I am sad to relate that Jerry Andrus died of cancer yesterday.
Jerry is a little bit hard to describe. Magician, illusionist, thinker... he delighted in making people see things in a different way. It is nearly impossible for any of us to see the world as differently as he did, though. He was a true skeptic. He took nothing for granted; he looked for something different, some new way of observing things which would lead to either improving them or using them as a way of getting others to think outside their normal parameters.
At James Randi's first Amaz!ng Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale back in 2003, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jerry at lunch. I had not heard of him before, and I was a bit stupefied at this elderly gentleman who was so sharp and so, well, odd. Everything he said or did was a bit of a jolt, like having someone take the glasses off your face, cleaning the lenses, and letting you see something just a little bit more in focus.
His illusions were delightful. The image above shows one of his favorites, using perspective to throw off your sense of direction. Go to his page with videos of his illusions. You'll love 'em.
We've lost yet another brilliant mind, and the world is a poorer place because of it.