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[ Randall James Hamilton Zwinge ]
(August 7, 1928 – October 20, 2020)
Canadian-American stage magician and a scientific skeptic who extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. He was the co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), originally known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). He also founded the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). He began his career as a magician under the stage name The Amazing Randi and later chose to devote most of his time to investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims, which he collectively called "woo-woo". Randi retired from practicing magic at age 60, and from the JREF at 87.
Although often referred to as a "debunker", Randi said he disliked the term's connotations and preferred to describe himself as an "investigator". He wrote about paranormal phenomena, skepticism, and the history of magic. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, famously exposing fraudulent faith healer Peter Popoff, and was occasionally featured on the television program Penn & Teller: Bullshit!
Before Randi's retirement, JREF sponsored the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, which offered a prize of one million US dollars to eligible applicants who could demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event under test conditions agreed to by both parties. In 2015, the James Randi Educational Foundation said they will no longer accept applications directly from people claiming to have a paranormal power, but will offer the challenge to anyone who has passed a preliminary test that meets with their approval. The foundation continues to make grants to non-profit groups that encourage critical thinking and a fact-based world view.