Extracts from two letters published in the psychic press.
From Psychic News, March 10th, 2001
As our Hon. Secretary, Professor John Poynton, says opinions about the genuineness of the physical phenomena, which my colleagues and I describe in our very lengthy Report differ, both within and outside the Council of the SPR. No doubt there may be people who think all or some of the evidence is fraudulent. If so, they have yet to publish or provide the authors of the Report with a shred of hard evidence to support that view. They have had more than a year (and every opportunity and incentive) to do so. The reservations of our three principal critics were printed alongside the Scole Report. None either produced such evidence or made the specific charge of fraud. They were concerned to point to the possibilities of fraud in relation to a number of specified events.
Along with virtually everyone who has corresponded with or talked to me about the Report, my colleagues and I consider our rejoiner to these reservations dealt pretty conclusively with those criticisms, both in the Report itself and subsequently in the Study Day held to debate it. Indeed, only one person who claims to have read the Report has written to me in the belief that it was obviously fraudulent, and he did not attend the Study Day when Professor David Fontana and I, as well as a number of members of the audience, gave examples to show the feebleness of the fraud hypothesis when matched against actual evidence. Virtually all my other correspondents have been profoundly impressed by the Report.
What is depressing about the critics is their willingness to construct an upturned
pyramid of hypotheses and speculations, all balanced on one improbable assumption
after another. What is so remarkable is their unwillingness to accept the oft-
From Psychic World, June 2001
... As the principal author of the Scole Report, and the person who has borne the
brunt of criticisms from colleagues, perhaps I could comment on Mr Zammit's attack
on Professor Poynton's references, in an extempore radio interview, to magicians'
claims. I have no doubt that some magicians, particularly those who have taken the
trouble to remain in ignorance of the Report, will say that all claims of physical
paranormal phenomena can be explained by clever deception. However, only two persons
with professional qualifications and long experience in illusionism have offered
public comments. One was Dr Richard Wiseman, a colleague who is a noted sceptic.
He had no opportunity to attend any sittings of the group, but his observations were
extremely circumspect. He pronounced the report as a whole to be "very impressive"
and, at the Study Day meeting where the newly issued Report was discussed confined
his remarks to explaining how undesirable it was to have anything happen in darkness,
that the absence of infra-
The only other qualified magician, Mr Webster, attended three sittings, well before
our entry onto the scene. He was and remains quite clear that what he experienced
could not have been fake. Another critic, Mr Comell, went to much trouble to show
how certain Polaroid pictures produced when I was experimenter in charge could have
been faked, and how a so-