Chuck Harder's Response


The following is from Chuck Harder, host of For The People, in response to my references to him in my article.


Mr. Hoagland did indeed make fun of me for falling for the New York Times bit. To which I took full blame and stated that sadly it was impossible to check out the thousands of items we were getting per day. The local postmaster, Mr. T.D. Jenkins of the White Springs Post Office, will confirm that he delivered sacks of mail to us.

After I "owned up" to my mistake, which I did, Mr. Hoagland then wanted more and more airtime and more and more control. We at that time were getting dissenting voices from others and wished to stand back and take a "look see" at many of his claims.

Now I notice that you imply that we got rich by selling phony books. One of my fans owns a machine shop and did build the device and brought it in and showed that it did indeed work. He then stumbled upon a better way to transfer power from the armature by using a bath of mercury. Today there is much talk on that issue on the various energy government websites and a purported working model. While I do not have this site at this writing, I'll look back into it as it's a good show.

Mr. Richard Perez of Home Power magazine has filled Mr. Hoagland's shoes as Mr. Hoagland became more and more demanding, wanted money, and wanted to dictate program content.

I do remember that you had a standing offer of a payout if a paranormal event could be proven. Some time later a local police department documented how a local psychic showed them where a dead man was. When we asked you to pay them we were met with silence.*

Nobody is perfect. But I have tried hard to make science interesting to the masses without the nonsense that Art Bell brought to the venue.

Self-appointed experts like you never have an open mind. You know it all and there is no reason to bother confronting you with facts.


* Harder's letter to me of April 27, 1991, began as follows:

Please consider this my entry into your $1,000 challenge where you state [in the Tampa Bay Skeptics newsletter] you will pay $1,000 to ". . . anyone able to provide TBS with verifiable evidence of the existence of any paranormal phenomenon."

Attached is the United Press International report that was also carried in several newspapers including the Tampa Tribune around March 16. Without a doubt UPI is verifiable as is the event described. Unless TBS is a fraud I will expect my check.

The $1,000 check would have gone to the "psychic." But the article in question contains nothing remotely resembling the degree of scientific evidence required to prove that a genuine paranormal phenomenon must have occurred (these "clues" are rather typical fare in the "psychic sleuth" genre of readings). Nor did the police even opine that anything paranormal had occurred. The pertinent passages from the article:

Within minutes, [psychic Anne] Gehman told the man's family where to find his body -- in bushes under a bridge, near an area with cars, heavy traffic and a parking garage. Family members . . . went to an area where Harris sometimes walked, under the Interstate 395 overpass at Seminary Road, and spotted his feet sticking out from under a bush. . . . Police Cpl. Anthony Harper confirmed the man's body was discovered by family members. . . . Asked how he felt about the psychic's help, Harper said, "I have no comment on that."

Return to my Skeptical Look at Richard Hoagland