James Randi: Psychic Investigator
James Randi: Psychic Investigator - The noted conjurer and skeptic, James Randi, investigates paranormal
claims on stage in front of an audience.
James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; August 7th, 1928) is a Canadian American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience.
Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF).
Randi began his career as a magician, as The Amazing Randi, but when he retired at age 60, he switched to investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims, which he collectively calls "woo-woo." Although often referred to as a "debunker", Randi rejects that title owing to its perceived bias, instead describing himself as an "investigator".
He has written about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and is occasionally featured on the television program Penn & Teller: Bullshit!.
The JREF sponsors The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offering a prize of US$1,000,000 to applicants who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event, under test conditions agreed to by both parties.
The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) currently offers a prize of one million U.S. dollars to any applicant who can demonstrate a supernatural ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria.
Similar to the paranormal challenges of John Nevil Maskelyne and Houdini, in 1964, Randi put up $1,000 of his own money payable to anyone who could provide objective proof of the paranormal.
Since then, the prize money has grown to the current $1,000,000, and has formal published rules. No one has progressed past the preliminary test, which is set up with parameters agreed to by both Randi and the applicant. He refuses to accept any challengers who might suffer serious injury or death as a result of the testing.
On Larry King Live, March 6th, 2001, Larry King asked Sylvia Browne if she would take the challenge and she agreed. Then Randi appeared with Browne on Larry King Live on September 3rd, 2001, and she again accepted the challenge.
However, she has refused to be tested and Randi keeps a clock on his website recording the number of weeks that have passed since Browne accepted the challenge without following through.
During Larry King Live on June 5th, 2001, Randi challenged Rosemary Altea to undergo testing for the million dollars.
However, Altea would not even address the question. Instead Altea, in part, replied "I agree with what he says, that there are many, many people who claim to be spiritual mediums, they claim to talk to the dead. There are many people, we all know this. There are cheats and charlatans everywhere."
Then on January 26th, 2007, Altea and Randi again appeared on Larry King Live. Once again, she refused to answer whether or not she would take the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.
Starting on April 1st, 2007, only those with an already existing media profile and the backing of a reputable academic were allowed to apply for the challenge.
The resources freed up by not having to test obscure and possibly mentally ill claimants will then be used to more aggressively challenge notorious high-profile alleged psychics and mediums such as Sylvia Browne, Allison DuBois and John Edward with a campaign in the media. JREF maintains a public log of past participants in the Million Dollar Challenge.