Creating the Paranormal Challenge

The Paranormal Challenge of the Czech Skeptics’ Club Sisyfos started as a continuing of the European challenge The Sisyphus Prize 2013. You can read the whole story here.

The European Skeptics challenge offering 1 million Euro to whomever who can prove within a supervised test the existence of paranormal activity is over. In the Czech Republic two people took part in the challenge organized by the Czech skeptics’ club Sisyfos. They both tried to prove their ability of extrasensory perception, and they both failed.Obrázek 1 000 000 EURO

On June 30th the opportunity for the Czech contenders to sign up to win the 1 Million Euro prize ended. The Belgic-Flemish skeptics’ club SKEPP[1] offered the prize in cooperation with the skeptics’ corporation ESCO to an individual who could demonstrate in supervised conditions paranormal abilities, in other words such abilities, which are according to current scientific knowledge impossible. The following abilities may serve as an example: clairvoyance, telepathy, levitation, telekinesis, materialization, dowsing and others. Some abilities were excluded from the challenge for various reasons. These abilities are: 

  • Proving the existence of supernatural beings
  • Influencing the movement of the Sun, the Moon or other celestial bodies
  • Influencing the weather or climate
  • Abilities being proved by experiments dangerous to humans or animals
  • Abilities for which the process of proving them includes breaching the law
  • Magic tricks
  • Curing diseases and disabilities


Ten thousand for the Czech winner

“The Sisyphus Prize” contest was announced on October 1st, 2012. The Czech skeptic’s club Sisyfos has joined the running of the contest on January 1st, 2013 and ended the possibility of being pretested on a national level after six months. The reason for ending the opportunity of the pretest earlier was that if such a situation occurred when a candidate would pass the pretest, there would be enough time for the preparation and the realization of the final test in Brussels. This decision proved to be prudent. The second contender waited until the last minute, literally, sending in his application two hours before the deadline. His pretest took place on September 2nd.

While reminding that the 1 million Euro amount was deposited anonymously to a certain Belgic notary, we would like to stress that in the propositions of the prize it is emphasized that this not an offer from the pharmaceutical industry. The Belgic-Flemish skeptics’ club SKEPP expected a great interest to be shown in the challenge that is why they contacted individual national skeptics’ clubs and requested they first give the contenders a pretest after which, if completed successfully, will give them the option to go to Brussels and win the 1 Million Euro prize.

The national pretest should be designed in a way, in which the probability of a random success is smaller or equal to 1 in a 1000. The suggested reward for the pretest was €500. The Czech skeptics’ club Sisyfos rounded the prize to CZK10 000.

To secure this for the contender, there was a proper contract made between the Czech skeptics’ club Sisyfos and the contender, which clearly stated: “If the contender succeeds in proving such a claim in a clearly set test, then the Sisyfos commits itself to make another contract with the contender, according to the rules of the Belgic skeptics’ organization SKEPP and simultaneously Sisyfos will apply the contender to be tested by this organization, where the contender in the case of success will be warded the prize of €1.000.000 (in words one million Euro). Equally Sisyfos commits itself to award the successful contender the amount of CZK10.000 (in words ten thousand CZK) within thirty days of successfully completing the test.”

The contenders themselves had to agree by signature with the following: “…while completing the test the contender will not cheat in any way, will not use magic or illusion tricks or devices. If the contender will be caught cheating, Sisyfos has the right to expel the contender from the competition and publicize the fraud. This applies retroactively as well.”

Further stated in the contract was that the contender agrees with filming the experiment for a later evaluation and inspection. Sisyfos may later publicize the recording, if the dignity of the contender remains intact.

Establishing the Paranormal Challenge of the Czech Skeptics’ Club Sisyfos

Even though the 1 Million Euro prize lasted for a year in Europe and only six months in the Czech Republic, there were many interested, who in the end, for various reasons, didn’t go through with the experiment. That is why starting January 1st 2014 the Czech Skeptics’ Club Sisyfos established its Paranormal Challenge. Apart from a financial reward, the Club binds itself to publish the findings of the experiment. Also, Sisyfos will recommend the successful applicant for testing at the James Randi Foundation, for which the recommendation of a university scholar or from a scientific research facility is a requirement.

Zdroj: Sisyfos

 

[1]The financial reward offered during the challenge The Sisyphus Prize is historically the largest sum offered. Throughout the year there were many test done throughout Europe checking out the claims of various paranormal abilities, such as clairvoyance, telepathy, telekinesis, materialization, dowsing, psychic abilities, psychotronics, etc. None of the experiment results passed the decided upon standard of probability, thus none of the applicants succeeded.  

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