In a refreshing news item, the BBC
and others are reporting that Jim McCormick, inventor of the ADE 561
Bomb Detection Device has been arrested and charged with fraud.
sold $85,000,000 worth of these devices that he claims work on the same
principle as dowsing rods, except that they detect bombs instead of
water. James Randi has offered a $1,000,000 prize to anyone who can
demonstrate successful dowsing of any substance under controlled
conditions. When McCormick was presented with this offer, he did not
reply. The devices were "programmed" with cards that supposedly told
the device what to look for. A BBC investigation showed that the cards
contained nothing more than retail security tags (RFID), which are
often found on garments, books, compact discs, and other merchandise.
James Randi said:
The accompanying video expresses my thoughts on this rather important issue.
The intemperate language is, I hope,
acceptable, and emphasizes my disdain for pompous "authorities" who
base their opinions on folklore and superstition. I know I'll not hear
back from the General I refer to, because, as I say, he's running…
When we turn on the light, they run… Enjoy the video, and let us have
your comments, please.
McCormick is now out on bail but his devices are still in the field,
doing nothing. Several recent bomb attacks in Iraq have left hundreds
dead, and it is hoped that this arrest will shed some light on the
dangerous practice of marketing "woo-woo" instead of technology.
associate Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack presented the JREF's findings to the
military in October and former JREF President Phil Plait wrote this article in November, 2009 excoriating the device.
JREF $1,000,000 challenge is still unclaimed. The offer remains open to
anyone who can demonstrate dowsing or any other paranormal claim under
proper observing conditions. More information can be found at www.randi.org.