Anita Ikonen

The Negotiation

Anita had been posting on the JREF forums for almost two years and had proven to be a prolific and often polarizing presence. By the time the IIG stepped back into the fray, the discourse between Anita and her critics had turned downright nasty. We wanted to stay as far away as possible from this internet imbroglio.

The first order of business was to arrange for a news blackout. Having every step of the negotiation process analyzed and vetted on the JREF boards was not in anyone's best interests. The IIG would negotiate a protocol with Anita on the condition that both parties not talk publicly or post anything about the negotiations until the protocol was approved or one of the parties withdrew. It was also understood that any protocol Anita and the IIG negotiating team (Muscarella and Newman) came up with would need to be approved by the entire IIG Steering Committee.

The heated discussions on the JREF forums had one benefit: by the time our negotiations began, Anita's claim and basic test proposal had been scrutinized by a battery of fellow skeptics. Certain ideas, like the use of screens and the pros and cons of "recycling" targets had been examined, and some of the basic odds had been computed. And Anita herself had commented at length on almost all of it.

From the perspective of the IIG negotiating team, with proper procedures and controls and a reasonable field of subjects, the claim could be tested using a procedure that resembled her suggestion. The devil would be in the details.

The IIG required three conditions to proceed. First, Anita would have to guess the location of the missing kidney with 100% accuracy in the three sets of ten people provided. It would be too difficult logistically to provide her with a large enough group of subjects that would allow for a less than perfect hit rate. Second, the verification of kidney status had to rely on a live ultrasound exam by a certified technician, and Anita would be responsible for this expense. Other methods of verification, such as a letter from an M.D., a visible scar, or even a set of MRIs, could be challenged by either party. Also, even if both parties accepted these types of proof on their face, such requirements on the part of subjects would likely discourage them from participating and make the demonstration even more difficult to set up. For logistical and financial reasons, the verification was scheduled to be done at the end, after all three trials were completed.

Third, Anita would be required to identify not only which subject was missing the kidney but determine which of their kidneys was missing, left or right. Since her claim was that she could "see" inside the human body, this seemed like a logical extension of that ability. It also significantly affected the odds calculation.

When I look at people I perceive in my mind realistic looking images of their internal organs, tissues and cells….. The images are three-dimensional, and only involve relevant structures.….I describe the perceptions in great detail. They are very specific and not vague nor open for interpretation afterwards. I reach my conclusions within a few minutes at most… I am very confident in what I perceive… because I have "seen it".

To avoid any claims that she'd been confused about which side was which following, the IIG made sure that the official selection form provided a clear visual guide.

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With the three main points discussed and agreed to, we began to refine the protocol and conditions. Anita had suggested that a screen be placed to hide the heads and necks of the subjects. She refused, however, to use any sort of screen that blocked her entire view of the subject.

The problem with a screen is that my sense of orientation in the body is thrown off, and I would require far more time and be more likely to experience fatigue than if we were to arrange for a test that does not use a screen that covers the kidney area of a person.

Our ultimate decision on how subjects would be viewed would take Anita's request into account, and be influenced by our research into kidney patients.