Henry Gordon (magician)
|Born||March 19, 1919|
|Died||January 24, 2009|
|Residence||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Extrasensory Deception: ESP, Psychics, Shirley MacLaine, Ghosts, UFOs. (1988). Macmillan of Canada.|
Gordon, a professional magician, was the founder and first chair of the Ontario Skeptics, a precursor to Skeptics Canada. He was also a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), and was well known for his debunking of the claims of self-proclaimed psychics such as Peter Hurkos and exposures of psychics such as Uri Geller and Shirley Maclaine.
Gordon's first debunking column appeared in the weekly Montreal newspaper The Suburban (the first such column of its kind in North America), and then, after moving to Toronto, Gordon wrote the debunking column "Extrasensory Deception" for two years for the Toronto Sun, and wrote the regular column "Debunking" for the Toronto Star’s Sunday paper for more than twenty years,. Many of Gordon's columns were published in his book Extrasensory Deception: ESP, Psychics, Shirley MacLaine, Ghosts, UFOs (Macmillan of Canada, 1988). In 1992 the Committee of Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP) presented Gordon with the Responsibility in Journalism Award.
Gordon also participated as a debunker on numerous radio and television shows in both Canada and the United States, including Canada-AM, The Great Debate, People Are Talking, and the Oprah Winfrey Show, and taught a course called "An Objective Inquiry into Psychic Phenomena" at McGill University from 1979-1981. He also penned a column called "It's Magic" for Starship, the children's page of the Toronto Star, in which he explained the secrets of stage tricks. "He knew his magic so well, and was such a capable writer, that kids could actually do the tricks." former Starship editor John Robinson said.
In 1941, Henry Gordon married Zita, who was then working as his magician's assistant, and the two remained married for 68 years. Henry and Zita had two children, Laura and Sandra, and several grandchildren. Upon Gordon's death, a broken wand ceremony was carried out by Ron Guttman, past president of the Sid Lorraine Hat and Rabbit Club, the Toronto branch of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM). The broken wand symbolizes broken hearts at Henry's absence. It also represents the fact that a wand without its magician is of no use. “We send Henry into the mystery of all mysteries,” said Guttman, concluding the ceremony. The Club had awarded Henry an Order of Merlin, which recognizes a member's service of over twenty-five years to IBM.
- Gordon, Henry (1988). Extrasensory Deception: ESP, Psychics, Shirley MacLaine, Ghosts, UFOs. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Macmillan. ISBN 0771595395.
- Jason Miller. (2009). "Henry Gordon, 89: Magician, debunker". Toronto Star.
- Who's Who in Magic: An International Biographical Guide From Past to Present By Whaley, Bart (1990)
- Nickell, Joe (1994). Psychic sleuths. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 21–29. ISBN 0-87975-880-5.
- Eric Macmillan. (2009). "Henry Gordon has died". Association for Science and Reason.
- Justin Trottier. (2009). "Remembering Henry Gordon, Magician, Skeptic, Debunker". Skeptical Inquirer.
- "CSICOP's 1992 Awards". Skeptical Inquirer. 17 (3): 236. 1993.