Typically a tormented child discovers by accident that bodiless knocking, pinching and tripping people by an invisible presence, or causing pots and dishes to fly against a kitchen wall can be attributed to their own hidden power. Or a mischievous adolescent, convinced of the stupidity of the adults in the house, learns that he or she can get away with gross deceptions, perpetrating violence that is plainly inconsistent with his or her appearance of innocence. Either way, bedeviled or bedeviling, the young person can internalize the blame and bury the torments that bring the little devil out, as though a cursed and malicious spirit has been harassing the household.
Professor Bérnard Brownose of Brownie College reports the invention of a new kind of energy generator. Professor Brownose, who for many years has investigated claims of paranormal behaviors, describes a simple system of pulleys and weights, regulated using an escapement as in a grandfather clock, and points out that its operation as a free power source is elementary, pending only the success of his continued search for someone who has adequate control of a psychokinetic ability.
We wouldn’t want to claim that Uri Geller really doesn’t bend spoons with his mind until we have thoroughly scrutinized his act. Similarly, we would hesitate to say that Stephen North did not teleport objects in and out of sealed containers. A cautious approach to scientific proof requires that we scrutinize our own methods as carefully as we scrutinize our subjects. Scientists should be nearly as susceptible to states of heightened suggestibility as were audiences who thought they saw Ronnie Marcus bend spoons.