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Monday, January 11, 2010 (Updated )

The Deceptive Hydrick

by The Metaist

Summary

James Hydrick was a performer in the 1980s who claimed to have psychic powers. It turns out he was just blowing on things very carefully.

Packing peanuts

Caution: Heating packing peanuts may generate static electricity. Or not.
(Photo: cavale on Flickr)

 

Commentary

Hydrick had a cult following in early 1980s after appearing on several television shows where he demonstrated his "psychic powers" by moving a pencil on the edge of a table, flipping pages of a telephone book, and making dollar bills spin under a fish tank. (Amazing, right?)

James Randi challenged Hydrick on That's My Line hosted by Bob Barker. According to Randi, Hydrick took about 25 minutes to do the page flipping trick, and 45 minutes under Randi's Styrofoam conditions before giving up.

In 1981, journalist (and former magician) Dan Korem managed to convince Hydrick that he, too, had psychic abilities, and then eventually elicited a confession that Hydrick was just full of air.