James Hydrick is a self-acclaimed psychic and a fraudulent psychokinesis expert. He grew up with an extremely aggressive father and teenage mother, both of whom weren’t equipped to properly raise a child, not to talk of children. He turned out to be a criminal, charged and convicted over several offenses such as burglary, kidnapping, child molestation, prison escape, among others.
However, he came to the limelight through his ‘telekinesis’ skills. He claimed he had mystical powers that allowed him to alter the position of physical objects without physical interaction with them or simply without touching them. Eventually, his claims were proven to be false when he later confessed.
Who Is James Hydrick?
James Allen Hydrick, who is American by birth, was born in South Carolina on February 28, 1959. Details about his parents are not available. However, there was a distinct trait in his father. He was a horrid abuser and was so violent that he beat one of James’ brothers to death. His abusive nature also led James to begin karate training at the tender age of 6 in a bid to defend himself from his father. At the time of his birth, his father was 30 years old while his mom was just a teenager.
James Hydrick later left his parents and his remaining brothers and went to live in orphanages and foster homes. There are no records of formal education at any level – primary to tertiary. There is also no information about his brothers or what became of them after James left the house.
In the 1970s, James Hydrick became a notorious criminal. He committed crimes such as theft, illegal breaking and entering, assault, kidnap and torture. He was arrested and sentenced to several jail terms. Hydrick was a hard man to confine and control. Between 1977 to 1982, he escaped prison thrice.
His first escape from jail was in Georgia, where he kicked through its walls to burst out free but still a fugitive, he was re-arrested soon after in South Carolina. This time, he broke through the gates of the South Carolina prison. His last escape occurred in 1982 when he jumped over the Utah state prison fence with a pole.
James Hydrick is not popular for his crimes or escapes but for his claimed telekinetic powers, sleight-of-hand tricks and karate skills. He began appearing on several television shows, displaying his psychokinetic skills. Many people at that time, and arguably nowadays, were interested in such displays that seemed to portray the existence of the supernatural.
He was most famous for his spinning of a pencil at rest without touching it or altering its position through any physical activity. This happened on an episode of the show That’s Incredible! in December 1980. The episode was repeated in 1981, hence James’ popularity soared. He also performed another “trick” when he caused a page of a book to turn over by telekinesis.
Soon afterward, his claim was debunked by James Randi, a paranormal skeptic and magician. Randi revealed in 1981 that Hydrick’s claim of the workings of the paranormal was a simple magic trick that could easily be performed. When James Hydrick was proven as a fraud on national television (Bob Barker’s show, That’s My Line) in which he appeared alongside James Randi, his fame vanished.
He would later confess to an investigative journalist, Dan Korem that there was actually nothing supernatural about his performance and that he had learned the trick from his days in prison and not from a Chinese master as he had earlier claimed.
James Hydrick was again apprehended by the police. His latest apprehension was based on child molestation charges leveled against him. He was accused of sexually harassing 5 children, all boys, at Huntington Beach, California. In 1989, he was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for this offense. He served his full term and was taken to the Atascadero State Hospital for treatment upon his release.
6 Quick Facts About American Psychic
1. He learned karate from the legendary martial artist, Ed Parker
He was rumored to have learned karate from Ed Parker. An expert in martial arts who also taught the iconic American musician Elvis Presley. Ed Parker was a Grand Master in martial arts who was well known in America.
2. He established a martial arts school
James opened a martial arts school where he claimed to train young children and transfer the gifts of telekinesis to them. However, he used this avenue to molest children and this was brought to light in 1989. He coerced the minors to perform sexual favors on him at the school.
There are no records of him in any homosexual or heterosexual relationship. He was never married nor had any children. Although, from his several cases of abuse, it could be deduced that he was a gay pedophile and preferred to express his sexual orientation with children.
4. Exposed as fraudulent
After James Randi called Hydrick’s claim to be a simple illusion. He went ahead to perform James’ telekinetic trick on a show titled That’s My Line. Randi further asked Hydrick to perform his telekinetic stunt again in another episode of the show. Hydrick was unable to move a page of a book as he formerly did and blamed it on some scientific phenomenon, which was later rendered baseless by the judges.
James was admitted into the Atascadero State Hospital after serving his prison sentence. The main purpose of his admission was to treat the sexually related issues he had exhibited. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with several disorders such as pedophilia, paraphilia, and antisocial personality disorder. The resident psychologist at that time described Hydrick as a stubborn patient who refused treatment.
6. He sought freedom from the hospital he was held in
After spending some time at the Atascadero State Hospital, James Hydrick was transferred to the Coalinga State Hospital for further care. He was displeased with the fact that he was held against his will decided to plead for a release from a court in 2013. However, the jury was indecisive on the case which meant that James Hydrick still resides at the hospital till date.