IN MEMORIAM: Marcello Truzzi 1935 - 2003
Marcello Truzzi died rather suddenly around three o'clock, local time, on the afternoon of February 2, 2003, in Michigan. As recently as a week before his death, he was talking with his friend Jerome Clark about his excitement in working on his planned personal autobiography. Truzzi's swift passing, thus, is a surprise to his friends and his family. He had been suffering from colon rectal cancer during the last seven years, but would go in and out of remission. His Michigan friends note that he fought his cancer so diligently that he actually bought about four extra years of life.
Truzzi was associated with the beginnings of the intellectual understandings of skepticism in America, first with his association with the Resources for the Scientific Evaluation of the Paranormal, whose members included Martin Gardner, Ray Hyman, James Randi, and Marcello Truzzi, all magicians. Also during the early 1970s, Truzzi was also publishing a privately circulated newsletter called the Zetetic. In 1976, Truzzi was the co-founder, with Paul Kurtz, of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), but he would later break from Kurtz and CSICOP. In 1978, he began publishing the Zetetic Scholar, and created the Center for Scientific Anomalies Research. He was a sociologist at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Marcello Truzzi's family was a rather famous Russian Italian circus family, being part of Circus Truzzi in Russia. Indeed, Truzzi was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 6, 1935, when his family was there on tour. His family moved to the USA in 1940. He continued, throughout his life, to have a passionate and intellectual interest in magic, juggling, sideshows, carnivals, and circuses, as well as sociology, anthropology, psychology, and folk culture. I shall always recall our frequent email exchanges on everything from hoaxing and anomalistic phenomena, to ice falls and cryptozoology. He loved to coin words like "pseudoskepticism" and "cryptometeorology."
An extraordinary wordsmith, Truzzi edited books on a variety of topics (criminal life, anthropology, sexism, revolution, sociology, police law), as well as coauthoring several books. Some of these include Caldron Cookery: An Authentic Guide for Coven Connoisseurs (with illus. Victoria Chess; 1969), The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime (with Arthur Lyons; 1992), UFO Encounters (consultant), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Extraterrestrial Intelligence (consultant). He will be deeply missed.
He was an Associate Member of the Parapsychological Association.