Origins of REALL

by David Bloomberg

In several articles within this newsletter, you have been told about some of our plans for the future of REALL, about the members of the Organizing Committee, and you have read articles that have hopefully given you a flavor of what REALL will be all about. What you may now be asking yourself is how REALL formed, where we came from, and what we did to get here.

It started with a simple call to Barry Karr, the Executive Director of CSICOP. I wanted to ask him about the status of a local skeptics group in Chicago. We talked for a while, and I found that Barry has an incredible filing system when he pulled out a copy of a letter to the editor of mine that had been featured in the Chicago Tribune in July. In our conversation, he mentioned that he had been in contact with another Springfield resident who had talked about forming a local group, Bob Ladendorf.

I talked to Wally Hartshorn, a friend of mine who I knew shared my interest in active skepticism, possibly to a greater degree. Then I called Bob and we met to figure out where to go from there.

The meeting was a success! We found that we shared common goals, and REALL was born. Each of us knew others that were likely to be interested, and they were contacted. Also, help was sought outside our local area, from those more experienced. To detail all the calls would take up more room than I have available to me here, but I would like to thank all those who have helped us, and with whom I hope we will continue to work. I hope that I have gotten everybody in this list, and apologize if I somehow left somebody out. In alphabetical order, they are: Steve Best, Gateway Skeptics; Professor Steve Egger, Sangamon State University; Barry Karr, CSICOP; Martin S. Kottmeyer; Rick Moen, Bay Area Skeptics; Dr. Gary Posner, Tampa Bay Skeptics; Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, National Center for Science Education; Rob Sheaffer, Bay Area Skeptics; Bob Steiner, Society of American Magicians; Ransom Traxler, St. Louis Association for the Teaching of Evolution; and Detective Bruce Walstad, Professionals Against Confidence Crime.

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