India

Hard Time Killing Fraud

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When a prominent Indian politician said her political opponents had put a black magic spell on her, one of India's largest Hindu TV stations invited Indian rationalist Sanal Edamaruku to debate black magic shaman Pandit Surinder Sharma on science and religion. That's where it got interesting:

During the discussion, the tantrik showed a small human shape of wheat flour dough, laid a thread around it like a noose and tightened it. He claimed that he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes by using black magic. Sanal challenged him to try and kill him.

The tantrik tried. He chanted his mantras (magic words): "Om lingalingalinalinga, kilikili…." But his efforts did not show any impact on Sanal – not after three minutes, and not after five. The time was extended and extended again. The original discussion program should have ended here, but the "breaking news" of the ongoing great tantra challenge was overrunning all program schedules.

[…]

He started sprinkling water on Sanal and brandishing a knife in front of him. Sometimes he moved the blade all over his body. Sanal did not flinch. Then he touched Sanal's head with his hand, rubbing and rumpling up his hair, pressing his forehead, laying his hand over his eyes, pressing his fingers against his temples. When he pressed harder and harder, Sanal reminded him that he was supposed to use black magic only, not forceful attacks to bring him down. The tantrik took a new run: water, knife, fingers, mantras. But Sanal kept looking very healthy and even amused.

After nearly two hours, the anchor declared the tantrik's failure. The tantrik, unwilling to admit defeat, tried the excuse that a very strong god whom Sanal might be worshipping obviously protected him. "No, I am an atheist," said Sanal Edamaruku. Finally, the disgraced tantrik tried to save his face by claiming that there was a never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction, which could, however, only been done at night. Bad luck again, he did not get away with this, but was challenged to prove his claim this very night in another "breaking news" live program.

The never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction didn't work, either. Sharma couldn't even muster a case of the sniffles.

NEXT: Ashley Dupre: Slave?

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  1. This is madness!

  2. Edamaraku Wins Spelling Contest!

  3. Why can’t we get quality TV like this in America? That’s good television, folks. Live magic rituals to kill the non-believing heathen. Man, no wonder I never watch anything but Good Eats.

  4. The tantrik clearly does not have enough midi-chlorians.

  5. The never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction didn’t work, either.

    Whew, that was close one. Now, about that black hole some lab is attempting to create . . .

  6. The problem isn’t that Black Magic failed.

    True Black Magic has never really been tried.

    That’s why Sharma failed.

  7. It’s completely ridiculous that anyone would believe superstitious nonsense like this.

    Signed,

    Christian Americans who send money to faith healers.

  8. After reading the sentence that said “The tantrik, unwilling to admit defeat, tried the excuse that a very strong god whom Sanal might be worshipping obviously protected him.”, I thought that I should make a post talking about how Science/Reason are just powerful Gods like the other Gods that people worship and then going from there into an argument about how Intelligent Design needed to be taught in Biology classes but couldn’t figure out an elegant way to do it.

  9. No no Joe— another black magician protected Edamarku to humiliate Sharma.

    The possible excuses are endless!

  10. Well clearly Pandit Surinder Sharma is a sham shaman. This only proves that he is misrepresenting himself as a black magic shaman. Real black magic shamans would of course have no problem causing anyone they like to drop dead using only the dark forces. Of course real black magic shaman don’t need to hype themselves on television [/sarcasm]

  11. Well of course it failed. The day that Gary Gygax passed away is the day that the magic died.

    Bye, bye, miss American pie….

  12. This reminds me of the homeopathic mass suicide attempt in Belgium, in which several skeptics took massive “overdoses” of homeopathically-prepared poisons. They all somehow managed to survive.

  13. I hope the Shamans’ Association revokes his certification.

  14. well, if all you geniuses want to be super-rational, let me expose the logical fallacy you ALL have made:

    this one guy failed, so that means every guy would fail

    Or to take it further:

    this guy’s “magic” didn’t work, so there is no “magic”

  15. Alternatively, this is just a modern version of 1 Kings 18:16-40.

    As such, it not only completely destroys this modern-day priest of Baal’s credibility, but it’s proof of YHWH’s power of prophecy that he was able to predict this happening well over 3000 years ago!

    Yeah, that one is much better.

  16. Imagine the reaction if Edamaruku had, through sheer coincidence, suffered a massive heart when the shaman cast his “spell.”

  17. The shaman should have dosed him with tetrodotoxin.

  18. “The never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction didn’t work, either.”

    A Special Congressional Resolution would do the trick.

  19. I knew that guy was no magician as soon as I saw that. The hosptial gown is a dead giveaway.

  20. It would be funny if dude went into this supremely confident in his abilities, only to have his delusions bump up against solid reality…on live TV…twice.

    Oh, the humanity.

  21. My initial post was related to the Gerard Butlerness of the guy pictured on the left.

  22. >>one of India’s largest Hindu TV stations

    I think you mean “one of India’s largest Hindi TV stations”.

  23. well, if all you geniuses want to be super-rational, let me expose the logical fallacy you ALL have made:

    Prior to your post, Democratic Republican, not one poster made the logical fallacy you accused them of. In fact, the only person who made anything approaching a logical fallacy was you.

    The only thing any poster has so far done is to ridicule someone richly deserving it.

    Which is a perfectly sensible – if not logical – thing to do.

  24. PL: I thought I was going to have to say to you: “THIS IS SPARTA!”

    *kick*

  25. Sanal is an atheist, so he was already dead inside before the tantrik got to work.

  26. this one guy failed, so that means every guy would fail

    You’re oversimplifying. The position is closer to this:

    There is no reliable evidence that magic works or has ever worked, nor is there any coherent mechanism under which it could do so; it is therefore entirely unsurprising — and completely rational to expect — that this one guy (like all others before him) would fail.

  27. And this has what to do with libertarianism? Oh, right, it ridicules the ridiculous wing of religion, something that appears to be a central cosmotarian tenet.

    No wonder libertarians can’t get even a congressman elected: we don’t know how to pick our battles.

  28. madpad, jake

    You’re feeding the troll.

  29. Aw, come off it jj.

    It’s too early to drink.

  30. sage,

    Well, I expected someone to say it. That dude in the robes is definitely getting kicked into a pit.

  31. this guy’s “magic” didn’t work, so there is no “magic”

    Tell you what, you demonstrate some “magic” that works, and I won’t consider you to be a total fucking moron.

  32. What was that pit, anyway? The pit of Spartan diplomacy? How did the ambassador happen to be standing next to it? Is it mobile, like the portable holes one can procure from Acme?

  33. You’re feeding the troll.

    Guilty as charged; I posted that before I spotted his “contributions” in another active thread. I’ll try to remember to ignore him from here on out.

  34. I smell a WWF smackdown. Peter Popoff vs. Pandit Surinder Sharma.

    I keel you.
    I HEAL you.
    I keel you.
    I HEAL you.

  35. The shaman should have stabbed him to death, then pointed out that practicioners of black magic also lie.

  36. “And this has what to do with libertarianism? Oh, right, it ridicules the ridiculous wing of religion, something that appears to be a central cosmotarian tenet.”

    I think it’s more hostility to the whole “I have these demons who do what I tell them to and if you don’t pass a law banning gay marriage (or whatever) then I will have them kill you or, at least, start a hurricane that will destroy Walt Hindi World” thing that springs up from time to time.

  37. Another victory for the Religion of Secularism!

  38. You have to be Shaman like William Shatner to do real black magic!

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=613

  39. After seeing this item, we clearly need a Christopher Hitchens/John Hagee cage match on American TV. I’d watch it.

  40. And this has what to do with libertarianism? Oh, right, it ridicules the ridiculous wing of religion, something that appears to be a central cosmotarian tenet.

    No wonder libertarians can’t get even a congressman elected: we don’t know how to pick our battles.

    Exactly.

    *Resumes drawing pentagram with goat’s blood around effigy of John McCain while chanting.*

  41. The condition that the shaman not use physical means really was a crippling handicap.

    Firstly, the tantrik was unable to go all Mola Ram on the atheist and rip his heart out through his chest. Which he totally could have done, especially with no goddam Short Round to interfere.

    Secondly, had that somehow failed, the tantrik would have used the magic known as ‘sweep the leg’, which never ever fails.

  42. Good one, Jon H. Thanks for the laugh.

    Mola Ram.

  43. Got a black magic shaman
    Got a black magic shaman
    Got a black magic shaman
    But he’s so blind he can’t see
    That a black magic shaman
    Oughta be able to kill me.

  44. “Sharma is a sham shaman”

    Try saying *that* three times fast!

  45. mmmmm…..shawarma

  46. So was the shaman arrested for attempted murder?

  47. Alternatively, this is just a modern version of 1 Kings 18:16-40.

    As such, it not only completely destroys this modern-day priest of Baal’s credibility, but it’s proof of YHWH’s power of prophecy that he was able to predict this happening well over 3000 years ago!

    I feel so violated!

  48. Didn’t John Stossel do something like this a few years ago with some New Orleans hoodoo man?

  49. This gives me an inexplicable urge to listen to Suicidal Tendencies.

    …give meee your moneyyyy…

  50. Alternatively, this is just a modern version of 1 Kings 18:16-40.

    Uh, not exactly. That would only be true if Sanal had killed the shaman through the power of atheism. Elijah’s “experiment” with the priests of Baal was not just a negative result.

  51. …give meee your moneyyyy…

    Actually, that would be “send me your money.”

    Now if you can only send a dollar or two,
    There ain’t a hell of a lot I can promise to you.
    But if you wants to see heaven’s door,
    Make out a check for five hunert dollars or more!

  52. Om lingalingalinalingakilikili on all of you!

  53. Dammit, foiled by my nemesis sage. *shakes fist*

  54. He should have casted Corp Por or Kal Vas Flam

  55. For those of you who have no idea what we’re talking about. Robert Trujillo is fucking awesome, by the way.

  56. Clearly the error here is which god the shaman is worshipping .

  57. At least it wasn’t snakes. I hate snakes…

  58. Agreed, Warty. Not sure I’ve seen/heard much from him since he joined Metallica. Kinda lost track of them after Art of Rebellion.

  59. I think it fits: libertarianism is, to me, about freedom from the specter of authoritarian forces that use fear, superstition, and misinformation to control you.
    Not like libs should be tinfoil-hat freaks or anything; it’s pursuit of truth and what *actually works*, instead of dogmas, right? Like the superhero The Question, right?

  60. this proves the bastard Jesus is really God, right???

  61. I would have freaked out if a Shaman started waving a knife in my face. I saw people on Bullshit claiming to bend spoons with their mind, who then grabbed both ends of the spoon with their hands and bent them, then claimed success. They claimed that the mind bending made it really easy.

    I wouldn’t expect a guy who believes he could kill me with black magic to behave any more rationally.

  62. This only proves Edamarkuku’s power level was clearly over 9000.

    Also, “never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction” is extremely worthy of a meme.

  63. That must have been one intense psychic battle… pew, pew, pew… “I got you!”, “nuh-uh”……

  64. So there are charlatans out there. Big deal.

    This does nothing to disprove the existence of the “supernatural” (actually natural phenomena which are beyond the scope of current empirical science) to those who have experienced it.

  65. NO YOU TUBE LINK?????

    PLEEEEEEEEEEESSSEEEEEEEE????

  66. The tantrik, unwilling to admit defeat, tried the excuse that a very strong god whom Sanal might be worshipping obviously protected him.

    This could be true.

    I for instance worship the symbiotic alien that possessed Nick Gillespie and created his indestructible black sideburns and leather jacket.

    Dude’s goatee could be related.

  67. I am somehow proud and deeply embarrassed by my species, both at once. And I agree with Gilmore, a ‘tube link would make it so much more cringe-worthy.

  68. This does nothing to disprove the existence of the “supernatural” (actually natural phenomena which are beyond the scope of current empirical science) to those who have experienced it.

    Your statement is true.

  69. THIS IS SPARTA!

  70. green mamba | March 24, 2008, 5:17pm | #

    So there are charlatans out there. Big deal.

    This does nothing to disprove the existence of the “supernatural” (actually natural phenomena which are beyond the scope of current empirical science) to those who have experienced it.

    Chuck | March 24, 2008, 6:25pm | #

    This does nothing to disprove the existence of the “supernatural” (actually natural phenomena which are beyond the scope of current empirical science) to those who have experienced it.

    Your statement is true.

    However, those who have not experienced it would appreciate it if you would either produce verifiable proof that you have done so or shut up until you can.

  71. Accepting the challenge from what’s his face, only proves that sooner or later, self agrandization will soon make a damned ass of those of that ilk. We all know ya cain’t fix stoopad.

  72. This does nothing to disprove the existence of Mordor, and its secret evil plot to take over not just Middle-Earth, but all of Earth!

    And yet when I start yakking about elves and wizards, people look at me funny. Often the exact same people who yak about God and psychic powers with exactly the same amount of justification. Why is that?

    😀

  73. Damn noob shammies. All he had to do was spam frost-shock.

  74. Gilmore,

    The whole program is video-recorded and is available. If you want a copy, please contact:

    info_desk@rationalistinternational.net

  75. Wow! And I thought I felt violated in my 2:24 post.

    Just read some of these comments!

  76. Maybe if he tried hard enough, he could have used all the air in the room and he would have suffocated. Now that would be amazing.

  77. Masticator | March 24, 2008, 3:00pm | #
    Uh, not exactly. That would only be true if Sanal had killed the shaman through the power of atheism.

    Which begs that question, could he have shot the Shaman in self-defense? 🙂

    I shot the shaman,
    but I swear it was in selfdefense
    I shot the shaman.
    Now they say this is a capital offense!

  78. Of course I meant “which begs the question”.

  79. I challenge him to a Black Magic show down.

  80. OMG did you hear…at 9:15pm edt Sanal Edamaruku was found dead in his apartment

    perhaps there is somethign to this

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