James Randi and Project Alpha

Project Alpha was a famous hoax orchestrated by famous magician and skeptic James Randi. It involved the “planting” of two fake psychics, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, into a paranormal research project who became convinced the pair’s psychic powers were real. The hoax was later revealed publically, leading to a backlash against the entire paranormal field. This is an interview with the men involved.

Wikipedia has a great entry on Project Alpha:

Project Alpha was a hoax orchestrated by magician and skeptic James Randi. It involved planting two fake psychics, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, into a paranormal research project. The researchers became convinced that the pair’s psychic powers were real. The hoax was later revealed publicly, leading to a backlash against the entire paranormal field.

Including my favorite part:

Part of Randi’s instructions to these men was to tell the truth if they were ever asked if they were faking the results. They were never asked.

2 Comments

  1. James Randi and project Alpha is a favorite of the psychology professors at my univeristy. It shows how psychological research has to overcome an obstacle that no other form of research must. The physicist never even thought that participants may try to decieve him. Participants often, not purposefully, try to guess what the study is and behave in acceptable instead of accurate ways.

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