This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

News Bureau • Schofield Hall 201Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900
Psychic, Paranormal Claims Investigator
To Close The Forum May 1

MAILED: April 16, 2001

         EAU CLAIRE —Can psychics really sense hidden secrets and help the police solve crimes? Can astrologers predict the future? Does therapeutic touch really work, as thousands of registered nurses say it does?
         James Randi, world-renowned investigator of psychic and paranormal claims, will explore these and other questions Tuesday, May 1, in a program that will close the 59th season of The Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
         Titled "The Search for the Chimera," Randi's presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
         James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is even better known as the world’s premier investigator and demystifier of psychic, supernatural and magical claims. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
         For more than 30 years Randi tirelessly and relentlessly has examined and tested claims of all kinds in countries all over the world, pursuing psychic spoonbenders, exposing the dirty tricks of faith healers, and generally being a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in the name of the supernatural.
         In his presentation Randi exposes popularly accepted fakery and reveals what really took place in the last three decades in the labs of prestigious think tanks that verified a series of simple magicians' tricks as genuine miracles. He provides a rational perspective on the seemingly paranormal and otherwise unexplained happenings in our day-to-day lives.
         In 1996, The James Randi Education Foundation was established to further Randi's work and educate young people to think critically. The goals of the nonprofit organization are creating a new generation of critical thinkers through presentations, scholarships and awards; demonstrating the consequences of uncritical acceptance of paranormal claims; supporting and conducting research into paranormal claims through well-designed experiments utilizing the scientific method; and assisting those who are being attacked as a result of their investigations and criticism of people who make paranormal claims.
         To raise public awareness of these issues, the foundation offers a million-dollar prize to anyone who can provide evidence of any psychic, supernatural or occult power or event under proper observing conditions. The foundation's motivation for the Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge is to discover whether paranormal powers truly do exist. So far, no one, including scientists and health-care practitioners, has been able to prove that they do.
         Randi is a founding fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, the first formal organization dedicated to critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims. Other founders include astronomer Carl Sagan, physicist Murray Gelman, psychologist B.F. Skinner, and noted science and science-fiction author Isaac Asimov.
         "Perhaps nobody in the world understands both the virtues and the failings of the paranormal as well as Randi does," Asimov said. Arthur C. Clarke called Randi "a national treasure and perhaps one of the remaining antidotes that may prevent the rotting of the American mind."
         Randi has written nine books, including "An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural." He often is featured on national and international television, most recently on "The American Experience" presentation on Houdini, "Dateline," "20/20" and "Larry King Live." His investigations have been the subject of many television programs, including a "Nova" presentation on PBS-TV titled "Secrets of the Psychics."
         "A lot of people hate my skepticism, and I think I understand why," Randi concluded in the program. "The psychics offer wonder and endless possibilities in a world that often seems difficult and mundane. They promise health, wealth, wisdom, eternal life. But if you examine the record, it's not the psychics but the hard-nosed scientists who have actually delivered the things that improve human life. And, to me, science describes a world far more interesting than any psychic fantasies. It's a good world — not perfect, but it's ours. So we'd better learn to live with it the way it is."
         Admission is $7 for the public; $5 for those age 62 and older and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff; or $3 for those age 17 and younger and UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.
         Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
         The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.

UW-Eau Claire Home [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: April 16, 2001