James Randi (August 7, 1928 – October 20, 2020)
…was a Canadian-American magician/conjurer and a scientific skeptic who thoroughly dissected paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.
Randi was the co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, originally known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP).
He is most known for founding the James Randi Educational Foundation aka ‘JREF’. He began his career as a conjurer under the stage name “The Amazing Randi” and later chose to allot most of his time to investigating paranormal, occult, and the supernatural; or as James would have called it… “woo-woo.”
Randi retired from practicing magic at age 60, and he retired from the JREF at 87.
Although James Randi was often referred to as a “debunker,” He said he preferred to describe himself as an “investigator.”
James Randi loved to write about paranormal phenomena, skepticism, and the history of magic.
He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, famously exposing fraudulent faith healer Peter Popoff, and was occasionally featured on the television program “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!”
Before Randi’s retirement, JREF sponsored the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, which offered a prize of one million dollars to anyone who could demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event under scientific test conditions agreed to by both parties.
In 2015 after hundreds of failed attempts, the James Randi Educational Foundation said they will no longer accept applications directly from people claiming to have a paranormal power, but will offer the challenge to anyone who has passed a preliminary test that meets with their approval.
His foundation continues to make grants to non-profit groups that encourage critical thinking and a fact-based world view.