When Gullibility Costs Lives – Fake Bomb Detectors

By Michael Edmonds 24/04/2013

This Tuesday Jim McCormick, the man who made millions of dollars selling fake bomb detectors over the past 8 years, was found guilty of fraud. I find it absolutely extraordinary that it took so long to put a stop to this. These “bomb detectors” are simply jazzed up dowsing rods – made of a aerial attached to a plastic box with apparent electronic attachments.

Thousands of these detectors have been sold to trouble spots around the world including 6000 to Iraq. With some of the “more advanced” devices being sold for more that $40,000 dollars Mr McCormick has made a substantial fortune off of these devices, most likely at the cost of the many lives of those who put their faith in these devices.

What I find surprising is that no one ever demanded an explanation for how these devices worked. If I was placing my life in the hands of such a device I would want to know exactly how it worked and what it’s limitations were. And I would be very dubious of claims it could detect substances a kilometre away.

It is sad to see someone making profit off of a falsehood, one that would have cost human lives. Thank goodness some people finally engaged in a bit of critical thinking, challenged the legitimacy of these devices, and brought this criminal to justice.


0 Responses to “When Gullibility Costs Lives – Fake Bomb Detectors”

  • And as punishment they will drop him in the middle of a mine field with one of his detectors…
    Just kidding – a prison sentence and taking away all his ill gotten money needs to happen

  • Clearly these detectors were about as useful as homeopathy.


    You’ve spend money on something and occasionally it works, so rather than admit to yourself the successes were due to chance you seize on the odd positive outcome as evidence of effectiveness. And there were probably no disgruntled customers when it failed, as there were probably no survivors.

    This seller of these things also made a lot of use of the recently amended libel law in the UK to suppress criticism.