What is the $100,000 Psychic Challenge?
In 1994 Stuart Landsborough, founder of Puzzling World and a
member of the New Zealand Skeptics Society, created a challenge
to test those who claim to deal in the paranormal.
Stuart has always been skeptical about the supernatural and this
challenge was not only an interesting business addition but also a
way to investigate and prove, if only to himself, that there is nothing
in any of the so-called powers of the super-natural.
He offered a substantial prize to anyone who could prove by
psychic ability that they can indicate the exact location of a $50,000
promissory note hidden within five km's of Puzzling World. Just six
months after the start of the challenge, to make the task easier on potential challengers, Stuart reduced the search area to a smaller radius of just 200 metres.
Over the next twelve years, Stuart accepted five challengers with each one failing to indicate the correct location or come even close to the hidden promissory note.
In 2006 Stuart again made the challenge potentially easier by reducing the radius once more to just 100 metres from the Psychic Challenge Display. It has been a policy of his to locate the promissory note in an easily recognisable location rather than somewhere such as in the middle of a large lawn or wooded area in an effort to make it as easy as possible for a challenger to visualize a landmark, thus recognize the location and therefore offer a better chance of success.
However, with the search radius reduced to just 100 metres the promissory note was divided into two halves with each piece located in a separate place. In this way if someone finds only one of the notes it can be regarded as just lucky but if they find both locations the odds are so much against this that it must be seen that the challenging psychic has true ability. Stuart does not believe that a "true psychic" should find it any more difficult to indicate two locations than just one. To balance the fact that the promissory note was divided in two, the reward for succeeding was raised to $NZ100,000 (approx $US75,000).
The Challenge officially ended in July 2022, the prize unclaimed and Stuart declaring, "after 30 years, I think I have proven my point!”