Damage control.....

James Randi --- Wizard ((no email))
Sun, 29 Jan 1995 08:43:00 -0500

"Neither is it safe to count upon the weakness of any man's
understanding, who is thoroughly possessed of the spirit of
revenge to sharpen his invention."

--Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

If you're as bored as most are with the never-ending brouhaha about the Geller
lawsuits, please ignore this posting. We all have better things to do. I only
issue this statement in case someone out there chose to believe the pap that I'm
told appeared here last week. I apologize for boring you further.

At risk of wearying you with an already-established fact, I must remind you that
parapsychologists, "psychics," and their devoted apostles tend to regard "truth"
as anything that they say frequently enough. It appears that one would-be
parapsychologist has been gnashing his teeth over the recent significant
reversals suffered by him and his superiors, and has issued a strange and quite
spurious tirade via Internet. If this desperate document has come to your
attention, I will point out that it bears within it the seeds of its own demise.

Readers of this twaddle are encouraged to refer to certain court records for
proof of the astonishing claims made, with the obvious devout hope that no one
will actually trouble to do so. Those of you who might have chosen to accept
any of the nonsense as having any basis in fact, would be well advised to
actually make reference to those records, and would then see how typically
devious the claims are that have been made.

I'm not about to begin a dreary point-by-point discussion of all this blather,
but I'll deal with just one detail that was constructed by the wretch who has
issued this harangue. To quote the claim:

The [U.S. Federal] Court [of Appeals] never stated that Randi had proved
Uri Geller a fraud or a confidence man but, rather, that Randi had set
out to prove these things. There has never been any judgement finding
Uri Geller a fraud in any Court in any land.

Since that is the direct statement, extracted from the Internet posting, let us
examine the original document upon which it is based. In its December 9, 1994,
decision, the Court wrote:

Appellant Uri Geller, a citizen of Israel and a permanent resident of
England, is a self-proclaimed psychic who uses his putative "powers" to
accomplish such remarkable feats as reading minds or bending spoons and
suspending cable-cars in mid-air with nothing but sheer mental force. .
. . Among Geller's critics is James Randi, an accomplished magician,
author and lecturer, better known as "The Amazing Randi." . . . Since
Geller's rise to prominence in the early 1970's, Randi has set about
exposing various Geller feats as the fraudulent tricks of a confidence
man.

(Obviously, the reference to "suspending cable-cars in mid-air" should have read
"stopping a cable-car.")

Note: the Court says, not that I "set out to prove" or "tried to prove" these
things to be fraudulent tricks, but that I have "set about exposing" them "as"
fraudulent tricks. That's something, according to the Court statement, that I
have DONE, not something that I merely hoped or tried to do. The statement is
quite clear, and that same statement also explicitly refers to Geller as a
"confidence man." The Court accepts and states that I have been successful in
doing what I set out to do.

But what about the remainder of this claim, that "There has never been any
judgement finding Uri Geller a fraud in any Court in any land"? Yes, I must
admit that I know of no "judgement" by any "court" that specifically said that
Uri Geller is or was a "fraud," in those specific words. But, according to an
account in an Israeli newspaper, the Magistrate's Court in Beersheba, Israel,
upheld charges

that Uri Geller, the self-proclaimed telepathist, was guilty of breach
of contract in that he promised to perform feats of telepathy,
parapsychology, hypnotism and telekinesis, while in fact he merely
employed sleight-of-hand and stage tricks.

>From Webster's, I offer a definition:

fraud: a person who deceives or is not what he
pretends to be; imposter; cheat.

I leave the interpretation to my reader.

Folks, the rest of the Internet posting refers to "findings" that are false
and invented, and are simply lies. The court records show clearly that what
was being claimed about me was demonstrated to be untrue, and authoritative
witnesses were called to establish that fact. That does not stop anyone from
taking evidence out of context and distributing it in the media, as was done
here on the Internet. The Bad Guys are in retreat, and while running down
that dark alley, they have chosen to throw garbage back at their pursuers.
Please bear that in mind. I have chosen not to detail the facts -- the
actual facts -- developed and proven during that trial about my accuser,
since I'm free to select a higher path. And I'm sure he depends upon that
difference in our characters.

But don't think the battle is over.

James Randi.

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