The Real Deal?
The Amazing Randi is kind of a contemporary of mine. We both spent time in New York City while I was working at Tannen's Magic Store. That was a time before the internet, and you definitely learned magic by being around magicians and magic stores.
Randi has had a full life and a least a few careers, among them: magician, skeptic, and debunker. I first became aware of him when he published the book, The Magic of Uri Geller. Geller was, and still is, a psychic who claims is paranormal phenomena as real. James said, not so fast.
In fact, James followed Geller as he made all the TV talk shows. Randi would repeat the phenomena. Geller, was scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Randi contacted Johnny. Carson being a magician himself agreed to use the “Randi approach” for Geller's appearance on the Tonight Show. A specific set of protocols to insure no cheating. Geller failed to produce a single paranormal effect on that appearance.
Randi offers $1,000,000,000 to anyone who can fool him. There exist several episodes, which can be found on YouTube ,of Randi debunking various claims. There are a two that are favorite's.
The first is when he is challenged by the man who claims he can move objects with his mind. Before the man is a pencil, which, when he concentrates, eerily slides! When Randi sprinkles a few grains of sand around the pencil? Pencil no move.
The other is when Randi is before a school class and hands out to everyone an individual horoscope. Randi asks everyone if the horoscope correctly describes them. Each person says yes and then they are asked to pass that paper over their heads to the person in the row behind them. Each does, and then they realize that the horoscopes are the same.