Magician And Skeptic James Randi Dead At 92

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Jackson Elliott Contributor
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Famed magician and paranormal investigator James Randi, also known as The Amazing Randi, has died at 92, his foundation announced.

“We are very sad to say that James Randi passed away yesterday, due to age-related causes. He had an Amazing life. We will miss him,” the website’s announcement said.

Shortly after dropping out of school in 1945, Randi started his pursuit of magic. Randi’s career would see him perform magic onstage, break out of jail cells, and smash Harry Houdini’s record for time spent underwater in a sealed casket, according to the New York Times.

An atheist, Randi worked to debunk alleged scams that used claims of supernatural power to swindle people.

From 1964 to 2015, Randi offered money to anyone who could demonstrate supernatural abilities. He never had to pay out. For his work, he received a MacArthur Genius Grant in 1986 and starred in a 2014 documentary, An Honest Liar, according to Arizona Central.

“I never want to be referred to as a debunker,” he once told The Orlando Sentinel, according to the New York Times report, “because that implies someone who says, ‘This isn’t so, and I’m going to prove it.’ I don’t go in with that attitude. I’m an investigator. I only expect to show that something is not likely.”

Randi also debated and debunked alleged psychics, paranormal experts and televangelists. The magician confounded self-proclaimed psychic spoon-bender Uri Geller by replacing his trick spoons with normal spoons on the Tonight Show, according to the Huffington Post.

Geller spent a terrible 20 minutes failing to bend spoons on television with Randi present, beginning a decades-long feud. In 2009, Randi asked that his cremated ashes to be “blown in Uri Geller’s eyes,” according to The New York Times. (RELATED: Researchers Say 80% Of Self-Proclaimed Psychics Are Liberal)

Randi later exposed that “faith healer” Peter Popoff was gleaning his audience for information with the assistance of his wife over radio and pretending to hear from God in order to amass donations, according to an Associated Press report.

“Popoff says God tells him these things. Maybe he does. But I didn’t realize God used a frequency of 39.17 megahertz and had a voice exactly like Elizabeth Popoff’s,” Randi told US News and World Report in 2002, according to the New York Times.