List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal

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Could a wristband product improve a person's balance? A pre-test of the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge during TAM 2012.[1]

This is a list of prizes offered to anyone who can provide scientific evidence of paranormal abilities.

Objectives[edit]

The Czech Skeptics' Club Sisyfos offers €125,000 to anyone who can prove paranormal phenomena.[2]

The purpose of offering prizes for evidence of paranormal abilities is to publicly challenge those who claim to possess such abilities to demonstrate that they in fact possess them, and are not fraudulent or self-deceptive.[3] The paranormal challenges, often posed by groups or individuals who self-identify as "skeptics" or "rationalists", are mutually agreed upon beforehand between the challengers and the claimants. A challenge is usually divided into two steps, the first being a "preliminary test" or "pre-test", where claimants can show their purported abilities under controlled conditions before a small audience, before being admitted to the final test. Sometimes these pre-tests have a smaller prize attached to them.[4] Several local organisations have set up challenges that serve as pre-tests to larger prizes such as the JREF's One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge[1][5][6] or the 2012–2013 SKEPP Sisyphus Prize (for one million euros).[7][8]

History[edit]

In 1922, Scientific American made two US$2,500 offers: (1), for the first authentic spirit photograph made under test conditions, and (2), for the first psychic to produce a "visible psychic manifestation." Harry Houdini was a member of the investigating committee. The first medium to be tested was George Valiantine, who claimed that in his presence spirits would speak through a trumpet that floated around a darkened room. For the test, Valiantine was placed in a room, the lights were extinguished, but unbeknownst to him his chair had been rigged to light a signal in an adjoining room if he left his seat. Because the light signals were tripped during his performance, Valiantine did not collect the award.[3]

Since then, many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal in an observed setting.[3] Indian rationalist Abraham Kovoor's challenge in 1963 inspired American skeptic James Randi's prize in 1964,[9] which became the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. In 2003, these prizes were calculated to have a combined value of US$2,326,500.[10] As of January 2015, none of the prizes have been awarded. The James Randi paranormal challenge was officially terminated in 2015.[11] As of 2018, these prizes combine to approximately US$1,024,215. However, they take place in multiple countries and the conditions to be met may vary considerably.

List of standing prizes[edit]

Date Location Challengers Alleged prize Equivalent in dollars Details Status
2014– Czech Republic Czech Skeptics' Club Sisyfos 3,373,333 Czech koruna $160,671 To anyone who can prove to possess paranormal abilities in areas such as clairvoyance, telepathy, telekinesis, rhabdomancy, etc.[2] 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."[12] 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.[13] Unclaimed
2000– United States Independent Investigations Group 100,000 dollars $100,000 "[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.[14] Previously, the prize was US$50,000.[3][15] Unclaimed
1980– Australia Australian Skeptics 100,000 Australian dollars $75,820 For proof of the existence of extrasensory perception, telepathy, or telekinesis.[16] 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."[17] Unclaimed. However, the challenger has admitted that they don't possess that amount of money.[18]
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.[19] Contestants have to donate NZ$1,000 to charity if they fail.[20] 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."[21] Unclaimed
2002– Belgium SKEPP Sisyphus 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.[8][22] Afterwards, the regular Sisyphus Prize was continued and raised from €10,000 to €25,000.[4] Unclaimed
2013– Great Britain Association for Skeptical Enquiry 12,000 British pounds $16,535 For proof of psychic powers.[3]
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.[23][24] 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."[3][25] 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.[26][27] Unclaimed
2008– Estonia Eesti Skeptik 10,000 Euro $12,147 To anyone who can prove paranormal abilities.[28] Unclaimed
2004– Germany GWUP 10,000 Euro $12,147 To anyone who can prove paranormal abilities.[29][30] 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.[31] 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.[32] Skepsis' first challenge in March 1988 was ƒ10,000 to any "psychic surgeon" who could remove chairman Cornelis de Jager's appendix.[33] 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.[34] 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.[5] Unclaimed
2012– Sri Lanka Sri Lankan Rationalist Association 1,000,000 Sri Lankan rupees $6341 Professor Carlo Fonseka renewed Abraham Kovoor's challenge.[35] Unclaimed
Unknown– United States Fayetteville Freethinkers 5000 dollars $5000 "[F]or a demonstration of supernatural claims".[36] 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.[37] Premanand's magazine and organization have continued the challenge after his death in 2009.[38] 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.[39] Since 2002, it includes "anyone who can provide scientific evidence for iridology".[40] 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."[41] 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."[3][42] Unclaimed
2012– United States Fayetteville Freethinkers A house Unknown A house is offered to anyone who can catch a Bigfoot.[43] Unclaimed
2018– Belgium Mythbusters 2 Kudos K*2 Two full Kudos are offered to anyone who can scientifically proof you will be suggested as a friend to any give unrelated Facebook-account you often visit.[44] Unclaimed

List of defunct prizes[edit]

Date Location Challengers Alleged prize Equivalent in dollars Details Status
1964–2015 United States JREF, One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge 1,000,000 dollars $1,000,000 Launched by James Randi as $1,000 in 1964,[45] raised to $10,000 by 1980,[46] to $100,000 by 1989,[47] and finally to a million in 1996.[48] Since the launch of the James Randi Educational Foundation, applications were processed and tests prepared and conducted by a committee.[45] In 2015 the challenge was officially terminated. Disputed. A participant dubbed "Yellow Bamboo" claimed they passed the test, but JREF determined the test wasn't conclusive and thus did not recognize the results as valid.[49] Otherwise unclaimed.
1987–2002 France Gérard Majax, Henri Broch, Jacques Theodor, International Zetetic Challenge 200,000 Euro $242,949 Mediums and clairvoyants were challenged to show their powers, but all 275 candidates allegedly failed.[50] Unclaimed
1928–1995 United States Joseph Dunninger, Houdini Magical Hall of Fame 31,000 dollars $31,000 To anyone who can cause a suspended pencil in a sealed box to write a message on a pad of paper, also in the box.[51][52] Unclaimed
2012 India Tarksheel Society 1,000,000 Indian rupees $15,011 To anyone who could correctly predict the election results in five Indian state assemblies.[53] Unclaimed
2014 India Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations 1,000,000 Indian rupees $15,011 Correctly answer 21 out of 25 questions relating to future election results. Intended for astrologers, but open to anyone.[54] Unclaimed
1985–1988 United States Paranormal Investigating Committee of Pittsburgh 10,000 dollars $10,000 "[T]o anyone who can demonstrate successfully a psychic claim in a controlled examination."[55][56] Unclaimed
1966–2005 United States Philip J. Klass 10,000 dollars $10,000 For proof of an extraterrestrial visit to the Earth.[57] The prize was discontinued when Philip J. Klass passed away in 2005. Unclaimed
2007–2009 United States Sanad Rashed, Ahmed Khaled Tawfik 5000 dollars $5000 For proof ouija boards function as claimed.[citation needed] Unclaimed
2008 India Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations 200,000 Indian rupees $3002 Correctly answer 21 out of 25 questions relating to future election results. Intended for astrologers, but open to anyone.[58] Unclaimed
1922 United States Scientific American 2500 dollars $2500 Two $2,500 offers: (1) for the first authentic spirit photograph made under test conditions, or (2) for the first psychic to produce a "visible psychic manifestation."[3] Unclaimed
Unknown–2005 United States New York Area Skeptics 2000 dollars $2000 Awarded to the successful completion of the JREF One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.[citation needed] Unclaimed
1963–1978 Sri Lanka Abraham Kovoor 100,000 Sri Lankan rupees $634 Kovoor initiated the Abraham Kovoor's challenge starting in 1963. He inspired others like Randi and Premanand. He passed away in 1978.[9] Unclaimed
2012–2013 Estonia Eesti Skeptik 500 Euro $607 Awarded to anyone who passed the Estonian preliminary test to the Belgian Sisyphus Prize.[59] Unclaimed
2012–2013 Great Britain Association for Skeptical Enquiry 400 British pounds $551 Awarded to anyone who passed the British preliminary test to the Belgian Sisyphus Prize.[7] Unclaimed

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Richard Saunders (6 September 2012). "The Million Dollar Challenge at TAM 2012". JREF Swift Blog. James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Paranormální výzva". Falešní hráči (in Czech). The Real Bohemian. 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Robert Todd Carroll (19 June 2014). "Randi $1,000,000 paranormal challenge". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Sisyphus prijs". SKEPP website (in Dutch). SKEPP. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Défi sceptique : bourses de 10 000 $ et un million de dollars américains" (in French). Les Sceptiques de Québec. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Corinna Sachs (12 October 2004). "Übersinnliche Phänomene im Test" (PDF). Quarks & Co (in German). WDR. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "The Sisyphus Prize Pre-Test. Rules for applicants to ASKE". ASKE website. Association for Skeptical Enquiry. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Joep Engels (30 September 2012). "Win een miljoen met het lezen van tarotkaarten". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Abraham Kovoor". Thought & Action. Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Larsen, Claus (September 2003). "Get Rich Quick or Save the World". Skeptic Report. Archived from the original on 23 March 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2007. 
  11. ^ The Million Dollar Challenge
  12. ^ Mainfort, Donald (March 1999). "Sima Nan: Fighting Qigong Pseudoscience in China". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 9 (1). Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Our Challenge – Win Rupees 1 Crore". Tarksheel Society. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "The IIG $100,000 Challenge". IIG website. Independent Investigations Group. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  15. ^ ANP/AFP (30 May 2012). "Ghostbusters: is Hollywood a spiritual 'vortex'?". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Retrieved 4 January 2015. .
  16. ^ "The $100,000 Challenge". AS website. Australian Skeptics. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  17. ^ Prabir Ghosh (22 June 2010). "Challenge to all 'supernatural' and 'paranormal' power holders/ astrologers etc". SRAI website. Science and Rationalists' Association of India. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "page 03 - KOLKATA Edition - salam duniya epaper kolkata - salam duniya epaper kolkata". salamduniya.in. 
  19. ^ Stuart Landsborough. "What is the Psychic Challenge?". Stuart Landsborough's $100,000 Psychic Challenge. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Stuart Landsborough. "Rules of the Challenge". Stuart Landsborough's $100,000 Psychic Challenge. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "Telefono Antiplagio". Antiplagio.org. 2000. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  22. ^ Jan Bosteels (3 July 2013). "Hoe meet je iets dat niet bestaat? SKEPP voert eerste test van 1 miljoen uit". Knack (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Правила премии (in Russian). Премия имени Гарри Гудини. Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  24. ^ Шутова Е. (2015-07-24). Миллион за колдовство. Наука → Мракобесие (in Russian). ЗАО «Газета.Ру». Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  25. ^ Gregory H. Aicklen; John F. Blanton; Prasad N. Golla; Mike Selby; John A. Thomas. "The North Texas Skeptics Paranormal Challenge". NTS website. North Texas Skeptics. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  26. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (7 December 2005). "NRI group gets cracking on Asian occultists in Britain". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  27. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (14 January 2006). "Asian rationalists in UK dare tantriks". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  28. ^ Martin Vällik (16 March 2008). "10000 €". skeptik.ee (in Estonian). Eesti Skeptik. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Nestler, Ralf (21 August 2009). "Die Macht der Strahlen". Zeit Wissen (in German). Zeitverlag Gerd Bucerius. 5. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  30. ^ "Eine kurze Geschichte der GWUP" (in German). GWUP website. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  31. ^ "Skepsis in English". Skepsis website. Skepsis ry. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  32. ^ Rob Nanninga & Jan Willem Nienhuys. "Alternatieve diagnoses kunnen op de proef worden gesteld". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  33. ^ Paalman, Jan (September 1988). "Psychochirurgie. Opereren met blote handen". Skepter (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 1 (3): 28. 
  34. ^ "Kristallkulan". SHA website (in Swedish). Swedish Humanist Association. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  35. ^ Padma Rao Sundarji (27 November 2014). "What is it with us and scandalous Swamis?". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "About the Fayetteville Freethinkers". Fayetteville Freethinkers. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  37. ^ Basava Premanand (15 October 1998). "The Challenge". Indian Skeptic website. Indian CSICOP. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  38. ^ Basava Premanand (29 August 1998). "Rules for the Paranormal Challenge". Indian Skeptic website. Indian CSICOP. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  39. ^ Chris Lefkow (22 September 1995). ""Milk Miracle" – or "Mass Hysteria"?". The Nepal Digest archive. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  40. ^ Lewis Wolpert (22 March 2002). "Science: a magical show of scepticism". The Independent. 
  41. ^ Daniel Zepeda (17 August 2011). "Reto Paranormal de Papá Escéptico" (in Spanish). Papá Escéptico. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  42. ^ "$$$ Challenges". TBS website. Tampa Bay Skeptics. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  43. ^ "A local group is offering a big reward". Global Broadcast Database. 18 April 2012. 
  44. ^ "WILL VISITING SOMEONE'S FACEBOOK PAGE PUT YOU ON THEIR "PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW" LIST?". unknown. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 
  45. ^ a b "The Million Dollar Challenge". Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  46. ^ Timothy Ferris (23 November 1980). "Nonfiction in brief". The New York Times. 
  47. ^ "Are you psychic?". St. Petersburg Times. 2 April 1989. 
  48. ^ Wendy Grossman (9 December 1996). "Science: Putting psychics to the test. An arch-sceptic is offering $1m in a challenge to belief in the paranormal, writes Wendy Grossman". The Independent. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  49. ^ "Commentary, October 17, 2003 &— Falun Gong on PBS, Yellow Bamboo Analysis, Treasure Scope Challenge, Quackery In Med School, Scientific American Questions Encyclopedia Britannica, Vortex Relief, and SkepDic Is Out..." arquivo.pt. 
  50. ^ "Z comme zététique, ou le pourfendeur du paranormal" (in French). Agence France-Presse. 8 September 2006. 
  51. ^ Gibson, Walter B. (August 1977). "$31,000 Magic Challenge". Houdini's Magic Magazine. Vol. 1 no. 1. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Stories Layouts & Press Inc. pp. 18–22, 92. 
  52. ^ Hagarty, David A. (c. 1981). On the Inside at the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame. Niagara Falls, Canada: Magic Museums Limited. p. 29. 
  53. ^ Neel Kamal (20 February 2012). "Assembly elections: Predict winners and win Rs 1 crore!". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  54. ^ "'Astrologers biggest losers in 2014 Elections' – Humanists". The Siasat Daily. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  55. ^ Bee Paul Hirschl. "In pursuit of the paranormal". Google News Archive. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  56. ^ Dorma McHattie. "Psychic Illusionist Program". Google News Archive. Beaver County Times. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  57. ^ Klass, Philip J. (1975). UFOs Explained. New York: Random House. pp. 355–359. ISBN 9780394492155. OCLC 979190. 
  58. ^ Jeevan Mathew Kurian (13 June 2008). "He beats holy men at their own game". Thaindian News. Indo-Asian News Service. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  59. ^ Martin Vällik (1 October 2012). "1 miljon eurot, kasvõi nõiavitsaga pildamise eest". skeptik.ee (in Estonian). Eesti Skeptik. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Christopher, Milbourne (1975), Mediums, Mystics & the Occult. Thomas Y. Crowell Co.
  • (in Dutch) Nanninga, Rob (1988), Parariteiten – een kritische blik op het paranormale. Het Spectrum.
  • Radin, Dean (2006), Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. Paraview Pocket Books.