The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Speaker to focus on psychic claims

Many people become skeptical while watching a magician produce a rabbit out of thin air or question the reliability of a psychic hotline. So does James Randi, who has spent more than 30 years examining and testing the claims of magicians, faith healers and psychic spoonbenders.

Randi will be exposing popular tricks and providing a rational perspective on the seemingly paranormal during his presentation, “The Search for the Chimera,” as part of the Forum series Tuesday in Zorn Arena.

The show will last for an hour and a half. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.

Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is better-known as the world’s premier investigator and demystifier of psychic, supernatural and magical claims.

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Beverly Soll, special events coordinator, said the Forum committee is hoping for a crowd of more than 1,000.

“His viewpoint will be a scientific approach that will show people how they may be fooled,” Soll said. “Because he is a magician, he is aware of how tricks are done.”

Randi has written nine books and he recently was featured on “Dateline,” “20/20” and “Larry King Live,” said Randi’s agent, Geri Lampert.

Lampert said The James Randi Education Foundation was established in 1996 to further Randi’s work and to educate young people to think critically.

The goals of the nonprofit organization are to help the new generation of critical thinkers conduct research of paranormal claims through well-designed experiments utilizing the scientific method.

To discover whether paranormal powers truly do exist, Lampert said the foundation has come up with the Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. A million-dollar prize is offered to anyone who can provide evidence of any psychic, supernatural or occult power or event under proper observing conditions.

Lampert said more than 200 people attempt to prove their powers to the foundation each year, but so far, no one has been able to do so.

“The psychics offer wonder and endless possibilities in a world that often seems difficult and mundane,” Randi said. “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.”

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Speaker to focus on psychic claims