Thursday, 16 May 2013

Sceptics sceptical of techniques for determining egg states.

Last month the Word Egg throwing Federation made an appearance on Russell Howards Good News programme as the mystery guest.  Not surprisingly this raised our profile and we got a fair bit of response. Most of it very positive (a bit like reiki, I suppose).

However there was a bit of feedback from people who were sceptical of the use of reiki and auras in the distinction between raw and hard boiled eggs. 

Below is the E mail trail of one set of correspondence.  Federation members and/or reiki masters that wish to take the Sceptics up on their offer should PM me.  Caution, this is a long post.....

1st message

From: D J
To: "" <>
Sent: Friday, 10 May 2013, 15:43
Subject: Techniques for determining egg states.

Hi there!

I recently watched the episode of Russell Howard's Good News which featured one of the recent champions in India.

He spoke of using Reiki and Aura reading to determine the state of the eggs. I wondered if there were any other recognised techniques for working out if eggs are raw or hard boiled?

Thank you for any details you can provide.

Kind Regards,

D J  


On 10 May 2013, at 17:01, "" <> wrote:

Hello David,

There are many of telling boiled eggs from raw in this sport. Remember that you are not allowed to touch the eggs first. If you could you could shake them, listening for the sloshing sound, or spin them.  Here are the 8 most commonly used, there are more but we don't list them all. This list was prepared for a German TV question.


 Method 1. Reiki. The ancient art of healing by life force manipulation. It is quite possible by the trained person to feel the life force of the raw egg.

Method 2. Aura watching. The life force of the egg. Each living thing has an aura. Uncooked English eggs have a light blue aura, compared to a lighter blue if cooked.  Foreign eggs may be different.

Method 3. Dowsing. The ability to detect solids or fluids remotely. First recorded use is in Germany (so you may have an edge here) Does not necessarily rely upon a "twitch" stick but can be used with the aid of a pendulum. Now banned by the Catholic Association of American Bishops as "unchristian" or satanic

Method 4. Mathematical probability theory. Should one chose 1st or 2nd chooser. Chance of failure ether 6:1, 4:1, 2:1 or Safe, 5:1, 3:1, 1:1  

Method 5. Colour differential between cooked and raw eggs.

Method 6. Temperature differential. Tends to work less well as time passes since cooking process was undertaken.

Method 7. Positioning techniques of the applied subject. research suggests that some egg positioners do not use a random practice when placing the raw eggs within a container of 5 cooked eggs.

Method 8.Luck


See More

2nd  Email question.

From: D J

To: "" <>
Sent: Friday, 10 May 2013, 17:51
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.

Hi Mo,

Thanks for the reply.

A couple of questions immediately spring to mind! Do you, or many of the teams actually take methods 1,2 & 3 all that seriously? Do you just have them there to throw people off the scent?

While I don't really want to enter into a scientific discussion, I've never seen any good evidence for Reiki, Aura reading or dowsing.

If they are non-serious methods, now would be the time to admit it!

Kind Regards,



Hello again David,
A number of teams practice, with varying degrees of success, the methods mentioned.  Indeed Russell Howard when invited to feel the life force difference did say he could (despite I hazard a guess no having attempted this before or received any prior training) but I take it you don't approve.

Whilst I understand the scepticism displayed I am unsure of your reason for stating "now would be a good time to admit it".  The systems were listed, in no particular order of effect or reliability, but I note that in Hertfordshire there are well over 60 practicing "reiki masters" and indeed even some schools teaching the art.  As for aura viewing, this has been a hotly debated topic over many years and dismissed by sceptics.  The jury’s still out.  I too found some difficulty with dowsing, until I witnessed a rather fine demonstration of it. that I was unable to explain.  Perhaps the American Bishops have something?  I am unable to verify the abilities or belief of others, I also try not to decry their claims.  
Perhaps you might like to attend the World Championships in June to view the users or even take part. The event will hopefully raise around £10,000 for more scientifically approved things like Leukaemia Research, Hospice provision, The Red Cross, LIVES, Sailability etc etc.  

With kindest regards.


3rd mail

From: D J
To: "" <>
Sent: Saturday, 11 May 2013, 8:50
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.


Just to start with, "now would be a good time to admit it" wasn't meant as any kind of weird threat! This is something I plan to write about and I wanted to give you the option to admit it was in jest before I do so.

I'd like to cover a couple of point you've raised.

The amount of Reiki masters existing in a location doesn't actually make any difference to its effectiveness. It doesn't even speak to its popularity. It could be the case that all of those listed have other means of making money due to receiving no income from Reiki. In properly controlled, blinded tests, reiki is found to have no effect above placebo.

You say that aura reading has been "dismissed by sceptics", this isn't a fair assessment. It's been tested and studied and found that there is no evidence to suggest is exists. You can have an opinion on this if you want, but it would go against much scientific literature on the subject.

Dowsing is a fun one because the visual evidence can appear to be so compelling. I've seen dowsers, who fully believed in their abilities, put to the test under tightly controlled circumstances and our left speechless as to explain why they couldn't find the liquid. Something on Wikipedia for you to look at on this topic is the Ideomotor Effect.

It's important to remember that unexplained doesn't mean unexplainable and that your experience doesn't mean there isn't a simple solution.

I do plan on attending the World Championships in June with P H and I'm very much looking forward, for some reason I'm yet to fathom, smashing 6 month old raw egg on my face! 

I should also add that I admire the work you do for charity. Something I will be sure to bring up when I write about this. What I don't approve of is unscientific methods of determining the natured state of eggs on national television!

Kind Regards,


On 11 May 2013, at 22:44, "" <> wrote:

Hey David,

I should perhaps give you some back ground to how we first discovered that the three methods you doubt first came to our notice.

A few years ago, as we prepared for our inevitable inclusion in the Olympics, we sought recognition by the English Sports Council for our sport.  We duly submitted the required application (carefully missing out in case they used health and Safety objections that the targets used in target throwing and egg trebuchet were human).  After several months of careful consideration they wrote back saying that they could not accept our application because:

1. We are a World sport body and not just an English one.

2. We hadn't submitted accounts (despite us already saying we hadn't got any as we have no money, being sponsored by Swaton Show, and anyway all money we raise goes direct to charity. We don't even take expenses.

3. They couldn't accept that Russian Egg Roulette required any skill, what so ever. (Yeah, I know, unbelievable).

We, of course took all this on board and immediately changed our organisation title to the "World Egg Throwing Federation (incorporating the English Egg Throwing Federation)" and looked for ways that more skill could identified or be incorporated into the game.  Meanwhile we issued press releases stating that the English Sports Council had accepted that 4 out of 5 of our disciplines were recognised as legitimate sports.   There was, as you can imagine, much "hurumphing" by other sports fans around the world as this story circulated the globe twice in a matter of days. 

You may not be surprised that we then came across reiki, auras and dowsing.  Some players claimed that these (along with the other skills mentioned in the list already provided) clearly showed some sort of difficult to define skill.

Heres a video of it being attempted in India earlier this year. 

Whilst we were over there, again at our own expense, we did a tad of other stuff as well, inoculating some of the 200,000,000 under 5s that were treated that weekend as National Immunisation Day with polio vaccines.

Anyhow, we have thought for some time that there is some scepticism amongst a few people that reiki and other misunderstood process may or may not work.  We would therefore suggest that your group offer a challenge to reiki masters and others engaged in this type of work (i.e those that advertise their services for personal profit) to take part in the games.  We could then pit you two against "masters" to see whose skill (or luck as the case may be) comes out on top. 

I had heard of the ideomotor effect (but I didn't know it was called that).  Thanks for the link.  To ensure that this doesn't have any impact I would suggest that your choice of eggs is selected blind to ensure you arnt affected or secretly and unknowingly using one or more of the methods you seek to disprove.

How’s that sound?


4th mail

From: D J
To: "" <>
Sent: Monday, 13 May 2013, 20:04
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.

Hey Adrian,

So if I'm getting this right, the use of Reiki, Aura reading and Dowsing as a 'difficulty' or 'skill' element to your game, therefore making it more likely to be recognised as a sport. 
If so, that's an interesting and unique approach to gaining status as a sport! Not one I necessarily approve of. But I can work on that!

Myself and a couple of colleagues would be interested in putting together a test in order to verify some of the claims regarding these practices. If you're interested, we would like to work with you in order to design a study that we both agree is a fair test of these claims. As a starting point, we would need volunteers from within your fold of participants, who believe that reiki, aura reading and dowsing truly give them an advantage, who are in principal interested in the idea of being tested. 

We would probably need to design 3 different tests. This would also allow for participants that, maybe only believe that Aura reading works, without them needing to be tested in other ways if they don't feel there is anything to them. 

Ideally we would seek to have 2 or 3 volunteers test for each ability. This could mean as few as 2 or 3 people (if they wish to test there abilities in all 3 areas) or as many as 6 to 9. This will of course be conducted as no expense to yourselves.

We would be more than happy to come to the World Egg Throwing Championships this year to facilitate this testing. 

Kind Regards,



On 13 May 2013, at 21:05, "" <> wrote:

Who is Adrian?

You missed an important part of my mail. I said;  

"We would therefore suggest that your group offer a challenge to reiki masters and others engaged in this type of work (i.e those that advertise their services for personal profit) to take part in the games.  We could then pit you two against "masters" to see whose skill (or luck as the case may be)  comes out on top." 

I think also you failed to recognise that our Russian egg roulette players use one or more of the techniques I described in one of my earlier mails, the one we did for the Germans.  Also they are other methods in use that I haven't yet described (and nor will I as that may destroy the mystique).

So, we're happy to have you and your chums along but you need to gather together your own "Reiki Masters" fo your test. I hik a challenge by you, via the press, for suitable qualified single skill reikists  (is that a word?) should suffice.


5th mail

From: D J

To "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, 14 May 2013, 15:37
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.

Sorry about that! I was firing off a few emails and for some reason my brain decided you were called Adrian. A guess Andy would be more accurate?

I do appreciate the offer to potentially accommodate a test as you described. This, however, doesn't really address the issue of your organisation promoting and using these methods.
You are ones who are promoting the use of Aura reading, reiki and dowsing. As such I would expect that members of your organisation would be only too willing to offer a demonstration (under properly conducted trial conditions) of these abilities. The point that you use other methods doesn't take away from the point that you do use these. 

If I chose a new car based on the basis of a psychic reading and then also on its fuel consumption, I would still be using an unscientific method to effect my choice even if I also use something mathematically based, as well. It is the element of the unscientific that we are interested in testing and not the statistics.

I will again reiterate the offer as described in my last email. It would seem only fair to members of the World Egg Throwing Federation that you allow those who believe they have these abilities to test them. If they do believe that they can successfully use either Reiki, Aura reading or dowsing, then a demonstration of these abilities should be fairly straight forward and there should be no reason not to extend this offer to them.

Kind Regards,

Daniel ;-)


On 14 May 2013, at 16:02, "" <> wrote:

Look, we use a collection of methods to make full advantage of the signs and symptoms that are displayed by the egg to differentiate between the different states.  The conjoining of all these different signs/feeling and stuff enables top class players to in consistently.  Whereas, a true reiki master in a blind test would rely purely to one, reducing his/her chances dramatically if their reiki skill is not as pronounced.  That's why we suggest you use an independent reiki master for your test.  Seems fair to us.  

Meanwhile, if you want any pot holes filled in, give us a shout.


6th mail

From: D J
To: "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, 14 May 2013, 16:20
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.


 This is pure deflection and you must realise that. I made it clear in my last email why using any area that, in our opinion, isn't evidence based does matter.

I'm confused by your reluctance in this matter.  Surely it would be a fairly simple thing to be demonstrated by your members? Again I say, your federation are the ones promoting these methods to determine the state of eggs. Are you able to give me a reason why you won't allow members of the federation even the option to take part in a test of the nature previously laced out?

You are leading me to the concussion that you are worried that such tests would show no efficacy for these methods. You made the claims, you back them up with evidence. We are offering you the chance to get this evidence. If your members genuinely believe they have these abilities it would be straightforward for them to demonstrate them and would add legitimacy for your claim as a sport.


On 14 May 2013, at 16:36, "" <> wrote:

You’re missing the point that we use 8 or more separate skills in conjunction.  Reiki forms just a small part................  some rely upon auras more and others less. Others use the other 6 entirely and not the 1st two.   That's why you need a specialist reiki master for your test.

Are you sure you have no pot holes you want filling?   You didn't answer.

7th Mail

From: D J
To: "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, 14 May 2013, 17:56
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.


You are using methods as part of your decision making process that are not supported by evidence. This means that you are allowing these to effect your judgement. By combining statistical probability and eastern mystical systems of belief you allow for all appraisal to be impaired and effected. You are basing your decision making process on incomplete data.

Answer me this. Are you refusing to open this up to your members to allow them the option to be tested if they so wish? 



On 14 May 2013, at 18:27, "" <> wrote:
Of course not, indeed I would welcome your presence but whether any players agree to the test is up to them, that is why I suggested you find your own willing volunteer reiki master from the masses that advertise themselves from your neck of the woods.   Seems to  me that a challenge from the Skeptics to a fee charging "master" would have more draw than a Russian Egg Roulette player that uses many different skills (or not) to play his or her game.

Entrance fee is £4 per adult.  Bring your mates.  There’s a mixed variety of hot food, 400 vintage vehicles, a real ale beer tent, fun fair and terrier racing.   I'll do a discount is you get a bus load.   Have you got a trebuchet? (or a pot hole that needs fixing?)


8th mail

From: D J
To: "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, 14 May 2013, 19:29
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.


I totally agree it is up to them! All I require from you is to ask people if they are up to the challenge. We wouldn't be able to design a suitable trial without having the participation of participants in advance. There's no point designing a test that they turn up to and refuse to take because they don't agree with the protocols.

Surely the federation would be interested in promoting the most effective methods and a test of the three methods you have mentioned would only serve to better the community going forward. 

We would require some collaboration on your part, as the world federation, in one of a couple of ways. Either by promoting this offer to test (twitter/website etc) or by providing details of regional/national federations for us to contact. 

As a side, we are talking to our team about providing either a charitable donation or prize money to anyone testing well above the statistical range. Obviously the test has yet to be determined so no offer could be formalised at this time. 

Kind Regards,



On 15 May 2013, at 13:02, "" <> wrote:


Actually, the Federation has no specific interest in promoting what some would see as heretical "investigation" of the beliefs of others.  Whilst I appreciate your interest in the sport, which pits man against man, I fail to see why you should wish to impose your own, possibly fantastical, views upon others. The imposition of views onto others or "conversion for their own good" seems to, throughout recorded history, turned out badly.    

Indeed, the concept of Skeptisism was discussed last night at one of our regular Committee meetings.  At that, one of most esteemed scholars (an expert in the science of astrology) suggested that your extremist beliefs might actually be a test from a God or Gods.  He went on to explain that religion is a belief and that the God or Gods may be manipulating your "claimed scientific experiments" to come up with concepts in order to test your belief in them (the Gods).  He went on to say that you will surely roast in hell as you were clearly in the pay of Satan. I don't necessarily accept his view but he may have a point?  I may have to hedge my bets.

So before we go any further with this conversation, all I have is your name and presumed location in Hertfordshire, (a known hot bed of Reiki practisers).   How do I know you are a legitimate and ordained member of the Skeptic Society. You might be, if you'll excuse the description, some religious extremist fundamentalist sceptic nut, unwilling to accept the views of others unless they travel your true claimed path. Indeed your opening implied threat does give me some cause for concern.

He suggests some tests of your belief in skeptisism.

1. What was before the Big Bang?
2. What is the universe in?
3. What stops Neutrons from just drifting randomly off?
4. Could we are just be a computer programme running on Gods PC?
5. What happens if he (or she) presses Control/Alt/Delete? 
6. Do you like Star Trek?

I look forward to your responses.  


 9th Mail

From: D J
To: ""
Sent: Wednesday, 15 May 2013, 16:47
Subject: Re: Techniques for determining egg states.


I'll stick to the point here. So you are saying that you are not willing to open up the idea of a scientifically controlled test to your federation? That you are happy to control your membership's thoughts by not doing the simple task of facilitating this offer? 

I'll address your other points upon reply.

Kind Regards,


Last response today at 17:42

To D J


You're avoiding the points I make.  That's a typical avoidance issue used by those that don't like their beliefs being questioned and/or fear they will be disproved. But for your first point, the membership is being fully addressed, why would you doubt otherwise?

Meanwhile, we have thought of some more methods to determine egg state:

9. Prayer to a particular divine Entity and subsequent guidance received.            

10. Unknowing divine intervention leading a player to a particular egg overriding all other 9 methods:  This may be a raw egg as the Entity has other plans in mind. 


 We await D Js next E mail……

NB.  You’ll see that he still hasn’t mentioned if he wants a pot hole fixing.



No comments:

Post a Comment