The Girl With X-Ray Eyes

imageNatasha Demkina, a young girl living in Saransk, Russia, began to receive a lot of media attention around the middle of last month. It started with an article in Pravda, which hailed her as the 'Girl with X-ray vision'. You see, Natasha possesses the unusual ability to peer through human flesh and spot diseases and injuries that are lurking unseen within people's bodies. Or, at least, this is what Pravda claimed. It didn't take long for more newspapers to catch onto the story. The British Sun has been the most relentless about pursuing it. They've actually flown Natasha to London and are now parading her around like some kind of weird curiosity. Does Natasha really have x-ray eyes? Well, I doubt it. But I'm sure The Sun is going to milk this for all it's worth.


Posted on Tue Feb 03, 2004


Natasha was on Good Morning (a British morning TV program) the other week, and they queued up a line of ill volunteers and asked her to say what was wrong with them. They also asked her to give a detailed description of the ailments the program doctor was suffering. Her hit rate for the genuinely ill people was lauded, and she also gave a good list of illnesses the doctor had.

The next day, the doctor had a high-resolution scan on a 3d imager. Not one of the ailments Natasha mentioned showed up. (These included gallstones; unfortunately I can't remember the others.) However, the scans did show another problem, which Natasha didn't notice, which the doctor is now receiving attention for.
Posted by Iain Brown  on  Tue Feb 17, 2004  at  12:04 PM
One phrase - The JREF Million-Dollar Challenge. If Natasha Demkina doesn't want to take the challenge, then I think we've all gained a special ability ourselves...We can see through her.
Posted by Anonymous  on  Sat Feb 21, 2004  at  07:59 AM
I believe in Natasha's ability - I think she should take the JREF $ 1,000,000 challenge .
Posted by jamesmcsorley  on  Fri Aug 27, 2004  at  03:31 PM
First of all this girl has just been cheated in the USA by Wiseman and Hyman.......... they fraudulently changed the experiment minutes before her test to one she has never done before.

Once again Wiseman cheated by moving the goal posts....... and even then this girl scored 4 out of 7 and odds were 50 to 1....... did they conduct more test, did they treat her fairly not a chance they did. SCICOP are debunkers and will never be fair open and honest to a psychic
Posted by Dream Detective UK  on  Thu Oct 07, 2004  at  05:10 AM
I certainly believe in Natasha her gift! I have enough of all that sceptical nonsense... I don't say we musn't be skeptical but there are limits. Open your eyes! Be open minded! Give that Girl a fair change! Be fair to yourself!!! She CAN see inside people their body. And she isn't the only one! There are hunderds of people who have the same ability. It's something that can be learned, developed! Barbara Brennan teaches it at her international school "The Barbara Brennan School of Healing". She is also a real phenomenon. Also a person which I respect deeply. She began seeing aura's, chakra's and later she learned to look inside the body. She can see inside the body, on different energy levels, and she can choose on wich scale she wishes to perceive things. She can even see viruses. Isn't that amazing. Her healing abilities are great. Just read her books! "Hands of Light" and "Light Emerging" In "Hands of Light" she discripes the process of "inner-scanning" (x-ray vision). She sees streams of golden light that come in through the third eye and the physical eyes. It is light of a higher frequency that penetrates the skin. The lightstreams cross eachother and come together in the pineaple. For her it feels like the pineaple is a kind of scanner inside of her head. She also has developed excersises to develop x-ray vision! She really IS amazing.

I don't have x-ray vision myself, but I CAN see aura's around people and I often can feel other people their feelings. Without prejudice.

I respect every one as the person they are, but that doesn't mean I musn't question their beliefs. It feels good to tell everyone about my experience, without losing respect. Their is more between heaven and earth! It's time we let go of our fears, because they cause the destruction of this world. We have to take risks, discover the unknown!

Byebye, Marlon
Posted by Marlon  on  Sun Oct 10, 2004  at  11:03 AM
In the test of Scicop, Natasha failed to see that a man had a metal plate in his head, placed there after brainsurgery. And she had been told in advance that one of testpersons had this plate in the head! How can you miss that IF you really have x-ray eyes? And that was just one thing she totally missed. Natasha has simply mastered the art of cold-reading, probably by accident. What at first was probably just fun ran out of hand and now she's created a monster she can't kill.
Posted by Mario  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  04:11 AM
Its funny how often the skeptics go on about Cold Reading........

Randi tried it on TV in England a year ago and was a complete failure..... Cold reading does not compare to the real deal.......... And Natasha has proved in the that her Disgusting treatment did not stop her getting a 50 to 1 result......... way above chance and Wiseman has got himself into big trouble over his moving goal posts over it. He is now being discredited all over the world. See Professor Brian Josephsons website.......
Posted by Dream Detective UK  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  06:08 AM
For an update of evidence for and against Natasha Demkina's claimed powers, visit:
Posted by A. Skolnick  on  Wed Nov 03, 2004  at  12:08 PM
well-known TV doctor in England says..."Getting an unfavorable horoscope from your astrologer is one thing, but getting 'medical readings' from a psychic may prove hazardous to your health."
That was funny...
Posted by howon_noin18  on  Sun Nov 21, 2004  at  05:21 PM
Posted by howon_noin18  on  Mon Nov 22, 2004  at  12:37 PM latest on CSICOP
Posted by Dream Detective UK  on  Mon Nov 22, 2004  at  03:25 PM
Actually, I said that. (Thanks.)

That well-known TV doctor in England still says Natasha Demkina's psychic diagnoses are amazingly accurate -- despite the fact that her reading of him scared him into getting a colonoscopy and other invasive and expensive medical tests, which showed the abnormalities Ms. Demkina "saw" were not there. I suspect they examined the wrong part of his anatomy.
Posted by A.Skolnick  on  Fri Nov 26, 2004  at  01:05 PM

I think things will become more clear when more cases like Natasha show up in the media. I'm certain that will happen sooner or later.

Bye bye
Posted by Marlon  on  Thu Dec 02, 2004  at  03:26 PM
The Csicops statistics were flawed. Getting 4 right out of 7 is a 1 in 840 chance or 0.12%. That is better than significant odds by a large margin. This girl has been robbed.
Posted by Puck T Benson  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  03:12 AM
I wonder if she would divine my apathy at this discussion. Here are my own psychic predictions. One: All of you who believe in her abilities will feel a wave of anxiety tomorrow when you look up in the sky and see that the Illuminati have been spraying chemtrails again in your neighborhood. Two: All of the rest of us will continue leading more productive and satisfying lives.
Posted by bobo  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  03:39 AM
Puck T Benson's claim is clearly false. Not even paranormalist Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson, who has been leading the attack on the CSMMH-CSICOP test of Natasha Demkina, disagrees that Natasha had a 1-in-50 chance of matching 4 of the 7 medical conditions correctly. And those are the odds of Natasha blindly guessing. She was not blindly guessing. She had a multitude of normal clues to help her increase her number of correct matches. She said she couldn't do a truly blinded test so the investigators were forced to go with an incompletely blinded test. In any case, Puck Benson's claim is demonstrably false.
Posted by A Skolnick  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  07:54 AM
People need to learn more statistics because they are so easily taken in by supposed experts. Here is why ...

To get the first one precisely right (ie, matching the right person to precisely condition) is 1 in 7. You now have 6 people left. Picking another precisely is now 1 in 6, and so on ... 1 in 5 and 1 in 4.

A warning here: this is where they made their mistake This is NOT a lotto style draw. In which case she would only have had to pick the 4 people that had the 4 conditions, not which person had which condition.

Try it yourself. Take 7 scrabble tiles, letters 'A' through 'G'. Turn them face down and get someone to muddle them up. Pick a tile and predict what letter it is. Do that six more times. You may NOT guess the same letter twice. Record how many you get right out of 7. Now reset the game and try again and again, recording your results for each game. You could do that a hundred times and you'd never be able to get a count of 4 right (well, there is a slim chance).

The chance of getting 4 exactly right out of 7 in a blind non-return test is (1/7)*(1/6)*(1/5)*(1/4) = 1/840.

In addition to this rather rudimentary statistics, even if the result WERE 1 in 50 (which it is not) the result would still be significant, 2% likely, which is very low and not very likely by pure chance.

As I stated before, she was robbed.
Posted by Puck T Benson  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  04:01 PM
Dear MR. Puck T Benson.....It is very clear many of us would really wonder about Natasha's ability.If natasha is capable of distinguishing even the tiniest pathology on a molecular level in the very deepest corners of our human body and if the rule of statistic is properly understood, statistic cannot be applied to medical diagnosis.I guess you know better than anyone else... In my honest humble opinion,there is no such things like a secondary vision so Nathasha did not get robbed.

Posted by howon_noin18  on  Thu Dec 09, 2004  at  06:00 PM
Doesn't Puck T. Benson know that it's a crime to falsely report a robbery?

I asked Ray Hyman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, to help me correct Puck's confused thinking. Prof. Hyman did the original calculation of the odds for the Natasha Demkina test. Those calculations were later confirmed by Prof. Richard Wiseman and others -- including one of our critics, Nobel laureate physicist Brian Jospehson. Here is Prof. Hyman's reply, including reference works for those who would like to verify the calculations for themselves:

"Statistics and combinatorial probabilities can mislead even the brightest people into terrible boo-boos. In the present case, the self-assured critic has made two serious blunders. He has misconstrued the problem. The problem we are dealing with is known as the matching problem. The mathematics for calculating the correct odds is not self evident. Indeed, it is very complicated. I painstakingly worked out the correct probabilities using the formulae in Frederick Mosteller's Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability With Solutions. I believe this is still available from Dover Books. The critic might find it useful to carefully follow the argument in this book. My other source was Hoel, P.G., Port, S.C., and Stone, C.J. (1971). Introduction to Probability Theory. This latter source provides some useful approximations for those who do not have the patience to calculate the exact probabilities. Richard Wiseman was able to check my probability calculations using tables provided by the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Our probabilities agreed.

The second mistake this critic makes is to use the probability for getting exactly four correct matches. The number that is relevant for our test is the probability of getting four or more correct matches. Contrary to this persons assertion, the probability of getting exactly four matches in our test is .01533 and not 1/840 (.0012) as he claims. The relevant probability is the probability of getting four or more correct matches which is .01899 (rounded to .02 or 1 in 50).

"I do not have time to give a lesson in probability theory and the matching problem, but let me give a simple heuristic example of how this person's approach provides a misleading answer. Assume we have three subject with conditions A,B, and C. And assume that Natasha's corresponding matchings can be designated a, b, and c. A correct match would be one where she assigns a to A, or b to B, or c to C. For this simple example, we can enumerate all the possible matching attempts. Once we get to four or more subjects, the enumerations become unwieldy."

Posted by Andrew Skolnick  on  Thu Dec 09, 2004  at  07:02 PM

"Here are all the possible matching attempts that Natasha could make in the present example:

Posted by Andrew Skolnick  on  Thu Dec 09, 2004  at  07:04 PM
Actually, there is an error in my previous calculations but there is an error in their calculations too. Here is the exact table of probabilities (used by them, reconstructed by me):

Correct Probability
0 36.79%
1 36.81%
2 18.33%
3 6.25%
4 1.38%
5 0.42%
6 0.00%
7 0.02%
Total 100.00%

Note: There is no chance of getting 6 right because in that case you would actually get all seven right.

The probability of Natasha getting 4 or more exactly right is 1.38 + 0.42 + 0.02 = 1.82% or 1 in 55. But that is if she had 7 medical conditions and 7 people to assign them to. There were only 6 conditions and 7 people (one person had no condition at all). When you redo the calculations with that information you get the following table:

Correct Probability
0 42.09%
1 36.74%
2 15.77%
3 4.37%
4 0.89%
5 0.12%
6 0.02%
Total 100.00%

The probability of Natasha getting 4 or more conditions exactly right is 0.89 + 0.12 + 0.02 = 1.03% or 1 in 97.

In addition to this, there is scientific and statistical method to be considered. First is the 'null hypothesis', which in this case would state that, all things considered, Natasha is no different from any other person. To check this we run a test and we use an alpha level (a cut off point) to excluded the null hypothesis. The usual alpha level (commonly used in normal statistical analysis) is 5%. CSICOPS believed they set their alpha level at 0.44% (which was actually 0.14%) (at least 5 right out of a possible 6) which is extremely harsh in my opinion in either case.

Natasha achieved 1,82% on their table, actually 1.03% on my table (at least 4 right out of 6). That is extremely unlikely by pure chance if she is an ordinary person. The expected number of correct answers for a normal person would be no more than 2. Try it yourself and you will see. Either way it is better than 5%.

The calculations posted previously were erroneous, but the ones here have been double checked and I am very confident in them.
Posted by Puck T Benson  on  Thu Dec 09, 2004  at  11:58 PM

This is the program used to generate the tables in this letter (please consider it public domain):

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
int i;
int j;
int tmp;
int count;
int choice;
int actual[7];
int guess[7];
int result[8];

// Initialise
for (i = 0; i < 7; i++) {
actual = i + 1;
guess = i + 1;
result = 0;
result = 0;
// Play ten million guessing games
for (j = 0; j < 10000000; j++) {
// Randomise conditions (actual)
for (i = 0; i < 7; i++) {
choice = rand()%7;
tmp = actual[choice];
actual[choice] = actual;
actual = tmp;
// Randomise conditions (guess)
for (i = 0; i < 7; i++) {
choice = rand()%7;
tmp = guess[choice];
guess[choice] = guess;
guess = tmp;
// How many were right guesses?
count = 0;
for (i = 0; i < 6; i++) { // 6 conditions only
if (actual == guess)
// Record results
for (i = 0; i < 8; i++) {
printf("=\t%8d\t%8.8g%%\n", i, result,
((float) result)/100000.0);
return 0;
Posted by Puck T Benson  on  Thu Dec 09, 2004  at  11:59 PM
Puck again is wrong, although not as grossly wrong as in his previous attack on our test (in which he inflated the odds by more than 1500 percent!)

Natasha had to match 7 conditions to the 7 subjects, not 6. The 7th condition was "none of the specified target conditions." The odds, rounded off, of getting at least 4 matches correct are .02 or 1 in 50.

Puck is equally wrong to dispute the required level for passing which all parties in the test had agreed to 5 days prior to the test. The well-known principle, "unusual claims require unusual amounts of evidence," certainly applies here. In is not reasonable to use .05 as a maximum probability for passing with such a highly unlikely claim.

Furthermore, these odds are the odds for matching at least 4 conditions correctly by blind guessing. But Natasha wasn't blindly guessing. She had many clues that may have helped her increase her score of correct matches.

We wanted to conduct a truly blinded study, but for unexplained reasons, Natasha has to be able to see her subjects with normal vision. She can't use her "x-ray vision" in the dark. And, although her "x-ray vision" allegedly penetrates any kind of fabric worn by a person, for unknown reasons, she can't "see" through fabric if it's in front of a person (like a screen) instead of on the person. -- ASkolnick
Posted by Andrew Skolnick  on  Fri Dec 10, 2004  at  01:09 AM
Again Andrew Skolnick makes claims he cannot support scientifically.

If you aren't going to use scientific method then you can make any claim you like, which you have done. What would have been more fair was to let her try it 20 times with 20 groups of people. That's stats!

I did the test myself 6 times and got 3, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0. The 3 was a real fluke and it surprised me. I suggest that our readers try it for themselves and they will soon see.

The claim that "unusual claims require unusual amounts of evidence" is an attrociuos misuse of statistics and is unscientific. You can disprove anything using that premise just by setting your alpha level at an almost impossible level.

The chance of her getting 4 right out of 7 is about the same as winning on the long odds in a horse race (50 to 1).

Andrew Skolnick's alpha level around 0.5% (rounded up) or about 1 in 200. That is a mathematically provable fact. This isn't rocket science.
Posted by Puck T Benson  on  Fri Dec 10, 2004  at  01:36 AM
If you aren't being truthful, you can make any claim you want. And that's not rocket science.

First Puck comes along and claims Natasha was "robbed" and that we're either idiots or trying to deceive you because the odds of her correctly guessing 4 or more matches was really 1 in 840.

Then he says it was 1 in 97.

Now, unable to deny that the actual odds are, as we reported, 1 in 50, he's switching his attack to claiming the passing score was set too high.

Puck, your opinion of whether the passing score, which was agreed to by Natasha and her represenetatives, was too high is no more credible than your previous false statements about the statistics. You best return here under a new screen name because this one has been pretty much discredited. --ASkolnick
Posted by Andrew Skolnick  on  Fri Dec 10, 2004  at  08:21 AM
To see similiarly baseless criticisms of the CSMMH-CSICOP test of Natasha Demkina, and the investigators replies, visit:
Posted by Andrew Skolnick  on  Fri Dec 10, 2004  at  04:22 PM
Andrew, you're an asshole.
Posted by bobo  on  Sat Dec 11, 2004  at  05:02 AM
I don't think he's being an asshole, just making too big of a deal out of a math problem. Not everyone is a math PhD you know, and some people haven't learned the quirks that makes math so difficult. While I haven't checked them, Puck's calculations may be correct but not used in the right setting. After all, there are problems where there is more then one method to get an answer, but only one of these methods gets the correct one.

Also, I believe that you were out of line, Andrew, for saying that Puck has been discredited. Just because he may be wrong about this problem doesn't mean that he's wrong about anything else.
Posted by Fay-Fay  on  Sat Dec 11, 2004  at  02:35 PM
Fay-Fay, apparently you haven't noticed that Puck now has changed his argument several times, keeping only one thing constant -- his presumption that my colleagues and I "robbed" Natasha. He first tried to discredit our stastical analysis by claiming we were off by more than 1500% The odds of Natasha blindly matching at least 4 of the target conditions correctly, he insisted, was not 1 in 50 but 1 in 840!

When that claim was discredited, he claimed that the odds were 1 in 97. And finally, when he was compelled to admit that the odds we gave are correct, he made no apology for his false statements, nor withdrew his highly incendiary claim that Natasha was "robbed." Instead, he simply switched his argument to claiming that the test's "alpha level" was set too high. That, of course, is equally untrue.

Puck's position is that we're wrong about our statistics and he has resorted to several false arguments to promote that position. I don't know about you, but I try to learn from history. And what I've learned from Puck's past statements is that he is not a credible authority on statistics.

Credible people fit their opinions to the facts. People who are caught REPEATEDLY trying to twist the facts to support their opinion are simply not credible.
Posted by aaskolnick  on  Sat Dec 11, 2004  at  03:10 PM
I didn't say that Aaskol was wrong. Clearly he's right. But he'd do well to have a little more grace than when he suggested Puck should slink away in shame. I mean, yes, Puck was wrong. Puck Puck has been thoroughly discredited. Puck sed bring it on, and it got brung. Now can we all get along?
Posted by bobo  on  Sat Dec 11, 2004  at  03:52 PM
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