Mark Chorvinsky, founder of Strange Magazine has died of cancer at 51. I knew Mark somewhat when I worked at Dream Wizards, his legendary gaming store in Rockville, Maryland way back in the (gasp!) late Seventies. I was never into gaming; I worked the magic counter (at one point, I demoed magic at Dream Wizards and the late great Al's Magic Shop at the same time).
One of the fellow magi I used to hang out with was a talented kid named Alain Nu, who now has his own TV show. On the Magic Cafe Forum a couple of weeks ago, Alain said, "I really mean it when I say that [Chorvinsky] was my greatest influence in mentalism. He was the man who showed me the 'real world' of strange phenomena!"
Unfortunately, at the time I was working for Mark I was a diehard CSICOP skeptic. I knew nothing and cared nothing about the serious investigation of strange scientific anomolies; as far as I was concerned, it was all bunk and those who took such subjects seriously were deluded cranks. Not the best attitude to take if I wanted to be friends with Mark!
Mark was definitely ahead of his time in both the world of gaming and that of borderland scientific research. I wish I could have had the chance to meet him again as an open-minded adult.