find the missing kidney (and heal my arm)


Anita Ikonen tries to intuit which one of five people on a stage is actually missing a kidney. She said she has successfully done this sort of thing in the past, and can also tell if a uterus is missing. Ikonen said she wanted to be tested by skeptics and if successful, maybe one day take on the JREF Million Dollar Challenge. On this day at the Amazing Meeting 8, she said she was pretty sure about which person was kidney-less, but mistakenly chose Derek Colanduno (co-host of the Skepticality podcast). Turns out the genuine article was Hal Bidlack, retired USAF officer. Hal discovered last year, via an x-ray and follow-up MRI, that he was born with only one kidney. Before making her choice, Ikonen had spent six minutes behind each of the people on stage, studying them and taking notes.

Photo by Dave Fayram

Ikonen wasn’t the only person claiming special powers. During one panel discussion a man stood up and asked James Randi if he could apply for the prize. He said he could reduce or eliminate both pain and numbness in the skin of an injured person. He mentioned mastectomy wounds in particular. Since I have a numb area where my arm was operated on twice, I found this man during a break and asked him to restore the feeling. He said he mainly works on the abdominal area of women, but he’d give it try.

He looked at me and made a couple motions with his hands, which were at his sides. Then he had me touch the affected area of my arm. Finally he asked if feeling had returned. To my utter amazement, there was no change at all. I told him it didn’t work and he reiterated that he mainly works on the female abdomen. He also had some double-talk about the difficulty of working with nerves severed in surgery or something like that.

So much for bursting open the world of medicine and physics and changing the world forever. Maybe he and Anita will be more successful at a later date. I hope they are. It’s also possible that thousands of brightly clothed leprechauns will burst out of your computer screen and do the chicken dance for you. You never know.


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