Joseph Rinn

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Joseph Francis Rinn (1868-1952) was an American magician and skeptic of paranormal phenomena.

Rinn grew up in New York City. He was a friend of Harry Houdini and exposed many fraud mediums throughout his career.[1] He was a former one year member of the American Society for Psychical Research and a lifelong inquirer into psychic matters.[2] He was a member of the Society of American Magicians.

His book Searchlight on Psychical Research (1954) was described in a review as the "death knell of spiritualism" as it exposed the fraud and tricks involved in spiritualist activities.[3] Rinn would offer huge amounts of money, up to $10,000 to anyone who could demonstrate a psychic event; however, as nobody ever did, the money went unclaimed.[4] He was friends with another debunker of spiritualism the magician John Mulholland.[5]

Rinn's work in debunking psychic phenomena has been praised by psychologists in the field of anomalistic psychology.[6]


  • Searchlight on Psychical Research (1954)
  • Sixty Years of Psychical Research (1950)


  1. ^ Massimo Polidoro. (2001). Final Séance: The Strange Friendship Between Houdini and Conan Doyle. Prometheus Books. p. 111. ISBN 978-1573928960
  2. ^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Is Spiritualism based on Fraud?: The Evidence Given by Sir A.C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined. London: Watts & CO. p. 128
  3. ^ The Month. (1954). Volume 11. Simpkin, Marshall, and Company. p. 189
  4. ^ William Seabrook. (1940). Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today. Harcourt, Brace. p. 373
  5. ^ John Mulholland. (1938). Beware Familiar Spirits. C. Scribner's Sons. p. 126. ISBN 978-0684161815
  6. ^ Andrew Neher. (1980). The Psychology of Transcendence. Prentice-Hall. p. 211. ISBN 978-0486261676

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