To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The TV speech. Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 04:26:4
From: James Randi --- Wizard
Subject: The TV speech.
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 04:26:49 -0500
[The speech I delivered to the TV audience in Japan.
"Mr. Maric" is a Japanese magician who does mentalism,
and is well-known in Japan.]
Ladies & gentlemen, I have been involved in testing
claims of psychics for more than 50 years now, and I've
never had a more frustrating experience than TRYING to
test Mai Takahashi. What you see on this program is
not a challenge. It is not a scientific test, either.
It IS test of this Japanese audience and a test of
Japanese television, a test conducted by Mai
Takahashi's father, who has been dictating all the
You should know that in November of last year, when I
had scientists and skeptics with me, we DID TEST MISS
TAKAHASHI SCIENTIFICALLY -- AND SHE FAILED. It appears
that her father does not want that to happen again.
For today's encounter, I was first given two different
sets of rules for my participation when I met the
producers in the USA. Then when I arrived in Japan I
was given two more different sets of rules. And now,
just last night, I was given a fifth different set of
rules, and just an hour ago, yet another. All of these
capricious rules were dictated by Mai Takahashi's
I have now been told that
I am not allowed to have any participation in
the audience demonstration
that none of my controls will be used
that I cannot closely observe the procedure
that I may make no comments about what
that I may ask no questions, and
that no skeptics and no scientists are
allowed to participate or to be in the
I had just three simple questions I wanted to ask Mai
Takahashi. Any one of these questions would have
exposed her trick. She was informed of these
questions, and her father said that I was forbidden to
ask any of these questions.
In preparation for today, I have viewed a two-hour
videotape of Mai Takahashi doing her tricks for
parapsychologists in Taiwan. In that videotape her
trickery is very evident; obviously, the
parapsychologists were very easy to fool. But you will
never see that videotape. And I'm sure that you will
never see Mai Takahashi being properly tested. Her
father will not permit it.
What you see today being performed by Mai Takahashi is
a trick performance very similar to those which Mr.
Maric and I have shown you. It's a trick, a very
simple trick, not any sort of supernatural power.
I believe that the people of Japan have been deceived
and that such deception can lead to an irrational view
of the real world, the kind of irrationality that
promotes belief in deadly religious cults, in
pseudoscience, and in other forms of insanity. I urge
you to reject belief in this nonsense.
Ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely regret to address you
in this fashion, and I apologize for my intemperate
language, but I believe that you will appreciate
knowing the truth.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank