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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Johnson, Dr. Martin (1930- ) Born in Sweden, Johnson was the first professor of parapsychology at the University of Utrecht, Holland (1953), then headed the parapsychology laboratory there from 1973 until his retirement. The lab closed in 1988.
      Dr. Johnson's reputation among skeptics has always been very high as a doubter of the proven reality of psi, and the believers often expressed their own suspicions that he was secretly doubtful about the phenomena. In his writings, Johnson expressed his opinion that though there was not a single set of data that established the case for psi, he nonetheless held a personal conviction that there was “something there” and that it would someday be discovered. He was determined to systematically search for it. As a direct result of his efforts, the parapsychology lab at Utrecht was very prestigious and respected.
      To emphasize his frequent assertion that parapsychologists in general can be excessively credulous, Johnson introduced a “psychic” named Ulf Mörling to the 1967 parapsychology conference at Utrecht. Mörling proceeded to convince the assemblage that he did indeed have paranormal powers, and even when the attendees had been told that he was a conjuror and was cheating, they still believed. The prime endorser of the supernormality of the Mörling performance was a claimed undeludable “expert” and prominent member of the Parapsychological Association named William (Ed) Cox, who also accepted Uri Geller, Masuaki Kiyota, and many, many more performers as genuine.
      In his prime opus, Parapsychologie (1982), Johnson went to work personally debunking “miracle men,” from Uri Geller to Sai Baba.

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