The NZ Skeptics (NZ Skeptics Incorporated) offers a $100,000 (NZD) prize to anyone who we invite to prove to us, and an independent judge, that they possess a supernatural or paranormal ability, or are able to defy a well-established scientific principle. This ability may be a psychic power, clairvoyance, telepathy, dowsing, a free energy device or a magical cure, for example. If we invite you to apply, this means we think you have a claim which fits these criteria, and we are keen to work with you to test your claim under controlled conditions.
- An applicant is invited to apply to win the prize
- The applicant submits an application, describing their ability.
- The NZ Skeptics assesses the application against our criteria. If the application is accepted, it will proceed to the testing phase.
- The NZ Skeptics and the applicant must agree on a testing protocol, and passing threshold, for each of two rounds of testing which are designed to demonstrate the applicant’s ability, and agree on an independent judge, before any testing occurs.
- The first test round is conducted. If the passing threshold is met, the application proceeds to the second test.
- The second test round is conducted. If the passing threshold is met, the application has successfully passed the challenge.
After applying for the prize (see below for application instructions), the NZ Skeptics will decide if we are able to test your claim. If we find that your claim is suitable, we will contact you to plan and organise an appropriate test.
Reasons for an application to be rejected may include the claim not being deemed to be extraordinary, the claimant having a history of fraud or deception, no suitable test of the ability being available, or ethical issues arising from the test.
The challenge consists of two rounds of testing. Upon passing the first round, an applicant will be required to take another test in a second round. The second test may be designed differently to the first, but will test the same ability. On successful passing of the second round, the applicant will be awarded the prize money.
For each round, a testing protocol and passing threshold will need to be agreed upon by both parties.
We will work with you to design a test and passing threshold that are rigorous enough to minimise the chances of either a random false positive result or deliberate cheating, while also being mindful of any limitations arising from the conditions under which your abilities work. Only if an agreement over the test protocol has been reached by both parties will testing commence.
All tests will require an objective measure of pass or fail. The passing threshold for the first test will be set at a level where the odds of a positive result by chance alone are less than one in ten thousand, and for the second test at a level where the odds are less than one in a million.
Any costs involved in the test will be borne by the applicant, unless otherwise agreed in advance. The NZ Skeptics will usually provide a venue for the test, along with any equipment required for monitoring the process. Testing will usually only be available in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.
Members of the NZ Skeptics will be present at each event to set up and administer the test. An independent judge, agreed on by both parties, will also be present to oversee the test. The applicant may have a support person accompany them. The support person will be required to comply with any rules and restrictions that are placed upon them by the testers. Cameras and other equipment may be used to record the test. Media representatives may also be present to report on the event.
After the test has been completed, both parties will have an opportunity to review all recorded material from the test and bring any concerns to the attention of the judge (at least one month from the time the material is made available). After this the judge will make a decision on whether the applicant has passed the test, based on the criteria stipulated in the protocol.
Evidence of cheating by the applicant at any point during the test, by using subterfuge or trickery rather than their claimed ability to pass the test, will disqualify them from the challenge. Evidence of foul play by the NZ Skeptics, if the society is shown to the judge to have rigged the test to ensure the applicant loses, will result in a re-test, and the testers being replaced by alternate members of the society. The judge will rule on whether non-deliberate mistakes made by either party during the testing require a re-rest. Re-tests will occur at a later date, and may require a redesign of the testing protocol – to be agreed upon by both parties.
The NZ Skeptics reserve the right to publish the results of any test we perform – whether the result is positive or negative.
We reserve the right to change these rules at any time, and will endeavour to ensure they are both rigorous and fair.
Once you have been invited to apply for testing, please contact us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know the following:
- Your contact details
- What your claimed ability is
- What limitations/conditions your claimed ability has
At the NZ Skeptics we are often contacted by people who profess to have supernatural powers. We also frequently read in the news of New Zealanders making extraordinary claims about amazing abilities – manipulating spiritual energies, contacting the dead and seeing into the future are just some of the claims we see being made publicly.
We’re offering this prize as an incentive for anyone who believes they have a supernatural or paranormal ability, or have the ability to defy a well-established scientific principle. We’re confident that concrete evidence of this will be worth more than $100,000 to our organisation – a discovery made by us would ensure we were at the forefront of a new area of research, with major implications for the entire planet!
As well as the $100,000 prize money, the publicity of winning this prize would also be hugely beneficial to the applicant.
This prize is similar to the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge, which was available until recently, the ongoing Australian Skeptics $100,000 Challenge, which has been on offer since 1980, and Stuart Landsborough of Wanaka’s $100,000 psychic challenge, which ran until 2022.
The $100,000 prize money is held by the NZ Skeptics and the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists. Each organisation holds $50,000 in term deposits. Upon passing both tests, each organisation will cash out their share of the prize money. This process may take a month or more to complete.
Once the prize money is available, it will be transferred to either the recipient or directly to a charity of their choosing.
The NZ Skeptics or the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists may decide to stop offering this prize at any point. Any in-progress challenges at this point will be discontinued.
I don’t trust the NZ Skeptics
We are offering this challenge because we have an honest desire to discover someone with supernatural or paranormal abilities, or the ability to defy a well-established scientific principle, coupled with an understanding that a high level of evidence should be required to back up any claims of possessing these kinds of abilities. As Carl Sagan once famously said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
Additionally, the independent judge at our testing events is there to ensure that both parties act fairly. Recording equipment will be used to record both the applicant and the testers, and will be available to both parties to verify that the test was performed according to the agreed protocol.
I don’t use my ability for profit
That’s okay. We’re happy to donate the prize money to a charity of your choice, or to choose a charity on your behalf. We’d also be happy to keep the money, and use it to discover others who may also, like you, have a special ability.
My ability can’t be tested
We are happy to work with you to find a test that is both scientifically rigorous and mindful of any issues you may have with testing. Unfortunately we are not able to lower our standards of testing for you, but we can alter our testing method if it will help you without compromising our methods. If you think that your ability is unable to manifest when tested under controlled conditions, then you will not be eligible to apply for the prize.
I don’t live near one of the listed cities
If you cannot travel at your expense to a location where we can test you, we may be able to test you remotely, over a live video connection, if your ability is amenable to this. For any remote testing, any test equipment will be managed by the NZ Skeptics.
I don’t want to be made fun of
The aim of this prize is not to denigrate or ridicule anyone. We do not plan to talk about you in a disparaging way, or use the results of our tests to make fun of you. However, we may decide to write honestly about your claims and the results of any testing we perform with you.