James Hydrick

James Hydrick

James Alan Hydrick (born February 28, 1959) is an American criminal and fraudster. A self-described psychic, Hydrick claimed to be able to perform telekinesis. Following a nationally televised demonstration of his abilities at "That's Incredible!", he was unable to prove his supernatural abilities on a subsequent show called "That's My Line", and Hydrick subsequently confessed the fraud to an investigative reporter.

Rise to fame

By the early 1980s in Salt Lake City, Utah, Hydrick developed a cult-like following. He claimed he was able to use psychokinesis to turn the pages of books and make pencils spin around while placed on the edge of a desk, among other feats. Hydrick had also set up martial arts classes and claimed he could pass on the gift of psychokinesis to youngsters through special training techniques.

Hydrick rose to international attention through his demonstration of these skills on the American television show, "That's Incredible!". The episode originally aired in December 1980 and was later repeated in 1981. He performed the pencil-spinning trick with the skeptical host's hand on his mouth to block possible air blowing (after the host suggested that he could hear Hydrick blowing). However, Hydrick deliberately readjusted the pencil beforehand so that it was as precarious as possible and so would move with the slight disturbance caused by his hands. He also caused a page from a telephone book to turn over, again, allegedly by telekinesis. James Randi awarded the program a 1980 Uri Award, later renamed the Pigasus Award, "for declaring a simple magic trick to be genuine."

Fraud exposed

Magician and paranormal skeptic James Randi demonstrated the pencil trick on the television program "That's My Line", hosted by Bob Barker. [cite news | url=http://www.randi.org/jr/2006-09/092206bad.html#i11 | title=A Look At The Past | publisher=James Randi Educational Foundation | date=September 22, 2006 | first=James | last=Randi | accessdate = 2006-11-18] In a follow-up episode, Randi and Hydrick both appeared. When Randi performed the simple control of placing small pieces of styrofoam "peanuts" on the table around the phone book (to show if Hydrick was actually turning the pages by blowing on them), Hydrick's "powers" suddenly failed him. Hydrick attempted to explain that when the foam was heated by the stage lights they developed a static electric charge which, when added to the weight of the page, required more force than he was able to generate to turn the page. Randi and the judges, though, declared that this theory had no scientific basis.

After an hour and a half of Hydrick staring at the pages (the show was edited for time) [http://www.unexplainable.net/artman/publish/article_167.shtml Psychic powers, Confessions, and Power Contests] without any results, and indignantly claiming that his powers were real, he finally admitted being unable to complete the challenge. The judging panel (which included a parapsychologist) stated that, in their opinion, no supernatural phenomenon had taken place. The failed stunt resulted in the television show "That's Incredible" receiving a Pigasus Award, and effectively ended Hydrick's television career in exceptionally humiliating fashion (following Hydrick's concession, Randi himself performed the same trick using the techniques that Hydrick perfected).

In 1981, Hydrick's psychic powers were definitively exposed as being fraudulent by investigative journalist Dan Korem. Hydrick confessed his fraud to Korem and admitted that he had developed his unique talent while he was in prison, and did not learn it from a Chinese master as he had originally claimed. Korem, Dan (1983). " [http://storesense04.dynamic.net/ifpinc/Detail.bok?no=7 Psychic Confession.] " [http://www.unexplainable.net/artman/publish/article_2685.shtml (also transcript)] ]


External links

* [http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=7471941094792399305 Hydrick and Randi's appearance on "That's My Line?"]
* [http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/cgi/prosoma.dll?zoomAction=Box&zoomAction=clickcenter&zoomAction=clickoffender&lastName=Hydrick&firstName=James&Address=&City=&zipcode=&searchDistance=.75&City2=&countyLocation=&zipcode2=&SelectCounty=&ParkName=&searchDistance2=.75&City3=&zipcode3=&countyLocation3=&schoolName=&searchDistance3=.75&City4=&zipcode4=&countyLocation4=&refineID=&pan=&distacross=107211&centerlat=38409907&centerlon=-121514242&starlat=&starlon=&startext=&x1=&y1=&x2=&y2=&mapwidth=525&mapheight=400&zoom=&searchBy=namelist&id=&docountycitylist=2&OFDTYPE=&lang=ENGLISH Hydrick's profile in the State of California Registered Sex Offender Database]

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