The Geller matter & censors

James Randi --- Wizard ((no email))
Sat, 25 Feb 1995 19:59:00 -0500

Victories repeated will at length subdue the world.
Tamerlane 1336-1405

On June 7th, 1989, I was served with the papers that began the first of a
series of lawsuits brought by "psychic" Uri Geller and one of his few
remaining acolytes. Now, five years and nine months later, I can tell you
that all the actions are finished with. The plaintiffs have either lost
their cases, have won nothing, have had their cases summarily dismissed, or
have withdrawn them. Prometheus Books, the Committee for Scientific
Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, writer Victor Stenger, Michael
Hutchinson and others -- all also defendants in these and other, separate
cases brought by Geller and his chum, have also been released from those
cases. We have experienced a total victory over those who would silence us
and frighten us into submission by threats of litigation.

A vigorous appeal was made by Geller to the Federal Court of Appeals in
Washington, when a huge sanction was awarded against him because of the
frivolous nature of his lawsuits. In its written decision turning down
Geller's appeal, citing "Geller's litigious history," the Court said that he

. . . is a self-proclaimed psychic . . . [who] has built a
career and reputation on attempted demonstrations of these
psychic "skills" . . . Among Geller's critics is James
Randi, an accomplished magician, author and lecturer,
better known as "The Amazing Randi." . . . Since Geller's
rise to prominence in the early 1970's, Randi has set about
exposing various Geller feats as the fraudulent tricks of a
confidence man.

Some definitions, from Webster's New World Dictionary:

self-proclaimed: so proclaimed or announced by oneself

fraudulent: 1. acting with fraud;deceitful 2. based on
or characterized by fraud 3. done or obtained by fraud

confidence man: a swindler who tries to gain the confidence
of his victim in order to defraud him

As if I needed to tell you, the Geller camp is now proclaiming to the world
that he has let all us poor mortals off the hook, and has dropped all the
legal actions in order to get on with more important things in his life. If
Geller will look, he'll see that the "hook" is in HIS mouth, not mine. Like
Saddam Hussein, he is looking at the "Mother of Defeats" as the "Mother of
Victories." Look closer, Uri.

True, it was very costly for me to defend myself in these matters; that's
the unfair penalty that U.S. law fails to remedy, while other civilized
countries require that the loser in a civil action must pay the costs of
both sides. But I had -- and still have -- an enormous advantage that
Geller does not have. I have a multitude of good friends out there who
answered my call for assistance, and in responding as they did, made it
possible for me to come out on top. The good guys won.

My next book, due out in May (don't depend on it, publishers being what they
are) will make an attempt to adequately thank those who played the most up-
front parts in the drama. The book is "An Encyclopedia of the Claims,
Hoaxes and Frauds of the Occult and Supernatural." (In the U.K. edition,
it's simply "The Supernatural, A to Z.") All our favorite actors are in
there, and the fur will begin flying as soon as it hits the stands, as
usual. Geller has already issued the expected tiresome warnings about his
sensitivity to anything but undiluted adulation, so the playlet continues....

There were times when I was depressed over the situation, but friends
reached out to assure me of support. I never, for a moment, entertained the
notion that I might lose any of these cases. Yes, it could have gone badly,
but by sticking with the "don't give him a nickel" stance, I managed to get
through it in good shape.

It will be a while before I've recovered financially, but things in that
respect are looking up. The James Randi Fund continues in existence until
the final legal costs are done away with, and that's a burden I may hope to
see lifted within a year or two. Stiff upper lip, and all that, y'know.

Thanks, friends. I couldn't have done it without you. This was only one
battle, and there are other dragons out there to slay. Once more unto the
James Randi.


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