Monday, October 09, 2006


Frumples are little clay creatures (I have a picture here that's a little blurry but my camera battery just died, so we'll have to make do). They are handmade out of little scraps of clay by (or perhaps for) Paula Knudsen. They have a hole at the top of their head, so that they're strung on cord and easily worn around the neck.

Paula says she easily sells $700 worth of these little guys each day (at $10 a pop) during craft shows and other events which she attends. And you can understand why when you watch her work. Paula has a great gimmick (I've published a picture of her "simple muscle test" to the right):

Paula has a sign outside her booth advertising "Improve your golf swing!" When someone stops by, she tells him to stand with his legs together, hand cupped upward and outward, against his thigh. She then pushes down with all her might and, of course, unbalances him.

Next, Paula hands him a Frumple to hold in his other hand and they repeat the procedure. This time he easily resists being unbalanced.

What has happened?

There are a couple possibilities, and I think both come into play here. First, no one is truly prepared for being unbalanced like that. The second time that it's done, the subject instinctively adjusts himself to counterract the force.

Also, let me tell you about a magic trick where the magician tells a strong man to lift his dainty assistant by the elbows, which he does easily. Then the magician stands in front of the strong man and tells him that (using magic, of course) he won't allow him to do it again. When the strong man tries to lift the petite woman again, he can't! How did that happen?

The woman was closer to the strong man the first time. The second time, she moved only 3-4 inches back from where she was originally. That 3-4 inches is enough to more than double the strength he'd need to lift her up. What seems to be a magic or psychological trick is mere manipulation.

So, if Paula is aware of this particular trick, all she has to do is move an indiscernible 3-4 inches back the second time, and her power is decreased even if she applies the same effort as she had before.

In Paula's defense, she may be so naive that she doesn't realize what she's doing. However, it's also very likely that she does. Here's her story for the masses, as written in her literature:

"The dream: The Queen's son and his buddies were jumping in the living room singing FRUMPLE, FRUMPLE, FRUMPLE. At the far end of the room, swirling fairy dust was playing over and over: "A FRUMPLE is a little friend, made with love and out of clay..." She woke up Oct. 8, 1997 and created the first "FRUMPLE."

The Queen had a car accident in 2004 and hurt her knees. Her massage therapist gave her a pouch to wear. It made her knees work again in a few days. At a gathering she was muscle testing people with her pouch. A man came to her and said "My son can put your FRUMPLES through an acceleration technology to balance and strengthen them, just like the pouch." ...He returned the next day with "EMPOWERED FRUMPLES"..."

I have no idea what he did to "empower" the Frumples. However, whether or not she puts herbs or blessings or magnets in them, it is (sadly) all a gimmick. I tried the same thing with a friend and a nickel, and got the same results.

The age-old lesson to be learned by all of this: "There's a sucker born every minute."


The Lazy Iguana said...

I should have thought up this scam. $700 a day?!?!?! Hell, that would be enough for a lot of crap that I do not really need. Like a 2008 full size Toyota Tundra and a new (used) 25 foot Grady White. And I would also need something to drive from craft fair to craft fair. Something that got good mileage, was not too expensive, and had lots of room for boxes of Frumples.

Maybe a Honda Fit?

I would need to practice not laughing at people who buy the things.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, I am seriously thinking that we could pull this off. We just need to come up with a thingygummy of our own. Perhaps we could revive pet rocks with a twist. Can you imagine? I'm sure she doesn't report it to the IRS (or at least not all of it). What a killing!

Eddo said...

What an interesting story!

Debbie said...

Yes there is but what a cool way to make money! Bet she meets lots of interesting people who fall for her charm and a bit of a frumple! A cute story and very interesting sales pitch she has going there!

Grant said...

If you want to make money from her, go through her tests and collapse on the ground after being frumpled, screaming in pain and threatening to sue.

Nihilistic said...

Those Crazy Frumples...Always tricking people!

Mindless Dribbler said...

That really was interesting. Talk about a "get rich quick" scheme.

Oh, I imagine she knows exactly what she's doing....

AQ said...

The Frumples are cute.

Senor Caiman said...


I played on a team where this guy had had his frumples tatooed with faces. It was hillarious when he would give them a face lift. The Dude is dead now but he had some big frumples.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Senor, they have a product called Clearasil for that, now.

AQ, where've you been? Why is no one commenting in the school blog anymore? It's weird...

MDer, glad you liked it. :D

Nihilistic, the little conniving frumples!

Grant, *LOL*

Debbie, everyone seems to love it. But then again, she parts them from their money. I wonder how many (eventually) dissatisfied customers she ends up with?

Eddo, glad you enjoyed it! ;o)

AQ said...

I've been around - but busy. Kids having me running a lot. Not to mention work.....

I've been keeping up on reading your blogs, but haven't had a whole lot of time to put two thoughts together and share them. I don't know how all of you do it!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting! And people fell for this--too sad.

Anonymous said...

Salesmen always have a gimmick. If people want to buy them, I'm happy for her.

Meow said...

Wow, what an interesting story. The Frumples are cute ... but !?!?!?
Have a wonderful week.
Take care, Meow

Kimberly said...

Well I personally know Paula and have helped her with the frumples and if you know quatum physics you would understand everything is made of energy so yes IT IS possible and true that a little piece of clay of a different vibration can effect your own energy AND most physicans acknowledge the placebo effect so if you belive it will help, it will if u believe it is a gimmick, it is that too and you in fact are left with just a cute novelty to accessorize your outfit. If a smiley pet rock on a string helps people be happy what kind of scrooge are you to try to take that away? Personally I have seen the little things make a difference in more people than not,but like everything it is not 100% for everyone and beyond the "gimmick" as you call it, the making of each little hand sculpture and then the packaging it is worth the $10 in itself and besides how many times have you wasted $10 for a drink at an oudoors festival hoping to feel better and got left with nothing more than a hangover. I think she is doing a great thing spreading a little magic and hope and by doing it with what she loves thru art, everyone should be as lucky. And for your own fyi to her it is ALL TRUE and ALL LOVE and not a marketing scam. I for one have had my aura photographed before wearing a frumple and after and it Definitely affected my field and have spent 3 hrs one eveing bagging and stringing the little guys and they left me so jazzed I couldnt sleep most of the night. Have a frumple of a day and take your worries away!

Anonymous said...

LOL! I just saw her at a fair in Anna Maria, and I couldn't believe it. I remember ber from the 90's in Scituate Ma. She was an electrolicist (guessing that didn't pay as well....). Before there were Frumples, there was "The Forum" know, the EST spinnoff. So I guess she learned to scam from the best, and there is nothing so adorable as a New Ager peddling BS with the purest intentions!

Anonymous said...

My father and i both got frumpled at the delray beach craft fair and of course bought into the ridiculous gimmick. Also if you want to see an interesting fact about how much money the "Frumple Factory" makes per year its all here at
P.S. its like $74,000 a year.

Derek said...

I was at the Mt. Dora Arts and Crafts festival and I saw a Frumple tent and a lot of activity around it. A keen-eyed huckster picked me out and performed the "balance test" on me.

What she was doing was a mix between what you wrote: about leaning closer in order to increase leverage. Also, one other important thing:

She tensed the muscles in her upper body, locked her arm and dropped her entire body weight by lowering at the knees the first time. This forces the unsuspecting participant to lean as few people can support 130 pounds (her approx. weight) in one hand and be stable.

The second time she tried to push down using just her upper body and arm strength which gives the appearance of struggling very hard but provides much less force.

Anybody who's spent 1 day in an Aikido martial art class would know what she was doing instantly.

I agree with Grant's idea. Fake a seizure and drive away their business for a day. Or better yet, do their trick on passersby and turn them into an angry mob united against the inhumanity these people guiltlessly perpetrate.

I don't believe in hell, but if I could wish it into existence so these people could go home, I would.

Anonymous said...

Here's how the Frumple trick works:
The first time, when your feet are together your hand is pulled away from you throwing you off balance.

The second time, with the Frumple, your hand will be pressed downward with the person very close to you.

Very simple trick. Many have fallen for it.
Hope this helps some.