James Randi offered Sylvia Browne his million dollar challenge to prove she is a psychic medium. In anger she agreed but then never took it. She is posted all over his web site. I think it is foolish of him because no matter what any one offers him for proof he will denie it. What are your thoughts?
Penny Clark Babson
Needless to say Sylvia Browne is a fraud. Randi is honest in his challenge – no-one has offered him any real evidence for psychic phenomena, and Browne is only one of many of these frauds to back down when asked to actually put their claims to the test.
If there were real psychics I would most certainly know about it, and it would be quite easy for them to demonstrate their powers.
Randi has defeated Browne on this: he challenged her, and she failed to meet the challenge. It’s that simple.
Sorry to dispute your claim that he would be able to deny things. The applicant has loads of control over the test. It just must be observed. Randi is a magician, and as such is extremely well versed in the ways to trick the public. He is using this knowledge to expose frauds and charlatans. And when he does so, he no only denies that they did anything paranormal or supernatural, he shows EXACTLY how they duped their believers, even duplicating it.
Here are the rules from his web site for anyone who wants to claim the million dollar prize:
“At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform a relatively simple preliminary test of the claim, which if successful, will be followed by the formal test. Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives. Upon success in the preliminary testing process, the “applicant” becomes a “claimant.”
To date, no one has ever passed the preliminary tests.”
Penn and Teller have also decided to show people how they dupe people. Here’s a great web site showing a trick done twice–the second time with the Cliff notes.