Even though the James Randi Educational Foundation has been offering huge sums of money since 1996 to any psychic who could prove his/her supernatural powers, the current prize of $1,000,000 doesn’t seem to get as many headlines as one would hope.
But since Randi’s appearance on “ABC’s Primetime Nightline: Beyond Belief” last week, a number of articles about the prize are popping up — and they’re not only publicizing the Challenge, they’re exposing specific targets.
So far, no one has been able to collect on the money, not even a well known psychic like [James] Van Praagh, whom the organization is singling out…
During the episode, Van Praagh performed a reading on “Good Morning America” anchor Josh Elliott.
Although Elliott initially appeared surprised by Van Praagh’s accuracy, he revealed that “every talking point of the reading” seemed to have been lifted from a two-year-old interview with Elliott that was available online.
“I’d known there was plenty of information regarding my past readily available with a cursory Internet search, including an extensive interview that included all the talking points [such as] my dead relatives and my adoption,” Elliot said during the show. “Except, I thought, for [my mom's boyfriend] Leo.”
Elliott rechecked that interview when he got home from interviewing Van Praagh and discovered that interview had a reference to Leo’s passing, “able to be exploited along with the rest.”
During the show, Van Praagh denied using Google, but declined to do a reading on Elliot’s segment producer, claiming he had become too tired.
Even TIME magazine’s NewsFeed blog is jumping in on the action:
[The $1,000,000] seems about as safe as offering to fling money at any WWE wrestler who takes down an MMA fighter, or telling your local bar’s karaoke star you’ll pay them top dollar when they have a record top the Billboard charts.
Of course, James Van Praagh and Sylvia Browne and John Edward and Allison DuBois and Rebecca Rosen are all frauds. It’s not just harmless entertaining — they’re ripping off people whose emotions are already frail after the loss of a loved one.
If they want to show they’re actual psychics, JREF’s just begging for them to take the Challenge. It would be incredible to see someone even come *close* to winning the money. Of course, none of the famous “psychics” will ever accept the Challenge because even they know it’s all just a well-known magic trick. They have no actual powers, but who cares about doing the right thing when the money is rolling in, right?
At least JREF is egging them on:
Keep bringing the pressure, Randi.