B. Premanand, Convener,
Indian CSICOP, 10, Chettipalayam Road,
Podanur 641 023. (Tamilnadu) INDIA.
Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson,
University of Iceland, Faculty of Social Science,
101, Reykjavik, ICELAND.
I thank you for your letter of 7th inst. As required by you, I have sent by seperate Book Post Air Mail the following books:
1. Lure of Miracles
2. The story of Godmen Gold & Diamond Smuggling
3. Satya Sai Baba and Gold Control Act in two parts.
I was wanting to read your research paper on Mr.SSB since 1976, when a portion of the thesis was published in BLITZ Weekly to suit the propagation of Mr.SSB, Though I wrote to the Editor of the Weekly for your address, he asked me to contact Mr.SSB's Ashram, and as usual they kept silent over my letter. About your thesis I have discussed in page 58 of my book "Lure of Miracles" with what little information I had got from the article.
From your observation, you will know that Mr.SSB produced objects by the movement of his hand. Without the movement of the hands and the body it is not possible to make the audience believe that their hands are empty though the objects to be produced are in their hands or on their body and without the movement of the hands, it is not possible to take them from the concealed place in the hand or the body and produce them as if they are produced from nothing. Our senses cannot watch or see the things from different angles which are concealed because of the particular movement of the hands hides that is concealed. But video films if taken from all the six sides will give out the clue of such productions. That is why the godmen donot permit filming them in close quarters or permit instrumented observations with movie cameras.
If you try to answer the following questions which I have based on your findings, you will come to the true conclusion whether the appearances and disappearances of objects in the presence of Mr. Satya Sai Baba are psi phenomena or sleight of hand tricks.
1. who are the number of persons, including Indian Research Scientists, with whom you had lengthy interviews, who had observed or experienced psychic phenomena of various kinds which they atributed to Mr. Satya Sai Baba?
2. Can you send me a detailed report of those interviews?
3. When Mr.SSB claims himself to be "sarva Daivatva Swaroopa" the incarnation of all the gods - and when he claims that his powers are not acquired like the powers of the Psychics which diminishes when a skeptic enters or watches the phenomena, but are inherent in him, why he should move his hands like a magician to produce objects or to make the objects disappear?
4. Has he ever produced any objects or made them disappear by keeping his hands stretched with empty palms up and without moving the hands, or keeping the object on the palm and without moving or closing the palm made the object disappear?
5. Have you investigated into the psychokinetic powers (such as materializations, teleportations, and healing, various forms of extrasensory perception and out of body projections collectively perceived? Can you give the names of the persons with whom you discussed on these and were these their personal experiences?
6. Is there a single case of healing duly instrumented with the case history of the patient from the beginning and the cure, and whether there has been a follow-up after they were cured till their death? The only case history which was followed up after the person was said to have been cured of cancer is discussed in the book "BABA" by Schulman, but the person died of cancer.
7. Why did Mr.SSB reject your bid for formal experiments, with the comment that he would only use his paranormal powers for religious purposes such as helping his devotees when they are in dire need or for invoking faith in hitherto agnostic persons, but never for purely demonstrative purposes? If his purpose was to invoke faith in hitherto agnostic persons, then why did not he agree for the formal experiments?
8. Have you a photograph of the arm chair which Mr.SSB uses while in the interview room?
9. Have you filmed his movements before he produced anything?
10. Did you notice hand kerchiefs or towels with him or brought to him to wipe his hands clean whenever he produced vibhuthi or an object?
11. If it was not for demonstrative purposes why did he produce the rudraksha and vibhuti for you?
12. Why did Mr.SSB want to give a present to EH?
13. Why did he want to cover the rudraksha with gold Shields on both sides and a gold cross with a small ruby fixed on it?
14. If it was for the purpose of invoking faith in hitherto agnostic persons why did not the gold shield etc., appear on the rudraksha when it was in the hands of E.H.?
15. Why did Mr.SSB have to enclose the rudraksha between both his hands to get it covered with gold shield etc.?
16. Why did he not produce the gold shield etc., keeping the rudraksha in open palm and without moving the palm or closing the palms?
17. Why did Mr.SSB get impatient when you tried to persuade him to participate in some controlled experiments when one of the purposes of his miracles, is to invoke faith in agnostic persons?
18. Instead of making the enamelled picture on ring disappear without the knowledge of K.O. why did not Mr.SSB ask all to look at the ring and see the enamelled picture and then make it disappear from the ring while on the finger of K.O.?
19. Of what material is the enamelled picture made of?
20. From what material is the enamelled picture produced by Mr. SSB on a different ring, made of?
21. Was it that only the picture vanished or the oval shaped material on which the picture was printed also vanished?
22. When Mr.SSB could make the enamelled picture disappear while the ring was on the finger of K.O., why did he not bring it back on the ring also, while it was on the finger of K.O.?
23. Why did he have to close his fingers around the ring in his palm and blow on it to produce the enamelled picture on a ring?
24. Why did not the enamel picture appear on the ring which K.O. handed over to Mr.SSB without closing his fingers around the ring on his palm and why did he have to produce another different ring with the enamelled picture instead the same ring with the enamelled picture?
25. How did you come to the conclusion that it was the same enamelled picture which was lost?
26. Was there any distinguishing mark to prove that it was the same enamelled picture?
27. Why had the ring to be different than the one handed over to Mr.SSB by K.O. unless Mr.SSB exchanged it while closing his fingers around the ring while bringing it to about six inches from his mouth and blowing over the hand?
28. Why did Mr.SSB have to wave his hand and open his fist to produce a ring for Mr.Kristal?
29. Why Mr.SSB could not produce a ring on an empty palm, without waving his hand and opening his fist if he really could create or materialise a ring?
30. Why did Mr.SSB have to wave his hand again for two or three seconds, turn palm down and quickly close it to produce the bulky necklace which was about 20 to 29 inches and contained a variety of different kinds of stones inter-spaced by small golden pieces attached to it with a picture of SSB surrounded by a golden rosette frame about 2" in diameter? Could he not produce it on bare palms without waving his hand turned palm down and quickly closing it?
31. Why did Mr.SSB have to wave his hand in a few quick, small circles his open palm turned downward to produce vibhuthi? If he really had inherent powers to create anything from nothing as he claims, why he did not produce atleast ash on his empty palms held up without waving his hand in a few quick, small circles,unless he had hidden tablets of ash in his palm?
32. When Mr.SSB claims that his powers are inherent, and not like the powers of the psychics which are acquired, why did he not permit you to observe under conditions which would exclude all possible normal causes?
33. When you were prepared to make instrumented observations with movie cameras and small sealed or locked enclosures wherein you hoped the objects would appear, which would have once for all silenced the skeptics and agnostics and would have invoked faith in him, why were you told not to use these in Mr.SSB's interview room?
34. Why did he not permit you to film him at a close enough range for decisive analysis if his claims were true?
35. With whom all did you enquire before you came to the conclusion that no one could offer you first hand observations supporting the hypothesis that Mr.SSB produced the objects by sleight of hand?
36. Did you contact any of the members of our committee or the Rationalist Associations in India, before you came to this conclusion?
37. Have you gone through all the news paper reports for the past forty years which questioned Mr.SSB of his claims of creating anything from nothing and those who duplicated the acts of Mr.SSB to expose him?
38. Who are the persons whom you met and who had had even just one meeting with him reported having observed some ostensible materialization phenomena?
39. Where all did you search for any one who claimed personal observations indicative of SSB having produced the objects by normal means?
40. What are the reports of the occurrence of other psi phenomena such as ESP over distance, giving messages in dreams, healing, out of body projections collectively perceived and PK of heavy objects which lead you to regard SSB's phenomena as possibly paranormal?
41. Can you explain in detail the 21 appearances and disappearances of objects you observed at close range, giving all the happenings before and after such phenomena, and the circumstances in which they appeared or disappeared?
42. What are the production of objects apparently in response to a specific situation or on the direct demand of the visitors?
43. Who are the witnesses who testified as to such occurrences?
44. Did you verify them with the people who got such objects from Mr.SSB? Do you know their addresses?
45. Do you know that Dr. S.Bhagwantam has already left Mr.SSB coming to know of his fraud?
46. What are the paranormal phenomena that Dr. S.Bhagwantam, Dr. D.K.Banerji, Dr. P.K.Bhattacharya, Dr. K.Venkatesan and Dr. V.K.Gokak had observed in variety of circumstances and told to you?
47. Do you know that ash in tablet form will not soil the robe which can be palmed and produced as powder by the waving of hand and by manipulation of the fingers?
48. Who are the college teacher and her psychologist husband who witnessed ash being produced in large quantities two palms held together filled with ash? Can you narrate what all Mr.SSB did before producing the ash?
49. Who were the witnesses of production of large objects - a bowl, the size of a dinner plate, and a basket of sweets 20" in diameter. Can you detail the production and what he did to produce them?
50. What are the Indian sweets and goods cooked in butter Mr.SSB produced. For whom did he produce? Did Mr.SSB's hand get soiled when he produced them? How many or how much did he produce at one time in his palm?
51. For whom did Mr.SSB produce Oil? What Oil? What was the quantity he produced? Did the oil drip from his palms? Or was it in a bottle or a vessel? Can you explain the whole scene?
52. Who was the medical doctor who observed Amrita coming out of Mr.SSB's hand? What was the quantity?
53. Who recommended you the name of Douglas Henning as one of the most knowledgeable magicians in the world?
54. Can you send me a copy of the movie on Mr.SSB which Mr.Henning viewed while discussing your observations of objects appearing and disappearing, for my evaluation?
55. What are the objects which Mr.SSB produced upon demand and to whom were they presented? Where has these been published?
56. Do you know that Douglas Henning has now joined the band wagon of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the TM fame and is propagating that by practicing TM one could levitate? Do you know that even Mahesh Yogi has not so far shown himself levitating and what his disciples are doing is only frog jumping?
57. Do you know that Dr. Eruch Fanibunda, is an accomplice of Mr.SSB and I have a long correspondence with him for clarification of some incidents published by him in his book, and when he found that his reply would bring out the truth, he abruptly stopped the correspondence and refused my letters sent to him by post?
58. Can you send me all the photographs which you took when you visited Mr.SSB and also the copy of the un-edited movie on Mr.SSB of his production of objects and disappearance for my evluation?
59. How did Dr. Sabnani from Hong Kong and Mrs. L.Hirdaramani from Ceylon whom you had met for the first time during the interview came to know about the ring which was presented to K.O.? and they had observed the ring with picture on K.O's left hand before the picture disappeared?
60. Did you make any enquiry about them as to for how many years they had been Mr.SSB's followers and why they joined him?
61. Before coming to the conclusion that the most impressive incident you personally observed was the disappearance of the enamel picture of SSB from K.O's ring, did Mr. K.O. go into the incidents of one day before it was lost and of the day in which it was lost as to anyone wanting to know about the ring, or to see the ring?
62. Why did it take two days for Mr.SSB after the enamel picture was lost, to ask Mr. K.O. whether he wanted the picture back?
63. Do you know that Mr.SSB's father's younger brother was a street magician and acted as a Tantrik (sorcerer)?
64. That Mr.SSB was also doing the magic tricks and sorcery in his younger days?
No god man in the history of man kind has so far produced anything by showing his hand empty and open and without moving the hand and his body.
As your work is pure research without any bias, for or against paranormal phenomena, I shall be happy to receive your answers to the above questions. And if you have plans to do further research on Mr.SSB and intent visiting India again, I shall be happy to meet you.
With my best wishes and waiting to hear from you,
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Last update: 18. September 1998