The Pigasus Awards

James Randi --- Wizard (
Tue, 1 Apr 1997 18:32:17 -0500


On April 1st, we award the coveted Pigasus prizes in four categories,
for accomplishments in the period January 1/96 to December 31/96. The
awards are announced via telepathy, the winners are allowed to predict
their winning, and the Flying Pig trophies are sent via psychokinesis.
We send; if they don't receive, that's probably due to their lack of

Category #1, to the scientist who said or did the silliest thing
related to the supernatural, paranormal or occult, goes to
scientist/physicist Ed May, who headed up the CIA "remote viewing"
project which consumed $20 million of our tax money on "remote
viewing," a technique said to bypass time and space to obtain secret
information via "gifted psychics" on the CIA payroll. The 10-year
project provided no useful or accurate data, and former CIA director
Robert Gates implied that pressure from members of Congress drove the
CIA's involvement. This failed project was enthusiastically supported
by Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) and Rep. Charlie Rose (D-NC).

Category #2, to the funding organization that supported the most
useless study of a supernatural, paranormal or occult, goes to Robert
Bigelow, of the Bigelow Tea family. Mr. Bigelow not only gave large
sums of money to Harvard University's Professor John Mack and to
million-seller author Bud Hopkins on the strength of their "alien
abduction" beliefs, but also purchased (for a purported $230,000) a
"haunted ranch" in Utah where UFO attacks and "interdimensional
portals" had shown up, in the wake of mysterious "cattle mutilations."
Mr. Bigelow lives in a walled-in home in Las Vegas.

Category #3, to the media outlet that reported as fact the most
outrageous supernatural, paranormal or occult claim, is divided among
the multitude of newspapers, magazines, TV programs, and radio shows
who have continued -- despite the wealth of contrary evidence -- to
perpetuate the myth known as The Roswell Incident, which claims that
an alien spacecraft crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in July, 1947,
and that bodies of the aliens were spirited away by US government
agencies. The very lucrative UFO/tourist trade (90,000 tourists a
year) that resulted has supported Roswellians handsomely ever since.
The media have ignored the fact that the "UFO museums" are only
collections of newspaper clippings, and that the owner of the property
where the aliens are said to have crashed charges $15 a head to see
the spot, while the town officials have moved the "authentic" site
onto land owned by the US Forest Service, due to the uncooperative
land owner. And, not one scrap of wreckage has ever been produced!
The US Air Force explanation, that once-top-secret Project Mogul was
the source of the crashed UFO debris balsa wood, mylar foil and tape
continues to be ignored.

Category #4, to the "psychic" performer who fooled the greatest number
of people with the least effort, goes to "psychic" Sheldon Nidle of
Walnut Creek, California, who predicted that the end of the world
would come on December 17th, 1996, when "millions of space ships"
accompanied by angels would arrive along with "the Photon Belt." He
assured us that we would have "16 years of light 24 hours a day" after
the Photon Belt "hits [our] pineal glands." This would "activate all
12 strands of [our] DNA." When December 17th apparently came and went
without the promised events being evident, Sheldon explained that we
naturally were unaware of the fulfillment of his prophecy, since are
now living in a special holographic projection created by the angels,
and we've been given another chance to make good. What a relief!

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