New York

Jose Alvarez

The Kitchen

In 1988, Jose Alvarez toured Australia channeling the spirit of “Carlos,” a 2,000-year-old shaman who held forth on Atlantis, “corrected” the date of Jesus’s birth, reported on the movements of UFOs, and divined other sundry matters before capacity crowds at the Sydney Opera House. In the voluble tradition of fundamentalist televangelists, healers, and cultish gurus of all stripes, Alvarez charismatically staged the visionary with the help of his mentor James Randi, himself a debunker of paranormal phenomena, who also appears in the recent video Dejeuner Sur Le Dish, 2007, playing chess with Carlos; besides conducting séances, Alvarez peddled vials of tears and potent crystals and proliferated his message via the mass media. But even stranger than Alvarez’s initial hoax was the fact that scores of people were persuaded by it. Indeed, so convincing was his act that its influence survived

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