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Fearless prognosticator takes on the psychics : and meditators with his counterpredictive method

I have had much success in the field of psychic vision, as the reader may remember, by predicting against the occurrence of anything predicted by professional seers.

It is my theory that they are all fakes, that they are all wrong about 99% of the time, and that if you simply counterpredict their predictions, you can hardly go wrong.

For example, I recently predicted in a column that Elizabeth Taylor wouldn’t marry Prince Rainier of Monaco, and that Queen Elizabeth wouldn’t be injured by an explosion aboard the royal yacht Britannia.

But reader David Nichols points out that I am out on a limb, nevertheless. “There is a chance,” he says, “that one of the tabloid psychics will someday be right. Say, for example, that the ghost of Elvis Presley were to take over the controls of a plummeting 747 and guide it to safety. Chances are you would’ve predicted against that happening and your record would be marred forever. . . .”

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He is right. Even when I predicted that Elizabeth Taylor wouldn’t marry Prince Rainier and that Queen Elizabeth wouldn’t be injured in a bomb explosion aboard the Britannia, I knew that both those events were within the realm of possibility. In fact, given Elizabeth Taylor’s record, and Prince Rainier’s, too, for that matter, since he has already married one American movie star, there is no certainty that they won’t get married.

However, the psychic who predicted this union indicated that it would happen in 1985, and we are safely beyond that year. Even so, if Taylor and the prince should marry at any time in the future, the psychic would say “I told you so,” and I would, as Nichols implies, be discredited forever.

In fact I was heightening my chances of disaster by writing that column several weeks before its publication date, which was yet within the year 1985. So, Taylor and Rainier could have been married just before the column was published, in which case I would have been the laughingstock of the world’s psychics, who are generally a humorless lot.

Also, given the dedication and malice of the Irish Republican Army, it is quite possible that a bomb might have been planted aboard the Britannia, and that Queen Elizabeth might have been injured. That, too, could have happened just before my column was published, but I took that chance.

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That is the way psychics operate, except that they don’t take nearly the risks that I did. If their predictions fail to come true, no one remembers that they made them. If they hit one out of 50, they crow about it, are written about in the papers, and are widely admired and listened to.

Even now, though the year is long since over, if Taylor and Rainier were to marry, and Queen Elizabeth were to be injured in an explosion aboard the yacht, those seers would be hailed.

But Nichols has discovered a form of psychic power that is much safer than that of either the standard psychics or mine. He has enclosed a clipping from the Mt. Pleasant (Iowa) News, about a group of meditators at the Maharishi International University at Fairfield, Iowa, who claim to have caused certain beneficial events by meditating them into being.

“It seems to me,” he says, “that the Fairfield meditators may have issued themselves a passport into the world of psychic phenomena that’s even less vulnerable to challenge than your own.”

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According to the item in the News, the meditators held a mass meditation at Fairfield in December, thereby raising the temperature and saving the Florida orange crop; lowering drunken driving arrests in Des Moines, influencing Fidel Castro to give up cigars, and causing the stock market to rally, among numerous other good things.

In issuing these claims, the meditators alleged that their results prove the power of mass meditation to change world events for the better.

I do believe that if we could get millions of people all around the world to sit down and meditate, instead of shooting and bombing one another, conditions would improve.

I do not believe, however, that events outside the immediate vicinity of mass meditation are affected in any way by either the intensity or the mass of the meditation.

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Naturally, if you have thousands of people going to a meditation in Fairfield, Iowa, you are probably going to have a local traffic jam; then thousands of people will be meditating instead of watching television or drinking in saloons, and the Neilsen ratings for that section of Iowa will probably go down, along with the arrests for drunken driving.

But Nichols is right. There is no way to prove that the meditators didn’t cause the Florida temperature to drop and Fidel Castro to stop smoking cigars. If they announce their predictions only after the predicted events have happened, they are safe.

I will make the Fairfield meditators a deal. If they will tell us what events they are going to meditate for in advance, and if those events are not almost a sure thing anyway (the stock market always rallies, sooner or later), then I will be happy to take my chances and counterpredict.

Meanwhile, I might as well take advantage of the method myself.

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I haven’t announced this before, but I meditated for the success of Corazon Aquino in her bid for the presidency of the Philippines.

I am now meditating for the marriage of Taylor and Rainier.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

I wouldn’t want anything to happen to Queen Elizabeth, though.

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