A Magic Pen

While we’re on the subject of those with a very tenuous grasp on reality, let me introduce to you the latest invention to hit teh internets: the Magical Technical Remote Viewing Pen from from TRV University.™ Here’s what TRVU promises on their site:

Now you can convert ANY rollerball style pen to operate like a Magic Pen capable of downloading precise and accurate information about the future, the past or anything you want to know — anywhere on the planet.

Well tie me to an anthill and smear my ears with jam! Precise and accurate information at the same time! About anything I want to know, from anywhere or anywhen! Golly TRVU, how the heck does it work??!!

It’s a mind technology called Technical Remote Viewing and anyone can learn this formally top secret skill and for less than a dollar convert an ordinary pen into a magic pen worth millions.

A formally top secret skill! Well, that’s the bomb – who’d want an informal top secret skill?!* So, let me get this straight – I can convert an ordinary pen into a million dollar pen for less than a buck? Sweet! My fortune is made!


Digging through the trash heap that is the TRV Empire unearths several dumpster-loads of similar preposterous idiocy. On TRV ‘News’, for instance, we learn that if you fork out to attend TRV University ‘…you will be trained along with the best and brightest minds on the planet’ (a contention I find highly unlikely) to use your Magic Pen to be able to ‘accurately sketch a nuclear weapon located inside a mountain in China, thousands of miles away’ and ‘probe the mind of Osama bin Laden in real time, uncovering his current intent and next move’. Straight away one can quite clearly see that there are only two options here:

1: There are people out there with a Magic Pen who know where Osama bin Laden is and what he is thinking, but just don’t aim to tell anyone… or…

2: The pen doesn’t work.


It doesn’t require one of the brightest minds on the planet to figure out which of those alternatives is the most likely. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of claptrap available at TRVU, though. Dane Spotts† from TRV News, a person who claims to be ‘properly trained’ in the use of the Magic Pen, sets us up for a demonstration of how effective the predictions are by choosing as a ‘target’ “The Next Catastrophic Terrorist Attack on US Soil”. But don’t hold your breath for any revelation of something that surely would benefit every single soul in the US‡ – Dane waffles on with some of the most ridiculous baloney for several pages without offering up a single whiff of a result, until, predictably he ends in a promise of ‘all will be revealed when you send us your money’.


Perhaps best of all are the ‘explanatory’ videos hosted by TRV spokeswoman Joni Dourif in which Ms Dourif makes some of the most risible and possibly actionable claims I’ve ever heard.

Here are a couple of the howlers she comes up with:

‘Having the Technical Remote Viewing Certification guarantees you a certain level of credibility amongst… uh… the law enforcements, amongst science and technology – who already know about us by the way’

Uh-huh. I think I know what that ‘certain level’ of credibility is likely to be. And, oh yes, I just bet the law enforcements know about you lot…

There is just an endless variety of options available for you to use this in a career. In science and technology, for example. You don’t need to be a doctor to assist a neurosurgeon…

There are neurosurgeons who consult Remote Viewers? OMFG! Kill me before I get to the operating theatre!

The TRVU site features several videos of Ms Dourif earnestly spouting such ridiculous and worrying nonsense. They are laugh-out-loud funny in places, and in others, stick-your-head-in-the-oven depressing. I am surprised that she can keep a straight face throughout, and I wonder if the many jump-cuts and fades are due to her corpsing her lines.

So how does the Magic Pen really work? Let’s go back to Dane Spotts’ ‘terrorist attack’ demonstration that I mentioned above. After Spotty leads us through some incomprehensible gibberish involving writing down random numbers and ‘prompting the signal line’, we have spent about 45 minutes doodling over a blank stack of Reflex and:

… have produced 30 or more sheets of paper which are covered in words, phrases and drawings, that we can now summarize and create an analysis from. It’s uncanny to see it all come together like some incredible jig saw puzzle; each piece combined to create a complete picture that reveals a solution to our problem. All of this from the tip of a magic pen.

In other words, TRVU is going to show you how to draw some vague predictions out of THIRTY PAGES of random scribbling! The obvious get-out-of-jail-free card here is that the Magic Pen has given you all the right information – if you don’t end up with an accurate prediction of the future it’s not the pen’s fault, it’s that you are a crap Remote Viewer!

As I read further and further through the TRVU sites, I find it harder and harder to convince myself that it’s not all some big joke. So much of it is SO farcical that I really want to believe it’s a giant leg pull. Sadly, it appears not to be the case – TRVU is an actual money-making venture; another shameless scam aimed at lining the pockets of morally bankrupt con-artists by fleecing gullible schmucks.

And I don’t for a moment think that the proprietors of TRVU really believe this rubbish. If there was anything at all to this ‘Remote Viewing’ it seems to be it would be the simplest thing in the world to verify. In fact, here you go, TRVU (or any other Remote Viewing adept) – I offer you up a challenge. I have, sitting on a chest of drawers in my bedroom, a box. Tell me what is in that box. Now I don’t mean thirty pages of guesses – I want an exact description of the contents of the box. You can do it in one short sentence. There should be no equivocating – it’s a very simple answer. This should be a completely trivial task for a graduate of TRVU, and here, in a public forum, you can demonstrate for all the world to see how marvellous your Magic Pen really is.

If you get it right, I promise I’ll buy out your entire stock.

(I will reveal the contents of the box here on The Cow in, oh, say two month’s time…)


*I figure there’s a sure-fire way to spot pseudoscience even if you don’t know your pendulum from your psychomanteum – just look for the atrocious murdering of the English language in any promotional material. Dead giveaway.

†If you think his name sounds like a joke, you really should read his writing…

‡We must assume that Dane, a self-professed accomplished user of the Pen, actually does know this information but has declined to share it with anyone, for reasons I’d really like to hear.