A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies

reader comments: James Randi

31 Dec 2014 [unedited]
If this if for real I can demonstrate physic abilities even to a group of people at one time. Women tell me they feel my presence even thru walls. Men feel it but not as much as women. One woman I worked with said she thought she was peeing on herself. Also people feel something when I touch them that is very different from normal touch. When I was a little boy we had a piano and a blind piano tuner. One day my father said I want you to know something about yourself. He put three siblings in front of the blind man and asked him to point me out. He did. We had a place in the house where you could come in from different directions and he had us kids come in from different ways. The blind man would smile and point right to me, every time. They say I have red hair. People, not blind people, tell me they see things when they come around me. And from what they tell me usually see the same things. There is more but, no point, at this time, because I think you are getting enough to satisfy your bet requirements.

Dave (Where's my money?) Vallaire

Read what's below, 10 times. Then try another 10.

My father was something else. Its not nice to fool with mother nature. Where's my money?

reply: Apparently your psychic powers are failing. I have no bet offers and think you have me confused with someone else. A shrewd fellow such as yourself should recognize that what you have read in The Skeptic's Dictionary is an article about the Million Dollar Challenge.

If I were you, I would hurry and find out who is really giving away money to people with psychic power before yours disappears completely. A hint: his name is James Randi.

reply from Dave (Where's my money?) Vallaire:

Didn't say I could read minds, dufus. You are supposed to be connected with James Randi.

This is from your site, you moron. What a total idiot you really are. Another con site with smart assess who don't know anything. Idiots like you are the problem with the world. HAVE SOME DREAMS ON ME.

reply from Bob Carroll to Dave (Where's my money?) Vallaire

I feel sorry for Randi if Dave (Where's my money?) is typical of the applicants claiming to have paranormal powers. Dave (Where's my money?) may have psychic powers but had he learned to read better, he'd know I'm not affiliated with Randi or the paranormal challenge. My own take on Dave (Where's my money?) is that people can smell and hear him a mile away, even through thick walls.


17 April 2014

I am trying to reach James Randi, or part of the same team, or someone interested in this debate whose view is important, regarding the debate on psychic phenomena.

My name is XXX from the UK. I have been keeping an informal dream diary with the Society of Psychical Research here with a view to obtaining written evidence of any dreams that ‘hit’ i.e correspond with the details of events occurring after the dream itself. Sadly, although I occasionally produce good details I probably don't exceed chance. However, I was told this dream by a spirit and have confidence in it. I realise that this does not satisfy the conditions you set out for the prize so I only hope to convince you that whilst the case against psychic phenomena is strong and usually right that there is such a thing as this psychic phenomena despite the difficulty in pinning it down.

Nicholas Parsons, UK television and radio personality, will die within a few months in the year 2014. I suspect that this will be a Summer [sic] month, probably August, and that this will be connected to the number 18, presumably the date.’

You might think that giving so many months spreads my bets a bit and you would be right. Also I am only half sure of the 18. And the person in question is 80+. [Parsons is 90.] With regard to details, sadly it is in the nature of psychic phenomenon to be vague - it is after all supernatural and not as easily controlled as the decision to use a computer to type a letter for example (itself devilish anyway if you ask me). This fact is often used by charlatans to explain inaccuracies in their efforts, thus muddying the waters for others whose own genuine experiences will be overlooked by what is after all a rational doubt. Of course if you think about it I have favoured August 18th but my honest answer is to be cautious. I have tried to track down the entertainer in question online to see if he is suffering from a terminal illness but I have not found anything to suggest that. Of course this could be a family secret of which I am privy. But that could be said anyway. I hope I make you think.

(Yes, a letter from a psychic sent to the wrong guy because it is so devilish to find out how to contact the JREF about the million dollar prize.)

reply: Hmmm. I am not affiliated with the James Randi organization, the one that offers the $1,000,000 prize to anyone proving psychic ability.

The application form can be found here: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html

You did make me think.

I'm thinking 'why did this fellow write to me? It's rather easy to find James Randi on the WWW. Why does this fellow need help in applying for the paranormal ability prize? Well, at least he realizes that making a vague death prediction about someone who is 90 years old is not that special. I'm also thinking that this fellow's delusional notion about vagueness being an essential part of something supernatural and those who criticize this vagueness are charlatans indicates he is wearing a type of belief armor that is impenetrable to ordinary logic and standards of evidence.'

I'm also thinking that this is not a game. Some of you people who claim to be psychic are conning yourselves; the most vocal among you are conning others. It's sickening to see the crowds of desperate, hopeful, true believers line up for a show by John Edward, James van Praagh, the Long Island Medium, the late Sylvia Browne, and hordes or others using the same lame shtick.

(Not long ago, another person claiming to be psychic emailed me and thought he was writing to James Randi. He told me I'd be dead in two years....but, he added: "There might be a miracle and you might survive. If you go to the hospital on time at the first symptoms, you will definitely be able to live for 1.5 years. If you keep on getting treatment on time, you will definitely live healthy for 7 years, and 1 last year after that you would stay frail. I am always right, so you must believe me." I wrote to this fellow who is always right except when he's not to ask if he got his psychic abilities from a bump on the head, a high fever, or a drug overdose He hasn't replied....yet. He's probably too busy using his remote viewing powers to locate Malyasia Airlines flight 370.)


November 08, 2002
I am wondering why the Skeptics Dictionary is not skeptical of the Randi million dollar offer. He gets the interest from the million and if he gives the award away he will lose that interest income, isn't that situation an obvious conflict of interest situation, and one that any intelligent person should be skeptical of ?

Respectfully, William Perron

reply: Randi doesn't have the million in the bank. As you probably know, the prize is in the form of negotiable bonds held in a special investment account.

Also, as you probably know,

The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant.*

What would be a real conflict of interest would be if Randi got a percentage of the prize should anyone win it. You claim the JREF is getting the interest on these bonds and that these funds would be lost should anyone win the prize. Thus, should the prize be won, the JREF would lose substantial funds. The JREF would also lose face and have to eat crow. It would lose a lot more than this funding should anyone win the prize. My guess is, the JREF would be out of business should anyone win the prize. So would I and every other skeptic who maintains that the likelihood of miracles and paranormal powers is near zero.

You might as well argue that it was a conflict of interest for the University of Nevada (Las Vegas), Charles Tart, and Raymond Moody to take money from Robert T. Bigelow to set up the so-called Consciousness Studies program at UNLV. If they had failed to come up with some scientific proof of life after death, they would lose their funding. Well, they did fail and they did lose their funding. You are assuming that Randi will never allow anyone to win the prize. But that is what you claim to be proving by claiming he will lose money if anyone wins the prize. In logic, we call this kind of fallacious reasoning begging the question.

I think you would have a better chance of a winning argument if you could show that it is logically impossible to prove any paranormal power; therefore, Randi's money is safe and the $1,000,000 offer is just a gimmick to gain publicity for the skeptical cause.

The "conflict of interest" argument is interesting, but very weak. You might as well claim that anyone who offers a prize has a conflict of interest because they will lose the prize when it is given away.

Mr Perron replies:

Dennis Rawlins, a co-founder of CSICOP in his article titled sTARBABY quotes Randi, when he is asked about his then ten thousand dollar offer that he said " I always have a way out." He is the final word on the give-away of the money, it will never be given away, but certainly not for the reasons that you suggest at your site. To say that there is no "paranormal" events is ridiculous, I myself have had at least on one mystical experience so I know that they are possible. The jackals bark and the caravan moves on.

Not so respectfully,
William Perron

reply: I don't deny that people have mystical and paranormal experiences. What I deny is that anyone knows that the origin or cause of those experiences is supernatural or paranormal, rather than natural. I reject your interpretation of your experience, not the reality of it to you.

29 Sep 1999 

I was browsing the net the other day when I came across a web page for Riley G. Your hero, James Randi was allegedly tied in with a Sex Tape and teenage boys. If this is true, I think you should select another idol, Mr. Carroll. I'm sure your colleagues would be disappointed with your choice of leaders to fight for. I have added the section from Riley G's site on this e-mail. 

Awaiting my e-mail on your website,

Prof. Marco Beriolle

reply: Professor Beriolle seems to believe Riley G has some credibility. I wonder on what basis. I would be a bit more careful about what I admitted I do with my spare time, if I were the Professor. But if participating in the spreading of vicious innuendo is what you want to be known for, so be it.

P.S. I think he's talking about you in the next to last sentence.

[from Riley G's page]
And just how can you claim I screwed up on something when you can't even get the persons name correct. Sure, someone claiming to be from the Miami PD sent me a photo of a death scene that looked like Andrew Cunanan. I had this photo on my web site for about 1 week before I debunked it myself when the evidence proved is was not Andrew Cunanan.

As to your remarks about me never backing up my claims that I was NYPD, I suggest that you do better research. Hell, even the Septic Cult leader James Randi ate crow on that one. And speaking of the gutless wonder (Randi). He has always hated the fact that I have a copy of the court transcript and cassette tape of the infamous Sex Tape and other assorted items with what appears to be underage teen-age boys!

For the record, Randi refused me twice to take his psychic challenge. All I requested was direct access to the SAME DATA AFTER the tests, and for it to be done LIVE in front of an TV audience. This is something that would keep RANDI and his CULT honest, but he refused. Geez, I wonder why?

Prof. Marco Beriolle

reply: I suggest that if you want to quote from the gutter, Professor Beriolle, you have your reasons. Allying yourself with Riley G is not something I would let my colleagues know about, however. For those who have never heard of Riley G, you are lucky. He is a self-declared psychic detective, claims he used to be a police officer (but was retired due to injury after three years), is an actor, entertainer and remote viewer. He also refers to himself, for reasons known only to Mr. G, as The Minister of Propaganda. He says he rides a Harley and is a friend of Uri Geller's, too. On his website, he has the following notice: "All graphics and text contained within these web sites remain the property of Riley G & Squatting Dog Productions and can not be reproduced or altered without the permission or consent of Riley G"

You like this Squatting Dog fellow, Professor?

Riley G once sent me an e-mail and asked why there was no page on Riley G in the Skeptic's Dictionary. I looked at his website and determined that he was perhaps not the most stable person on the planet and that it would be best to leave him alone.

I suspected Mr. G or one of his friends was behind the recent smear campaign that I wrote about in Mass Media Funk. Riley G denies it and says he does not condone such stuff. (See his comments below.) He sounds like a swell fellow to associate with, Professor. Perhaps you are the anonymous author of both the e-mail and the slanderous website on Freeyellow.com that was removed after I complained about it. If so, please come forward and identify yourself. It seems shameful that such eloquence should hide in the darkness of anonymity.

01 Oct 1999
(Sender psicop@pop.pipeline.com)
I suggest that you get your facts straight. I have nothing to do with the Randi Site, and I don't condone it!

BTW, there is no period (.) after the last name of G (Riley G).

Riley G
Blood Brothers MC Founder & International President

reply: I'm glad to hear it, but I'm surprised that I heard from you before the Professor responded. I have a feeling you are not a daily reader of the Skeptic's Dictionary, so I assume the Professor informed you of these comments. Where are you, Professor?

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