|Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society|
|About the Russian X-ray Girl|
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If readers go to http://www.csicop.org they will see links to two of the articles about Russian X-ray girl Demkina:
The summaries are following:
«Can a seventeen-year-old girl truly "see" inside a person's body? Ray Hyman and colleagues conducted tests to search for the truth inside The Girl with X-Ray Eyes.»
«Many people in Russia and the United Kingdom believe a teenage girl can identify diseases in patients better than their physicians. Investigators who tested the medical psychic for a Discovery Channel program don't agree.»
And what think Russian skeptics and scientists about this?
In the ironic book of Petr Obraztsov «The ABC's of Shambaloids»*, published in Russia in 2005 it says the following:
Natasha Demkina is hardly the first of a series of «I can see through you» people. Roza Kuleshova, who supposedly had «skin vision» but in reality was just doing ordinary peeking, became the best known in the USSR in the 1960s. Professional tricksters, and not scientists, need to be enlisted to unmask such «marvels». The famous prestidigitator Arutyun Akopyan easily repeated Kuleshova's tricks.
It is suspicious that her father does not appear in publications about Demkina. It is suspicious because usually children from unhappy families and broken homes with mothers having wounded pride and terrible ambition display «supernatural» abilities.
Here is what one respected newspaper wrote.
«Up to now it is a riddle for the Demkina family where this gift came from. It is possible that an unsuccessful operation served as the catalyst to insight. Natasha's appendix was removed. However, when it came time to discharge her from the hospital the girl could not straighten up. It turned out that the impatient doctors had forgotten to remove a swab from the intestinal cavity. They put Natasha back on the operating table and removed the sutures. And a month later she shocked her mother with her discoveries. There is a corrugated hose/tube like a vacuum cleaner, two pods, and a «bovine heart» tomato inside you. She then still did not know what the human organs are called.
staff of the children's polyclinic conducted several experiments and were convinced of the girl's abilities.»
Were the doctors conducting the experiments the same ones who forgot the swab in Natasha?…
The mass media took great interest in the girl and poured out articles about her gift. Finally a sponsor was found who took her to England, where she underwent testing. But nothing came of it. They were unable to deceive the English doctors.
Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Evgeny Alexandrov (Saint-Petersburg) wrote.
I read the article about Demkina in SI. I read it and all the time cursed myself for reading it because time and effort is needed to do this and this story is as old as the world, as old as Joan of Arc. The curtained lass also fabricated that she had visions of a religious and messianic nature. Another maiden with an obvious psychopathic nature concocted that the Devil had visited her or that her father had raped her. A third reported what kind of revelations she had had and what kind of wondrous abilities burst out.
The SI articles are good. Good work has been done but in such a "politically correct" tone which in principle accepts all these "paranormalities". The girl got 4 hits but 5 were agreed on. Not a victory, but also not a defeat! It means that the book was not closed and that there should be a continuation! This is research in the spirit of the end of the 19th century when in principle all miracles were accepted, but good research by scientists should separate truth from invention. But such a formulation of the question opens up very broad room for the fantasies of common charlatans relying on the limitless credulity of the public. But knowledge has not stood still since those times. Today we know much more than in the 19th century about what can be and what can't. Why do we return to that century all the time?
I would have advised this X-ray girl to get married. (Personally, in my opinion, she will also make a fuss about this, drawing attention to herself). But the actions of her mother and friends even constitute a violation of the criminal statute about swindles. However, I am afraid that they won't. The mass media won't permit it, for they feed on such sensations.
* The word «shambloids» is a synonym of the word «mythmakers» (those who make up modern myths in order to deceive credulous people with their aid) and is formed from the name of the country of Shambala, from whose caves came all of mankind and where its «gene pool» is preserved forever, in the version of one Muldashev.
Prepared for publication by Gennady Shevelev
Translated by Gary Goldberg
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