The Amaz!ng Meeting 2003

Electric Monk - Randi Entertains and Teaches

And now, ladies and gentlemen, presenting your host for the conference, champion debunker of all that is bunk, and magician extraordinaire, James "The Amazing" Randi!

The Amazing Randi
The Amazing Randi Takes the Stage

Randi explained that he performed his magic tricks to both entertain and educate.

Randi's Superpowers
Randi Forms an Orb of Pure Energy Around His Right Hand

The education came in the form of demonstrating how anyone can be fooled, no matter what their education level. We must be on our guard, knowing that we can be fooled, and can fool ourselves merely by wanting something to be true and not taking the proper precautions of careful testing.

Matchbox Trick
Randi Makes a Matchbox Stand on End to Demonstrate How Easily Even Rational People Can Be Fooled

Randi recounted an example of a group of scientists that had been gulled by a performer who appeared to be able to make a matchbox stand on end on the back of his hand, without otherwise touching it. These researchers had, fortunately, contacted Randi for his opinion. They explained that they had examined the matchbox thouroughly, and had taken all other precautions that they had thought of. Randi calmly told them that this was a well known trick, and with them still on the phone, faxed them a copy of the instructions on how to perform the trick from one of the books in his collection.

Card Trick
Randi Determines the Cards Sealed in an Envelope

Next, Randi performed a trick which involved determining which two Zener cards had been sealed into an envelope when even the person doing the sealing did not know which cards (out of five) they were.

Moment of Truth
Quick, While Nobody's Looking

Without looking, a member of the audience shuffled the Zener cards, selected two, and placed them face-to-face inside a blank sleeve. Then he sealed them in a Manila envelope, and handed the envelope to Randi. Randi then drew his predictions on the ouside of the envelope.

Randi Gets It Right - No Guessing Involved

When Randi opened the envelope, it was revealed that he was correct. In doing so, he became one of the few magicians at the conference to do a magic trick and not subsequently try to claim the Million Dollar Prize. The audience member was told to display the remaining cards to verify that Randi could not have switched the envelopes while his back was turned for a moment. (Yeah, that would prove it...)

Randi's explanation of why he did this trick was to emphasize that he did not have to guess. The mechanism of the trick made it 100% certain that he would succeed.

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