Next Contestant Please.....
Apart from hundreds of fun guesses by customers of Puzzling
World there have been five serious challengers. All of them failed.
Immediately after Stuart created the challenge in 1994, then again
with the doubled prize pool in 2006 and beyond, there's been
plenty of media coverage throughout New Zealand including TV,
Radio and Press. Here, we list the official challengers seen so far:
The first challenger was a middle-aged lady from Southland,
New Zealand who travelled the country offering psychic readings. After her interview with Stuart she indicated that the location of the promissory note was in front of Puzzling World's four eccentric Tumbling Towers. To prove the existence of the promissory note and its true location Stuart showed her the note's location – in the middle of "an incredibly visual geodesic glass-house", nowhere near the place she indicated. Imagine how easy it should've been for a psychic to visualise the location inside a glass-house?! She was a good loser.
The second challenger phoned from Auckland, over 1,500 kms away. As this could not be seen as anything more than a fun challenge there was no money involved. Via the phone, the challenger started to 'get a feeling". She could "see the hedges" of The Great Maze at Puzzling World. She then indicated that she felt the promissory note was located under a big old spreading tree at the front entrance to the business. Wrong! - The Great Maze was one the world's first "modern-style" WOODEN fenced maze. Not a hedge maze. And wrong again – at the front entrance to Puzzling World are young, slender Poplar trees – certainly not "a big old spreading tree".
This same challenger visited Puzzling World a couple of years later and tried the challenge again. This time, after an interview she indicated another location. To prove she was wrong Stuart took her and her friend to the real location - up at Stuart's home some fifty metres from the business. They walked into the house where Stuart's wife was happily doing the housework. He said to his wife that he was there to show the challenger the true location of the promissory note and it was inside the house. Stuart's wife became indignant - "In the last couple of years I have cleaned every square inch of this house and have not come across it" she said. "Obviously you haven't quite cleaned it all!" replied Stuart. Leading the group to the toilet he then lifted the lid to the water tank. In the tank was a glass jam jar. Sealed inside was the $50,000 promissory note. For a couple of years, every time the toilet was flushed the jam jar floated up & down! What a distinctive, easy location to visualise! So much for house-keeping!
Another challenger was determined that he could find the Promissory Note by using a divining rod. He believed he could find just about anything with a rod. Well, his rod went up and down all over the place but nowhere near the correct location!
Yet another challenger declared that he would go back to his motel that evening and pray to God for the location. If God answered, the challenger would return next morning. Needless to say he never returned!
An Israeli Psychic became the first to try for the inflated $100,000 prize total and declared he wouldn't need to "search" for the hidden notes because he "knew" their location. With a book full of his written "thoughts from a higher spirit" he rifled through office shelves and under staff sofa's before admitting defeat. Downtrodden and questioning his newly found psychic 'talent' he may have better luck using his recently-acquired agricultural degree towards a different career..
It is surprisingly few challenges over a such a long period considering the challenge has been
on TV news three times, in most major national newspapers, on many radio interviews and
viewed by more than three million customers of Puzzling World.
One of the strangest challenges involved a young lady who declared that she could find the
Promissory Notes. All Stuart had to do was to put his hands on her bare breasts and she
would get the message (what message?!). Stuart, mindful of potential lawsuits, declined
Recently, when Stuart was away from home, Australia's self proclaimed leading
psychic passed through Puzzling World on a holiday. From what the staff said he was
"too tired" to properly try the challenge but thought one of the notes was by a water well.
Wrong! Apparently this guy is very helpful to police in Australia – or so he says.
Where are all these competent psychics when there's a true challenge?
Stuart Landsborough is the only one that ever knows the location of the promissory notes. He has never told his family or friends. The logic of this is that should other people know the location and then someone succeeds with the challenge Stuart cannot be sure that somebody has not inadvertently revealed their location. It would not be a true challenge.