. for making things clearer.
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