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The Penta Water saga outlined below was archived for many years on the James Randi Foundation site, but the old communications were eventually deleted.  Thanks to the Wayback Machine archives, however, this interesting two-year exchange is not lost.

August 24, 2001August 31, 2001  |  November 2, 2001  |  August 30, 2002  |  December 19, 2003

August 24, 2001

A Classic Case of Challenge, Acceptance, Stalling, Misrepresentation, and a Final Retreat.

The Penta Water saga Part 1.

I'm still away in Australia, a report to follow. This whole page-change will be devoted to a single subject. We're frequently asked why we don't have a database out there with the million-dollar challenge tests listed and detailed. It's not all that easy. We do a brisk correspondence with many, many, persons every week concerning the challenge, but by far the greater fraction drops out after the first inquiry. Others get to the point of sending in an application, but either don't read that application, or forget something, and we have to write back and forth endlessly to get them to do it properly.

For those who do negotiate the rules and get a notarized statement to us that's only about 10% of the initial applicants we have to begin the arduous task of getting them to actually state, clearly, just what they think they can do, under what circumstances, and with what accuracy. I won't go into the many hours that we waste just explaining to them that (a) what they claim is not at all paranormal, (b) what they claim already has a ready explanation, or (c) what goes on in their heads is probably a malfunction that calls for professional evaluation and treatment. Others, we argue with up to a certain point, then we have to abandon the confrontation because they have so little understanding of the real world.

Sometimes, a procedure plays itself out quickly and in sequence, with all the evidence presented clearly and speaking for itself. I'd like to give you just a small sample of that kind of nonsense, unfortunately typical of what we have to put up with here at the JREF. You may recall that Dr. Jacques Benveniste, Professor Brian Josephson, Dr. Gary Schwartz, Dr. Wayne Carr, and so many others, have agreed to be involved in this way, then suddenly fell silent. What follows is the complete correspondence between myself and a Mr. William D. Holloway, whose web page for "Penta Water" www.hydrateforlife.com should be visited, first, for a better understanding of what follows. You will see here how condescending, arrogant, and patronizing these people can be. They're convinced of their own infallibility and invulnerability, and wonder how it is that they suddenly find themselves in full retreat before the facts that they must face as a consequence of the million-dollar challenge.

It began on July 13th, 2001, when the JREF web page change for that day featured the following item:


Just so that you can see how pseudoscience and ignorance have taken over the Internet merchandising business, I suggest that you visit www.hydrateforlife.com and try to follow the totally false and misleading pitch that the vendors make for this product, magically-prepared "Penta" water that will "hydrate" your body miraculously. A grade-school education will equip you to recognize the falsity of this claim, but it's obvious that the purveyors are cashing in on ignorance and carelessness. Just read this as an example of pure techno-claptrap:

Normally, the water you drink is in large clusters of H20 [sic] molecules. That's because its [sic] been affected by air, heat, and modern civilization. PentaTM is water that, through physics, has been reduced to its purest state in nature smaller clusters of H2O [sic] molecules. These smaller clusters move through your body more quickly than other water, penetrating your cell membranes more easily. This means PentaTM is absorbed into your system faster and more completely. When you drink PentaTM, you're drinking the essence of water. You get hydrated faster, more efficiently, and more completely than with any other water on earth.

Folks, water is water. It's burned hydrogen, no more, no less. The molecules of H2O not "H2O" as these quacks write do not "cluster," under any influence of the dreadful "air, heat, and modern civilization" that you're cautioned to fear. True, water exhibits surface tension, and the molecules do "line up" to an extent, though almost any foreign substance in there disturbs this effect soap/detergent "wets" it readily. But water molecules in "clusters"? No way! The illustrations you see here are totally wrong and fictitious. There's no such thing as "essence of water," by any stretch of scientific reasoning, or imagination. This is total, unmitigated nonsense, a pack of lies designed to swindle and cheat, to steal money, and to rob the consumer. And "through physics" has nothing to do with it.

[A side-note: shortly after I published this, a gentleman wrote me saying that water does "cluster," and that he uses it regularly in his business. He told me, "I don't call them 'clusters,' however. I call them, 'ice-cubes.'" He's a bartender....]

I await objections to the above statements. There will be none, because the sellers of "Penta" know they're lying, they do it purposefully, and they know they can get away with it because of the incredible inertia of the Federal agencies that should be protecting us against such deception and thievery. Those agencies just can't do the job, and they bumble about endlessly while the public continues to pay through the nose. But notice: the Penta people, on their web page, beneath a family picture of the founders, clearly assert that:

At first, [the Penta engineers] tested Penta on plants. They discovered that test seeds would germinate in half the time as the control seeds.

Bingo! Hallelujah! We have the means for a test! A simple, inexpensive, clearly demonstrative, test! Such a demonstration would clearly establish the claim these folks are making. Ah, but will PentaTM apply for the million-dollar prize? Dear reader, with your experience of Tice, DKL, Quadro, Josephson, Edward, and all the parade of others who have declined to be tested, I think that you expect, as I do, that PentaTM will apply as promptly as Sylvia Browne did....

The PentaTM page advises us to "Penta-hydrate be fluid." Translation: "Believe this be stupid."


On July 13th, just hours after the page went up on the Internet, the following was received from Holloway....


Mr. Randi: On your web site, you claim to be "the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims." What investigation did you do into our Penta water? Did you try any yourself? Did you do any scientific research comparing our water with any other water? Did you talk to people who have used our water? Did you contact us first before publishing your "story"? Proper scientific research requires that you gather the evidence, completely document the scientific testing performed, and then report your findings in a fair and unbiased manner. Did you do any of this? Penta water is real and has changed the lives of thousands. People call, write, or come into our office on a daily basis to thank us for our product. We are a small, family-run business whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for our customers.

You state in your article, "But water molecules in clusters? No way!" Did you do any investigation regarding this statement. Water molecules do cluster. Please go to these two web sites to learn more about this fact. http://www.sbu.ac.uk/cgiwrap/~signals/find.sbu?search_term=water&max_hits=40 http://brian.ch.cam.ac.uk/~wales/CCD/TIP4P-water.html We would like to send you a case of Penta water for you to try. In addition, you are invited to visit our facility to see first hand how Penta is made and to examine the test results from several independent laboratories which prove that Penta is different than any other water. Please feel free to bring a physicist with you.

Regarding the million-dollar prize, we would indeed like to apply. If we prove to you that Penta is capable of hydrating your body faster than any other water, will you actually pay us?

Best regards, Bill Holloway


I sent this the same day, within 30 minutes of receiving Holloway's message, at 8:33 p.m.:


Mr. Holloway: I quote from your e-mail message, just received.

"Regarding the million-dollar prize, we would indeed like to apply."

Excellent news! Please visit our web site (www.randi.org), download the form, and proceed from there. I suggest that you also examine the rules pertaining to the million-dollar challenge, and please ask any questions you may have about the procedure. You asked:

"If we prove to you that Penta is capable of hydrating your body faster than any other water, will you actually pay us?"

Yes, of course we will pay you, but no, we would not use my body in a test. It stands to reason that I would probably be biased against the claim, and against your winning the prize. That would not be fair, and might lead, rightly, to suspicions of improper experimental design.

However, if you will supply sufficient Penta water for the tests, we can design a double-blind procedure for testing the Penta claim.

Supervised independently and conducted entirely by a prominent university lab, a test would be performed in which volunteers would receive either Penta water, or ordinary water, and following their use of the water in accordance with your specific directions, the volunteers would be asked to evaluate what they received, without ANYONE knowing until after the test whether they received Penta water, or the control samples. Your people would be the ones to interrogate all the volunteers to record their evaluations.

This would be at no cost to you except that you would contribute the Penta water, so that there could be no doubt that the genuine product was being used by the laboratory. All persons involved would be persons 100% approved by you, and by the JREF.

You understand that the volunteers would not be aware of whether they received Penta water, or ordinary water, and the containers would all be identical except for coded markings which would, following the test procedures, be de-coded. Each individual volunteer would receive only Penta water, or ordinary water, all through the test period, and would be required to use it in accordance with your specific directions. You would be free to visit, question, and advise the volunteers at any time during the test period.

As always, as described in the rules, a preliminary test for the JREF prize would be performed. That test would have odds of only 1 in 1,000 against the results being positive by chance alone. Should your product pass this preliminary test, we would be prepared, as outlined in our published rules, to go to the second and final test for the million-dollar prize.

We await your response to this suggested protocol, with great interest.

(If you will supply a mailing address at which you would prefer to receive mail, a formal copy of this letter, signed and notarized, will follow this e-mail posting. Thank you.)

Signed, James Randi. President, JREF.


Later, after consultation with JREF staff, I sent this message to Mr. Holloway the following day:


Mr. Holloway, it has been suggested by my staff that the "germination of seeds" effect mentioned by you would be a much more rapid, economical, and practical test of Penta. I will ask that you consider this possibility, as well. It would follow the lines of the previously-described tests, except that no human subjects would be required, and your team would of course be the sole decision-makers on whether or not the seeds had been treated with Penta or with ordinary tap-water. I think you can see how the protocol could be adapted easily. In addition, this test would take so little time perhaps only a few days and there would be no concern about possible irregularities in applying the proper use of the water, a concern that certainly would be present if human subjects were to be depended upon to follow your directions in imbibing the water. A complete video record could easily be kept of the entire procedure used to produce germination of the seeds, adding to the data obtained and providing for both sides, further assurance of the integrity of the tests. Please let me have your thoughts on this....

James Randi


Later that same day, Mr. Holloway replied:


Dear Mr.Randi: Thank you for your prompt response. We are evaluating your offer and will be in contact this coming week. We would be interested in the live human experiment not the seed experiment, as our process has been modified for human consumption. We would recommend the use of a Bio Impedance Analyzer, which is currently utilized by hospitals to evaluate cellular hydration. The Bio Impedance Analyzer is approved by the F.D.A. and would we feel meet with your approval. If you would like to learn more about Bio Impedance Analyzers go to rjlsystems.com we recommend this unit since it is F.D.A. approved and in use by major hospitals nationwide. In the mean time while we are developing our protocol and deciding if we will accept your challenge, we would like to send you some Penta water for you to try. This will give you a chance to see for yourself the effects of Penta water as it will only take a day for someone your age to feel the effects. This will afford you the opportunity to print a retraction and apologize for you [sic] comments. We are not out to take anyone's money or embarrass even the Great Randi, Penta water was developed to help people not harm them. I hope you will accept this offer as it is made in good faith.

Best regards, Bill Holloway


I immediately answered:


Mr. Holloway, examining the contents of your message:

>We would be interested in the live human experiment not the seed experiment, as our process has been modified for human consumption.<

That is your choice, of course.

>We would recommend the use of a Bio Impedance Analyzer, which is currently utilized by hospitals to evaluate cellular hydration.<

Very well. The experiment would then take the following form, subject to your approval and subject to any metabolic or other specific factors that might interfere, and of which I am unaware:

1. I propose that we select a group of 50 persons (subjects) for whom you believe the use of Penta water would be beneficial, in that it would increase their degree of cellular hydration.

2. An independent party (A) would obtain an adequate supply of Penta water and would decant this into 50 marked, coded, sterile containers, each container being adequate for a day's supply, and the codes being retained by yet another independent party, (B). Person A would then similarly prepare an equal number of identical marked, coded, sterile containers into which ordinary water would be placed. In the same way, B would retain the secret coding of those containers and would then retire from the proceedings. These 100 containers would then be mixed randomly, so that no observer would be able to tell without breaking the code whether he or she is holding a container of Penta water, or of ordinary water. All coding marks are to be fastened permanently on the containers, and masked securely by a simple means until the coding is broken by B in step The stock of containers would then be retained in security by an independent party, (C).

3. The 50 subjects would have their degree of cellular hydration measured and recorded by means of the BIA, and if you wished, you would question them as well. Each would then be given a container of water by C, in a coded container, each person to receive a container selected at random by C from the mixed supply. The remaining 50 containers would not be used, but would be kept securely isolated by C. Each subject would then be required to use the water in the manner approved and dictated by you. You understand that no person (subject, handler, or experimenter) would have any way of differentiating between the containers except by referring to and breaking the coding, or possibly by noticing the claimed beneficial effects of the Penta, if that was what they were given.

4. After a sufficient period has passed that in your opinion the effects of the Penta water, if any, should be evident, you will be asked to examine each of the subjects, question them if you wish, and use the BIA to determine the degree of cellular hydration of each of the 20 subjects. You would record the code-number of the water container each subject used, and place that data in the record.

5. You would then prepare a report based upon your own evaluation, and the input provided by the subjects themselves, making your final decision on whether or not each subject received Penta water or ordinary water. You would be free to disqualify any subject(s) for ANY reason you see fit.

6. When your report is complete, the person retaining the secret coding would be brought in, the coding would be revealed and broken, and a determination would be made of the contents of each of the containers used. Your evaluations would then be compared with the identification of the water used. We would expect that, for a "win" to be attained by you, your evaluation would agree with 37 or more out of the 50 subjects' actual usage -- making allowance for any subjects you might have chosen to disqualify. This would constitute the preliminary phase of your attempt for the JREF prize.

>The Bio Impedance Analyzer is approved by the F.D.A. and would we feel meet with your approval.<

Since the evaluation would be entirely in your hands, you would of course be free to use any and all means to determine whether or not any subject's degree of cellular hydration has been altered, so we are not concerned with these details. Please do not send me any product. I cannot be personally involved in this process, which should be in your hands and under your control as much as possible. Thank you.

Persons A, B, and C, must not be known to one another. We have procedures for maintaining security of the coding, in such a way that the coding cannot be altered, and cannot be "broken" even by the person retaining the information. Person A must perform his/her function, and then cease involvement in the procedure, to be called back in only if there is any doubt or problem with the process he/she carried out. Person B would not be made aware of what he/she in involved with, nor would that person communicate with anyone else concerning what has been done. Person C's only function would be to mix the 100 bottles randomly with the coding number out of sight, as described, and to distribute to each subject, at random, a container, then retain the 50 remaining containers securely and untampered

Addendum: if you wish to shorten and simply this procedure, we would consider using only 20 subjects, but the expectation of your success would then be 18 or more correct. Of course, you are free to perform this test as many times as you wish, at convenient intervals for all concerned. Some parameters may change, in that case. I await your comments....

I should mention that TIME Magazine has been waiting for just such an opportunity to do a feature story on the JREF million-dollar challenge, needing an actual test upon which to base the story. They are awaiting your decision on this, though there is no rush, and time is not an element that should enter into this.

James Randi


End of Part 1. Now, I believe that this is a fair and proper experimental protocol. You might expect that we would receive a proper response and acceptance. Stay tuned. Part 2 will follow next week....

August 31, 2001

Part 2 of the Penta Water saga.... Last week, we gave you Part 1 of the e-mail exchanges between William Holloway and myself regarding his acceptance of the JREF million-dollar challenge, and my proposed, detailed, protocol for the preliminary test procedure offered to him. The product involved is "Penta" water, which is said to hydrate the users tissues more effectively than regular H2O, at a price of $8 a liter.

Continuing last weeks page....


Having no response, I sent this on July 20th, six days later:


Mr. Holloway:

We've been waiting for your response to our July 14th summary of a suggested preliminary test procedure for Penta.

As I'm sure you understand, what was outlined in that communication covered only the preliminary test procedure, which would have to be passed before we would proceed to the formal test. That would be essentially the same except that the security would be more stringent, since one million dollars would then be involved. Also, slightly higher performance levels would be required. Persons applying to be tested, seem inordinately concerned with all the details of a possible formal second-phase test, even though no person has ever yet passed the preliminary test.

Perhaps, in your opinion, the conditions I described in my July 14th letter of the preliminary test, are too stringent for Penta to pass? If so, please inform me. I had gathered, from your previous statements, that Penta could perform at least at that level. If I'm wrong, please let me know so that we can make it easier for you.

I will take this opportunity of once again stating my approach to this process: I will accept no samples of your product, because nothing would be served thereby, and it could be claimed that in any case I am prejudiced against the product and the claims. I will do no testing of the product myself, simply because that same claim of prejudice could be invoked, and it would seem possible that I would not be an impartial judge of the product. Our tests are always done by independent, capable, qualified, third parties.

For similar reasons, we do not accept results offered by independent labs. We would be foolish to do so, I'm sure you will agree, since our reputation and our million-dollar prize is at stake. We presently have very competent, reputable, and willing colleagues at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and at Harvard University, standing by to conduct the first set of tests. If those credentials are insufficient for you, please advise us. All of this must meet your standards, of course.

We await your response with great interest.

Signed, James Randi.


We waited patiently for another ten days, not wishing to rush Mr. Holloway or to annoy him. I had rather hoped that he might decide to actually do some double-blind testing in accordance with the protocol I'd outlined, in which case he would have discovered that there was no evidence to be had when the test was double-blind. And, for all we know, he just might have, for I began to receive messages from other persons who had approached him by e-mail inquiring about his agreement to take up the million-dollar challenge, and Mr. Holloway's responses to them were not only untrue, but rather nasty.

On July 30th I received a copy of a particularly abusive response he'd made to an inquirer. I knew by that time, from others, that Holloway had hinted that he was considering suing me. I sent him this:


Mr. Holloway: I repeat here portions of a message that you sent to a Mr. Chris Walsh, and my own added observations. Though I see that you affirmed to Mr. Walsh that you will be replying to me, I've not yet received that response. If this is due to your intent to bring a suit against me, as you have indicated, please advise me.


Mr. Holloway had written to Mr. Walsh, and I had replied, as follows:

We most certiantly [sic] will be responding to Randi. I would like to know have you ever tried Penta water?

I note that your entire thrust seems to be, not scientific testing of your claims, but providing anecdotal accounts. I am only interested in proper double-blind tests, as I pointed out to you in our previous correspondence.

Are you a water expert?

I do not see any indication that Mr. Walsh has claimed to be a "water expert," and I would have to wonder what your definition of that term might be.

Would you like to try or test Penta water for free?

I believe that Mr. Walsh is, as I am, only interested in proper scientific testing of the claims you have made for your product, and though we have carefully and fully outlined to you the bona fides of those scientists who would perform the tests that you yourself said would establish the claims, I do not see your acceptance. Why is that?

I do not mind you being critical of our product, however I do think we deserve the right to prove our product is structured water, and we can prove it.

Excellent! Let us have the tests that you yourself suggested, using the equipment you approved, be carried out as soon as possible, so that your claim for the million-dollar prize may be established.

Lets [sic] wait and see if Randi will accept our challenge. I would bet he will not.

This, I admit, has me puzzled, Mr. Holloway. I long ago (July 14th) submitted my acceptance, and you told me you'd be back to me within a week. You did not get back to me. And what is this "our challenge" referred to? I don't recall any challenge being made by you, and I am only concerned with one item at a time, in this case, our standing challenge to you.

If you would like to try Penta and have it tested please send me your address and I will send you a sample. Feel free to take it to any University and have them do a mass spec. direct liquid inject [?] or Infrared spectroscope [?].

I fear that you are out of your depth, Mr. Holloway. The terminology you apply here is gibberish. But, I repeat: we will accept any means you specify to differentiate between Penta water and ordinary water. I'm tiring of repeating this, and I'm hoping to receive your reply so that we can get this pending matter out of the way and move on with our business. There are people out there willing to be tested, who do not shilly-shally and stall.

. . . at which time we will accept your apology.

I suggest to you, Mr. Holloway, that your pompous attitude here will backfire on you. I cannot speak for Mr. Walsh, but I'm not going to apologize for having doubts, for being skeptical, for challenging. That's the American way, and I'm all for it.

Mr. Holloway, put up or shut up. Ball's in your court.....


As you see, Mr. Holloway is anticipating apologies, again, and there are none coming, I assure you. I received his response July 30th, late:


Dear Mr. Randi:

We have nothing to prove to you. I am extremely busy and do not need your distraction. While it would give me great pleasure to take your money, it would only take money from your supporters, as I am sure its not your money. You live on other peoples money while claming [sic] to fight injustice. Injustice is to make libelous charges without any investigation on your part. Our product is real do your own testing before you shoot off your big mouth. Why don't you get a real job and contribute to society instead of leaching [sic] off of others. Please do not bother me anymore. Any future communications should be directed to our law firm, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch Mr. Michael Kinkelaar 619-515-3250 mjk@procopio.com


In character, as always, I responded within the hour, with observations on Mr. Holloway's false presumptions, adding, "A copy of this is going to Mr. Kinkelaar." I sent an e-mail letter to Mr. Michael Kinkelaar, inquiring for his postal mailing address so that I might send him a proper, formal response. To date, there has been no answer of any kind, not from Mr. Holloway nor from his lawyer.

Is it now somewhat clearer what we have to go through at the JREF? To have discussed almost any other case on these pages, I would have had to run on for six or eight times as long as this. I chose this case because it's relatively succinct, in comparison with most others.


I'll add here that I erred in saying that water does not "cluster," as Mr. Holloway claims. It does, if it's ordinary H2O, and he tells us that Penta Water does not. Mind you, the dreaded "clusters" of as many as six molecules occur frequently, but since they only last for three picoseconds (that's .000000000003 of one second) I don't really think that we have to be concerned.....

 

 

November 2, 2001

The "Penta Water" matter has returned. A very unhappy customer informed me of an exchange that was taking place between her and a Mr. David T. Cheatham, "Chief Operating Officer" of the company. I immediately wrote this man and reminded him of his agreement to submit his product to testing for the JREF million-dollar prize. He responded:
Bio-hydration is a small company. We have limited resources at this point and we are focused on providing a quality product to our customers. To participate in your study would use resources that we do not have available at this time. But, when we are ready, we will contact you. Mr. Randi, we operate our business with integrity. We want to help people. Our business has grown 500% in the past year through mostly word of mouth. If people didn't feel the difference Penta makes, they wouldn't buy it. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Not one to shirk answering, I did:

To participate in your study would use resources that we do not have available at this time.<

Let's get real here. The reward for you is one million dollars, no strings attached. NONE of your "resources" would be called upon. You give nothing, you pay nothing. All you have to do is appoint an individual or individuals of your own choosing, to act as your witness(es) to a simple, direct, procedure. You have already designated how the product should be tested, in an unequivocal manner, and have agreed to be tested by that means. We have clearly declared our availability, but you have withdrawn from the discussion. I cannot believe that you do not want one million dollars, a reward for showing that your product performs as advertised. That is an incredible scenario that no reasonable person can accept.

Your comments?

Immediately came Mr. Cheatham's answer:

You say that none of our resources would be required. Then in the next sentence you say that we need to appoint someone to witness the procedure. To appoint someone to witness the procedure is a use [of] our resources. These things always take longer than anyone expects. Yes, 1 million dollars would be great. However, our business is at a critical stage where the distraction of your offer is not acceptable. "Patience is a virtue."

Surely, appointing or approving someone (a lawyer, trusted friend, a scientist, an academic) to act as a witness for tests, is not too great a burden for Penta, considering the prize? And we've already decided that a test such as the Penta folks themselves outlined, would be brief, a day at most, so the complaint that "These things always take longer than anyone expects" is not valid. I assure Mr. Cheatham that I'm quite as busy as he is, and would undertake to supervise a test efficiently and competently.

In any case, this gentleman has provided us with a vapid motto that smacks to me of further obfuscation and delay tactics. Yes, perhaps patience is a virtue, but one can run out of both. Be assured that I will be in this, all the way. Start the Penta Clock....?

August 30, 2002

Those Penta Water folks are apparently doing very well selling their quackery, and their CEO, William D. Holloway, continues to ignore the JREF offer to test his claims for the million-dollar prize, though he agreed to the arrangements and terms back in July of 2001. I refer you to the August 24 2001 archive of this site, for details.

My local health food store, Whole Foods Market of Fort Lauderdale, even published their own paean to Penta. One side of their flyer repeats much of the folklore and strictly "urban legend" notions about water regular water as consumed by humans, and the other side repeats the usual Penta crap, including these howlers: "When you drink Penta, you're drinking the essence of water," "Only Penta can also serve as a powerful antioxidant as recommended by doctors to help combat the adverse effects of stress," and "Penta will enhance your performance in sports, work and life." You have to hand it to Holloway for unbridled imagination; none of these claims is true, but they sound good.

(A current "summer special" on Penta water brings it to you at a price that would make a can of regular soda cost $1.18 regular price about 33 cents! So Penta costs you more than three and a half times as much as a soft drink, even at bargain discounts!)

We publish here an exchange between reader David Salehinia, founder and director of InterTrade Systems Corporation, and David T. Cheatham, Chief Operations Officer for Penta. Cheatham's only qualification for judging the efficacy of Penta water rests somewhere in his BA in Business Administration and his MBA in Management. David begins:

Mr. Cheatham: Thank you for your reply, the attached documents, and Mr. Holloway's contact information. I will cc him on this email, however, based on your response I don't see a reason to take up his valuable time at this point.

I feel compelled to respond to your email. I have read the St. Thomas study you have kindly sent. There are two areas I would like to note: one, this study was paid for by your organization, and I found it to be more of a "marketing document" than an unbiased research document. Secondly, I find the statistical differences in favor of Penta to be insignificant. I look forward to seeing a "significant amount of physical property analyses which show a radical difference between Penta water and normal water," as well as the "stop flow" study.

Regarding your reasoning for rejection of Mr. Randi's challenge, the logic has some fundamental discrepancies which include:

1. Given Penta's confidence in their product and its nearly miraculous effects " Rest assured, we will be back to collect the$1,000,000" then why not bring the needed resources to take on this challenge and pocket the majority of this money after insignificant expenses to prove the claims you are already making based on existing studies? The level of needed resources must be extremely low, since you claim to have done all these studies.

2. This challenge is not asking you to prove anything new. It is rather asking you to prove the claims you are already making. Such claims are and have been responsible for the "tremendous growth" you have referred to. Therefore, I don't see any distraction on your part especially since the method of proof, as I have read it in the exchanged email between Mr. Randi and Mr. Holloway, has given full control of the testing methodology to Penta. You claim that Penta continuously conduct these types of test. What is the problem then?

3. What better opportunity for a small, confident company to gain national/international recognition about its products and integrity, without a multi-million dollar advertising budget, than to win such a challenge and pocket one million dollars? This can catapult Penta's growth into orbit. This can, more than sufficiently, take care of the big marketing budget you don't have. "We don't have a big marketing budget to convince people to try our product." Again, I fail to see the logic behind your organization's action in this case.

I completely agree with you how word of mouth has the potential to help a company grow. The opposite is also true.

Unfortunately I am even more disappointed than before about Penta's claim of honesty and integrity and its unwillingness to step up to the plate for good reason.

We are increasingly witnessing the public backlash against dishonest claims made by big and small businesses alike. This backlash gains greater intensity when it impacts people's health and well being. Most people consider themselves intelligent and don't care to be insulted, especially when some of the people and public figures they look up to, such as the ones in the Penta Family, make claims which cannot be sufficiently supported. We all have witnessed the very rapid demise of other such organizations. Fortunately, we live in a society where information dissemination through various channels, ranging from news programs such as 60 Minutes and Date Line, and printed media as well as the Net, has the power to rapidly create powerfully positive or negative word-of- mouth.

As you can see, I am disappointed in myself for believing the claims I heard, and for spending money on such a product with the intention of more positively impacting my health. Integrity is a concept and word we start with, but the true measure is when we are called to the test.

Stay tuned for developments. Until then, I suggest that you don't invest in Penta....!

December 19, 2003

Reader John Williams of Lovelady, Texas, wrote the Penta Water people and asked why they'd not gone through with their agreement to be tested by us for the JREF prize, as they'd previously agreed. They answered:
Hello John, We have not accepted James Randi's challenge. Being a new company we do not have the funds to do the research that James Randi's say's [sic] you have to have to get the million dollars. Slowly but surely we will get the money to do the research. To have studies done, would cost over two million dollars. So as we have more studies done to validate the water's properties, I think that we will take the James Randy's [sic] challenge. Thanks!!!

Chad Holloway

Where do I start? This is a silly canard created by Penta via Mr. Holloway to try wriggling out of the test they'd agreed to years ago. The costs of such a test would be minimal, since all the JREF requires is for Penta to differentiate by any means they choose between ordinary tap water and their product. That's a yes-or-no guess done with about 50 bottles. Simple. Cheap. Practical. Conclusive. None of these adjectives are acceptable to the Penta people.

Two million dollars? You can stage a Broadway show for that, and all we want is a simple yes-or-no test. No costumes, music, or choreography needed, Mr. Holloway.

Will we hear from you, now that this "misunderstanding" has been resolved?

Nope.