Just how did Randys 20 year partner Alvarez/ Pena, get there? As he intends to enter a guilty plea in January 2012, to aggravated Identity theft, judicious reading of pro Randi blogs, reveals the classic recipe of an emotionally incompetent, totally gullible adult person, still with an under 12, infantile literal mind, with a predisposition toward self loathing, for being "taken in", by the Santa Claus myth or other "shocking" untruths, a classic extreme Narcisissist according to clinical psychiatrist Dr Gunewardene.
The pro-Randi blog starts the little bio summary like this,
From fake psychic to artist, The mystic transformation of Jose Alvarez,
Among the four gifted artists featured in the Norton Museum of Arts new "Altered States" exhibit, there is only one who started out on an entirely different career path.
How different? Extremely different.
Jose Alvarez / Pena, pictured, of Fort Lauderdale, was a fake psychic. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he was a fake channeler, a fake seer.
He traveled all over the world, on a fake passport, claiming to be inhabited by a 2,000-year-old spirit named Carlos, in order "to expose con artists and refute mystic beliefs"
Note the bloggers own words here, following,
But 25 years ago, the Venezuelan native was on another path.
Fired up after an overly literal reading of '60s pop-religious author Carlos Castaneda,
the then-18-year-old Alvarez/Pena went to one of James Randys "rationalist" lectures, prepared to show him, the myriad ways he was wrong.
(Castaneda is a metaphysical novelist)
Randi is the famous 82-year-old Fort Lauderdale magician who evolved into a professional skeptic with a specialty in exposing fraudulent metaphysicians.
Alvarez listened and "got an education", as Randi convinced him, his entire belief system was predicated on an appalling credulousness ----->>-Gullibility is the skeptics word for this- they can be so shocked at their own gullibility , they spend lifetimes falsely insisting everyone else is gullible like they were), Randi explained that shamans were frauds and psychics were con artists. Randi was believed 100% LOL Thus Alvarez/ Pena was converted from a gullible believe anything person , to a gullible believe nothing person. Kept in that frightened mindstate for the rest of his life by the strong self loathing, for being taken in, he just happened to carry this in his personality make up. NOT his fault.
Now back to the pro Randi blogger--
Gradually, the two men created a character that Randi and Alvarez believed would demonstrate the gullibility of both the public and the media. Thats a false belief of skeptics,
that everyone else can be made to look gullible like they were. Alvarez would say he was possessed by a 2,000-year-old spirit called Carlos.
Sample Jose Alvarez, artwork 2011,
The tapes in Alvarez's studio tell the story. Alvarez would come on stage as Alvarez, and at the moment Spirit Carlos took over, his heart would stop, as verified by a nurse.
In conventional shows of this would-be miraculous kind, the nurse would almost certainly be a plant, but that was too obvious to Randi and Alvarez. In Carlos' case, the nurse was authentic, but Alvarez used a trick from Indian yogis, he had a tennis ball stuck in his armpit. With some pressure, the pulse in his arm would slow, then stop, blocked by the tennis ball, giving the impression that his heart had stopped.
It was the sell that made everything else believable.
After that semi-factual opening, the rest of the act was gibberish. "The earth is a magic crystal," Alvarez would intone, while audiences hung raptly on the incoherent message. At the end of the show, Alvarez would explain the con, and show how he did what he did.
In many respects, the act - Alvarez prefers the term "performance art" - was similar to that of Randys friends Penn & Teller, who will do a trick, then show how it was done. Of course, Penn & Teller always conclude with a breathtaking trick for which there is no reveal offered, as a final assertion of their magical bona fides, but that wasnt possible given the purpose behind the creation of Carlos.
"For me," says Alvarez, "the performance got interesting when I would ask the audience just why they had come to see me. I never left anybody thinking I was a channeler."
Its a wonder he wasnt lynched. As Mark Twain said, "If you are going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh or they'll kill you."
China bought his act.(So this blogger claims with no support) So did Australia, ( FALSE according to CSICOPs own Skeptic magazine ,) where he performed says the skeptic blogger, at the Sydney Opera House, and his trick was revealed only later on the Aussie version of 60 Minutes. FALSE again . Alvarez was denounced on TV and jeered at in Sydney media. Glasses of water were thrown on TV. Skeptic magazine rated the Sydney performance as a "hoax backfiring ", The audience numbers were very small in Sydney. 200 to 300. Alvarez never got a full house. Nowhere near. So can we believe this skeptic blogger who is so gullible he just repeats Randi Publicity releases?
Blogger continues, The character took him to the Teatro Verdi in Venice, to the Whitney Biennale in New York, all over the world. Everywhere, people fell for it, claims the blogger, FALSE again, he was denounced by hostile Sydney media, Adjacent video So can we ever believe this blogger?
Alvarez did Carlos for about 15 years. He took no money. (So who paid the bills? Where did the "massive " theatre takings go?) The purpose of the performance was the interchange between the audience and the charismatic performer, as well as the reveal about how easy it was to provoke mystical belief.
Today, Alvarezs life is very different; his high-ceilinged studio, at Randi's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, used to be a racquetball court, and its decorated with pictures of him with other renowned skeptics such as Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, and Penn & Teller.
"I was 18 or 19 when I started, very green," says Alvarez, who's now 42. "It was a great opportunity to create something, and it became a phenomenon, limited only by the fact that I would expose the tricks at the end of the show. But the answers were not relevant to me anymore."
To Alvarez, his "performance art" as Carlos was a bit of a put-on, while his long-standing interest in more formal art eventually became his true passion.
"Art is authentic spiritual fulfillment as opposed to Carlos' inauthenticity," he says. "The performances were taking something away from people and not replacing it with anything. I wanted to give. I think my work gets more generous as I go along. I see it as a vehicle of hope. I work more with this (a gesture toward his heart) and less with this (his head)."
Alvarez exuberant art is laced with feathers, black and gold mica, all manner of textures and colors. "Sometimes I have specific ideas. The painting with the peacock feather thats at the Norton, I had in my head - a very precise image."
Much of his work involves the careful layering of color and texture. He describes the process as "tedious," so he always has several different projects in several different media to keep from getting bored - a painting here, a video animation there.
"He is really brilliant," says Gavlak. "He is smart intellectually, and his work is beautiful and well done."
Randi is proud of his associates second career.
"I have watched him grow as an artist and at the same time, keep his feet on the ground. There is always a wow factor to Joses art, another presentation, another direction, from the relatively simple to the more exciting and provocative."
Was Alvarez ever tempted to go into the mystic business seriously?
"That would be horrendous," he says. "To dupe people? No, never."
(Though he travelled the world on a false passport, duping everybody for 15 yrs, can we believe anything he says?)
Has Alvarez ever seen any mystic who struck him as authentic, who has made him question his certainties, in the same way Randi did all those years ago?
He shakes his head. "It does not matter if its a yogi or Uri Geller or John Edward. Its always a trick. If its not a trick, then the laws of physics would be different."
You see? Alvarez here underlines the permanency of his conversion from a gullible believe anything person , to a gullible believe nothing person. Kept in that frightened mindstate for the rest of his life, by the strong self loathing, for being taken in, he just happened to carry this predisposition, in his personality make up. To believe nothing is an insurance policy, so it cant happen again. Such was the life changing trauma. 15 years later still paralysed.
Most Pskeps fail to grow a volume control on their "believing" . Either they are utterly posessed by a belief or they fanatically reject it, behaving like zealots.
Average people grow a volume control to regulate their investment in any belief. Moveable boundaries which always include a little seed of doubt in case more evidence, knowledge, or refutation comes later.
It should be stated to a certain extent the whole hoax backfired ... ..the media were extremely cynical (if not skeptical) of Alvarez claims and he received no sympathetic coverage at all ...... Ironically TWT program did check with one authority in the US for a view on the channeler - that authority was James Randi. LOL
..... On the 60 Minutes program, it was claimed that Alvarez would not have had the audience he did at the Opera House (and the potential sales there from) had the media coverage been more aggressive (and factual). "The hall was packed" the program said, screening interviews with the credulous and deluded who had come because "they saw it on TV"....
.... Australian Skeptics came, as we had seen it on TV too. The hall was by no means full. Our estimate put the audience at about 250-300, as opposed to the 60 Minutes' 400-500; the Drama Theatre holds a maximum of 550. A large percentage of the audience were sceptical (if not Skeptical), with an even larger proportion thus unconvinced after the session was over. We subsequently learned of many who, having intended to attend, had been turned off by the poor performance Alvarez had given on TV.....
'The Skeptic' magazine
The less than half full hall was free entry even after TV and media promotion about the 'great Carlos'. The hoax set up involving Randi, Alvarez, Grillet, Penn and Teller and the 60 minutes TV company was not a success ... but Randi, as usual, later claimed' a great success and today gullible 'skeptics' accept his version of events. The hoax apparently cost about $50,000 to $200,000 to set-up,
WHO PAYED THE BILLS?
You can watch Randi's representing an unsuccessful hoax as a worldwide success
James Randi Speaks - Carlos Hoax - Legendado Pt Br - YouTube (Part 1)
Victor Zammit in Sydney wrote,
Local experts briefed tough TV journalist George Negus, that Jose Alvarez was a FAKE, a cheat and a liar - that he was saying the wrong things, waving his hands up and down in a blatant unnatural, artificial and incompetent and meaningless way - that this Alvarez very shortly was seen as a joke trying to fool decent, honest people? (Trained by James Randi.....)
yes James Randi group in Sydney have monthly meetings of 8 people. LOL
I attended one of their meetings. LOL
Victor Zammit in Sydney saw it quite differently, Local experts briefed tough journalist George Negus, that Jose Alvarez was a FAKE, a cheat and a liar - that he was saying the wrong things, waving his hands up and down in a blatant unnatural, artificial and incompetent and meaningless way - that this Alvarez very shortly was seen as a joke trying to fool decent, honest people !