Sunday, 19 April 2020

A Sad End to a Friendship

 A couple of years ago, I went to stay for a week with a friend, in Lincolnshire. He has a son, who lives locally and had expressed an interest in meeting me.
     “That’s good”! I thought. “He’ll want to talk about being an author!”
Far from it. After an amiable meal, when we men were alone, he started to berate me for writing Sci-Fi. He got really hot under the collar, telling me what tripe it is, all this talk about UFOs and aliens, without apparently even bothering to see what I write, which is intended to be humorous.
     By this time, my so-called friend had his elbows on the table and was looking from one to the other of us, seemingly revelling in the exchanges.
     It culminating in the son telling me that a sceptic I’d never heard of had discredited the whole thing. He mentioned the name Randi, who was in the habit of issuing a million dollar bet against anyone who could prove that it was a genuine thing, this sighting of UFOs, or that aliens exist.
     Knowing in depth that proven, multiple sightings have been reported by credible witnesses such as military and commercial pilots, police officers and naval personnel, I accepted the challenge and invited him to give me his email address so I could forward the evidence. He glared at me then his father, but bade goodbye and left. I felt stunned by his reaction, which was practically him wild-eyed and foaming at the mouth, I kid you not.
     When I got home, I looked up this Randi, first name James, who had made a name for himself attacking clairvoyants, spiritualists, and astrologists and was himself a professional magician. See the article in
     The Los Angeles Times, dated Sept 13 1991 with keywords ‘Uri Geller’ ‘James Randi’ ‘The Psychic … and the Skeptic’.
    
What intrigued me was that I could find no mention of Randi making any attack on those who claim to have seen UFOs or aliens. The attacks on me were based on an incorrect interpretation of events!
     Furthermore, Randi’s attacks on Uri Geller had resulted in court actions, in which Geller had provided proof of being recruited by the CIA to ‘influence’ the decision making of leading Russian politicians.
     It financially crippled Randi over the years and helped make Geller a rich man.

The question I ask is: why should anyone get so agitated as to denounce someone like myself without checking his facts? The son in question is a grammar school product of true ability and a pillar of local society. But, he’s done this type of thing before, so I found in the local press.
     The friend himself flatly refuses to read my brand of Sci-Fi because he too dislikes it.
     Oh dear, what sad, sour notes on which a friendship ends.

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