Randall Zwinge or the Great Randi started offering his own money in 1964 for proof of supernatural powers.
One of Randi’s friends, the Internet pioneer Rick Adams, donated a million dollars to the prize, which grew to become the “One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.”
Rules were created to make everything scientific, unbiased and to avoid any trickery.
That nobody won the challenge in 50 years didn’t stop a steady stream of applicants.
a woman who claimed to cry tears of glass,
the man who said he could detect buried water with two bent coat hangers,
that woman who could supposedly make strangers urinate using only the power of her mind.
A personal favorite is the two brothers from Dubai who claimed the 100 million because they made the sun rise every day.
Randi wrote back to them:“Which one of you makes it rise?”
“Um, we don’t know. We both work on it and the sun rises every morning, you can see that.”
Randi agreed that the evidence was 100 percent in their favor.
He proposed an experiment: “One of you shoot the other one. Then if the sun rises the next morning, it wasn’t him. Must be you. Well, then, what you do is you shoot yourself, and if the sun rises the next morning, you lose. But if the sun doesn’t rise the next morning, I’ll pay you.”
He didn’t hear back.
The challenge ended in 2015 when Randi announced that he was officially retiring.
Randi almost paid out the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
James Randi once “almost” paid out the money to a man who could tell you what songs are on a vinyl record by staring at it.
Lintgen claims he only became aware of his strange ability when challenged at a party in the 70’s and found, to his surprise, that he could correctly identify records just by looking at the grooves.
Randi was stumped by how Arthur Lintgen could accomplish this, but Lintgen never claimed it was paranormal at all.
He just had an encyclopedic knowledge of classical music.
From the visual texture of the grooves and the gaps between them, he could tell what kind of sound and how long each piece’s movements were!
“Friends of mine with more scientific and musical knowledge than I have tried it unsuccessfully,” Lintgen once told the New York Times. “I don’t know how I do it. I have terrible eyesight.”
Randi did award the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge once
Hi-Tech Magician Seth Raphael challenged James Randi claiming his computer can read minds.
Randi accepted the challenge and then watched as Seth’s computer succeeded in passing all of his tests.
He then admitted the whole thing was an April Fools Joke.
He and Raphael were in cahoots to play a trick on the audience.
Randi never got lucky
Randi started his career as an entertainer who could predict the future. Soon, he began planning a very neat if somewhat morbid trick.
Each night before he went to bed, he wrote the date on the back of a business card along with the words “I, Randall Zwinge, will die today.”
Then he signed it and placed it in his wallet. That way, if he were knocked down in the street or killed by a freak accident, whoever went through his effects would discover the most shocking prophecy he ever made. Zwinge kept at it for years.
Each night, he tore up one card and wrote out a new one for the next day. But nothing fatal befell him; in the end, having wasted hundreds of business cards, he gave up in frustration.
“I never got lucky,” he told people.
Every May 3 is Paranormal Day….but I bet you knew that, didn’t you?
Why not celebrate by checking out some surprising statistics about the paranormal.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.