Keeping Tabs on the Amazing One - the Randi Connection

-- by Dee Anne Wymer

As readers may remember, PhACT had been exploring the possibility for funding the $10,000 pledge made by James Randi a number of years ago. Randi held the sum of $10,000 in a special account to offer to any claimant who could validate a paranormal claim under testing conditions designed by the Amazing One. Unfortunately, his recent court cases, including fighting a libel case by Uri Geller, had depleted his funds. Thus, over the past summer, members of the PhACT council had discussed the feasibility of setting aside funds to renew Randi's $10,000 award pledge. Apparently, other individuals, along with Randi, had been thinking along the same lines and thus was born the "2000 Club".

In mid-October of last year, via the Internet Superhighway, James Randi posted to a number of newsgroups and individuals who frequent his electronic "bulletin board" a request that anyone who would like to pledge money to "the cause" should contact him. By October 26, $72,000 of pledges had poured in and the response snowballed from that point (mind you, Randi was only accepting pledges in increments of $1,000 --- easier book-keeping). Penn and Teller said they would match the largest pledge and Michael Shermer of the Skeptic Magazine proposed $10,000. To date, Randi now has a total of $540,000 pledged from approximately 150 individuals from around the globe. He was surprised and delighted at this validation of his skills as an investigator of paranormal claims --- and promises that everyone's money is truly safe. Thus far, he has flown to Tokyo to test a Taiwanese girl and to Holland and Belgium to investigate some rather uninspiring "pendulum swingers." The $540,000 has not yet been awarded. So much for self-professed psychics accusing skeptics of "not putting their money where their mouths are . . ." Go get 'em, James!

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