James Randi, magician and stage artist devoted to debunking the paranormal, dies at 92


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James Randi, the internationally acclaimed magician and escape artist, both praised and cursed for devoting much of his career to debunking all things paranormal — from spoon bending and water dowsing to spirit channeling and faith healing — died Oct. 20. He was 92.

His educational foundation announced the death but did not provide additional details. In recent years, he had been treated for cancer and heart ailments.
An inveterate skeptic and bristly contrarian in his profession, Mr. Randi insisted that magic is based solely on earthly sleight of hand and visual trickery. He scorned fellow magicians who allowed or encouraged audiences to believe their work was rooted in extrasensory or paranormal powers.

In contrast, the bearded, gnomish Mr. Randi cheerfully described himself as a “liar” and “cheat” in mock recognition of his magician’s skills at duping people into thinking they had seen something inexplicable — such as a person appearing to be cut in half with a saw — when it was, in fact, the result of simple physical deception. He was equally dismissive of psychics, seers and soothsayers.

“The difference between them and me,” Mr. Randi told the New York Times in 1981, “is that I admit that I’m a charlatan. They don’t. I don’t have time for things that go bump in the night.”
Still, he was always careful to describe himself as an investigator, not a debunker, and insisted he was always open to the possibility of supernatural phenomena but simply found no evidence of it after decades of research.



The Fat Mamba
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Aug 27, 2008
That's a bummer. I always loved his intervention in demonstrations with my favorite being the martial artist who could move pages of a book with his "chi". Randi was like "lets add some packing peanuts to the equation" and lo and behold the guy couldn't do it.



Jul 28, 2009
Dang, this one truly sucks. A literal real one, all the best to him and his family.

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