Most visitors to Puzzling World are well aware of the visual and mental treats on offer but here you cam learn about one if it’s lesser known products – the $100,000 Psychic Challenge.
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.
The first challenger was a middle-aged lady from Southland who travelled the country offering psychic readings. After her interview she indicated that the location of the promissory note was in front of Puzzling World's iconic Tumbling Towers. To prove the existence of the note she was then taken to its true location – in the middle of Stuart’s glass-house, hundreds of metres away.
The next challenger offered a reading over the phone where the note’s location was deemed to be “under a spreading tree” in front of the “maze hedges”. A decent guess but somewhat misguided especially as tall, slender poplar trees lined the property and the maze is in fact made of wood!
And so, 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.
The website, www.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 and discussions with TV producers on the merits of this particular show.
Due to “psychic powers” clearly being disconnected for this challenge, it was officially ended in July 2022.
After nearly 30 years, the final score? - Stuart: 7, Psychics: 0