List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal

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

Objectives[edit]

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

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.[2] 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.[3] 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][4][5] or the 2012–2013 SKEPP Sisyphus Prize (for one million euros).[6][7]

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.[2]

Since then, many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal in an observed setting.[2] Indian rationalist Abraham Kovoor's challenge in 1963 inspired American skeptic James Randi's prize in 1964,[8] that has since grown out to the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. In 2003, these prizes were calculated to have a combined value of US$2,326,500.[9] As of January 2015, none of the prizes have been claimed.

Prizes[edit]

Date Moderator(s) Prize Details Unclaimed
1963–1978 Abraham Kovoor (deceased 1978) 100,000 LKR (Approx $1500 USD as of 2015-01-03) Kovoor initiated the Abraham Kovoor's challenge starting in 1963. He inspired others like Randi and Premanand.[8] Yes
2000–present Alfredo Barrago's Bet (CICAP) 50,000 (US$67,922 approx) "... shown at least a "phenomenon" produced by "medium, seers, sensitive etc." of paranormal nature."[10] Yes
1997–present Asian Rationalist Society of Britain, Lavkesh Prasha £10,000 "[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.[11][12] Yes
N/A
2012–2013
Association for Skeptical Enquiry £12,000 (N/A)
£400 (2012–2013)
(Undated) For proof of psychic powers.[2]
(US$600 approx in 2012–2013) Awarded to anyone who passed the British preliminary test to the Belgian Sisyphus Prize.[6]
Yes
1980–present Australian Skeptics A$100,000 (US$101,374 approx) For proof of the existence of extrasensory perception, telepathy, or telekinesis.[13] Yes
1976–present Basava Premanand (deceased 2009), Indian Skeptic / Indian CSICOP 100,000 INR (US$2,190 approx) Offered after Abraham Kovoor fell ill with cancer in 1976.[14] Premanand's magazine and organisation have continued the challenge after his death in 2009.[15] Yes
2011–present Daniel Zepeda MX$20,000 "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."[16] Yes
2008–present
2012–2013
Eesti Skeptik €10,000 (2008–present)
€500 (2012–2013)
(US$1300 approx) To anyone who can prove paranormal abilities.[17]
Awarded to anyone who passed the Estonian preliminary test to the Belgian Sisyphus Prize.[18]
Yes
2007–2009 Eng. Sanad Rashed and Ahmed Khaled Tawfik US$5,000 For proof ouija boards function as claimed.[citation needed] Yes
N/A–present
2012–present
Fayetteville Freethinkers US$5,000 (N/A–present)
A house (2012–present)
"[F]or a demonstration of supernatural claims".[19]
Since 2012, a house is offered to anyone who can catch a Bigfoot.[20]
Yes
2008, 2014 Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Narendra Nayak 200,000 INR (2008)
1,000,000 INR (2014)
Correctly answer 21 out of 25 questions relating to future election results (intended for astrologers, but open to anyone).[21][22] Yes
1987–2002 Gérard Majax, Henri Broch, Jacques Theodor €200,000 International Zetetic Challenge. Mediums and clairvoyants were challenged to show their powers, but all 275 candidates failed.[23] Yes
2004–present Gesellschaft zur wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften €10,000 (US$13,000 approx) To anyone who can prove paranormal abilities.[24][25] Yes
2000–present Independent Investigations Group US$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.[26] Previously, the prize was US$50,000.[2][27] Yes
1995–present Indian Rationalist Association, Sanal Edamaruku 100,000 INR To anyone who could prove the 1995 "Hindu milk miracle" was, in fact, a miracle.[28] Since 2002, it includes "anyone who can provide scientific evidence for iridology".[29] Yes
1964–present JREF One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge US$1,000,000 (since 1996) Launched by James Randi as $1,000 in 1964,[30] raised to $10,000 by 1980,[31] to $100,000 by 1989,[32] and finally to a million in 1996.[33] Since the launch of the James Randi Educational Foundation, applications are processed and tests prepared and conducted by a committee.[30] Yes
N/A Kazakhstan Commission for the Investigation of Anomalous Phenomena US$1,000 [citation needed] Yes
1996–present Les Sceptiques du Quebec CA$10,000 (US$10,132 approx) "Just a small fact, observable or verifiable through experiment" of a paranormal phenomenon. Also serves as a preliminary test to the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge of the JREF. Originally, Les Sceptiques had their own separate prize of CA$750,000.[4] Yes
N/A New York Area Skeptics US$2,000 Awarded to the successful completion of the JREF One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.[citation needed] Yes
(At least since 2001[34]) North Texas Skeptics US$12,000 "[T]o any person (...) who can demonstrate any psychic or paranormal power or ability under scientifically valid observing conditions."[35][2] Yes
1966–2005 Philip J. Klass (deceased) US$10,000 For proof of an extraterrestrial visit to the Earth.[36] Yes
N/A Raul Jaanson €6,000 (US$8,000 approx)[citation needed] Yes
1985–present Science and Rationalists' Association of India, Prabir Ghosh 2,500,000 INR 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."[37] The initial amount was 2 million INR.[38] Yes
1922 Scientific American US$2,500 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."[2] Yes
1999–present Sima Nan 1,000,000 CNY (US$157,500 approx) "[T]o anyone who can perform one act of "special ability” without cheating."[39] Can be won in conjunction with the JREF One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge prize.[citation needed] Yes
2002–present SKEPP Sisyphus Prize €10,000 (2002–2012)
€1,000,000 (2012–2013)
€25,000 (2013–present)
The original Sisyphus Prize was €10,000. For the duration of one year, 1 October 2012 until 30 September 2013, an anonymous Antwerp businessman raised the prize €1,000,000, while several European skeptical organisations attached their pre-tests to it.[7][40] Afterwards, the regular Sisyphus Prize was continued and raised from €10,000 to €25,000.[3] Yes
1989–present Skepsis ry (Finnish Association of Skeptics) €10,000 (US$13,584 approx) 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.[41] Yes
2012–present Sri Lankan Rationalist Association 1,000,000 LKR (US$7,675 approx) Professor Carlo Fonseka renewed Abraham Kovoor's challenge.[42] Yes
1988–present Stichting Skepsis €10,000 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.[43] Skepsis' first challenge in March 1988 was ƒ10,000 to any "psychic surgeon" who could remove chairman Cornelis de Jager's appendix.[44] Yes
1994–present Stuart Landsborough (New Zealand Skeptics) NZ$100,000 (US$75,000 approx) "[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.[45] Contestants have to donate NZ$1,000 to charity if they fail.[46] Yes
N/A Swedish Humanist Association 100,000 SEK (US$15,421 approx) To anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal or supernatural ability for which no scientific explanation can be found.[47] Yes
1989–present Tampa Bay Skeptics US$1,000 "[T]o anyone able to demonstrate any paranormal phenomenon under mutually agreed-upon observing conditions."[48][2] Yes
1984[citation needed] Tarksheel Society 1 crore (10 million) INR (US$162,032 approx) To anyone who can perform any of 22 specified "miracles". The entry fee is 10,000 INR.[49] In 2012, 1 crore INR was also offered to anyone who could correctly predict the election results in five Indian state assemblies.[50] Yes
2014–present Český klub skeptiků Sisyfos 1,000,000 CZK To anyone who can prove to possess paranormal abilities in areas such as clairvoyance, telepathy, telekinesis, rhabdomancy, etc.[51] Yes

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Christopher, Milbourne (1975), Mediums, Mystics & the Occult. Thomas Y. Crowell Co.
  • (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.

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 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. 
  3. ^ a b "Sisyphus prijs". SKEPP website (in Dutch). SKEPP. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Défi sceptique : bourses de 10 000 $ et un million de dollars américains" (in French). Les Sceptiques de Québec. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Corinna Sachs (12 October 2004). "Übersinnliche Phänomene im Test". Quarks & Co (in German) (WDR). Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "The Sisyphus Prize Pre-Test. Rules for applicants to ASKE". ASKE website. Association for Skeptical Enquiry. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Joep Engels (30 September 2012). "Win een miljoen met het lezen van tarotkaarten". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Abraham Kovoor". Thought & Action. Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Telefono Antiplagio". Antiplagio.org. 2000. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (7 December 2005). "NRI group gets cracking on Asian occultists in Britain". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (14 January 2006). "Asian rationalists in UK dare tantriks". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "The $100,000 Challenge". AS website. Australian Skeptics. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Basava Premanand (15 October 1998). "The Challenge". Indian Skeptic website. Indian CSICOP. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Basava Premanand (29 August 1998). "Rules for the Paranormal Challenge". Indian Skeptic website. Indian CSICOP. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  16. ^ Daniel Zepeda (17 August 2011). "Reto Paranormal de Papá Escéptico" (in Spanish). Papá Escéptico. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  17. ^ Martin Vällik (16 March 2008). "10000 €". skeptik.ee (in Estonian). Eesti Skeptik. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  18. ^ Martin Vällik (1 October 2012). "1 miljon eurot, kasvõi nõiavitsaga pildamise eest". skeptik.ee (in Estonian). Eesti Skeptik. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "About the Fayetteville Freethinkers". Fayetteville Freethinkers. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "A local group is offering a big reward". Global Broadcast Database. 18 April 2012. 
  21. ^ Jeevan Mathew Kurian (13 June 2008). "He beats holy men at their own game". Thaindian News (Indo-Asian News Service). Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  22. ^ "‘Astrologers biggest losers in 2014 Elections’--Humanists". The Siasat Daily. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  23. ^ "Z comme zététique, ou le pourfendeur du paranormal" (in French). Agence France-Presse. 8 September 2006. 
  24. ^ Nestler, Ralf (21 August 2009). "Die Macht der Strahlen". Zeit Wissen (in German) (Zeitverlag Gerd Bucerius) 5. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  25. ^ "Eine kurze Geschichte der GWUP" (in German). GWUP website. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  26. ^ "The IIG $100,000 Challenge". IIG website. Independent Investigations Group. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  27. ^ ANP/AFP (30 May 2012). "Ghostbusters: is Hollywood a spiritual 'vortex'?". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Retrieved 4 January 2015. .
  28. ^ Chris Lefkow (22 September 1995). ""Milk Miracle" -- or "Mass Hysteria"?". The Nepal Digest archive (Agence France-Presse). Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Lewis Wolpert (22 March 2002). "Science: a magical show of scepticism". The Independent. 
  30. ^ a b "The Million Dollar Challenge". Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  31. ^ Timothy Ferris (23 November 1980). "Nonfiction in brief". The New York Times. 
  32. ^ "Are you psychic?". St. Petersburg Times. 2 April 1989. 
  33. ^ 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. 
  34. ^ "Challenge Activity". NTS website. North Texas Skeptics. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  35. ^ 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. 
  36. ^ Klass, Philip J. (1975). UFOs Explained. New York: Random House. pp. 355–359. ISBN 9780394492155. OCLC 979190. 
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ Andrew Marshall (12 December 1998). "For my next trick...". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  39. ^ Mainfort, Donald (March 1999). "Sima Nan: Fighting Qigong Pseudoscience in China". Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) 9 (1). Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  40. ^ 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. 
  41. ^ "Skepsis in English". Skepsis website. Skepsis ry. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  42. ^ Padma Rao Sundarji (27 November 2014). "What is it with us and scandalous Swamis?". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  43. ^ Rob Nanninga & Jan Willem Nienhuys. "Alternatieve diagnoses kunnen op de proef worden gesteld". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  44. ^ Paalman, Jan (September 1988). "Psychochirurgie. Opereren met blote handen". Skepter (in Dutch) (Stichting Skepsis) 1 (3): 28. 
  45. ^ Stuart Landsborough. "What is the Psychic Challenge?". Stuart Landsborough's $100,000 Psychic Challenge. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  46. ^ Stuart Landsborough. "Rules of the Challenge". Stuart Landsborough's $100,000 Psychic Challenge. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  47. ^ "Kristallkulan". SHA website (in Swedish). Swedish Humanist Association. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  48. ^ "$$$ Challenges". TBS website. Tampa Bay Skeptics. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  49. ^ "Our Challenge – Win Rupees 1 Crore". Tarksheel Society. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  50. ^ Neel Kamal (20 February 2012). "Assembly elections: Predict winners and win Rs 1 crore!". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  51. ^ "Paranormální výzva". Falešní hráči (in Czech). The Real Bohemian. 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.