Despite having worked as an internationally-renowned stage magician for much of his life, it’s for his clinical investigations of all things paranormal and pseudoscientific — most famously his exposé of a certain spoonbender, The Truth About Uri Geller — that James Randi is best known. His no-nonsense approach in such matters is illustrated in the following letter, written in June of 1999 to Rico Kolodzey, a man who applied to win Randi’s One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge (the prize of which is offered “to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event”) on the strength of his supposed ability to survive without food; a claim which so frustrated Randi that even preliminary tests were refused.
Following some mild criticism years later, Randi agreed to test Kolodzey’s claims in 2006. Negotiations broke down however, and said testing didn’t take place.
Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Alternative Science.
(This is a hard-copy of the e-mail response sent to you today.)
Please don’t treat us like children. We only respond to responsible claims.
Are you actually claiming that you have not consumed any food products except water, since the end of 1998? If this is what you are saying, did you think for one moment that we would believe it?
If this is actually your claim, you’re a liar and a fraud. We are not interested in pursuing this further, nor will we exchange correspondence with you on the matter.
(Signed, ‘James Randi’)