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The Enemy

Chicago's Human Stun Gun. Or Not.

The History Channel's Stan Lee's Superhumans recently featured suburban Chicago's very own Human Stun Gun, who can supposedly knock you out without ever touching you - and kill you with a tap.

It didn't work when it was done four years on Fox either.

Still, television producers find the story of the Stun Gun - otherwise known as Tom Cameron - irresistible.

After all, Cameron has also appeared on Steve Harvey's Big Time and here on Ripley's Believe It Or Not:


death touch demonstration on Ripley's Believe It or Not @ Yahoo! Video

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We vote Not.

After all, Cameron's technique appears to only work on his students - and the stray talk show attendee.

Or in his own words:

It only works on 40 percent of the population!

Or not at all.

*

Truth be told, it's not just TV producers. It's media managers on all platforms. They think alike, as much as the print folks would have you believe otherwise.

For example, the Tribune printed "You Don't Want To Mess With This Guy" in 2004 in which Cameron said "I'm one of three recognized masters in the Western Hemisphere in 'Death Touch.'"

The Trib bought it.

Get out. Does that mean you can punch someone once and they die?

"No, it means I can stand six feet away from someone and cause them to die."

Sweet.

Cameron, 50, learned the smackdown of death during 33 years of training. He teaches self-defense to about 100 students in the Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn Recreation Departments and the Palos Olympic Health Club in Palos Hills. Cameron hasn't actually killed with his "Death Touch" - we don't think, anyway - but he has taught some of his students "tap knockouts" that can lay people out without taking their lives.

That wasn't the Trib's first foray, however. Four years earlier, on the occasion of one said TV appearance, it published "Teacher's Touch Is Treacherous: Believe It Or Not, A Martial Arts Instructor From Burbank, Using His Fingertips, Has Attracted The Attention Of A New Television Show."

Using only his fingertips, Tom Cameron can make a grown man fall to the ground.

"To the people who see it and are not familiar with it, I'm sure that it must look like something right out of the Book of the Dead," Cameron said. "Either people are really fascinated by it or they are so horrified that they want to get rid of me."

Quite.

Cameron's mere touch at an acupressure point on the body can make one person faint, while putting another into cardiac arrest. Within seconds, he can revive the victims.

Really?

I consulted The Skeptics Dictionary:

"Proponents claim to prove the existence and power of chi [which is what Cameron claims to use] by healing people with acupuncture or chi kung (qi gong), by doing magic tricks such as breaking a chopstick with the edge of a piece of paper or resuscitating a 'dead' fly, or by martial arts stunts such as breaking a brick with a bare hand or foot. When examined under controlled conditions, however, the seemingly paranormal or supernatural feats of masters of chi turn out to be quite ordinary feats of magic, deception, or natural powers, or natural feats requiring extraordinary physical training and discipline."

And from Quackwatch:

"Qigong is also claimed to influence the flow of 'vital energy.' Internal Qigong involves deep breathing, concentration, and relaxation techniques used by individuals for themselves. External Qigong is performed by 'Qigong masters' who claim to cure a wide variety of diseases with energy released from their fingertips. However, scientific investigators of Qigong masters in China have found no evidence of paranormal powers and some evidence of deception. They found, for example, that a patient lying on a table about eight feet from a Qigong master moved rhythmically or thrashed about as the master moved his hands. But when she was placed so that she could no longer see him, her movements were unrelated to his."

*

Just to be fair, I went to Cameron's very own website next but could only find a version from 2005 thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine. Cameron's fingers must've gotten too close to the keyboard, because the site currently is dead.

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Comments welcome.





Posted on April 1, 2011


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