I must report here the death of 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.
He was a very spirited writer and performer. In 1982 he summoned up his nerve and denounced Santa Claus in the "American Atheist" magazine, and in 1984 he visited Australia and created a very singular hoax when for two weeks he appeared on television and radio as "Steve Terbot,” playing the part of a psychic, with great success. When he revealed his imposture, the opinion of the Australian media was that his actions had brought serious attention of the public to the problem of "psychics" in that country who, as around the rest of the world, were seriously deceiving and cheating so many innocent people.
Bob was inducted into the SAM Hall of Fame shortly before his death, which unfortunately followed several years of dementia during which he was unable to recognize his friends and was seriously out of touch with reality. However, thanks to the support of several good friends in the skeptical community, he was well cared for in his last days.
In missing Bob, we will also remember his substantial contributions to the art of magic and his very active participation in skepticism as well as the personal joy that he brought to so many of us. Farewell, good friend.
James Randi is founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation