Would you like to win $250,000? To claim the prize, all you need to do is to demonstrate significant evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power.
This is not a prank, nor is it a stunt. The prize money is real, and so it the offer. A document certifying that the $250,000 exists can be verified with Barry Karr ([email protected]), executive director of CSI in Amherst, New York. It is available upon request.
The Center for Inquiry Investigations Group (CFIIG)
The offer come from CFI. Here is the link to their website where they explain …
Can you demonstrate paranormal ability?
Are you interested in earning $250,000 dollars?
The Center for Inquiry Investigations Group (CFIIG) at the Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles offers a $250,000 prize to anyone who can show, under scientific testing conditions, significant evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power. The CFIIG works with the applicant in designing the test protocol and defining the conditions under which a test will take place. CFIIG representatives will then administer the actual test. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform an informal demonstration of the claimed ability or phenomenon, which if successful will be followed by the formal test. The CFIIG conducts demonstrations and tests at CFI West in Los Angeles, California, in the San Francisco Bay area, or in special circumstances at one of our affiliates around the world.
Below the above you will find details of how to apply along with the terms and conditions.
They also have a Frequently Asked Question page.
A challenge like this is not new
For quite a few years now the prize has been $100,000, but nobody won it. They have now increased the prize value to $250k.
What is perhaps the biggest and most well-known challenge like this was the offer made by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) to pay out one million U.S. dollars to anyone who could demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. That started in 1964 and ran until about 2015.
My Notes from an actual test (the JREF one)
Here are my notes and pictures from a JREF Challenge applicant being tested in 2014. The claimant was a Mr Fay Wong, age 34, who asserted that he could use his hands to heal.
After the test that fails, the claimant is asked if he will accept questions from the audience. He agrees, and here is an extract from my notes of this Q&A …
- Q1 – Did you feel your power working?
- A1 – yes
- Q2 – Why do you think this failed
- A2 – He explains that he is not sure.
- Q3 – Does this in any way lead you to question if you have this ability
- A3 – He confirms that this failure does not cause him to doubt
- Q4 – Does this power only work with an aliment
- A4 – This is the first time I have does a test like this
- Q5 – will you come back again to be re-tested in 1 year
- A5 – Suggests that he will and proposes adjustments … for example monitoring the temperature of the subjects hands.
- Q6 – Is there anything that might convince you that you don’t have these powers.
- A6 – No
There are in fact many other tests
The CFI and also the JREF tests are not unique, many others also offer similar prizes.
List of standing prizes
|Date||Location||Challengers||Offered prize||Equivalent in dollars||Details||Status|
|2014–||Czech Republic||Czech Skeptics’ Club Sisyfos||3,425,000 Czech koruna||$160,671||To anyone who can prove to possess paranormal abilities in areas such as clairvoyance, telepathy, telekinesis, rhabdomancy, etc.||Unclaimed|
|1999–||China||Sima Nan||1,000,000 Chinese yuan||$157,913||“[T]o anyone who can perform one act of “special ability” without cheating.”||Unclaimed|
|1984–||India||Tarksheel Society||10,000,000 Indian rupees||$150,110||To anyone who can perform any of 22 specified “miracles”. The entry fee is 10,000 INR.||Unclaimed|
|2000–||United States||Independent Investigations Group||250,000 dollars||$250,000:43:15||“[T]o anyone who can show, ‘under proper observing conditions’, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.” The person who refers a successful applicant to the IIG earns US$5,000.||Unclaimed|
|1980–||Australia||Australian Skeptics||100,000 Australian dollars||$75,820||For proof of the existence of extrasensory perception, telepathy, or telekinesis.||Unclaimed|
|1985–||India||Science and Rationalists’ Association of India, Prabir Ghosh||5,000,000 Indian rupees||$75,055||Prabir Ghosh will award the prize “to any person of this world who can demonstrate his/her supernormal power by performing any one of the following activities without taking help of any hoax/trick at my designated place and circumstances.”||Unclaimed. However, the challenger has admitted that they don’t possess that amount of money.|
|1994–||New Zealand||Stuart Landsborough, New Zealand Skeptics||100,000 New Zealand dollars||$70,791||“[T]o anyone who could prove by psychic ability that they can indicate the exact location” of two halves of a promissory note hidden within an area of 100 metres inside Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World. Over the years, the search area has been reduced from 5 kilometres to 100 metres and the prize doubled, but the note split in two to reduce the chance of winning by sheer luck. Contestants have to donate NZ$1,000 to charity if they fail.||Unclaimed|
|2000–||Italy||Alfredo Barrago’s Bet, CICAP||50,000 Euro||$60,737||“[…] shown at least a ‘phenomenon’ produced by ‘medium, seers, sensitive etc.’ of paranormal nature.”||Unclaimed|
|2002–||Belgium||SKEPPSisyphus Prize||25,000 Euro||$30,368||The original Sisyphus Prize was €10,000. Between 2012 and 2013, for the duration of one year, an anonymous Antwerp businessman raised the prize €1,000,000, while several European skeptical organisations attached their pre-tests to it. Afterwards, the regular Sisyphus Prize was continued and raised from €10,000 to €25,000.||Unclaimed|
|2013–||Great Britain||Association for Skeptical Enquiry||12,000 British pounds||$16,535||For proof of psychic powers.||Unclaimed|
|2015–||Russia||Harry Houdini Prize||1,000,000 Russian rubles||$16,096||The prize is awarded for demonstrating paranormal or supernatural abilities under conditions scientifically valid experiment.||Unclaimed|
|2001–||United States||North Texas Skeptics||12,000 dollars||$12,000||“[T]o any person … who can demonstrate any psychic or paranormal power or ability under scientifically valid observing conditions.”||Unclaimed|
|1997–||Great Britain||Lavkesh Prasha, Asian Rationalist Society of Britain||10,000 British pounds||$13,779||“[T]o any person who could prove to possess magical powers before the media and scientists.” The initial amount of £2,000 was increased fivefold in 2006 to attract more applicants.||Unclaimed|
|2008–||Estonia||Eesti Skeptik||10,000 Euro||$12,147||To anyone who can prove paranormal abilities.||Unclaimed|
|2004–||Germany||GWUP||10,000 Euro||$12,147||To anyone who can prove paranormal abilities.||Unclaimed|
|1989–||Finland||Skepsis ry (Finnish Association of Skeptics)||10,000 Euro||$12,147||For anybody in Finland who can produce paranormal phenomena under satisfactory observing conditions or prove that she/he/it is an extraterrestrial by providing a DNA (or equivalent) sample for investigation. Money partially from astronomer Hannu Karttunen and magician Iiro Seppänen.||Unclaimed|
|1988–||Netherlands||Stichting Skepsis||10,000 Euro||$12,147||To anyone who wants their “alternative diagnoses” (including kinesiology, electroacupuncture, bioresonance therapy, Therapeutic Touch, observing auras, clairvoyance, iridology, pendulum dowsing, astrology) to be tested; winning the pre-test earns €500. Skepsis’ first challenge in March 1988 was ƒ10,000 to any “psychic surgeon” who could remove chairman Cornelis de Jager‘s appendix.||Unclaimed|
|Unknown–||Sweden||Swedish Humanist Association||100,000 Swedish krona||$11,550||To anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal or supernatural ability for which no scientific explanation can be found.||Unclaimed|
|1996–||Canada||Les Sceptiques du Quebec||10,000 Canadian dollars||$7785||“Just a small fact, observable or verifiable through experiment” of a paranormal phenomenon.||Unclaimed|
|2012–||Sri Lanka||Sri Lankan Rationalist Association||1,000,000 Sri Lankan rupees||$6341||Professor Carlo Fonseka renewed Abraham Kovoor’s challenge.||Unclaimed|
|Unknown–||United States||Fayetteville Freethinkers||5000 dollars||$5000||“[F]or a demonstration of supernatural claims”.||Unclaimed|
|1976–||India||Indian Skeptic, Indian CSICOP||100,000 Indian rupees||$1501||Formerly moderated by Basava Premanand, deceased in 2009. Offered after Abraham Kovoor fell ill with cancer in 1976. Premanand’s magazine and organization have continued the challenge after his death in 2009.||Unclaimed|
|1995–||India||Indian Rationalist Association, Sanal Edamaruku||100,000 Indian rupees||$1501||To anyone who could prove the 1995 “Hindu milk miracle” was, in fact, a miracle. Since 2002, it includes “anyone who can provide scientific evidence for iridology“.||Unclaimed|
|2011–||Mexico||Daniel Zepeda||20,000 Mexican pesos||$1074||“To anyone who can show, under proper observational and replicable conditions, evidence of a paranormal, supernatural or occult power for which science has no answer.”||Unclaimed|
|1989–||United States||Tampa Bay Skeptics||1000 dollars||$1,000||“[T]o anyone able to demonstrate any paranormal phenomenon under mutually agreed-upon observing conditions.”||Unclaimed|
|2012–||United States||Fayetteville Freethinkers||A house||Unknown||A house is offered to anyone who can catch a Bigfoot.||Unclaimed|
Nobody ever passes
Historically such offers have been around since the 1920s when Scientific American offered a $2,500 prize. Harry Houdini was famously a member of that investigating committee.
In all this time nobody has ever successfully demonstrated anything paranormal or supernatural under scientifically controlled conditions.
A successful demonstration would be truly fascinating. Over the year many sincere individuals have tried and failed.
We live in a world filled with supposed psychics and religious people who claim they can perform miracles, yet none have ever demonstrated such an ability.
Those claiming such abilities can be divided up into two camps. Those they know they are just running a con and using trickery, and those that sincerely believe they have a gift. Many of those that sincerely believe, often try to pass such tests, and when they fail what is common is a retreat to a position where they still believe and proceed to think along these lines …
- It does not always work and in this instance this was an example of this
- Conditions where not quite right
- Too many skeptics around dampens my ability
Meanwhile the big-name folks who know it is all just a sham, duck any offer turn up and demonstrate that they really can do what they claim they can do.
CFI continues to test for the supernatural
CFI advise that they have reached out to Tyler Henry, who has the Hollywood Medium shows. So far he is a no-show.
Of those they do apply, one of the latest was the lightning man who was informally tested on June 20, 2020 ….
…The applicant’s three-part claim included emitting static electricity from his hands, creating lightning in the sky, and teleporting 3 or more feet….
… Upon being introduced to the tarp barrier, TR said that he “can’t go through things”, and reminded us that he must be moving to teleport. He soon after showed us what he meant and walked around the barrier in a sort of herky-jerky motion. He asked us if we saw the teleportation, and we replied that we did not. We only saw someone walking. We offered to show him the just-shot video of him, and he declined to view it….
… We then moved on to TR’s claim of being able to emit electricity from his hands and put lightning in the sky. TR let us know that he had to be listening to music to generate a charge. We monitored both his hands and the sky above us while TR closed his eyes and listened to his earbuds. We observed no lightning in the sky or sparks coming from his hands. He said he sees it, but we did not, nor did the video cameras….
… TR discussed the origin of his abilities, black magic, God, and other thoughts about his abilities. Jim asked about the rehab facilities TR was in, and if he was given any medication for what he was experiencing. TR said he was there to get off cocaine…
…The CFIIG and TR parted amicably, after it was agreed that no paranormal powers had occurred.
It is important to note that claimers are treated with dignity and curtesy, there is no room for mockery, There can also be no avoiding respectfully asking the obvious questions.
One last thought
Some of the very best paranormal testers and investigators are not scientists, but instead are illusionists and magicians, for example Harry Houdini and James Randi. This is perhaps because their entire career has been focused on fooling people with illusions and tricks and so they are not only familiar with all the tricks, but they also do understand how easy it is for all of us to be fooled and tricked.