I’ve Been A Fan Of The Amazing Randi, Magician And Debunker Of ‘Paranormal’ Claims, For Decades
It takes a magician —or two — to know when someone's performing clever sleight-of-hand.
Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini was a little obsessed with the "paranormal."
As a magician, he knew that every one of the people who professed to be in contact with the dead were nothing but magicians themselves, but an evil variety — they preyed on the emotions of the grieving, in order to make a profit. It worked, and it still does to this day.
At the request of Scientific American and also to satisfy his own curiosity, Houdini put a fair amount of his time into proving that these people were charlatans. Ever the showman, he and Bess, his wife, made a pact that if he could contact her from the dead, he would. They even agreed on what that would look like, including a secret code that only they would know.
It never happened.
Someone who took up that mantle of disproving the intent of charlatans and carried it on into our time is another magician, James "The Amazing" Randi.
He picked up where Houdini left off, and has proven time and again that “communicating with” and “channeling” the dead — as well as psychic "readings" — are simply parlor tricks.
(The "JREF" referred to in the question slides of the below video is the James F. Randi Educational Foundation, which — until 2015 — offered a cool $1 million to anybody who could prove that their ability to conduct “paranormal” happenings were actually verifiable. Much like a similar reward offered by Houdini in 1925, nobody ever claimed that prize.)
Here’s his take:
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.