Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart January 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

Jim McCormick is the man behind the ADE-651. He’s appeared on TV claiming his device will detect anything from elephants to drugs to TNT with his magical dousing rods. On inspection the devices contain no actual working parts. But this didn’t stop the devices raking in an incredible $85 Million.

The device sold all over the world is very prominent at checkpoints in Baghdad. Thousands of the “detectors” were bought for an astonishing $40,000 each from Jim McCormick’s Somerset company ATSC.

Many experts were quick to denounce these devices stating that they are not just completely bogus but the practice of selling them is completely immoral.

James Randi came forward and asked ATSC to take part in his JREF Million Dollar challenge. When he refused Randi notified the authorities and Jim McCormick was arrested on fraud charges. (See video from jan 2010 above).
However in a recent investigation has shown that these devices are still being sold around the world for extortionate amounts. The government’s Department of Trade and Industry, which has since been superseded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, helped two of the manufacturers sell their products in Mexico and the Philippines.

Just three months after the ban on sales to Iraq and Afghanistan, a product called the HEDD1, consisting of a radio aerial on a handle made in Bulgaria, was displayed at a security exhibition at Olympia in London.

The company selling the devices, Unival, claimed that while all the other products which looked like it were a “massive scam”, theirs was different.

The HEDD1 was marketed by a retired British Army colonel, John Wyatt, who told prospective buyers that it had “proved extremely successful in several foreign countries”, including in “double blind” tests.

In reality the maker of HEDD1, Yuri Markov, had been charged in the United States in 2008 for fraudulently claiming that the previous version of his so-called bomb detector could detect explosives.

The US Navy had subjected it to a double-blind test and found it “does not work”.

More information on this at BBC

January 28, 2011 at 11:06 am
Niels says:

So… they are selling things that to not work to people who know they do not work, and are making millions of it?

Good for them, I say.

January 28, 2011 at 11:17 am
Simon Williams says:

What’s your view on dowsing, Derren? Soviet Russia used to have a corp of dowsers in its Army, didn’t it?

January 28, 2011 at 11:41 am
Berber Anna says:

Niels: Yeah, people who then give them to people that are told they will work, and risk their life on that premise. Not so good, I’d say.

January 28, 2011 at 11:56 am
Keith says:

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to issue a world-wide public service announcement:


Thank you for you time.

January 28, 2011 at 10:00 pm
John says:

I met a woman recently who swore blind ( what does that ACTUALLY mean?) that dousing was for real and that it was used by South West Water for leak detections! Has anyone heard of such a thing! I didn’t find the second part of this claim as incredulous as the first as the more enlightened of us down in cornwall have a saying that cover this and many other darkage traits. NFC or ‘normal for cornwall’.

January 29, 2011 at 10:01 am
George says:

Whats the problem I say. They have been selling consumers things that dont work for years. I’m talking to you Toyota….and Parliment.

January 29, 2011 at 11:05 am
Dirty Kuffar says:

The con artists involved in selling these things have both blood on their hands and are responcable for the military advance of islamist terrorism.
May I suggest a suitable form of punishment for them is to dress them in 2nd hand army uniforms with targets painted on their fronts and backs, and then be made to clear minefields and roadside devices in Afghanistan with their own faulty products !

January 30, 2011 at 1:51 am
Nigel says:

Not sure on dowsing being complete bollox Keith. A dowsing bomb detector yes but not all dowsing. My girlfriend does it, her family used it to find underwater sources for generations on their farm too. My girlfriend is a sceptic of many things, studied physics, is an atheist etc but she dowses and it works. *shrugs*

January 30, 2011 at 1:54 am
Nigel says:

That should read “underground water sources”. Doh!

January 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm
Berber Anna says:

Nigel, that seems easy to test. Get three similar containers, fill one with water, and have a friend bury all three in your yard (or somewhere convenient). Send your friend away so as not to influence the experiment with his/her knowledge of the location of the container with the water in it. Have your girlfriend dowse over each of the three spots where a container has been buried, and see if she can identify the one with the water in it. If she can, sign her up for James Randi’s Million Dollar Prize and earn yourself a fortune.

January 31, 2011 at 10:54 am
Nigel says:

Easy? Now i have to go digging holes?! :p Seriously though, I thought the prize was to prove something supernatural or paranormal? My girlfriend isn’t claiming to be guided by fairies or anything..

January 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Rob says:


Your girlfriend may not be claiming to be guided by faries, but she is claiming she can do something which is defined as impossible by mainstream science and has never been observed to work. Ever. That would be supernatural.

Randi’s prize is definitely open to her, and by the sounds of it I’d start thinking about how I was going to spend that million dollars!

Althought maybe before making the long journey…
Forget the digging holes bit and just have someone put a glass of water inside one of five boxes, mix them up and then leave the room so nobody in the room knows where it is. Then try to find it with dowsing. Repeat that five or ten times, and see what happens. Good luck!


January 31, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Berber Anna says:

Rob, he said that dowsing finds water underground, though. He didn’t say whether water in boxes is acceptable. Hence the digging.

Nigel, the prize is, as Rob said, open to anyone proving an ability that science deems unprovable. It’s even open to anyone who can prove that homeopathy has any effect other than as a placebo. Dowsing is definitely in range.

February 1, 2011 at 12:53 am
Nigel says:

Well as soon as i can find some land i can dig without incurring the wrath of a local landowner or council, i’ll put my wellies on and grab the spade. Watch this space ;p

February 1, 2011 at 10:22 am
Niels says:

@Berber Anna I’m not saying *that* is good, but that also is not the responibility of the sellers. It’s perhaps not quite ethical to sell such nonsense, but before you’re going to spend millions on something you’d better make sure it is something worthwhile, don’t you think? Sucks to be them.

February 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm
Dubious Dick says:

For those of you who still think dowsing works look up Ideomotor effect. Then get whoever you think can do it pronto onto the site and apply for the MDC.

Glad you taking an interest in the fake explosive detector story. Campaign started in this country on UKSKEPTICS by myself and Techowiz 2.5 years ago. Delighted at Newsnight coverage!!

Hopefully now we will see action against the protagonists. Anyone in Germany, are you doing anything about Vollmar? At least McCormick is on bail and may well be charged soon.

Anyone can please write to Bob Stuart an Patrick Mercer MPs encouraging them to dig deeper into why the Royal Engineers were involved in promoting this damn scam, and to get a full export ban and to get McCormick and Bolton in jail and their money confiscated soon!! DD

February 2, 2011 at 9:11 am
alan says:

“Jim McCormick was arrested on fraud charges”.
I wonder if he could invent a fraud detector (*). JR could then test it on Wall Street. Except that he might need a large stick, to beat it to death with.

(*). There is one already. An MRI scanner can reveal the difference between recalling a memory element (minimal brain activity). And the creation of a lie, (the whole thing lights up like a Christmas tree).

February 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Great news folks:

The man who said:
“Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs,” said Maj. Gen. Jehad al-Jabiri, head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives.

“I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them,” General Jabiri said. “I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.”

Now for the rest. E.G.:Now for General Pierre hadji Georgiou, ProSec Lebanon (agents for ADE651 sales to Iraq)
Stelian Ilie at Mira Telecom, Romania, partners to James McCormick and the ADE651

McCormick has money stashed away in both these countries.

John Wyatt SDS Group UK agents for HEDD1
David Vollmar, Unival Germany. Took the discredited Sniffex from the US. Renamed it Sniffex Plus. Now renamed HEDD1 after the pressure.( Hasn’t Even detected DooDoo Once!)
Horizon Group India. Agents for the GT200
Gary Bolton, Global Technical. GT200

September 24, 2011 at 8:24 pm
Adalberto Dominguez says:

Hello !!

As a former Mex Navy Officer, I laughs a lot after I seen some “fresh men” training with DOWSING ROD BOMB DETECTORS at one of the containers yards where I use to work in a Mexican port.

I asked to the trainer (a friend from the Navy Academy) and he told me “this is worst like play coin flipping, I don’t know why somebody buy this stupids things”

Kind regards!

April 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

It does not work,it cant work.I was treated to a demo and guess what,it didnt detect anything.
The only comment I got from the operative was asking if he was getting warmer.
I just cant believe that anyone could believe in this,still it might make a decent coathanger.
Come on plod get these fraudsters banged up.

July 20, 2012 at 9:33 am
Techowiz says:

Further to the above, even the authorities NOW believe it is a fraud, as a result on the 12th July 2012, McCormick was charged with 6 counts of fraud relating to his scam device, ADE651. He was remanded to prison.
Gary Bolton (scam device GT200) was also charged with fraud yet amazingly given bail.
There will be a trial sometime about January next year, should be fun.


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