Going Mental: A Conversation with Banachek
In this episode, Perry Carpenter sits down with renowned mentalist and skeptic, Banachek. Banachek (Steve Shaw) grew up with a fascination in magic and a frustration with psychic frauds. As a teenager, he contacted magician and skeptic, James “The Amazing” Randi and ended up working with Randi on a special initiative known as Project Alpha, which set out to expose a general lack of objectivity in parapsychology research. Banachek served as the director for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s “One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge” for 15 years and is now the President of the James Randi Educational Foundation.
Perry and Banachek discuss Project Alpha, the ways of fake psychics and fraudulent faith healers, and issues associated with confirmation bias and framing effects. They also discuss Banachek’s new live mentalism show in Las Vegas, which incorporates theatrical mindreading and other mentalism effects along with a storyline that explores Banachek’s life, antics, and passion for critical thinking.
- Banachek (Website) (twitter): Mentalist (Performing in Las Vegas add 'social' for 30% off tickets), Skeptic, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation
- This episode also featured a quick comment from: George Finney: (LinkedIn); Chief Security Officer at Southern Methodist University; Founder of Well Aware Security
Books and References:
- Banachek Wikipedia entry
- Project Alpha Wikipedia entry
- James Randi Wikipedia entry
- Article about Houdini's efforts to debunk fake mediums
- The Discoverie of Witchcraft Wikipedia entry
- The Psychology of the Ouija
- Barnum Effect Wikipedia entry
- James Randi & Project Alpha Video
- Project Alpha lookback -- James Randi and Michael Edwards
- Psychological Subtleties vol 1, by Banachek
- Behind the Scenes with the Mediums, by David Abbott
- The Discoverie of Witchcraft
- Transformational Security Awareness: What Neuroscientists, Storytellers, and Marketers Can Teach Us About Driving Secure Behaviors by Perry Carpenter
Music and Sound Effects by Blue Dot Sessions & Storyblocks.
Artwork by Chris Machowski.