James Randi --- Wizard (
Tue, 16 Apr 1996 01:11:34 -0400


News from the UK: Prominent skeptic and newspaper
correspondent Simon Hoggart wrote a piece for the
"Guardian" newspaper. It deals with a 6-part series
coming up on BBC-TV. I quote it below.

Later this month we rejoin our old pal Uri Geller, who
has been using his amazing paranormal powers to "psyche
up" Reading Football Club. "The result was
dramatic," the BBC blurb tells us. Yes, Reading
failed to reach the Premiership last year, and with
Geller's help, are now in danger of relegation. But
they did have a dream cup tie at home with the
glamorous Manchester United.

I must be careful here, since Mr. Geller is famously
litigious (though with a costly lack of success in the
United States). What I can say is that I have seen his
various stunts demonstrated by professional conjurers
with much greater skill.

And if he's so smart, why hasn't he claimed the huge
sums offered in the US by James Randi, and here by
Gerald Fleming? There is 585,000-pounds on offer to
anyone who can prove paranormal powers. The catch is,
it must be under test conditions. No wonder these guys
don't apply.

But the real scandal is why the BBC gives houseroom to
this stuff. No doubt we'll be told that the series
will give viewers the chance to "judge for themselves".
But how? Without the evidence being examined, nobody
could work it out. Give the Flat Earth Society 30
minutes and they could convince anyone who had no
knowledge of geography. But I don't see the BBC giving
them a slot on schools TV.

And now that the challenge prize is at US$607,000, we
must wonder all the more!

James Randi


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