Wednesday, July 11, 2007

James Randi exposes James Hydrick


James Hydrick was a self-described psychic who claimed to be able to perform telekinesis. Following a nationally televised demonstration of his abilities, he was exposed as a fraud on a subsequent show and eventually Hydrick confessed to an investigative reporter. (...)

Magician and paranormal skeptic James Randi demonstrated the pencil trick on the television program That's My Line, hosted by Bob Barker. In a follow-up episode, Randi and Hydrick both appeared. When Randi performed the simple control of placing small pieces of styrofoam "peanuts" on the table around the phone book (to show if Hydrick was actually turning the pages by blowing on them), Hydrick's "powers" suddenly failed him. Hydrick attempted to explain that when the foam was heated by the stage lights they developed a static electric charge which, when added to the weight of the page, required more force than he was able to generate to turn the page. Randi and the judges, though, declared that this theory had no scientific basis. After an hour and a half of Hydrick staring at the pages (the show was edited for time) without any results, and indignantly claiming that his powers were real, he finally admitted being unable to complete the challenge. The judging panel (which included a parapsychologist) stated that, in their opinion, no supernatural phenomenon had taken place. The failed stunt resulted in the television show That's Incredible receiving a Pigasus Award, and effectively ended Hydrick's television career in a humiliating fashion.

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