THE RANDI DINNER

Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.

Saybrook Graduate School,
USA

ABSTRACT

In 1982, when I was president of the PA, James Randi appeared on a panel of magicians that the program chair had arranged for the annual convention. The PA Council had just passed a resolution that put the Association on record that its members were advised to consult magicians when dealing with presumptive macro-PK phenomena. During the convention, held in Montclair, New Jersey, Randi invited John Beloff and me to dinner at his nearby home. During dinner, we discussed the PA resolution, and John described a young "metal bender" he and his team were investigating in Scotland. Randi agreed to develop a device in which a thin metal rod could be placed. However, if the device were opened or tampered with, a chemical would change color and reveal the deceit. Later, John gave the device to the young man, who claimed that he could only bend metal in the privacy of his home. When the device was returned, the metal was bent, the sealing wax was intact, but the chemical had changed color. John concluded that the wax had been melted, the metal had been bent by ordinary means, and the device had been resealed with the same wax. When Randi heard about this, he proclaimed that his "Project Beta" had been successful. Unlike "Project Alpha," in which Randi's confederates infiltrated a parapsychological laboratory as research participants, "Project Beta" simply required that Randi's advice be requested by a prominent parapsychologist. John Beloff was as prominent as they come.