About Marcello Truzzi

Henry H. Bauer

    Marcello Truzzi was my mentor, albeit an informal and diffident one. He introduced me to the community of scholars of unorthodoxies and continually brought to my attention books and articles I should read, people I should know, and things that I should know about.

    How could I describe Marcello, who was always in motion and always talking incessantly, as “diffident”? Because Marcello did not push his personal opinions, did not insist that others must believe as he did. His aim was to stimulate critical and appropriate thought and discussion, and so he was the ideal mentor. Zetetic Scholar, the periodical he edited for 13 glorious issues, was a marvelous forum that brought the widest range of viewpoints into discussion of salient topics. The first issues of the CSICOP journal, called Zetetic and edited by Marcello, were similarly disinterested and scholarly. He took seriously the CSICOP claim not to “reject claims on a priori grounds, antecedent to inquiry” but to examine them “objectively and carefully”. Unlike CSICOP, Marcello never stopped living up to that ideal.

    In the early 1970s I had become convinced of the validity of evidence for the existence of “Loch Ness Monsters”. Why was that evidence being ignored by mainstream science? My naive attempt at research about this led to advice to look at that more solid case of resistance to unorthodoxy, the Velikovsky Affair. I did, and I was hooked: How could so many intelligent people say and believe so erroneously? Beyond Velikovsky, the book I wrote to set everyone straight, began as a very unwieldy manuscript that came fortuitously to Marcello’s attention, and his comments on and around it began my education about these matters. Marcello also introduced me to the people who were just then founding the Society for Scientific Exploration, which became increasingly my chief intellectual mainstay when my adopted mainstream discipline, “science studies” or “science and technology studies”, was progressively taken over by know-nothing post-modernist, relativist, constructivist sociologists and their ilk.

    I miss the books and articles that Marcello should have written. But in a sense he wrote much of the articles and books that bear the names of others, through the ideas and suggestions and insights and information that he prodigally heaped on us. It was Marcello who pointed to the important distinction between “crypto” and “para” claims. It was Marcello who suggested that extraordinary claims call for extraordinary proofs. It was Marcello who insisted trenchantly and unceasingly that skepticism equals neutrality of doubt and that debunkers who styled themselves “skeptics” were in point of fact pseudo-skeptics.

    Roger Wescott was credited---by Marcello himself---with coining the term “anomalistics” for scholarly studies pertaining to unorthodoxies. But more than anyone it was Marcello Truzzi who created scholarly foundations for the field. 

Henry H. Bauer
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Scientific Exploration
Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry & Science Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University