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Johnny Coulon - the Unliftable Man!
#1
I was interested to see this blog post on Johnny Coulon, a retired boxer, who made money by challenging people to lift him off the ground. Apparently it was all done by pressing against the person's vagus nerve:
http://spookology.net/2016/05/02/the-sec...table-man/

But what I thought was particularly interesting is that Coulon's act was also debunked by Melvin Harris, in his book "Investigating the Unexplained" (pp. 167-170). Harris's solution was taken from Joseph Rinn's book, "Sixty Years of Psychical Research". According to Rinn, the trick was that Coulon stripped to the waist and pretended to administer liberal amounts of talcum powder. But it was really powdered soapstone, and "When Johnny tensed his powerful stomach muscles, his powdered waist became as smooth as glass". 

Looking at the pictures and the film accompanying the blog post, which show several people struggling and failing to life a fully clothed Coulon, one has to wonder about Rinn's honesty and Harris's scepticism.
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#2
(10-11-2017, 03:54 PM)Chris Wrote: Looking at the pictures and the film accompanying the blog post, which show several people struggling and failing to life a fully clothed Coulon, one has to wonder about Rinn's honesty and Harris's scepticism.

What's even stranger, I now see that even at the point when he cites Rinn's explanation, Harris notes that "His book has many faults and inaccuracies".

But with the help of Google Image search, I did eventually manage to find just one photo of Johnny Coulon's act where he's stripped to the waist:
[Image: preview-6.jpg]
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#3
When I was in college one of the students in my dorm used to do a "trick" where you would extend your arm horizontally out to the side (with the elbow straight and the arm at the level of the shoulder) and he would press down on it asking you to try to resist the pressure. Then he would wave his hands rapidly close to your chest and stomach and tell you to extend your arm again. At that point it seemed impossible to resist at all - he could easily press your arm down. He said it was because when he waved his hands near your body he had disrupted your aura. 

Has anyone heard of this or know another explanation?
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
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#4
(10-13-2017, 10:11 AM)Jim_Smith Wrote: When I was in college one of the students in my dorm used to do a "trick" where you would extend your arm horizontally out to the side (with the elbow straight and the arm at the level of the shoulder) and he would press down on it asking you to try to resist the pressure. Then he would wave his hands rapidly close to your chest and stomach and tell you to extend your arm again. At that point it seemed impossible to resist at all - he could easily press your arm down. He said it was because when he waved his hands near your body he had disrupted your aura. 

Has anyone heard of this or know another explanation?

Yes, I've experienced something similar. When I was in primary school, some fellow students performed a similar trick on me and others. I forget the exact details of the trick - well, not entirely, but I can't be confident enough to describe them - it's possible it was exactly the same trick as you document, even if I seem to recall that the "waving of hands" was actually in this case a downward stroke of the hand from thorax to navel. In any event, as in your case, it had to do with resistance folding when some sort of motion was made to supposedly disrupt one's subtle/astral/auric energies. Whether that was the explicit explanation I can't recall, but it was at least implied, and the "trick" (method?) certainly worked, at least on me. As I was "just a kid" at the time and had little idea of what was considered "anomalous", I didn't think much of it and kind of just forgot about it. Thinking back, it was more significant than I realised when it happened.

Possible other explanation: the initial attempt to test my resistance was deliberately underplayed by the trickster to make it seem that I had more resistance at the start than I genuinely had. Given how long ago this trick was played on me, I find it hard to assess the plausibility of this alternative explanation.
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#5
(10-13-2017, 10:11 AM)Jim_Smith Wrote: When I was in college one of the students in my dorm used to do a "trick" where you would extend your arm horizontally out to the side (with the elbow straight and the arm at the level of the shoulder) and he would press down on it asking you to try to resist the pressure. Then he would wave his hands rapidly close to your chest and stomach and tell you to extend your arm again. At that point it seemed impossible to resist at all - he could easily press your arm down. He said it was because when he waved his hands near your body he had disrupted your aura. 

Has anyone heard of this or know another explanation?

Apparently there is a kind of textbook on how to perform tricks like these:
https://books.google.com/books?id=mDisBgAAQBAJ
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