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Great article. It's too bad the Eisenbud/Serios archives had to find a new home outside of Colorado.

It is unfortunate that DPL had to give up our collection of photos. On the bright side, they found a good home in the University of Maryland, Baltimore County archives, and most of them are available to peruse online. 

http://contentdm.ad.umbc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/Eisenbud

Thanks for your interest, and for commenting!

As to psychics-I ponder, if I go to see a psychic and the psychic is not there-if they were psychic wouldn't they have known I was coming?

The snark in me would suggest that it was because they saw you coming that they slipped out. ;-)

In a similar vein, I read an article earlier this week about a self-proclaimed psychic who got hit by a car last weekend. Apparently, he wasn't able to see it coming until after it happened... funny how that works.

Biased article, no magician showed deception in Ted Serios. That something is replicable does not mean that it is false. That the wigs exist does not imply that the hair does not grow on the head. When you name James Randi in the article, you are smearing your article.

Hi Fran! Thanks for the comment.

With all due respect, you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the burden of proof, and how it's applied. In any given instance, it is contingent upon the person making a claim to prove its voracity, not on those rejecting it to prove its falsity. This is for precisely the same reason that, in a court of law, the prosecution must prove the defendant guilty, while the defense has no obligation to prove their innocence. This wasn't always the case, and when defendants were required to prove their innocence, it resulted in things like the witch trials, wherein everyone accused was found guilty, since it's literally impossible tor prove you're not a witch.

I'm afraid your analogy about wigs is off the mark, since both hair and wigs demonstrably exist. While there is ample evidence that photos remarkably similar to those made by Mr. Serios can be produced in perfectly mundane ways, there is no evidence that they have ever been (or indeed, could be) produced in the manner in which he claimed.  Dr. Eisenbud's methodology was inherently and irreparably flawed, and his entire book is cover-to-cover confirmation bias. In addition, whenever Mr. Serios was given the opportunity to demonstrate his abilities under controlled conditions, he refused. While none of this proves that he didn't have magical abilities, it does indicate that magical abilities are not a requirement to produce such imagery, and that Ted was reluctant to show otherwise to an audience not prepared to take his claims at face value.

While we don't have any substantive, testable evidence for supernatural claims, we do know with absolute certainty that there are hucksters, charlatans and liars who will make false claims about psychic or supernatural phenomena for their own fame, financial reward, or merely to propagate an agenda. Mr. Randi has done a remarkable job of debunking many of these claims, and exposing numerous frauds, including saving lives by proving that "faith healer" Peter Popoff was being fed information by his wife via an earpiece (rather than getting said information from God, as he had claimed). In many cases, he does not set out to prove a claim false, but rather to prove that the same effect can be accomplished without the need to invoke the supernatural as an underlying factor.

Given a choice between a completely sufficient, mundane explanation, and an extraordinary claim which would directly contradict everything we know about physics, the laws of nature, and how the brain functions, and for which there is no demonstrable evidence, I'm going to stick with the more likely explanation every time. The universe is amazing enough on it's own... I don't feel the need to believe in magic to gussy it up. 

I freely admit that I'm biased in that respect.

Fascinating article, but it left me wondering, what happened to Ted Serios? Thanks to the wonders of Google, here is his obituary from the Quincy (Ill.) Herald-Whig:

Ted Serios
Posted: Jan. 4, 2007 11:07 am
Ted Serios, 88, of Quincy died Saturday (Dec. 30, 2006) in Quincy. He was born Nov. 27, 1918, in Chicago, a son of Gus and Esther Serios. Ted was in the Merchant Marines during World War II. His most regular work was as a bellhop at the Chicago Hilton, where in the 1950s he was discovered to have psychic abilities. In the 1960s Ted was studied in Denver by psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud, M.D., and was the subject of the book, "The World of Ted Serios, Thoughtographic Studies of an Extraordinary Mind," published in 1967. Ted's hobbies included building model airplanes and battleships. Survivors include two sons, Leo Serios of Wisconsin and Terry Serios of Indiana. Nieces and nephews also survive, including Terry Hawe and Sherry Hauer. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; a sister, Jean Hawe; and a brother, George Serios. Ted's wishes were to be cremated. No services are planned at this time. Arrangements are with the Duker and Haugh Funeral Home, 823 Broadway, Quincy.

Thanks so much for posting this, Joe! I appreciate your interest.

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