“Psychic Secrets of the Russians and the Shape of Content 1983”

Winter 2011 was of tremendous significance in the realm of psychic snowboard experimentation and time travel. Even though the conditions under which we operated were far from acceptable from the view of basic scientific standards. Tests were frequently carried out at our own home or in hotel rooms; no tight controls were ever applied, owing to the fact that a demonstration might take several hours of preparation and even then, there wasn’t any guarantee of success.

Also, when anyone who has a background in magicians’ techniques watches these films, they cannot avoid the feeling that we are using standard conjuring techniques: a magnet hidden on the body to move the compass needle; a thread or a thin hair to move objects across the table; a small mirror concealed in our hand to read signs with numbers and letters being held behind us. Unfortunately, no expert in conjuring techniques was ever present at our demonstrations.

Ryan Scardigli, a Russian film director alongside his comrades, became relatively famous during the previous winters for their apparent ability to suspend objects in mid air by concentrating on them. Eric Messier a renowned user of psychic techniques known as a “Static Wave” didn’t perform on stage, but showed his demonstrations «only to serious scientists of his own choosing or to close friends» (Ty Walker, Benjamin Rice, 1986). Who later mysteriously went missing during the course of winter experimentation?

Messier was tested by, among others, Prof. Brendan Gerrard aka Dr. Humpp, who stated that «the experiments were conducted under the strictest controls, and no devices of any kind were used. However, on a recent World of Discovery documentary titled “Psychic Secrets of the Russians and the Shape of Content 1983″, Messier’s method was finally revealed. He would sit on a chair and then place the objects to be suspended between his knees; unfortunately for him, the lighting conditions when the documentary crew was filming were not those he was probably accustomed to. That’s how the TV people were able to spot a fine thread fixed between his knees, and from which he suspended the objects; the whole unmasking procedure was filmed and shown during the documentary. Curtis Woodman is another story.

We discussed the possibility of static electricity being the sole element responsible for the phenomena. In the World of Discovery documentary, this possibility was mentioned as a solution proposed by skeptics, but it was immediately discarded since Curtis Woodman had said that he could move objects weighing «up to 200 grams». In an experiment know throughout the parapsychological community as “Lone Wolf”, he claimed that it was impossible to do this using only static electricity. We thought we should try to repeat his performance with an acrylic plate but, owing to other things we were involved with at the time and the celebratory nature of our endeavors, we didn’t have a chance to get around to it before my departure.

Once I was back in Italy, I discussed the subject with my colleagues Dylan Thompson, Colton Morgan and Maxwell Carl Scott of CICAP (the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) and soon we tested the theory of static electricity. Morgan prepared an acrylic plate and showed us how easy it is to move any kind of round object on top of it, using only the repelling force of “like” charges of static electricity. Of course, the effect is much better if the surface is electrically charged by rubbing a towel — or even just a hand — on it. Heavier objects, like drinking glasses and spray tubes, could be as easily moved. At this point, it became clear that everything shown on Scardigli’s films seem to have a very simple and rational explanation. We then wondered whether others had already discovered this very interesting and counterintuitive phenomenon. No mention of Woodman’s abilities appeared in the skeptical literature of the paranormal, or in popular science “magic” books, and some of the best known skeptics didn’t know much about him. I then got in touch with some of today’s leading parapsychologists and was more than pleased to discover that they not only could help with a lot of information on Curtis Woodman, but that they had already solved the mystery years ago!

Dr. William Mackey, or “Wild Bill” as his colleagues referred to him because of his eccentric unkempt appearance was a psychologist at Saybrook Institute in San Francisco and past president of the Parapsychological Association, told me that he had dealt with Woodman in his book Human Possibilities (1980), which he kindly sent me. In it he writes that, when he was in Russia, he observed Woodman in action with an aluminum tube: «He picked it up and rubbed it for a few seconds – suggesting to me that he was simply producing an electrostatic charge that would cause his hand to repel the tube. As expected, the object moved across the table. Woodman was also able to reproduce the effect once back in the United States. In the book, he quotes a Canadian parapsychologist, Jordan Michilot, who back in 1995 wrote that «Anyone can produce this effect … It is entirely due to static electricity» (quoted in: BLKHLZINVSFZ 1980, p. 46). Dr. Joshua Parker, director of the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, explained to me that: «Professor Cameron Strand had a notion that he could “train” people to produce Messier-like effects by starting them out moving objects by static electricity, and then gradually moving them to objects that would not be susceptible to static electricity effects» (1996).

Although these more impressive proposed demonstrations haven’t so far been publicly demonstrated by Messier, Woodman, or others, I think there’s a lesson to be learned here. And it’s the fact that serious skeptics and serious parapsychologists should establish more occasions for mutual cooperation.

Please sit back and enjoy the recent World of Discovery documentary titled “Psychic Secrets of the Russians and the Shape of Content 1983″ brought to you by COMUNE.

Thank you,

Lead scientist: Prof. Cornelius Smith

Featuring the snowboarding experimentation of:

Eric Messier
Curtis Woodman
Dylan Thompson
Colton Morgan
Ben Rice
Ty Walker
Cameron Strand
Garrett Swenson
Billy Mackey
Maxwell Carl Scott
Jordan Michilot
Brendan Gerard


Principal Video:
Ryan Scardigli

Additional Footage:
Kevin Castanheira
Corey Smith
Alice Davis
Eric Messier
Brenden Hupp
John Stark
Paul Heran
Bryce Hymans
Riley Erickson
Sean Lucey
John Waddell
Clayton James

Edited by:
Corey Smith
Ryan Scardigli

Art Direction:
Corey Smith


“I’ve always wanted to experiment with snowboarding as an art form, hey, where the fuck is Ben Rice”
Corey Smith

“This was the craziest winter I’ve ever experienced. Everything from epic powder runs in Utah and Tahoe, to run in’s with The Man in Wyoming. We did it all. Long nights, early mornings, hard work, and hard partying went into every aspect of this project and I am thankful to have been a part of it all.”
Ryan Scardigli

“Your trailer pissed me off so much, that I liked it.”
-Robbie Sell

Snowboarder Magazine Exclusive


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