I used to sell Q-Ray Bracelets. You know the ones that improve circulation and all sorts of other magical things. I sold a lot of different things back then, this was just another in a massive catalog of products. I sold it because I believed it helped people and yes, I made money. A lot.
But several years ago Q-Ray started to get into some legal problems. It seemed the claims they were making for what the bracelets did was not backed up by anything, in fact – as a judge inferred in a court case, it was mostly made up. His exact words in the case were:
Defendants might as well have said: Beneficent creatures from the 17th dimension use this bracelet as a beacon to locate people who need pain relief and whisk them off to their home world every night to provide help in ways unknown to our science. (Source is http://www.randi.org/joom/content/view/145/1/#i1 )
So I stopped selling them several years ago. It wasn’t a tough decision, not a big moral stand – I just didn’t want to sell something that people were buying under false pretenses. Who would? The money’s just not worth it. Since that time way back then, things have gotten worse for Q-Ray – legal cases against them not by individuals, but by the US Government. Read the link above for an overview from James Randi’s website.
But that’s not the real focus of my article here. Not a major deal for a product reseller. It was just a product sold, turned out to be not what people thought it was, so it was discontinued (with me anyway). The weirdness was my experiences afterward.
Back then the bulk of groups I circulated in were New Thought (“New Age”) circles. These Q-Ray bracelets were EVERYWHERE (even my minister back then swore by them and I’d bet good money still does). Seemed like everyone owned one. (For the record, I sold them online – never pushed products on friends or wore one myself). But after the legal cases were surfacing against the company for false advertising, I would let people know about it. But sadly (and as I’ve been slow to learn, not surprisingly), people didn’t care.
Back then I was having dinner with a good friend who was wearing the bracelet. I let them know the bracelets didn’t work and got the response, “Yes they do. I just love it. I wear it everyday.” But I would tell that I sold them and stopped because the government was taking them to court for false advertising. “The government doesn’t want to know. It really works.” But they don’t! It’s all made up. They were ordered to pay back millions of dollars. If they bracelets did work, they could have hired a lab to prove it for a fraction of that amount and kept their millions. But they couldn’t – because they don’t work.
All it did was make my friend a little angry with me. But I didn’t understand it. We weren’t arguing about politics or religion or ideology. This was a pretty straight forward thing. Even when I told them I sold them and stopped selling when I learned of the false advertising – it had absolutely no pull with them. Suddenly I became the one who “didn’t get it.” “The bracelets work.” I wasn’t expecting people just to take them off right away – but I DID expect they would be thankful for the info and check it out for themselves. To my knowledge, not a single person did. Not one.
That scenario was repeated dozens of times. I never had a SINGLE person say “Oh really? Thanks for the info I’ll check that out.” These QRay incidents came back to me recently because I was at a party and one of my friends there was wearing a QRay bracelet. I started to say something then just stopped when I remembered that people don’t really care. Why bother?
You should know that people don’t wear these bracelets passively as just jewelry. They wear them because they have been led to believe it makes them healthier by improving circulation. They believe they are actively taking steps to improve their lives. That’s the part that gets my goat.
And yet still – this is all not the point of my post here. My point is that even confronted with hard facts that refudiate a New Age belief, (or “New Thought” was inner circles prefer to call themselves) most people will outright refuse to reconsider their stance.
As I look back, Q-Ray was one of the starting points for me to look at all the info out there and really start thinking about pseudoscience and how much quacky, crappy beliefs I had acquired over the years. And those beliefs add up in time to affect the way you make decisions and interact with others in your life. Yes, I think it’s a big deal. Maybe the BIGGEST deal people should consider.
If all the info you get is from loaded sources that only serve to actively support your current way of thinking – then that’s what you’ll get. But there’s a world of info out there you can take in stride and look at openly.
That’s why I’m thankful for James Randi and the JREF Foundation. Don’t know what that is? Check out http://www.randi.org . Some people don’t like him, they say he’s “negative”. I think he’s awesome. I want to have his children (Mmmm…..ok, maybe not that much.) He’s one the forefront of calling out pseudoscience. His purpose he says is to call out those that intentionally mislead and make money off the public – and also for those that have been innocently deluded. That was me. Innocently deluded.
We all have some quacky stuff we believe. It’s human nature. But I can tell you from hardcore experience this New Age stuff is a VERY slippery slope and can knock you on your butt. It can ruin lives.
Because the people that need to know don’t care – like YOU reading right now who’s just about to leave a comment like “Oh, that’s negative” or “You’re blind to the magic” – It’s not my personal Jihad to reach other people about it. I’m more interested in my own productivity and how these sequence of events have helped me get back on track.
I’ve always done cool stuff. But the stuff I’m doing now is going through the roof – thanks in a major way to shedding all the New Age crap.
What you do with it is up to you. I’m not your keeper. I was led to water and I took a drink. I’m thankful for that.
My experience in New Thought circles is that debating the truth of a belief by bringing in MAINSTREAM REAL WORLD SCIENCE will make you THE ENEMY, the dark one, the unenlightened one in two seconds flat.
If this post gets your goat – why don’t you spend a couple hours reading at http://www.randi.org . Is that too much to ask? Oh, I forgot. I’m not supposed to care….
Excerpt on Q-Ray Bracelets from:
Questioned before investigators, Que Te Park testified that his term â€œionizationâ€ as applied to the bracelet, had no scientific meaning, and that he had no idea what the phrase â€œionization performanceâ€ meant. Park had simply made up a theory that the bracelet works like acupuncture, or Eastern medicine. He had no testing or studies to support his theory, and there was no scientific evidence to that effect presented in court. The Q-Ray bracelet was marketed as an â€œionized braceletâ€ as part of a scheme devised by Park and the corporate defendants to defraud consumers out of millions of dollars by preying on their need to find a simple solution for alleviating physical pain.
Not surprisingly, the court ordered reimbursement in a minimum amount of $22.5 million up to a maximum of $87 million. Then Parkâ€™s appeal was entered, and eventually was considered by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In his just-announced decision on this matter, Judge Easterbrook wrote that the Q-Ray’s claims about how the bracelets were supposed to work â€“ through “enhancing the flow of bio-energy” â€“ were nonsense.
More information on magnetic therapy pseudoscience available at: