Friday, 22 February 2013

Science versus Miracles: Cooking Rice in Cold Water

B Premanand

The tantrik claims that through his mental power he can cook rice in cold water. He fills rice in a vessel, pours water, places the lid over it and chants incantations. When he removes the lid, the rice is cooked and apparently steaming hot.

Experiment: 95

Effect:  Cooking rice in cold water.

Props: Aluminum vessel with lid, rice, quick lime from the kiln, and water.

Method: Mix beforehand 1:1 of rice and the lime. Show the rice to test whether it is raw or cooked. Pour the rice into the vessel and fill it with water two inches above the rice. Then close it with the lid. Chant incantations for a few minutes. The burnt lime generates heat when it comes into contact with water and it cooks the rice. Remove the lid and show that the rice is cooked and hot.

Experiment: 96

The tantrik claims to have powers to prevent anyone getting burnt. He places a towel on the head of a girl with plenty of hair. Then he makes a fire on her head, boils water over it and prepares tea. After the fire is removed, not even one hair is seen to have been burnt, nor the towel.

Effect:  Preparing tea with fire made on the head

Props: Tea making pan with handle, water, Turkish towel, wick on metal ring, kerosene, matchbox, tea leaves, milk and sugar.

Method: A Turkish towel is dipped in water and excess water squeezed out. The towel is folded and kept on the head of the girl. On the towel fire is made, using the wick ring dipped in kerosene and lit. The pan with water is held over the fire till the water boils. Then tea leaves, milk and sugar are added and given to the girl to drink. Remove the fire when the tea is made and also the towel. The audience will be surprised that nothing has happened to the head or hair of the girl or to the towel.

Here the principle of boiling water in a paper cup is used. Until the water in the wet towel evaporates, the towel, hair or head, will not burn.

Experiment:  97

Effect: Creating fruits which people ask for

The godman shows an empty vessel, keeps it on a table and asks his devo­tees one by one to name any fruit he wants. He puts his hand in the empty vessel and picks up the fruit and gives it to him.

Props: A table with three sides closed and a door at the back, with a hole big enough for any fruit to pass with a collapsible lid at the top of the table. All kinds of fruits stored below the table and an accomplice inside the table. A vessel with collapsible bottom large enough to pass fruits.

Method: Show the vessel empty and keep it on the hole portion of the table. The accomplice under the table moves the collapsible portion of the table and the vessel. Call the audience one by one and ask each as to what fruit he likes best and put your hand in the vessel while the accomplice would feed the fruit to you through the hole. Take it out from the vessel and present it to the person.

Experiment: 98

Effect: Cloth does not burn when lit.

A handkerchief, or a piece of cloth, is dipped in oil and set alight. Though one can see the fire, the cloth does not get burnt.

Props: Carbon Disulphide, Carbon Tetrachloride, cloth and matchbox.

Method: Take 1:1 of the chemicals and mix. Dip the cloth in this solution and light it immediately, holding the fire on the top. Extinguish the fire when the solution has burnt or evaporated. The cloth does not get burnt.

Similarly currency notes dipped in the solution can be set on fire without getting burnt. Practise first with paper (so that you do not lose the currency note) to know at exactly what point you have to extinguish the fire. Do not bring the lighted match too near the currency note.

Experiment: 99

Effect: A metal ring hangs by a thread even after the thread is burnt.

A thread is shown and a ring is tied to the lower end. Then the thread is lit and it bums, but the ring does not fall.

Props: Saturated solution of alum or salt, saturated solution of potassium nitrate, thread, light-weight aluminum ring and painting brush. 


About the fruit thing, how do they make out-of-season fruits also appear?

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