Dis Manibus James Randi

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Categories: Modern

Canadian by birth, American by choice James Randi died on 20 October 2020 at the age of 92. He was an escape artist, author, TV and radio personality (getting his start as a guest with Long John Nebel in New York State), and skeptical investigator who humiliated fraudsters Uri Geller and Peter Popoff and triggered a crisis in parapsychology by demonstrating that a partner had been able to fool respected laboratories with basic slight-of-hand and vaudeville mentalism. His million-dollar challenge to anyone who could demonstrate psychic or paranormal powers was less successful: the big swindlers like Peter Popoff or Sylvia Browne just made excuses while flocks of hopeful eccentrics knocked on the door of his foundation demanding to be tested then and there. In all of human history, I don’t think anyone again will ever escape from a straitjacket while dangling over Niagra Falls, have dinner at the Trap Door Spiders with de Camp and Asimov, and then battle the nonsense of polygraphs and homeopathy and dowsing rods rebranded as bomb detectors and sold for tens of thousands of dollars a unit.

His husband Deyvi Peña (aka. a.k.a. José Alvarez and Carlos) has an uncertain right to reside in the United States despite living there for about 30 years.

A short death notice is available on the website of the James Randi Educational Foundation (link). A film about his life, An Honest Liar, was released in 2014 (link).

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