Psychic Ponders $1 Million Challenge

Last month, I did a blog post about a psychic challenge that had been issued, basically offering $1 million to any psychic who could pass a scientifically-controlled test of their abilities. The challenge has been around for years, but as no psychics had as of yet accepted the challenge (I’d say perhaps they didn’t know about it, but they’re psychics, right?), the challenge was recently reissued. And now it seems a psychic might probably accept the challenge. Maybe. if she’s available. See, she’s not sure yet if she will be available at a future date to take this test of her psychic abilities. Don’t you love the irony?

The challenge has been around for several years but now a Canadian psychic is considering taking on a $1m offer to prove her skills. Toronto-based Nikki told CBS News she has faith in her abilities and would take the challenge, if she was available. “I am the real thing so I don’t have to worry about this stuff,” Nikki said. The challenge is being made by the Florida-based James Randi Educational Foundation, founded by magician and skeptic James Randi to educate the public and media on the dangers of accepting unproven claims, and to support research into paranormal claims in controlled scientific conditions. Although the $1-million US challenge has been around for years, Randi recently reissued the challenge, directing it at celebrity psychics including James Van Praagh and Allison DuBois, after their appearance on American ABC’s Nightline show. “The challenge is open to everyone, famous or not, but the high-profile operators are getting rich by preying on people’s grief and guilt about loved ones who have died. It’s really despicable,” Randi told CBC News by email. “Hopefully, the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge makes people think twice when they hear psychics claiming they can predict the future or talk to the dead.” Nikki said she would first need to learn more about the details of the test and the $1-million prize before agreeing. Randi said the conditions of each test for the challenge are designed on exactly what each of the psychics claim they can do.

They are negotiated, in consultation with outside experts, and mutually agreed to by both the person being tested and by the foundation.

To me, the test sounds fair, and I’m not sure why psychics haven’t jumped on this. Unless they know they will lose. They have no problem being proven wrong, as it’s happened in the past. But only as long as they are being paid to do so.

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