For nearly 30 years Puzzling World has been home to one of the more bizarre offers for those who claim supernatural power. Today however it has been decided that the $100,000 Psychic Challenge is officially over.
In 1994, Stuart Landsborough, creator of Puzzling World and longtime member of the NZ Skeptics Society offered a reward for any psychics or mind readers to sit with him, read his thoughts and find a promissory note for $50,000 hidden on the property.
Over the next decade six attempts by mediums of every ilk, including psychics, diviners, spiritualists and the devoutly religious tried and failed to scoop the prize money offered.
In 2006 in the face of growing media interest in this field, Stuart decided to increase the reward to $100,000, split the notes into two and decrease the search site from 200 to just 100 metres.
In March 2009, an Israeli Psychic became the first to try for the inflated 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 sofas before admitting defeat, thus becoming the challenge’s seventh failed attempt.
The website, psychicchallengenz.com was also launched that aims to question psychic ability, offers reviews of live psychic performances (including local shows from Sensing Murder’s psychics) and a full run down of the rules, past challengers, links and commentary on the dangers of this particular form of “exploitainment”.
While many fun, free guesses have been offered, no serious challenger has come forward since, and with Stuart now fully retired and no longer willing to continue the challenge believing, “after all the years, I think I have proven my point!” the Psychic Challenge has ended, unclaimed.