[Editor's note: The author is the founder and president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, and one of the world's premier skeptical investigators of paranormal claims.]
An instruction given to potential attendees at the New Life Expo in Fort Lauderdale is, "Please wear loose, comfortable clothing." I assume that you would not want to forget your wallet, either. It's obviously going to be required.
The merchandise, books, tapes, gimmicks, and gadgets that greet the wide-eyed customers are typical of this sort of New Age operation. And of course, the pseudoscientific jargon used assails common sense -- if any is still resident in the buyers.
Words like, "vibrational," "divine," "harmonics," "universal," "balanced," "sacred," "frequencies," "multi-dimensional," and "consciousness" are freely thrown in to spice up the descriptions of the fabulous benefits to be enjoyed by those who ante up the cash to support the flummery. If you presented any of these folks with a barrel full of vibrations or frequencies, they wouldn't recognize them.
In the blurbs, we're promised that The Great Pyramid of Egypt, "the ultimate riddle and enigma" that "has confounded scientists and archeologists [sic]," will be explained to us in detail. Gee, that was done just a couple of weeks back, on TV, by legitimate scientists. So why do we need a mystic to put his twist on it? There's no riddle, enigma, nor confusion involved here. It's a matter of a lot of guys, over a long period of time, working with total religious zeal and great ingenuity.
Hard on those revelations, we come to a "panel of internationally recognized experts" who tell us about "Vibrational Medicine," and what is required for "true healing" to occur. "Everything Vibrates," we're assured, and it's "distortions in this energetic pattern" that are "at the heart of all states of dis-ease/dis-harmone-y." (Their terminology, not mine.)
We have barely recovered from all that rich material, when we are faced with "five incredible, unique, intelligent experts," all "in the same room together." One of these gurus is Marie-Helene Parent, one of the "Ralians" [sic] of cloning fame, while another is a "reverend" who "channels the Crown of White Light while making alien abduction confirmations." How can any thinking person pass this up?
In addition, we'll see a "jade skull," and we hear that "This experperiential [sic] event provides a rare opportunity to experience the energies of this unusual crystal that is activated through the use of the frequencies of sound and color." Wow! Can we stand any more experperientialisms?
Well, maybe we can share Don Conreaux's "spiritual perspective on the gong," during his "profoundly healing gongstone immersion." This is known as, "The Gong Bath." But you know, the mysteries of "The Ultimate Source," "violet fire," and "Eternal Life" will have to escape me this time around. I'll be laughing too hard.
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