Tuesday, 23 September 2008

New Zealand sceptic offers cash to TV psychics

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In a move reminiscent of James Randi's $1 million dollar challenge, New Zealand sceptic Stuart Landsborough has offered NZ$100,000 to the producers of despicable-sounding TV show Sensing Murder if the psychics involved can pass tests he has devised to verify their "powers".

The show seems to involve psychics from the Sylvia Browne school of giving bereaved families false hope for the purposes of profit and gain, and Landsborough hopes to put an end to its macabre nonsense by exposing the psychics as frauds.

Producer David Baldock has declined Landsborough's offer, which would involve the psychics taking a challenge that has long been open to New Zealand psychics. To prove their ability, they have to locate two pieces of a promissory note for the $100,000, hidden within a 100 metre radius of Landsborough's Puzzling World Centre in the Southern Lakes region of New Zealand.

Baldock declined because he believes the test is "set up like a finding a needle in a haystack approach", but reassured reporters of the abilities of Sensing Murder's psychics. They have never solved any cases, but he says new leads have been passed on to police and claims that, while he isn't sure if they are talking to dead people, "what I do know is that something extraordinary is going on".

Hopefully none of you will want to know this, but you can sometimes see Sensing Murder on Living TV, that home of other such classics as Most Haunted, Derek Acorah's Ghost Towns, The Psychic Detective, Scream Team and I'm Famous and Frightened.