“Prove it.” It’s the catch cry of skeptics and critical thinkers around the world. Presented with fraudulent claims of psychic powers and paranormal abilities, scientists and rationalists are always quick to demand proof. On this week’s episode of the podcast skeptic and podcaster Richard Saunders explains how to empirically test these extraordinary claims and what happens when you offer a cash prize.
From Harry Houdini’s work with the Scientific American in the 1920’s offering $2500 to any genuine spiritualist to the James Randi Foundation’s offer of one million dollars for proof of any paranormal ability, these challenges range from rationalist publicity stunts to genuine scientific studies. And while no one has managed to claim any of these prizes, the psychic industry goes from strength to strength.
Richard Saunders has spent three decades examining these claims. He has been involved in the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge, the Australian Skeptics $100,000 prize and the Channel Seven Psychic reality show, The One.
Nicholas J. Johnson is a Melbourne magician, author and collector of scams