"James Randi" by Steve Jurvetson / CC BY 2.0

James Randi, Magician Who Debunked Paranormal Claims, Dies at 92

Oct 22, 2020

By Margalit Fox

James Randi, a MacArthur award-winning magician who turned his formidable savvy to investigating claims of spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, U.F.O. spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery, as he quite often saw fit to call them, died on Tuesday at his home in Plantation, Fla. He was 92.

His death was announced by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

At once elfin and Mephistophelian, with a bushy white beard and piercing eyes, Mr. Randi — known professionally as the Amazing Randi — was a father of the modern skeptical movement. Much as the biologist and author Thomas Henry Huxley had done in the late 19th century (though with markedly more pizazz), he made it his mission to bring the world of scientific rationalism to laypeople.

What roiled his blood, and was the driving impetus of his existence, Mr. Randi often said, was pseudoscience, in all its immoral irrationality.

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