The Workshop and Other Notes...

James Randi --- Wizard (
10 Oct 1997 05:57:28 -0000


Prize-winning Dr. Marvin Minsky, of MIT, has just announced he's
coming to the October 31-November 2 "Solved Mysteries" workshop at
JREF. We might even prevail on him to say a few words to the group on
Sunday morning that weekend. If you're intending to be there, we
still have hotel rooms available at the Wyndham Hotel, and we're
revving up for a concentrated few days of farce-bashing and
interactive problem-solving. The irreplaceable Geri is at
1-888-USA-JREF (our new toll-free number) to accept registrations, and
we take all major credit cards. PLEASE-- the 888 number is for book
purchases, membership inquiries, and workshop registration purposes
only. We hope you'll respect that limitation.

Lots of inquiries about what I'm doing here in Australia, and I regret
that I can't tell you just yet. End of next week, all will be
revealed. I can tell you that a certain spoon-bender just might start
making lawyer noises again after it's all out. Or is he still around?
I'll be meeting with the Australian Skeptics tonight to discuss all
this (it's already Friday here, for some reason mere mortals cannot
understand) and help them get ready for the big surprise that will
amuse Down Under next week.

I have an avid "remote viewer" on leash who very much wants to make me
cough up the 2000 Club reward (currently US$1,240,000, but only
guaranteed by JREF to US$1.1 million) as I witness his remarkable
powers. Trouble is, these folks are so accustomed to dealing with the
innocent and the naive, that they want to run on and on about how they
will do fuzzily-defined tests, rather than GETTING DOWN TO IT. I have
to read endless descriptions of theories and peripheral notions of how
wrong science is, before they get to the point where an agreement
might actually be possible. In the vast majority of cases, as with
all these confrontations, they back out at the last minute, as you

The rather charming chap who has been doing the "remote viewing
dowsing" (don't look at me like that, that's what he called it) with
us, tried to change the protocol after 6 misses in a row (1 out of 10
chances) and when I insisted he do the entire agreed-upon ten tests,
he complied and obtained a perfect score. He got ten out of ten
wrong. He was at one point ready to attend the Solved Mysteries
workshop to give us a demonstration, but when I told him he couldn't
run on about "vortexes" and "vibrations" and various theories about
how his powers worked, but had to GET DOWN TO IT, he cancelled out.
Similarly, the strident and rather pompous homeopath who had the
sure-fire, three-day, convincing way to prove that homeopathy worked,
decided that he couldn't get me to "resonate" properly, so he's out of
it, too. Where ARE these powerful forces when you need them?

It would be very instructive if we could get a claimant to attend the
workshop and show us his/her powers, but that seems only a remote
possibility. Frankly, we have LOTS of material to cover that weekend,
but live talent would still be welcome. After all, we're told that
the world is brimming with psychics, and surely ONE would be
interested in taking the 2000 Club prize.....?

We're still accepting pledgers to the 2000 Club, of course. Though
the pledged amount is well in excess of the US$1.1 million we
advertise, that's as much as the JREF can properly guarantee from its
assets. All of the amount should be available, but any winner(s)
would have to pursue anything in excess of the 1.1, themselves. We're
only good for 1.1 at the moment. You can pledge by sending in a copy
of the official form, which you can get via a stamped, self-addressed
envelope mailed to the JREF. Overseas and Canadian pledgers, envelope

The legal cases in Canada continue to develop, slowly. There have
been heavy changes involved, and all will eventually be told, of
course. Many have inquired about this matter, and I'm not at liberty
to give details, yet.

All for now. This long posting is the result of a 14-hour time
difference, with me working at impossible hours while awaiting the
wakening of Sydney. My poor body!

Best to all, Randi

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