Magician and skeptical activist Bob Steiner has died

James Randi announces the Sad News.

[...]Robert Steiner, president of the Society of American Magicians – SAM – from 1988 to 1989, an excellent friend of mine who at one time was my accountant, helped me in several investigations of so-called “psychics” both here and in other countries, and was always in full accord with the goals of the JREF. Bob will be very greatly missed.

From Skeptic’s Dictionary about Bob:

Steiner is an accountant by day, a former president of The Society of American Magicians, and the author of Don’t Get Taken, a book about how to avoid being conned. He’s also the author of the entry on “cold reading” in the Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience and the entry on “fortune telling” in the Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. In 1986, Steiner assisted James Randi in his futile exposure of the (expletive deleted) faith healer Peter Popoff.

[...] for two weeks he hoaxed Australia as Steve Terbot. He appeared on television programs, gave performances at cultural centers, and in a very short time became a hit. He appeared on Tonight with Bert Newton three times (similar to the Tonight Show in the U.S.). In his first two appearances he played the role of the psychic but in his last appearance he revealed the hoax, explaining that he uses cold reading techniques and other tricks to deceive people into thinking he’s psychic. The purpose of the hoax, he told them, was to “warn the people of Australia to beware of people claiming to be psychics”.

Bob was a fellow of The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) (now CSI), and was a founder and First Chair of Bay Area Skeptics.

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