A Storyville documentary: chronicling magician James Randi's debunkings of faith healers, fortune tellers and psychics, including Uri Geller and tent-show evangelist Peter Popoff.
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Some people cannot believe that a magician can fool them
in such a way that they can't figure it out.
But magicians can and magicians do.
Swindlers do, conmen do all the time.
They're not magicians, they're fakes.
They are lying to us, they're deceiving us.
It's OK to fool people, as long as you're doing that
to teach them a lesson which will better their knowledge
of how the real world works.
No matter how smart or well-educated you are,
you can be deceived.
Hello, how are you doing today?
Very well, thank you.
Can I bring you something to...? Coffee!
Oh, yes, please. For me, coffee.
I'll get you coffee in a minute, OK? OK.
Oh, my heart just started again, that's good. Always a good sign.
See, I've always had my battle with the psychics, the so-called -
and I use that word in quotations all the time, remember that!
People who are stealing money from the public,
cheating them and misinforming them.
That's the kind of thing that I've been fighting all my life.
Magicians are the most honest people in the world,
they tell you they are going to fool you, and then they do it.
Wait a minute, I have to worship here.
APPLAUSE James Randi is the author of The Faith Healers
and he's best known as an investigator of psychic
and miraculous claims.
Would you welcome, please, The Amazing Randi.
Here he is! The Amazing Randi! HE SNORES
What did you...would you tell us who you are? The Amazing Randi. Ta-da!
I was born at an early age in a log cabin I helped my father build.
By the time I was seven I was eleven. I grew up very fast.
I am a magician, I always have been a magician...
A conjurer, prestidigitator, legerdemainist...liar, cheat,
charlatan and fake. LAUGHTER
You're a master magician.
Some people have said that you're about the greatest escape artist since Houdini.
Randi has a real deep natural affection
for magic and this love of deception.
A good magician needs to be a little bit of a conman, I think.
He needs to be sort of a criminal type,
but not have enough guts to actually rob banks.
He loves magic. He spent his whole life as a performer, as a magician.
So he really resents anyone applying the techniques of magic
for any purpose other than entertainment.
Especially to convince people that
there is something psychic going on here, he thinks that an abomination.
Tonight on this stage you are going to meet a man
who claims he can move physical objects using the powers of his mind.
Now, you have been touring our country,
debunking psychics, haven't you? I have indeed.
And I think that the solution is rather simple.
Now, what I have here is particles of a white plastic
which will rather conclusively show that Mr Hydrick
is merely blowing on both the page and on the pencil.
Randi says the public is being fleeced via trickery.
"I am going to tell you what's happening and more to the point,
"this is going to be a crusade to try and change the world."
If there is something to the paranormal,
let's find out what it is, if anything.
And on the other hand let's not be taken in by the claptrap
that is being offered us, and at our expense.
I just ingested six-and-a-half-days' worth of homeopathic sleeping pills.
Why don't they affect me? LAUGHTER
People say, what's the harm? Why do you care about this?
Then I saw Randi's answer, which was,
bad ideas can cause you serious damage or death.
The psychic surgeons, they operate with their bare hands
and profess to remove tumours,
malignant tissue, without any marks at all.
And believe me, the gimmick is so simple
you can buy it for 75 cents in a magic shop.
Now, what you're about to see is a bare-handed operation...
His point isn't to tell you that something isn't true.
His point is to widen your scope of vision so that you will question
the things that happen in front of you.
Oh, no, that doesn't come out. LAUGHTER
Some people think that he's very dogmatic.
It's always some tired person in a shack someplace in Idaho or Iowa
or some place like that
who gets picked up by extraterrestrials
and they have their genitals examined in great detail
and they can't wait to get on Oprah to describe it.
I'll bet you don't believe in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus either. I'm looking into Santa Claus.
He's a great storyteller and like all good storytellers, well,
there's probably some information and detail in there
that may not be appearing in his version of events.
It is, I will say, interesting that a man
who has devoted his whole life to using the tools of deception
to uncover real deception has,
at the centre of his life, a deception.
APPLAUSE And welcome to To Tell The Truth.
Let's meet our next team of challengers.
One of these three men pretended to be possessed by an ancient spirit.
Number one, what is your name, please?
My name is Jose Alvarez.
Number two. My name is Jose Alvarez.
Number three. My name is Jose Alvarez.
Only one of these people is the real Jose Alvarez,
and is the only one sworn To Tell The Truth.
'I first met Jose Alvarez in the Fort Lauderdale public library.'
I offered to explain something
about one of the photographs he was looking at.
This is the actual flower here for the cactus.
Yes. The little ones. And look at this, if this...
Yeah, this is fantastic, look at that.
Yeah, we need to spread that around. See, this is the one I cut for the...
'We end up spending the whole afternoon'
talking about our mutual interest about space exploration.
I remember we looked at books on telescopes and I told him I had
such a telescope at home, the Questar.
I went back to my friends and I said,
"I just met this extraordinary man, and I would like to meet him again."
We were able to go out at night with a tripod
and see the moons of Jupiter and all kinds of good things like that,
which is always very exciting to show somebody,
certainly if it's for the first time.
'I just got very excited and I said, I need to...'
I need to be with him more! HE LAUGHS
'When I first met Randi, I wasn't aware of who he was.'
OK, tomorrow, don't tell me about tomorrow...
And I was there when he won the MacArthur Award.
The gentleman announced, we are calling from the MacArthur Committee
and told me that I had won the prize,
and I answered in my most intelligible way... HE BABBLES INCOHERENTLY
'Then I got a real feel
'of the kind of impact he was having culturally.
'And little by little, I started getting more and more involved
'in the investigation of paranormal activities that Randi was doing.
'And then he asked me to play the character of a fake channeller
'in a project that we end up working together.'
This woman is JZ Knight.
She's also the one they call Ramtha, a mystical male spirit,
35,000 years old, who claims to be divine.
Now, you must understand that the so-called channellers
were claiming that they could contact long-dead spirits.
Now, not a few hundred years back, no, no.
They were more ambitious than that. Tens of thousands of years ago.
And they would speak in funny voices like this!
God bless you, Doctor!
All right, I'll say, how are you this day of your time as you create time to exist.
They were very popular. They gave talks,
HUGE prices for the seats.
There are often so many people, the Ramtha Organisation can earn
up to $200,000 for a single appearance.
And you're my first 35,000-year-old guest.
It was such nonsense.
I can't think of that technical term... Oh, yes - bullshit.
What she definitely is is part of what is being called the New Age movement.
Lots of people believe this is something genuine
because they see something on television and think,
"My goodness, surely this journalist would have checked this stuff out."
Trauma from a past life
sometimes seems to spill over into the present.
We are conditioned to believe that things that look like
documentaries, but are not factual, must essentially be true
or it wouldn't be presented as if it were factual.
The Carlos Hoax started
when 60 Minutes Australia
called Randi because they wanted to prove that channellers were a hoax.
On that phone call, Randi told them
that you couldn't prove that someone who said that they are inhabited
by a spirit 40,000 years old is a false claim.
What he said to them was, "What we need to do is to create one."
His name is Carlos and you've probably seen him on television
or mentioned in the press.
Carlos is involved in the mystical field of channelling.
Carlos, if you believe him,
is a spiritual messenger who occupies the body of this
19-year-old Puerto Rican artist, Jose Alvarez.
The Carlos Hoax was to show that the media would fall for
most of these stunts if they sounded attractive enough,
and they wouldn't really investigate too carefully.
So, one of the very first things we did to introduce Carlos to the
public, we made up the press package
that we presented to the Australian press.
'What trash this is!'
We even invented newspapers and magazines
that never existed. Theatrical magazines particularly,
announcing the appearance of the Great Carlos
at such-and-such a theatre that didn't exist.
But no-one in the media bothered to check up on one of these details.
They could have picked up the phone and just checked
and they would have found out that they were being deceived.
'Hello?' It didn't happen.
One man who's been making a name for himself here in the United States
is now doing the same in Australia.
Jose Luis Alvarez is a 19-year-old channeller.
By 60 hours after we had arrived,
we had eight major TV appearances, headlines in newspapers.
Everyone in Australia pretty well knew that Carlos was there.
It will be astronomical...in nature!
Frankly, I was just doing it without thinking.
Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to do it.
Last Sunday, the Opera House Drama Theatre
was packed with a near-capacity crowd of 500,
there to listen to Carlos and to have their questions passed
on to him by his disciples.
Crystals are fossils...of long ago!
I know he's definitely psychic.
It's something that I can feel coming from him.
I thought it was great. Very sincere, I thought.
Do you believe him? Yeah, I do, actually.
The following Sunday, 60 Minutes Australia revealed the whole hoax.
He billed himself as a man of the supernatural,
a man who could do amazing things. And thousands believed him,
making him a celebrity.
But it was all an elaborate hoax.
The most basic fact about Carlos was that he simply doesn't exist.
That's the real teaching of Carlos.
But this doesn't even scratch the surface
of just what a phoney Carlos is.
I am Carlos!
Though I had, just a year or so before this Australian event,
actually met Jose Alvarez,
I was very pleased at what it did for our relationship
because it really cemented it pretty well.
We decided after that that we sort of belong together.
I recognised, I guess, at a very early age
that my feelings were different from those around me.
And it was pretty evident to me that that was heavily frowned upon.
I perhaps felt like a bit of an outsider.
My father only really spoke to me twice in my whole life.
Calling me aside, sitting me down
and having a discussion.
We did that twice during my life, I was surprised both times.
I was pretty well educated on my own. The local education system
in Toronto, Canada, actually allowed me to stay out of grade school,
only going in there to take the tests.
I was free to wander
around Toronto and I found the Casino Theatre on Queen Street.
I saw The Great Blackstone advertised.
I had never seen a magician before in my whole life.
Harry Blackstone walked out on stage
and did wonderful things that I had never dreamed could be done.
He had this young lady walk out from the side of the stage
and he cast her into a trance. And he said,
She floated up into the air.
And I looked very carefully,
and I could not see any means whereby she could be suspended
in the air and caused to move in the air!
That was wonderful, I was transfixed.
How could the man do such a thing?
I determined at that moment
that I was going to become a professional magician.
And so at 17, I decided I wouldn't graduate from high school,
I left home and I joined the carnival.
I never went home again.
Now, is it possible that I could have drawn anything on there?
Do you want to take one more look? Take one more look, there's
nothing in there except a crushed piece of chalk, right? Now,
before you open up the slates, what was the word that you looked at in
the book? Would you mind telling us? Mackerel.
I was doing, well, so-called mind-reading tricks and such,
psychic tricks, so to speak.
It's been in your hands all this time, right? I assume so. All right, then,
would you open them and see what the spirits have brought us in the way of a message.
Don't tell her how it was done.
When I introduced myself as a magician,
I used to say to my audience, "Good evening,
"my name is The Great Randall.
"I am a liar, a cheat and a charlatan.
"I will blatantly lie to you, but for purposes of
"entertainment only, of course.
"And those lies may not be discernible from the truth."
Randi had this sense of trying to be bigger than life.
And the easiest way to be bigger than yourself
is to lie.
I was 21 years of age when I predicted the outcome
of that year's World Series.
And it was good for me, it moved me up a peg.
But it also had some fallout.
People would stop me in the street, literally, and start to ask
family questions and such that they thought I could answer,
and even offering me money to predict whether the husband that
the girl had chosen was the right one...
That was quite a comeuppance for me because I realised, you know,
people really do believe this nonsense.
Mentalism can be a deal with the devil.
It's an incredibly seductive feeling for someone to
imbue you with that power. It's a very tempting thing.
Then you have to make a decision.
Are you the sort of person that will
look someone in the eye, and even though you have
got no idea what their future holds,
you're prepared to tell them something that isn't true,
that may harm them,
just to move money from their wallet into yours.
You do not have that influence and power as a magician.
You have it the moment you deny you're a magician.
I know that surge of power that you feel
when you use a cheap trick
to manipulate someone else into thinking you have powers
that you don't have.
And I think it's very much to the good of the world that when Randi
felt that power, he backed away from it.
And out of that feeling of that power,
uh...came a rage.
I want now to introduce Uri Geller.
He's been denounced by some people as a magician, and certainly he's a
showman. He gives demonstrations all over the United States.
Ladies and gentlemen, Uri Geller.
They said his name was Uri Geller. The name didn't mean a thing to me.
He's come to the attention of Stanford Research Institute,
and the scientists there are apparently quite convinced that
he has psychic powers.
What I do is telepathy...
and that is, as everybody knows,
is receiving thoughts and passing thoughts.
And then I have the other power
which I, which I read that they call pyschokinesis.
And that is moving or bending or breaking objects.
It's cracking, I feel it under my fingers.
See how gently it goes?
Look, it's like it's becoming like plastic.
It's breaking... It's breaking.
if, look, it's very...
In 1972, I got a call from Colonel Austin Kibler of
the Defense Department, then acting
head of ARPA, as it was called -
Advanced Research Projects Agency.
He says, "Could you drop everything you're doing
"and go to Stanford Research Institute. There's a
"psychic down there and if he can do what they claim he can do,
"we ought to be involved.
"Cos the Russians have a big programme now going, using what they call Psy-Warfare."
This film describes a five-week investigation
conducted at Stanford Research Institute with Uri Geller,
a young Israeli.
Here we present a case of a double-blind experiment
in which someone places an object into a can chosen at random from ten
aluminium cans. Geller's task now is to determine
which of these ten cans holds the steel ball bearing.
Now Targ and Puthoff, the two scientists
who were in residence there at the time, were quite a pair.
First of all, Targ is legally blind.
he was one of the observers. Duh!
He has made his choice, the steel ball is found.
He fooled the pants off them, it was astonishing.
They saw Nobel Prizes on the horizon because
if you do discover there really were psychic powers, that would certainly
bring you a Nobel Prize or two. In this case, Geller guessed that a
four was showing, and he was quite pleased to have guessed correctly.
When I made my report to the government that Geller was...
a complete fraud,
Targ and Puthoff realised they were not going to get the money
from the government, so they took Geller on a tour to get
publicity for him and to raise some private money
to do their research with him.
I've been reading a lot of research on him
from the Stanford Research Institute and from the science section
of the New York Times.
A lot of publicity on this gentleman whose name is Uri, U-R-I, Uri Geller.
And we hope we're going to see some rather astounding things tonight.
Would you welcome, please, Uri Geller.
Johnny Carson was THE man.
Everybody watched that programme on NBC
and since I had been on the programme many, many times,
they asked if I could come into California
to appear on the show that night.
And I said, "Boy this is rather short notice,
"but I will talk to your prop man. And I'll tell the prop man how
"he can prepare the props in such and such a way that if it's real,
"Geller can do it.
"But if it's a fake, Geller won't be able to do it."
Are you feeling in the mood yet? No.
More questions? All right, let's... What's the capital of South Dakota?
No, I don't mean to press you.
OK, uh, let me see.
I said, OK, what I would like you to do with the little aluminium
film cans is I would like you to coat them on the bottom
with rubber cement.
Don't glue them down to the tray,
just coat the bottoms and let them dry.
When they're put on the tray, they won't skid, then.
I said because the way he does the film-can thing is he rotates
the tray and he sees which ones move differently.
We'll start eliminating the ones that do not have the water.
Without touching them. He is really suspicious, you know!
I'm having a hard time with you!
I don't mean to be, Uri, I really don't. Just keep looking.
OK, let me rest a little, all right? All right.
They actually shut down the set for 20 minutes or so while he
hummed and hawed and wondered how he was going to do something,
then they came back to the live audience
after a big, long commercial break.
All right, we are back.
Uri was telling me you don't feel, what, strong tonight?
I don't feel strong... Geller had to give the whole thing up.
It was a real failure for him, definite failure.
Because Carson's people had followed the instructions that I gave them.
Don't be disappointed. I won't.
I'm not. OK. We thought he didn't have a future.
And we were wrong! Very, very wrong, we didn't know how wrong we were!
Try to make a Boy Scout knot. Really heave on it.
That doesn't feel very tight, put another knot on top,
would you, please? Just one more
to make sure. I don't want it to fall off around my ankles.
There we go. What did I ever do to you? Why do you hate me so much?!
I'm going to see if I can take this rope off, it may take me a while,
but I'll see how fast I can do it. Would you time me, please?
Do you have a watch there, just look at your watch. Uh, yeah.
How about you, you got a watch? I have one. It took 2? seconds.
I think I deserve a large round of applause for that.
One of Randi's great heroes is Harry Houdini, and the
life of Harry Houdini reads very similar to the life of James Randi.
Starting out as an amazing magician
and escape artist, he was a great
showman and debunker and dedicated his life
to keeping people from being duped.
Well, the thought naturally occurred to me that I
could base a good deal of my life on Harry Houdini and his adventures,
perhaps do some of the things that he had done
and perhaps even improve on them.
Open sesame, try that. Open sesame.
Oh, look at it! The door is opening!
I wanted to break his records -
I wanted to stay in a sealed metal coffin longer than he did,
get out of a straitjacket faster than he did.
Out of chains, out of leg irons and handcuffs.
I said if a man could make it, I could break it.
There was nothing he couldn't get out of.
Or make it at least seem like he was getting out of them.
The clock is still going, he has established a world's record.
In some cases, 200 feet of rope wrapped up on a chair on stage.
You just hope that the theatre doesn't catch fire,
because they're likely to leave you behind to fry.
But it's when some of the things like hanging over Niagara Falls
in a straitjacket at 20 below zero, that gets your attention.
# Billion dollar babies
# Billion dollar babies... #
In '73, with Billion Dollar Babies,
we said this whole album is about extravagance,
so take it to the next level,
let's use illusion.
If you're going to get your head cut off, it can be scary and funny
at the same time, but it's got to be professional.
So you go to the best guy, and Amazing Randi was the best guy.
I had never heard of Alice Cooper.
I assumed it was a woman, you see, silly me!
And I said, yeah, this might be fun.
He really starts to become kind of a pop-culture figure.
All the way to... Happy Days!
Good afternoon, gentlemen, I am The Amazing Randi.
Hey, The Amazing Randi!
My appearance on Happy Days really did a lot for my career.
Fonzie, thanks a lot. You really saved the day. Are you kidding?
See ya. Yeah, hang in there.
This is show business. The showmanship.
That's one respect in which
I based a good deal of my efforts on what Houdini had done.
He had done it by trial and error
and I benefitted from his example.
This actually was invented more than half a century ago
by the late, great, Harry Houdini.
I was asked to do a show honouring Harry Houdini.
I am going to immerse myself inside the can, my body will displace some of the water,
the water will be filled right to the very top and the lid will be locked on.
And I was going to do the milk can. Now, this is rehearsal,
maybe 20 minutes before airtime.
And I tried to perform the escape.
I couldn't get out of the milk can.
Something had jammed and I heard a crackling noise.
Turned out it was a couple of my vertebrae that had been chipped.
And the pain was rather considerable, to say the least.
I was in deep trouble. I knew that if I panicked I would...I'd be dead,
that's all there is to it. So you don't panic.
I had to let myself sink back into the water,
I was in a bit of trouble.
Finally I heard the noises that they were undoing the padlocks.
I roared up out of the water,
and there I was, I had been saved. It was a close call.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome The Amazing Randi!
I came back from the hospital
and I was introduced down near the end of the show on a stretcher.
I've just returned from the hospital
and they tell me that I have a double compression fracture
of the vertebrae,
and it's not something I recommend you undertake as a hobby.
It wasn't a great blow to me.
And I was at the point where I thought that maybe it was time
to get out of this business.
Randi probably could've kept doing it for a while.
I remember him saying to me, "There comes a point
"you just don't want to see a little old guy getting out of a can."
I heard that this going to be the last escape, you're through with it.
Yes, the last straitjacket escape, certainly.
I may do some jail escapes and a few things like that,
but I'm going to leave that stunt to the younger people. Oh, yeah. How old are you?
I'm 55 now, and it's time to get out of that business.
I think it gave him the opportunity
to focus full-time on what he regarded...
as the bigger, better targets.
In the name of Jesus! Everybody with a bone disease,
everybody with a back infirmity, misplaced vertebrae,
bring them right down over here to the side.
Did you ever feel anything like this, it's like warm liquid fire
flowing over this whole building!
Oh, thank you, Jesus.
Let her go, that's the power of the Holy Spirit.
During the '80s, the faith healing racket was very,
very prominent, literally all over the world.
Let his leg begin to grow, heal the disc. There, it's coming...
In the name of Jesus.
I did a lot of investigation, I visited a lot of these tent shows
as we called them, and we didn't see any evidence of
healing taking place whatsoever.
But I was particularly obsessed with Peter Popoff.
You've got cancer of the stomach?
Are you ready for God to burn that cancer out?
A man like Reverend Peter Popoff was a very dangerous man.
In my estimation, he was a real scoundrel. Because he was taking
people's faith in their religion - he was taking away
their security. In many cases, he was harming them physically
because he was convincing them
that they didn't have to go to doctors any more,
that Jesus had healed them. If you've got pills, as an act of faith,
I want you to just throw 'em out in the aisles.
Those of you up on the balcony, just throw them over the side, Amen.
Throw them over the side, throw them over the side.
So you have Popoff, who's going around the congregation
and just seemed to be able to hear the voice of God and know all about
people, even their addresses,
he would call it out, everyone's impressed.
Is that...John? 3784 Archwood Road?
God is burning those blood clots out of his veins, out of his arteries...
There it is...
So he was doing a mentalism act, it appeared, and we wondered how he got
the information. So Randi was coming to town and he said,
"Would you like to come see this evangelist by the name of Peter Popoff, and he's supposedly really
"well known, and he's going to be downtown and he's going to be doing
"this whole revival thing and thousands of people will be there."
And I said, "Yeah, I'd love to come."
Is it Ruby, Ruby Harris?
So, I'm sitting there with Randi and there's thousands of people.
Come on up here, Ruby - here she comes!
They believe this man has a connection with their God
and he can actually heal them. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Now, listen, I'm going to tell her what's wrong with her, but I'm not going to tell it out loud
because it's confidential. How many of you believe the Holy Spirit's a gentleman?
I realised at that moment, something big is going on here. This is a lot more than I thought it was.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
God's going to burn them out right now, here they go!
Here they go - right now, Jesus!
And I have to tell you,
it was an absolutely amazing experience, because...
the emotions that you feel when there are people up there who are in tears... Right now,
Jesus! Ah, hallelujah! He's not going to need...
Who are shaking and you've got this entire energy going throughout this room.
It does something to you, even as a sceptic.
It truly does something to you.
Oh, hallelujah, get up on your feet, let's walk! There is no pain, no pain!
12 years, there's no pain!
Look at that! There he goes! There he goes, Hallelujah!
Oh, praise God! How many of you know that burns the Devil up?
After a while, you know, I'm sitting there and after some of the emotion
had died down in me, Popoff said, "I need people to come down to collect money" for him
and basically he had 15 buckets, and I'm supposed to go around the auditorium and collect cash.
God is touching that thyroid condition right now.
These people were throwing fives, tens, twenties, because one of the things Popoff always tells them,
"Whatever you give, you'll get back tenfold."
So if you put a dollar in, hey, you're going to get ten bucks. You put 100 bucks in,
you're going to get a lot more money back. And these people truly believed this.
Here it comes, complete healing in Jesus.
You foul spirit of deafness, take your hands off this woman
in Jesus' name. Lord, let these ears be open, there it is...
And as I get up close,
I notice in his ear, that there's an earpiece, there's no earhole.
It's a little piece of plastic in there and I come back to Randi and I said,
"I think I know what's going on."
I said what's up? He said, "He's wearing a hearing aid in his left ear."
Now, a man who heals the deaf,
you wouldn't think would be wearing a hearing aid.
How do I sound now? Loud! Loud.
At that point, I realised we needed some technical help, so I
enlisted the aid of a private investigator named Alec Jason.
One day, Randi called me and suggested that Peter Popoff was
using radio transmissions,
but they couldn't really figure out
how it was done and they wanted to know
if I could intercept it or detect it.
I said I certainly couldn't guarantee it.
Less than 50/50, maybe, you know, 25%.
We knew that Popoff had a "service" as he called it,
happening in San Francisco
and we figured we'd better be there.
Do you support Peter's ministry financially? Every dime I can, yeah.
What brings you here today?
Well, I'm expecting a miracle. Physical healing.
The day of the event, I dressed as a security guard. Complete uniform -
badge, shirt, radio, keys...
I'm not a security guard - I just look like one, part of my cover.
'And I was nervous.'
I appeared in disguise as Adam Jersin.
And if you put those words together and mix them up,
they spell James Randi.
So I went down a corridor and that's where I set up my equipment.
It was concealed n bags. So I have
my scanner going and it's looking for new frequencies,
anything new that's not there normally.
Praise God. Suddenly,
on the scanner, one of the lights came on saying there's a signal
and the scanner has stopped at that frequency. And I hear what I
realise are now...footsteps.
High-heel footsteps on a hard surface.
How many of you believe it's all right to praise the Lord?
And then I hear someone coming closer and closer to the microphone
and a woman's voice said, "Hello, Petey..."
'Hello, Petey. Can you hear me?
'If you can't, you're in trouble...'
Yes! They were using a radio frequency. I found it!
In the name of Jesus...
'Jodi Dean. Jodi Dean.'
Is it Jodi?
Dean? Jodi Dean?
'No, she should be right there on your right side.'
Here it comes.
'OK, she lives at 4267 Masterson.'
4267 Masterson? I can see the angels of God all around your house.
'Cameer.' Is it Cameer? You been taking a lot of medication?
'She's there with her son Kipper and he has a lump in his chest.'
Wait just a minute, who's Kipper?
He's got a lump in his chest. You want God to melt it right now?
Kipper, stand-up, God's going to burn that thing out, right now.
They'd filled out prayer request forms, saying "I have cancer,"
or I have this problem or that problem.
So she's giving that information directly to Popoff
and then he's reciting that information
as if he's getting it from God.
Is it Martha, is it Zacorski?
'Weldon Krabb.' Is it Weldon... 'Krabb.' Krabb?
'Peggy White.' Peggy White?
'1305 Celono.' 1305 Celono?
'Turn over to the left.' Hallelujah! 'There you go.
'She's had a hysterectomy, she can't take hormones.
'He's got kidney and eye problems.'
You want God to touch your kidneys?
Now, let that ear open! In the name the Lord - right now, Jesus!
Power of the Holy Ghost! Here it comes... Devil, back off!
And the bondage is broken! Whoo!
In the name of Jesus! You foul spirit!
I thought, well, I'm getting out of here now. So I packed everything up,
I turned the equipment off, took my bags and
walked down the stairs, outside to the cool air.
My heart's pounding now, because I've got the goods.
Not only did we have the evidence we needed,
we had more than what we needed.
We had it.
So I went on the Johnny Carson show
and when the revelation came and you heard Mrs Popoff's voice...
'Hello, Petey, can you hear me? If you can't, you're in trouble...'
..Johnny suddenly realised what the gimmick was and he said,
It turns out that God's frequency - I didn't know he used radio -
is 39.170 megahertz, and God is a woman, obviously, and
sounds exactly like Popoff's wife, Elizabeth.
Has he seen this tape at all?
No, he does not know about this until this very moment. Interesting.
I can't imagine what it would be like to maintain a life where your
living and your wellbeing of you and your family depends upon you
lying every single day.
I think they believe there is some way in which what they are doing
is good and that there's some moral compass that they've invented
that allows them to do this.
A double portion of God's power!
Well, we did it. We had exposed this man on probably the
most popular television show of the day.
And he announced bankruptcy shortly after that.
Oh, glory to God!
CARSON: OK, we'll take a break,
we'll be right back.
Oh, OK, I'll see what I can do, all right,
here we go. Wait, I'll do a Jackie Gleason here.
Yeah, I don't know, hmm.
I'll do a plie at the bar, OK?
Oh, no, I don't bend that way any more!
It has been said many times when you're in love,
you want to tell the world.
Maybe it will work, I don't know.
And James Randi is in love with the truth.
The so-called psychics and the other charlatans are making money at our
expense and we have to bear some of the blame for it,
so let's get to work and do something about it.
I'll take two eight-by-tens.
The man that puts the fear of God into all those psychics,
The Amazing Randi!
James Randi isn't just about being sceptical of the paranormal.
He is about promoting a scientific worldview.
Science has created and shaped much of the world in which we live.
But constant vigilance can never be relaxed.
You want people to be educated, you want to go out and
shake these people and say, "Listen to me, listen to me."
The Million-Dollar Challenge is real, ladies and gentlemen.
Why is there not a line-up outside this organisation right now
on the street? Why isn't Uri Geller here?
Really pull, come on, make it tight.
OK, I need... I need this chair.
Sir, would you take the chair and pull it up front?
I got an old one! First edition. Yes!
The amount that he travels
and the amount of people that he engages with,
he has genuinely changed thousands and thousands of people's lives
by opening their eyes.
I've got to bring my camera down here and get some shots of it, too.
Just to make Jose crazy.
Is he on your mind?
Every minute, because he's not here.
Sometimes I think... what an odd couple we make.
He's very rational and very much driven
by the sceptic thinking and all of that.
And sometimes I feel I'm a little bit or a lot of the opposite.
And somehow we have managed to build a life together.
And I like it. I like the fact that we are completely opposites.
Randi's always been supportive of my career and my persona.
All the way through. From the moment we met up to now.
It's just an amazing...
No pun intended. ..life,
being with him.
I cannot imagine my life without him.
OK, so just let me know as soon as you leave the airport.
He said they are waiting for luggage.
People find it funny that I call him Amazing!
But I like to call him Amazing.
I'm a bit tired, you know that?
Oh, it's so good to be back.
So good to have you back, Amazing.
Good to be here after all that travel.
So good to have you back, Amazing. Now I gotta show you something. Yes.
As you can see, I got a new cane.
Yes, and you've got to get the full effect of it now. You ready?
OK, let me see. That's pretty awesome, Amazing.
This was given to me by CICAP and Massimo.
Oh, oh, nice.
Oh, I remember this place.
Yeah, we used to live here.
We are cute, aren't we? Yup, we are.
It's a good picture. I love that picture.
This is the guy that left his home at 17 to join a circus
and go through all the crazy stories
that he has lived.
Ooh, the inside of this one is icky. Well, then take it out. No, no.
There's lots that can be saved here. No, no, no, no. Yes.
I'll take it out later, then. You probably will.
'It's quite an amazing ride
'and I just feel very privileged to have been part of it.'
Once more, let me hold it here gently.
I'm not even touching it and it's...
Look, you see, it's plastic.
When Geller was on the Tonight Show and Randi had helped Johnny
set it up such that he would not be able to perform his tricks,
it sure looked like that was the end of Geller's career.
Over, done, three strikes and you're out - gone! No!
Two days later, he's on the Merv Griffin Show.
And all I'm saying is "bend".
OK, look, can you see it?
I mean, it's bent, you know. That is a very bent key.
Now what happens, it's an energy that leaves my mind, nothing to do
with my finger, penetrates the metal and alters the molecular structure.
Now, instead of bend, I say to the broken watches, "Work!"
AUDIENCE: One, two, three. Work! Work!
Just a second. It's working! Oh, my goodness, it's working.
Your mother's watch is working. Is that like a miracle?
They all started, they're working!
The "I Am Not A Crook" watch.
First of all, I was born with this.
When I was four years old I was eating soup -
and that's four years old -
and suddenly the spoon started bending in my hands!
Now, Geller probably became the first superstar psychic
to be apparently accepted by science and by scientists.
Uri has subjected himself or has been subjected to some scientific
study, what they call cheat-proof, under rigid controlled conditions.
I want to tell you this, that this is not a trick.
These are scientists who are putting their whole life at stake
in validating these powers.
Randi was very upset by Geller's
using trickery to deceive scientists.
He thought that that was very immoral
and he felt that this was a prostitution of his beloved magic.
Randi, you've been going around the country,
somewhat as Houdini used to in the past, trying to debunk those
who say that it's psychic power.
You say it's magic. This is my house key. Uri Geller took it.
He went like this with it, with his finger, that's all, no pressure,
and the key bent, you can see that,
and I've carried it around because I found that I'm a believer now.
Here is my identical key. Touch it and make it bend.
Would you hold the end of it very lightly in between your fingers,
Barbara, and I'm just going to stroke it.
Now, I'm not putting enough pressure on it to bend it? No. OK.
Will you show it to the camera, please?
Now, is it bent as much as this key or not?
Are you going to keep this key too, Barbara?
In one way I almost followed Geller around the country
because if he appeared on some major show,
I simply went on the show and did his same routine.
Now, when Mr Geller does this, he says, "Bend".
I don't say that, I say, "Broccoli,"
because it's a simple conjuring trick that used to be on the back
of the Cornflake boxes when I was a kid.
Heavens to Betsy, look at that. Would you say that key is bent?
I decided to write a book about him.
I wrote a book, The Truth About Uri Geller,
that hit the market when the interest in Geller was at its peak.
The psychokinetic energy melts the molecular structure of the metal.
It seems to be... Oh, my!
I want it to bend, I just say "bend". Oh, my God!
Randi and Geller just went back and forth like gladiators.
It was fun to watch. Can you do the spoon-bending trick?
Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?
There's no heat at all. Touch it.
They wrote that I have laser beams in my buckle belt
and with that, I bend keys.
Look at this. You can actually see it bending over and turning liquid,
right in front of your eyes.
These things used to be on the back of Cornflake boxes, Larry,
but apparently some scientists either don't eat Cornflakes or
they don't read the back of the box.
This is my trademark and you will NOT find it on any cereal box.
How did you do that? Very well, I thought.
It's sleight of hand.
To explain the tricks to you would give you one solution,
but it wouldn't give you all of the solutions.
'In many cases, if not most cases, I simply went on the show
'and did his same routine.'
But then I would get the MC sometimes saying,
"Oh, yes, well, it's all very well for magicians to do this,
"but Mr Geller doesn't use magic tricks."
But what about the people who DO come up with the cards?
Do you hear about the times they don't come up with them?
Do you know that Uri Geller did 100 tests with sealed envelopes?
You think it's all fake?
What is the difference between what I did and what Uri Geller did?
Is, uh...because, uh...
Well, I guess I really don't have a...a...a real answer.
Because magicians can duplicate some of these things with trickery
does not mean that genuine psychics do it with trickery.
Anyone can imitate the Mona Lisa,
but that does not make them Leonardo da Vinci.
You people remember that.
Magicians say, "No, nonsense, I duped the scientists."
They say I fooled them. They always find loopholes.
I challenge them and tell them,
"Look, why don't you go and do it in a laboratory
"the way I was tested?"
My opinion has always been that parapsychologists,
no matter how well funded,
would not be able to properly judge
where someone has set out to purposefully deceive them.
And I had come to the conclusion that the only way to show them
would be to perpetrate an outright hoax by introducing some tricksters
into the laboratory that I knew I could trust.
I read Randi's book, The Truth About Uri Geller, and from that book
I was able to put methods together for bending objects myself,
and I created many of my own methods, to the point where kids in high
school were stealing silverware and bringing it to me to bend.
And I got so good at it that I'm not sure why,
but I wrote Randi a letter and I said, "Look, if you ever need a kid
"to try and fool scientists, I'd be happy to do so."
After I read The Magic Of Uri Geller and got to be pretty
proficient as a "psychic metal bender" myself,
I took it upon myself to reach out to James Randi.
Oh, Michael, you must be a psychic!
I'm causing that to twist 180 degrees, just like that.
Very shortly after, a very substantial amount of money
had been offered to a university
to do parapsychological tests.
MacLab was funded by James McDonnell and he said,
"Go out and find me some star subjects."
And that job fell to a scientist called Peter Phillips.
We were told that there were 300 applicants
and the MacLab ended up focusing on only two subjects.
Myself and Steve Shaw.
At that point, Project Alpha was ready to take off.
I fly into Saint Louis and we didn't know what we were getting into.
We didn't know if they were going to have one-way mirrors
with cameras hidden behind them.
We had absolutely no clue what it was we were getting into.
I was 17 years old. It was my first semester as a senior in high school.
I'm about to pull some basic magic on some people that should be
very well skilled and could very likely see through this quickly.
I might have stepped in a little bit over my head at that time.
I'm Peter Phillips and here with me is Mark Shafer.
The tape that you're about to see consists of a series
of episodes suggestive of psychokinesis.
The subjects in these experiments are two men of about 21 -
M.E. and S.S.
They presented themselves to us originally as psychic metal-benders.
I wrote to Professor Phillips in order to advise him
on how he should observe the Alpha kids.
As a matter of fact, I sent him a list of 11 rules
in order to keep control of an experiment.
'Don't allow the subjects to alter the rules established for the tests.
'Don't accept excuses like, "the vibrations aren't right"
'or "I don't feel right."
'And above all...'
..you need a professional magician
to keep you straightened out at what might be trickery.
It was very quickly, though, that Steve and I tried to,
almost line by line, get them to violate every one of those caveats
in one way, shape or form.
Mike, sitting to your right and dressed in white has just
picked up a spoon that he will attempt to influence.
One of Randi's caveats was to mark every item with an indelible mark
or a scratch that couldn't be replicated.
Something that was permanent
and it was something that we couldn't duplicate on the spot.
The parapsychologists, in their infinite wisdom,
decided that they would simply use paper tags with string.
'Can I get this tag off here? Sure, sure, slide it off.'
We took these paper hanging tags off of the spoons to make them
easier to work with.
As everybody was focusing on one spoon it was a simple matter
to lean on the control spoon, and later, switch those two tags
so the control spoon looked like the experimental spoon.
Yeah, it's markedly different. Of course it is!
It just went down instead of up.
It didn't feel like anything at all, but there it is.
We truly believed that if scientists went in with a pro-biased opinion,
and the majority of parapsychologists were doing just that,
they would not use proper science.
And if we could replicate what Geller and SRI had done, in essence,
in terms of established scientific protocol on testing a psychic,
we could undermine Geller's claims
of being deemed legitimate by scientists.
We have been working first of all, to establish the range of abilities
that Mike and Steve have because these have apparently included being
able to move small solid objects across a table top, influencing
a variety of metal objects such as keys and metal bars and metal rods.
Sometimes touching and sometimes at a distance,
and also influencing photographic film.
We were trying to get the parapsychologists to
break their own rules.
We were then informing Randi of the ways that we were beating the tests.
Randi in turn was then communicating it back to the MacLab how to
safeguard their tests so that we couldn't beat them any longer.
Needless to say, it got very complicated
as we were forced to become more and more resourceful.
'Another device designed to illicit PK in a visible manner
'was a lightweight rotor that was mounted atop a thin metal spindle
'under a glass dome.'
One of the tests was a spindle with a small rotor on top that had
a glass dome that fit over the top of this to protect it.
Our jobs were to try to move that rotor
without obviously removing the glass dome.
I thought that was a pretty good test.
It's connected to the base real well.
I really was stumped. Then I look over to the side of the room
and Steve was concentrating on the rotor and the rotor starts to move.
Here you see Steve influencing the rotor.
He's causing it to rotate clockwise.
And they said, "Well, to make sure there is no air currents or
"anything like that, can you make it move to the right?"
So I start concentrating and slowly it starts reversing
and it goes to the right.
I had no idea how he was getting this to work.
And if you look carefully, the rotor is moving counter-clockwise.
So Mike turns to me and he says,
"Hey, would you like to go get a drink at the machine?"
I know he wants to know how I just did this.
So I go with him down there,
and he says, "Steve, how the heck did you just do that?"
And I said, "Mike, after all these hours of sitting in that room
"and concentrating, I just found out that I'm really a psychic!"
I think I promptly threw him up against the wall at that point
and wanted to know, and it turned out it was a very simple deception.
Shortly after that hallway conversation, both of us
could magically make the rotor move any direction that we wanted to,
and the MacLab personnel never caught on.
I don't believe they're tricking us,
especially based on the research that we've done in the last year,
where we have exerted as tight a control condition
as we could think of, even in consultation with magicians,
to see if the influence holds up.
And we have found evidence that it does,
not as strongly under these controlled conditions.
It's as if somehow, the extra controls seem to inhibit it,
but still an effect persists.
Over the course of Alpha,
the controls did get significantly tougher
and the tighter the controls got, the lower the results got,
but their faith in us never diminished.
We do not claim that this tape provides incontrovertible
evidence of PK.
We regard it rather as a provisional tape,
imperfect, but still with much to offer.
It was at that point I think Steve and I realised
we can't do this any more.
We can't be responsible for this kind of psychological damage
by our ability to trick somebody.
Randi said, "It's just a couple more months.
"We have this TV show coming up,
"and that's when we want to tell the world that you're not real."
Randi, he's really the general.
You know, the general's rarely on the front lines anyway.
And sometimes he's sending
his minions to do his good works.
But always at a distance, he's the one at the strategy table.
He's got the vision for what will come.
The big day comes, the one that Mike and I have been waiting for.
We're going to reveal that everything is a hoax.
I'm going to ask these two gentlemen a very simple question.
Can you tell us, how do you do it?
As I walked up to the microphone I said, "It's very simple..."
Well, to be quite honest, we cheat.
Flash bulbs started going off and the murmurs started up
inside of the audience, and Steve and I then at that point admitted
that Project Alpha and us as psychics was nothing more
than a bit of illusion.
Magician Amazing Randi, you have him now on the phone.
Go ahead, you have the last word.
I was wondering what he thought about the claims that this was
sort of an unethical way of carrying out this experiment
and whether or not it's going to affect the scientific community
and the parapsychologists negatively?
I'm happy to say that the
president of the Parapsychological Association described it
as a magnificent experiment that needed to be done
and from which the results of
may benefit everybody, and I think that's what we headed out to do.
We also should point that that the director of that programme
thought it was a very lousy thing to do.
He was quoted as saying that you probably set back the study of it
and that it... If Phillips said that, then my answer to my having
set back the study of parapsychology, is no,
they tried to set it back.
I brought it into the 20th century.
'I felt really bad.'
They truly believed in these things, and I thought that if they had
realised that they had been fooled by somebody, that they would be
more cautious in the future, but I felt bad that I had fooled them.
So you dropped out kind of in the mid-'70s
and just resurfaced lately, what have you been doing?
At that time I wanted to become rich.
And I met a very important man
who was a chairman of the largest mining company in England
and he showed me how to use my talents,
my abilities to look for oil, gold and mineral.
And I was very, I am very successful at it. You proved it?
Exactly, but I am still controversial.
There are a lot of people who think I am fake and a magician,
but all those people I love because they do free publicity for me.
Let's try to do the drawing.
'Do you know how many times the sceptics tried to shoot me down?'
Do you know how many times Randi tried to ruin my career?
But they failed miserably.
Pick up the National Enquirer or any other paper
and you'll find a billion psychics.
Look at movies that Hollywood produces about UFOs
and the psychic powers and paranormal activity.
Are you kidding me? It's much bigger than ever.
You are negative, you are setting up your own standards
and what you're not understanding is that the key to realising any kind of
psychic phenomenon is first believing in it,
not the other way around.
Once you believe, it will happen, it will happen.
Even you, sir, the not-so-amazing-Randi, are psychic,
whether or not you want to believe.
There are millions and millions of people upon this planet
who have other ways of intuiting and sensing.
I have never said these things have not happened.
Why don't you read a few papers and correct yourself?
People think they believe what they choose to believe. We don't.
We mostly believe what we NEED to believe.
You say that Uri Geller is a fake.
You came here and you've given everybody a lot of lip service
and you haven't done anything.
We're going for a commercial break and you can piss off!
We'll be back...
The public really doesn't listen
when they are being told straightforward facts.
They would rather accept what some charismatic character tells them
than really think about what the truth might be.
I tell you from now on you are going to have
a song of victory in your heart!
They would rather have the romance and the lies.
There are a billion believers out there.
A billion people believe in God.
You can't touch that.
There she goes!
This is what Randi is trying to do.
He's trying to say this is a big hoax
and so everything else is a hoax too.
He is trying to say that nothing divine is being spoken.
But actually our ratings are up.
And the thing is, Popoff got back in the business.
All he changed was he doesn't use a radio any more.
He doesn't need to.
He just does dumber stuff that people accept anyway.
This is water from the pool that the Lord himself led the Christians to
during the horrible Chernobyl nuclear accident.
Tens of thousands died and yet every Christian was miraculously spared.
Randi and I once talked about it and I said, you know,
maybe were on the wrong end of the business, we should be on that side.
I mean, he's making like a million dollars a month or more
and I'm not making a million dollars a month.
And, if Randi and I got together we could come up with some really
nifty tricks that would fool people.
OK, one, two, three.
ALL: # Happy birthday, dear Randi
# Happy birthday to you. #
Let her rip, let her rip.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Let her rip!
Happy birthday, Amazing.
In the early days, I think
Randi sort of hid his true relationship with Jose.
But I don't think Randi hid it for any bad reason.
I think it was just a thing that people would use against him
and I think it took Randi a long time to understand that in this day
and age, you don't have to hide those things any more.
# Let me tell you my story about our birthday boy named Randi
# Who met a guy and thought he was just dandy
# Well, the first thing you know, they form a great team
# And both are living the American Dream. #
I remember when Randi came out.
It was in 2010, at the age of 81.
I said, "Are you sure, are you sure?"
But it was just a gesture of complete honesty out there.
And, morally, having built a life
around the fact of telling truth,
he needed to come out publicly.
Thank you so much, thank you so much for coming to Randi's birthday,
and for being our friends, for being supportive of both of us.
And that's it. That's all I got to say.
'Before, it was all about becoming invisible.
'Now it should be exactly the opposite.'
I was here in the house
and I looked out the window and I saw a uniformed officer outside.
They were all over the place.
US Marshals and FBI personnel, as well,
circling around, trying to prevent anyone from escaping.
I was terrified.
I had no idea why they were there.
I heard rapid knocking at the door.
I went to the door and they pushed their way in
and said, "Where is Jose Alvarez?"
And they put handcuffs on him and marched him out the door.
I just saw him put in a car and driven out the driveway.
What a situation. What a situation.
When the police showed up and arrested my partner
and took him away in handcuffs, I was desperate.
I just... I was standing at the edge of the dock
and there were no ships around and I was about to fall into the water.
I didn't know what to do.
No matter what his name is, I know who he is,
and I know what he is as well.
And he's my partner.
He's very, very important to me.
For the last 25 years, everybody has known me as Jose Alvarez.
But, in reality, my real name
is Deyvi Orangel Pena Arteaga.
I was born in Venezuela.
I was raised in Caracas.
And in Venezuela, to be gay
is the most despicable thing that you can be.
You knew that everybody that was your friend,
or your loved one or whatever, they would turn against you.
That's for sure.
I just knew that I should hide it.
When I was 16 years old I was at a party
and three guys came and grabbed me from behind
and one of them put a gun to my head
and started just yelling all kinds of things.
"The little faggot," and so on, and so on.
I said, "I have to get out of here or I will be killed."
And I came here to study art
and I started seeing like, wow.
I don't have to be like, you know, who is looking at me? I have to hide.
But still it stays in your brain,
that in order to survive, I needed to pretend.
But I just didn't have any way to stay in this country.
And then I met Randi.
So, I actually found someone who got a name for me...
..and they told me that this person was deceased,
and that this name didn't belong to anyone.
So I wrestled with that situation for quite a while
whether to go ahead with this.
But I just didn't have any choice.
So I decided to do it, to take the name.
But I wasn't really that aware of what I was doing, you know.
The thing snowballed.
One of these three men pretended to be possessed.
Number two, what is your name, please?
My name is Jose Alvarez.
Only one of these people is the real Jose Alvarez
and is the only one sworn To Tell The Truth.
Trying to escape such a terrible situation,
I kind of got jailed in a different one.
With the Jose Alvarez identity,
I applied for a passport under that name
and then I went to Australia to play the Carlos Hoax.
And I just set off to train him to be a so-called channeller.
I have lived through many reincarnations.
My last one was in Venezuela.
Also keep very wide, keep very wide,
cos you're going to be on a big stage.
He learned fast and we were using the Peter Popoff method.
I've heard you described as a fraud and a charlatan.
That's a very rude comment.
Well, that's a very rude comment.
He did a wonderful job,
but, after all, that's the kind of thing he does well.
I am using this body, Jose Alvarez.
He is an artist in the United States.
The whole thing was totally against my persona.
I knew that I was playing this fictitious character.
I just felt, I just felt like a phoney.
You know, but I have to go on with it.
It turned out that there was a real person named Jose Alvarez...
..and he decided to apply for a passport after 25 years of me
living with this identity.
The moment of truth is about to arrive.
Will the real Jose Alvarez please stand up?
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The problem is, once you start to tell people that you're genuine,
it's really hard to step away from that because you've lied to people.
You've lied to their face.
It was extremely difficult when I was fooling the scientists.
You know, at first I saw them as the enemy. It was me against the enemy.
But over time, they become your friends. Were we violating laws?
Probably. Was it fraud in some cases?
Did we look at it that way at the time?
I don't think any of us did,
because we thought the ends justified the means.
Deception has so many layers.
I mean, you have the zenith of deception
and people go to jail for that.
But then you have magicians.
They manipulate the truth.
They are in the business of deceiving people.
Alpha and Carlos and Popoff,
these incredible revelations of deception,
they're actually sort of giant cons in their own sense, right?
But they're cons on the right side.
This is what it means to be an honest liar.
It's the difference between using deception to conceal the truth,
and using deception to reveal the truth.
Up until now, you haven't really said
anything about Jose being Deyvi.
Here's where I'd like to start. OK.
I think it would be good if you said something like,
"I feel I should come clean."
No, no, no, no. That admits guilt. OK.
I should make something clear.
That's much better.
Are you afraid of the ramifications?
I have all kinds of fear of that, yes.
Fear of what? I'm not clear.
If I don't have to say, "Yes, I knew that he had a false identity
"and he perpetrated it... on the American nation"...
..I don't want to say that!
Look at what he was going through.
He was going through hell.
If he went back to Venezuela, he would...
He would be constantly victimised and abused and
No, I couldn't see that.
I had to accept what I saw happening.
No, none of this must be used. I mean, really. I...
If I thought that any of this would be used,
I would abandon the film entirely.
No, no, no, no. But I'm being honest with you.
Now, I'm being taped at the same time and I have to trust you.
OK, well... And I will and I do. But we had discussed this.
I'm willing to say the story that I gave you on this camera.
That's fine, OK. I'm not asking you to do anything else.
But I want the rest of it to vanish, please. This last part?
Yes, understood, understood.
I trust you or I wouldn't be doing this. Thank you.
We all spin personal narratives.
And so when an event happens that doesn't fit this idea that
he's this amazing truth-teller and so on,
then something has to happen to that event and, like everyone,
he may well change a few facts around or rub it out completely.
In entertainment, there is a kind of acceptability to deceive.
It's like when there are two Picasso paintings on the wall.
One is a fake, and the other one is real,
but they look the same.
There's no harm in that.
At the end of the day, there's nothing to reveal.
Because what I do is real.
What you do is real.
I think I slept last night. Some part of it, anyway.
Today, officially, we'll find out what the judge has to say.
It's got to be the right thing.
Or I don't know what I'm going to do, or what...
..what Jose is going to do.
He's specifically an immigration judge,
and he apparently likes to...
That would be the end of him.
The end of him and the end of us, automatically.
His life literally hangs in the balance.
And I feel somehow that
I've got to come out with some rabbit-out-of-the-hat
to try to get him back here where he belongs
and not behind bars.
I was just in a state of total suspension,
you know, just waiting for him to say what the sentence was.
It was something I had hoped for, that we'd all hoped for.
We won this one.
People were really beautiful talking.
I'm not really sure how I feel, but I'm feeling very, uh...
..thankful. That's how I feel, very thankful.
I'm not one person, I've got a partner.
For the last quarter of a century, I've had this partner.
We're one element.
And I have never hesitated to reach out to help him
in every possible way.
I know Randi.
He has a mission out there in the world,
as The Amazing Randi. But his compassion...
People don't know how much he cares when he sees someone in distress.
And it's not just on a social level
but also on a personal level.
And I include myself specifically in that equation,
he will do what is necessary to save somebody.
Don't worry about it, yeah.
Here? Yeah. No, a little bit further, over here.
Here? OK. OK...
What do you think? No? Yeah?
Randi said years ago,
"There is nothing that a man can make that I can't get out of."
That line is actually a Houdini line.
And the difference was that Houdini, you know,
if someone ever did bring something,
like a pair of handcuffs that no way he could get out,
Houdini's guys, his goons, would take the guy out back
and beat the crap out of the guy
and the audience never saw the guy again.
But I bet you anything,
Randi truly believed there was nothing he couldn't get out of.
Or make it at least seem like he was getting out of them.
And I'll quote him directly.
"I'm a magician.
"I know how to deceive people,
"and I know how to recognise when people are being deceived.
"I can cheat you countless different ways and you won't know.
"You won't catch me."
Some people cannot believe that
a magician can fool them in such a way that they can't figure it out.
But magicians can and magicians do.
Don't be too sure of yourself.
No matter how smart or well educated you are, you can be deceived.
MUSIC: The Magic Touch by The Platters
# You've got the magic touch
# It makes me glow so much... #
OK, that's weird. This is all that I'm getting.
I have no clue what this is.
# It casts a spell, it rings a bell, the magic touch
# Oh, when I feel your charm
# It's like a four alarm... #
My jewellery are a catalyst to the powers of your mind.
Yes. It's all in the mind.
# You've got the magic touch
# Here I go reeling
# Oh, I'm feeling the glow
# But where can I go from you?
# I didn't know too much
# And then I felt your touch
# And now I've learned
# I can return
# The magic touch. #
Renowned magician James 'The Amazing' Randi has been wowing audiences with his jaw-dropping illusions, escapes and sleight of hand for over 50 years. When he began seeing his cherished art form co-opted by all manner of con artists, he made it his mission to expose the simple tricks charlatans have borrowed from magicians to swindle the masses.
This entertaining film chronicles Randi's best debunkings of faith healers, fortune tellers and psychics. It documents his rivalry with famed spoon-bender Uri Geller, whom Randi eventually foiled on a high-profile television appearance. Another target was evangelist Peter Popoff, whose tent-show miracles and audience mind-reading were exposed as chicanery when Randi revealed a recording of Popoff's wife feeding him information through a radio-transmitter earpiece.
In telling Randi's strange, funny and fascinating life story, the film shows how we are all vulnerable to deception - even, in a surprising twist, 'The Amazing' Randi himself.