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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Expose Of ESP Hoaxers - Fooling Scientists
Flim Flam, as the subtitle says, is about other delusions, and how James Randi investigates and exposes the tricks, frauds and fakery in the field of Psychic "Research". This field is really the wrestling arena for the con-artists who live by hype - either by fooling scientists, or in collusion with the pseudoscientists who live by money conned from good...
Published on 3 Jun 1998

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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Master Debunker
This is a first class book, if you have an interest in the truth behind paranormal claims.
James Randi has been a professional magician of the highest caliber for many years and he uses his expertise to dissect claims by Uri Geller and the like. He is not a scientist and does not pretend to be. His skill is in deceit, which he freely admits. He sees through chicanery...
Published on 27 Mar 2004 by T. Walker


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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Expose Of ESP Hoaxers - Fooling Scientists, 3 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Flim-Flam: The Truth about Unicorns, Parapsychology and Other Delusions (Paperback)
Flim Flam, as the subtitle says, is about other delusions, and how James Randi investigates and exposes the tricks, frauds and fakery in the field of Psychic "Research". This field is really the wrestling arena for the con-artists who live by hype - either by fooling scientists, or in collusion with the pseudoscientists who live by money conned from good Samaritans, us - the tax payers and consumers and scientists of the normal. The Bermuda Triangle, Biorhythm, photos of fairies, ghosts and kirlia, levitation, pyramid power, Mayan visitors from outer space, tele-what-nots, TM and Z-rays are some of the "other delusions" exposed in this book. We know that these are bunk. But how do we convince our friends that they are? Give them this book. Show them how any of those so called psychic phenomena cannot stand the test of any skeptic with scientific approach which does not preclude the possibility of fraud or delusion or both. James Randi is the hit man of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and in this book you get an idea of how hard it is pull those punches.
Besides hundreds of names of people, places and institutions associated with these frauds, details from correspondence, this book has photos and diagrams of the hoax-rooms where the paranormal fakers did hoodwink and unnerve the rationality of the respectable scientists. The charts that were designed to fool the custodians of money - to be wasted through the propagation of pseudoscience of para-psychology and pollute the minds of the future generations of Americans with pure non-sense, the money that has been lost by genuine scientific and medical research - such charts have also been included in this book.
Issac Asimov in his introduction to this book rightly says, "Folly and Fakery has never before been dangerous as it is now" and that we therefore more than ever be grateful to Randi who deserves our admiration for his courage, diligence, perseverance, and the k! een senses needed for exposing these "rascals and knaves".
Dr. Russell Targ and Dr. Harold Puthoff are the Laurel and Hardy of Psi as a chapter title appropriately describes them. Reading this chapter it becomes at once obvious that if two scientists decide to cheat other men of science, tons and tons of our money can go down the drain. The directors of monies have to come up with an explanation for the misdirected research when the skeptics expose them. Because an apology would mean personal disaster, half-truths, rationalization, lies, damned lies, and, to back them up, statistical charts, and so on and on, until the consumer and tax-payer believes that there must be some truth somewhere beyond his common-sense beliefs. The fact that the Stanford Research Institute has been humiliated by these clowns, is only the tip of the iceberg of harm done by hype.
The flood of betting, lotto, and related software in the market is but the natural outcome of the pseudo-science of psi sanctified by misguided scientists who cannot tell the "law" of chances of mathematics from the laws of the physical world and believe that it can somehow determine the outcome of the roll of the dice, and their shortcut to fortune. If one just remembers that the people who sell such wares did not make money by the techniques they sell, but only by perpetuating wishful thought of the gullible, one would not be in that category any longer. Since the year 1964, Randi's Challenge to offer to pay $10,000 to any person who can demonstrate that she has any kind of paranormal power under fraud proof conditions still remains open. In chapter 13 Randi gives the details of this challenge and the conditions. The conditions can be obtained from him by sending a self addressed stamped envelope. To quote Randi "In response to that challenge, over 650 persons have applied as claimant. Only 54 (as of this writing) ever made it past the preliminaries, and none of them ever got a nickel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read for Adults and Teens, 25 July 2009
By 
Kathryn Henderson "World traveler" (everywhere!) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Flim-Flam: The Truth about Unicorns, Parapsychology and Other Delusions (Paperback)
The situations in this book are jaw-dropping. The fact that some of these people could get away with their scams for so long, along with the exposition of their ingenious (if rotten) methods is amazing.

These are great lessons on why we must to question magical, too-good-to-be-true claims. Teens will be especially engaged by Randi's entertaining writing style. I call this a must-read for critical thinkers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for anyone ever taken in by parapsychology, 6 Aug 2009
By 
S. Jones (Huntingdon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Flim-Flam: The Truth about Unicorns, Parapsychology and Other Delusions (Paperback)
when I was young I read lots about ghosts and psychics, thought there might be a point to Uri Geller and such naive stuff. Then I read this book. When you hear about proper double blind experiments showing psychic abilities and you think it seems quite convincing, read the chapter on the Laurel and Hardy of PSI to find out how different the actual experiments could be from the written up version.

Uri Geller guessed a picture was of the solar system while in a totally sealed room? Sounds impressive. How impressive when you find out actually he could wander around, look and hear through a peep hole and the experimenters, whilst drawing the picture yelled "oh, now add a rocket ship!"

James Randi is a god. Ask Penn and Teller. You could probably also ask Derren Brown too but he's an atheist now.

This doesn't cover much in the way of homeopathy, health fads or health scares. You want Bad Science for that.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Master Debunker, 27 Mar 2004
By 
T. Walker (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Flim-Flam: The Truth about Unicorns, Parapsychology and Other Delusions (Paperback)
This is a first class book, if you have an interest in the truth behind paranormal claims.
James Randi has been a professional magician of the highest caliber for many years and he uses his expertise to dissect claims by Uri Geller and the like. He is not a scientist and does not pretend to be. His skill is in deceit, which he freely admits. He sees through chicanery and explains how these things are done.
Clever? Yes.
Confrontational? Most certainly.
Entertaining? Absolutely!
Highly recommended for those who prefer to use their minds rather than accepting things a face value.
Warning - if you believe in the paranormal and have a closed mind, you will not like this book!
Go to Randi's website - [...] - to prepare yourself!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt but not great, 26 Sep 2011
By 
Mark Hurst (Bedfordshire) - See all my reviews
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The most obvious criticism of this book is that it's thirty years old. Inevitably, this means Randi's targets are less high-profile (and hence less relevant) than they were on original publication, and many of the personal encounters he describes are as much as fifty years old. That said, Uri Geller is still out there and I did notice a copy of 'Chariots of the Gods' in Waterstones recently, so we might regard at least some of the specifics as still contemporary. The opening chapter on the Cottingley Fairies sets the style, pace and quality of the book at large. It is refreshingly blunt and clear-thinking, but at the same time long-winded and, unforgivably, sarcastic.

I was also disappointed to find the Kindle implementation to be flawed. As well as the usual typographical errors that suggest OCR glitches, there are occasional abrupt jumps in the text where unknown quantities of material have obviously gone astray. At times photograph captions (which tend to be long) have also been accidentally incorporated into the main text. These errors don't spoil the book too much, but they would not be considered acceptable in a print book and so ought not to be in an electronic one. If I'd paid more than the fiver I did I would have felt justified in asking for a refund.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like this more, 5 Jun 2013
By 
James "goldcd" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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It's a re-release of a book from several decades ago.
Whilst probably a seminal and important book in the skeptical cannon - it's bluntly just not very illuminating or fun.
One of those things that makes me feel bad for leaving a lousy review..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He tells it as it is, and he does so with sarcasm and style!, 2 April 2013
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The book is a little dated in as much as Randi refers back to the 70s and 80s when lampooning the likes of the 'magician' Uri Geller. Having said that, discrediting charlatans and the moronic audiences that lap them up is surely a target that never goes out of fashion. With meticulous detail, James Randi takes you through the nonsense that is the world of psychics, faith healers, and other delusional weird, wonderful, and downright mendacious fantasists. His vitriol is particularly aimed at the pseudo-scientists who with transparently faulty data (often deliberately so) make grand claims in support of fads, cults and spurious phenomena that most primary age children would see through as not a 'fair test'. He also lifts the lid on just how quickly the media, and in particular the large publishing houses who profit hugely from selling books based on absolute nonsense, jump on the bandwagon and perpetuate the myth.
In short (and sorry to burst your bubbles) there are no aliens, ghosts, fairies, monsters, and no one has psychic powers that have ever been, EVER BEEN, scientifically verified. Don't believe me? Read the book!
I meant to mention that as the book delves into the stupidity that is psi, it can get very technical and delves into the world of sub-atomic physics. This will leave some readers cold but stick with it. Also, there is a whole section devoted to "What harm can these people do?" which is quite unsettling and covers everything from people losing a lot of money to these charlatans or living in the blind hope that their loved one is communicating with them, to the more sinister side of mass cult indoctrination and the enormous physical and psychological harm that this can bring. In other words, this is more than just a cynical analysis of daft ideas and 'flammery', it is a warning for the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, poor electronic conversion, 25 May 2011
I've been wanting to read this for a while, so thanks to the folk at the JREF for porting it to the Kindle. And, as is the consensus here, it's a very interesting read.

However, the reason I'm giving it three stars rather than four is the quality of the conversion to the Kindle. This is ironic, because the authors have gone to some length to optimise it for the device. However, at several points in the book, I was finding myself trying to resize text because the point size had suddenly shrunk; sometimes for entire chapters. Some of the tables were unreadable.

Am I the only person with this problem?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little dated., 4 Sep 2010
This review is from: Flim-Flam: The Truth about Unicorns, Parapsychology and Other Delusions (Paperback)
This was an excellent account of the scams that were present in the 70's and 80's. For the present day it may be a little dated but nonetheless it is well worth scanning through the pages to make sure that in this era, we will never fall foul of this type of trickery or sleight of hand ever again! Thumbs up to James Randi, it is a pity that he was not read/listened to more when his message was so revealing to a naive generation that was seemly intent on accepting whatever was placed before them!

Mr Randi, you have done an excellent job on exposing the shisters and bluffers of this world, thank you.

Robbie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for proponents of pseudo and non-science, 29 April 2013
This book, albeit slightly dated, is a very important book for readers of all ages, as it provides example after example that reinforces the fact that being highly educated does not in any way exempt one from believing in nonsense dressed in scientific garb.

Written in Randi's inimitable style, this book is a great and necessary addition to the library of any James Randi fan.
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