Wednesday, July 11, 2007

James Randi exposes Uri Geller and Peter Popoff

James Randi, stage name The Amazing Randi, is a stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. (...)

Uri Geller, an Israeli-British performer and celebrity famous for his claimed psychic powers, was unable to bend any tableware during a 1973 appearance on The Tonight Show where the spoons he was to bend had been preselected by Johnny Carson. Earlier in his career, Carson had been an amateur stage magician, as had James Randi who advised Carson on how to thwart potential trickery. Randi explained in a 1993 Secrets of the Psychics for the NOVA television series: "I was asked to prevent any trickery. I told them to provide their own props and not to let Geller or his people anywhere near them." (...)

Peter Popoff, is a German-born U.S. televangelist who has spent most of his adult life claiming to treat physical ailments through the use of faith healing. These claims were debunked in 1987 when noted skeptic James Randi and his assistant, Steve Shaw, researched Popoff attending shows across the country for months to discover radio transmissions of Popoff's wife. The transmissions were made by his wife, Elizabeth Popoff, off-stage reading information which she and her aides (Volmer Thrane, the brother of his manager Nancy Thrane, and Reeford Sherrill) had gathered from earlier conversation with members of the audience. Popoff would simply listen to these promptings with his in-ear receiver and repeat what he heard to the crowd. After tapes of these transmissions were played on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Popoff's popularity and viewing audiences declined sharply, and his ministry declared bankruptcy later that year

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