Skeptic and magician James Randi has pulled off yet another daring escape. The famous debunker of scam psychics has emerged from the closet at the age of 81. Randi made the big announcement on his blog. After all these years, Sean Penn's biopic Milk inspired him to finally go public.
Randi has debunked more than 100 psychics and faith healers in a quest to rid the world of hucksters. It also makes him the subject of scorn among purveyors of the paranormal, true believers who say Randi has made himself rich, pulling in nearly $200,000 a year from his foundation, at the expense of others' careers.
In 1980, with Randi helped a magician named Banachek to trick scientists at Washington University's now-defunct McDonnell Laboratory for Psychical Research in St. Louis into believing he had supernatural powers.
He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. His 10th book, A Magician in the Laboratory, is in preparation.
He saw those same methods he used as a magician being used by con men, faith healers, and psychics for thievery. Knowing that it takes a thief to catch a thief, Randi dedicated his life to expose these charlatans. Today, the wizened sage of 83, with a vaudevillian’s wit and the boundless energy of a teenager, continues his mission - which has only grown more intense.
As a teenager, James Randi did what most kids only dreamt of, he ran away to join a traveling circus - and he never looked back. Dubbed “The Amazing Randi”, his feats of magic and escape, and acts of mentalism made him an international celebrity.
An Honest Liar will profile the life of famed magician turned professional skeptic James “The Amazing” Randi as he embarks on a series of public crusades to expose America’s beloved psychics, mentalists, preachers, and faith healers with religious fervor. Along the way, the film will show how easily our perceptions can be fooled by magicians, con artists—and even documentaries.
His rules were little more than what any reasonable scientist would require. If you are a mental spoon bender, you couldn't use your own spoons. If you claimed to see auras, you'd have to do so under controlled conditions. If you claimed to be able to do remote viewing, you wouldn't be given credit for coming close in some vague way.
In 1996, the James Randi Education Foundation was established to further Randi's work. Randi's long-standing challenge to psychics now stands as a $1,000,000 prize administered by the Foundation. It remains unclaimed.
James "The Amazing" Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.