The Truth and the Lies

James Randi

Headline Books, London, 1996

Here's a very strange thing: this famous Canadian magician apparently has a $1,000,000 prize on offer. All you have to do is give a "performance of any paranormal, occult or supernatural event, under proper observing conditions". Yet, so far, this rather attractive bounty is still unclaimed. How can this be?

A man called Uri Geller can seemingly bend spoons by supernatural means, yet several showbiz conjurers can achieve the same result by sleight of hand. If so, why is Mr Geller doing it the hard way? He claims to have been consulted by NASA to repair satellites, yet NASA don't know what he is referring to. What is going on?

A man called Daniel Dunglas Home performed seances where a concertina suspended in a cage was heard to sound faintly. He sported a substantial soup-strainer moustache and, after his death, several tiny harmonicas were found among his belongings. Strange.

A mysterious sect known as the Jehovah's Witnesses have announced the end of the world in 1874, 1914, and 1975. Uncannily, many adherents have survived these terrible events.

When a person operating a ouija board is blind-folded, an unknown force reduces all the messages from the beyond to gibberish. Makes you wonder.

During the 1970s a great many people felt compelled to buy tiny pyramids in the belief that these would keep razor blades sharp. Years later, no-one recalls "employing" such a device. Is this some kind of alien manipulation of our thought processes?

A Tibetan mystic and former hero of the Chinese Air Force, known to millions as T. Lobsang Rampa, was miraculously revealed to be a plumber's assistant from Surrey called Cyril Henry Hoskin. Who could have divined such a thing?

St Stephen has left behind him two skeletons, whereas John the Baptist has bequeathed us several of his heads.

In cases of stigmata, where people display wounds resembling those incurred in the crucifixion, the wounds are often in the palms, as depicted in many religious paintings, rather than in the wrists, as one might expect from the historical facts of crucifixion. Bizarre.

The curse of Pharoah Tutankhamen, as placed on those who disturbed his tomb in 1922, resulted in an average life-span for the group concerned of one year more than would be expected. Quite eery.

These and many other baffling cases are discussed in this indispensable guide. It can be confidently prophesied that it will find a place in all our homes and revolutionize outlooks all over the world.

Online version of this book.



Paul Taylor 2001