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The "Carlos" Hoax

By Dave Owen, May 2006

In 1988 Australia was visited by 19-year-old José Alvarez, who claimed to be channeling a 2000-year old spirit called Carlos. José and his manager appeared in numerous television interviews and created a huge amount of interest, culminating in a live appearance at the Sydney Opera House.

Although the Australian media were skeptical, large numbers of people believed that the channeling claim was genuine.

It turned out that the entire thing was a hoax created by Richard Carlton and the team from 60 Minutes, along with psychic investigator James Randi.

This 60 minutes documentary graphically shows just how easy it is to fool the public. However, the real point of the experiment was to show how incredibly easy it is to manipulate the media into promoting fraudulent psychics. The hoaxers deliberately made it so their hoax could have been uncovered with a single phone call, and yet not even the most skeptical interviewer made the effort to find out if José Alvarez's alleged history was real.

This is a real wake-up call regarding the gullibility of both the media and the general public.