The Prediction of Tamara Rand

On January 6, 1981 the psychic Tamara Rand predicted on a Las Vegas TV show hosted by Dick Maurice that a young, fair-haired man with the initials "J.H." would shoot President Reagan sometime in late March. Two and a half months later her powers to see into the future were apparently confirmed when John Hinckley did shoot the President. Rand soon began appearing on numerous TV shows, boasting about the accuracy of her prediction. NBC, ABC, and CNN all replayed the footage that showed her making the prediction. However, when a skeptical AP reporter, Paul Simon, began to analyze the footage, he realized that the segment showing her prediction appeared to have been spliced into the rest of the tape. In other words, it had evidently been added later, presumably after Reagan had been shot.

Simon confronted Maurice with this discovery, and Maurice confessed that the prediction had been a hoax. It had been filmed on March 31, the day after Hinckley shot Reagan. Apparently the hoax was part of a scheme to boost Rand's career as a psychic. Rand, however, insisted that she actually had predicted the assassination attempt, although she admitted that she had taped a 'dramatization' of her prediction on March 31 at Maurice's request. In October of that year Rand filed a $10 million slander suit against Maurice claiming that he had defamed her by his accusation that the prediction was a hoax. No follow-ups about this lawsuit can be found in news sources, so presumably the case went nowhere.

  • Frazier, Kendrick and James Randi. "Prediction After the Fact: Lessons of the Tamara Rand Hoax." Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1981: 4-7.
  • "Psychic sues over videotape," The Globe and Mail, October 2, 1981, P21.