Staunton, January 27 – “Battle of the Extra-Sensory Experts” is one of the most popular TV shows in Russia; but recently, some who’ve been on the show as parapsychologists or magicians have wound up dead. The Russian response? Duma Deputy Vitaly Milonov wants to ban such people from treating others, but experts say that is a fool’s errand and would not work.
Parapsychologist Inessa Aliyeva says that the deaths are unfortunate, but all people die and that these have nothing to do with black magic or because those who have been killed are engaged in fraudulent activities that have prompted some to take revenge. Instead, each case needs to be examined on its own ().
But in a country where the first impulse of legislators is that if there is a problem or something they can exploit to attract attention, there needs to be a law, Vitaly Milonov who has proposed some of the most absurd now wants to ban magicians, witches and parapsychologists from treating people for illnesses physical or mental.
Unlike other medical workers, Milonov continues, “magicians and witches always guarantee results” but do not take responsibility when no results are forthcoming. The field exists in “a legal vacuum,” and according to the deputy, those involved in extra-sensory activities are like prostitutes who undermine public order.
Tamara Kutsenko, a lawyer, says that such a law “has no sense because those involved are not violating existing laws.” People have a constitutional right to seek cures where they want, and “it is naïve to assume” that if the government bans practices that people have long turned do, they will disappear. Such laws haven’t worked in Europe and won’t work in Russia.
Aliyeva acknowledges that in the extrasensory field, there are charlatans; but she says that they are easy to distinguish from genuine people. The charlatans do not have special training – most ESP professionals have advanced degrees in medicine or psychology – and they care only about money.
She and others in the field say that charlatans should be punished. Existing laws allow for that. But what is important, she suggests, is that good, honest and effective workers in this field not be subject to “a witch hunt” conducted by those who do not understand the situation but only want to attract attention.