Most visitors to the ever-popular Wanaka attraction, Puzzling World are well aware of the visual and mental treats and challenges on offer but less is known about the quest to unearth a sixth sense amongst its guests.
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 cheque for $50,000 hidden on the business property.
With seven failed attempts over this period and in the face of growing media interest in this field, Stuart increased the reward in 2006 to $100,000 and decreased the search site from 200 metres to just 100 metres.
“I’m sick and tired of seeing the biased nature of programmes on mediums and psychics that give no firm proof of success, I do not believe psychics are genuine so I’m upping the ante for anyone to prove me wrong” Stuart said
In order to rule out any random guesses, the challenger must find 2 promissory notes hidden in separate locations. They must also pay a $1,000 challenge fee that, if unsuccessful, is given to a local charity.
“The theme of the business is eccentricity so this challenge, along with it’s own display within the Puzzle Centre works well within the environment that is geared around getting people to think a little deeper”, says marketing manager Duncan Spear.
The website, www.psychicchallenge.co.nz was also launched that aims to question psychic ability, offers reviews of live psychic performances (including local shows from Sensing Murder’s Kelvin Cruickshank and Sue Nicholson) and a full run down of the rules, past challengers and discussions with TV producers on the merits of the above show.
Stuart is also advocating for regulation of the psychic industry, “Why is it that there are strict laws concerning the gambling industry in an effort to protect the quite considerable minority from themselves, yet in the paranormal industry, as far as I am aware, there is not a single regulation?…..any true ‘psychic’ or ‘medium’ should theoretically approve of, in fact, must totally support such regulation.
I can only assume that they must be just as sick and tired of the pseudo, money-making con artists as I am, after all, the shysters in their business are ruining the good name of their vocation!” he writes.
“Set up guidelines and create a series of tests that every member of the paranormal who ply their professions for money, must undertake and pass. If they don’t pass, they cannot provide their service for a fee.
It should be very easy for a series of double-blind tests to be created and used during the testing process. Surely this will get the full support of all the “true” psychics and mediums out there! If not, why not?”
We’ll have to wait and see how this campaign goes!