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Marcello Truzzi papers

Identifier: 010.MT

Scope and Contents

The Marcello Truzzi papers are organized into six series and documents his professional research, writing and participation in organizations that focused on anomalistic research and parapsychology. Materials date from 1970 through 2003.

Series in the collection include: Correspondence, Organizations, Publications Written/Edited by Truzzi, Publications Collected by Truzzi, Subject/Research Files, and Teaching and Personal Files. The Correspondence series files are organized alphabetically with two subseries for colleagues Hoebens and Hovelmann which area arranged chronologically. Correspondence within each file varies from single letters to years of back and forth communications. The Organizations series includes materials related to CISCOP, CSAR, PEA and SSE. Both PEA and SSE subseries included memorandum, correspondence, meeting minutes, program and membership materials. The materials in the CSAR subseries includes correspondence, materials related to the Zetetic Scholar. Truzzi held positions of leadership in all of the organizations documented in this series.

The two Publications series are divided into those publications Written or Edited by Truzzi and those Collected by Truzzi and are arranged alphabetically by title. The series of Publications written or edited by Truzzi contain pre-publication copies, drafts, and research files. In particular the research files for the book Blue Sense written on the topic of psychic detectives and crime. Also found in this series are notes from presentations given at national and international conferences. Publications collected by Truzzi that contained a complete run of materials were separated into the library's general collection of serials to increase accessibility and visibility. Those that remained with the collection were single publications of a title or an incomplete run of materials.

Subject/Research Files series materials are arranged alphabetically and contain the following substantial subseries of materials: Geller and Randi, Gundella, and Magic and Conjuring. The subseries on illusionist Uri Geller and stage magician and scientific skeptic James Randi focusing on prominent court cases and correspondence between Truzzi and both men. Included in this subseries are copies of various court proceedings. The subseries titled Gundella Letters include letters written to Gundella the Witch (Marion Kuclo) from individuals seeking her advice. It appears that Truzzi had been given access to the correspondence for purposes of sociological research and was in the process of analyzing the materials. They are arranged in numerical order according to the number system assigned to them by Truzzi. Finally the subseries on Magic and Conjuring is arranged alphabetically according to the last names of the individual magicians and conjurors Truzzi was collecting information on and/or from. These files include correspondence, clippings, and other publicity.

The final series Teaching and Personal is the smallest series and does little to document his teaching in the Department of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University or at his previous institutions of higher learning. The files contained in the series are arranged alphabetically with one subseries dedicated to Courses taught by Truzzi, but they do not contain course outlines, syllabi, lecture notes, or student work and they are not a comprehensive record of the courses taught during his tenure at the University. There is one file in the series dedicated to his parents Massimiliano and Sonya S. Truzzi, important circus performers, which includes some of their vital records.

Overall the collection is a comprehensive of the work Truzzi did in the areas of scholarship and service.


  • Creation: 1970 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Biographical Note

Marcello Truzzi was born on September 6, 1935 in Coppenhagen, Denmark when his parents, Russian-Italian circus performers, Massimiliano and Sonia were travelling with Circus Truzzi. The family moved to the United States in 1940, when Massimiliano was hired to juggle in the center circle by the Ringling Brother’s and Barnum & Bailey Circus. When Marcello was young, he worked as a clown, sold tickets and learned magic tricks. Truzzi wrote in his biographical sketch that 'his interest in the bizarre began with his earliest experiences with raised his awareness of the remarkable capabilities of human beings. That sense of wonder and interest in life's mysteries has remained a central life concern."

Truzzi received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Florida State University in 1957, a Master of Arts in 1962 from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1970. Between December 1958 and December 1960 Truzzi was on active duty in the U.S. Army serving at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and was honorably discharged in 1964. He taught a number of Universities and Colleges, including the New College in Florida, before joining the Department of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1974. He served as department chair from 1974-86.

Associated with the beginnings of the intellectual understanding of skepticism in America, first with the association with the Resources for the Scientific Evaluation of the Paranormal, whose membership included Martin Gardner, Ray Hyman, James Randi; co-founded and co-chaired with Paul Kurtz in 1976 the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CISCOP, later CSI) but broke with CISCOP and Kurtz over what he perceived as dogmatisim and a desire for a more academic than popular approach, he edited its original newsletter Explorations renamed The Zetetic; Truzzi founded the Center for Scientific Anomalies Research which published the Zetetic Scholar that Truzzi edited from 1978-87.

Truzzi was involved in the American Sociological Association; American Psychological Association; Circus Historical Society; American Folklore Society; Society of American Magicians; Alpha Kappa Delta; Phi Kappa Phi; and the North American Mensa Research Committee where he served as a test proctor from 1965-69. He wrote countless articles in both popular and academic publications across several fields of study which included psychology, folklore, anthropology and the history of science; he edited books on a variety of topics (criminal life, anthropology, sexism, revolution, sociology, and police law); and co-authored a number of books including Caldron Cookery: An Authentic Guide for Coven Connoisseurs, and the Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime.

Truzzi was diagnosed with colon rectal cancer at age 60 going in and out of remission over the last seven years of his life. He died in 2003 at the age of 67. He was survived by his wife Patricia a commercial artist, and their two sons Kristofer and Gianni and a granddaughter. Truzzi was granted posthumous emeritus status in 2008.


43.6 Linear Feet (36 record center cartons, 14 archive boxes, 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



The Marcello Truzzi papers document the research and writing of Marcello Truzzi, professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) from 1974-2003. While comprehensive of his research and writings, the collection does not document the teaching he did prior to arriving at EMU or while EMU. The materials in the collection are arranged into 8 series of materials, the most comprehensive of which is his correspondence particularly in the areas of paranormal activity, parapsychology; and his research files that focus on the topics of conjuring, magicians, and psychic detectives. Publications collection as well as written or edited by Truzzi can be found both within the collection as well as within the general holdings of the EMU Library.

Custodial History

Materials were donated to the University Archives in August of 2008 by Marcello Truzzi's family, widow Patricia Truzzi and sons Gianni and Kristopher. Some materials were removed from the collection by the family because they were identified as being too personal or superfluous to the overall collection.

Separated Materials

Full runs of Journal titles and newsletters have been separated from the Marcello Truzzi papers and added to the general library collection. Titles can be found in the EMU library catalog with Marcello Truzzi appearing in the 490 MARC field.

Marcello Truzzi papers
Alexis Braun Marks, CA
2014 October 8
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197