Sunday, July 27, 2008

Things to do in Wanaka when you're dead

Well, maybe not dead - just with a couple of hours to kill. Why not head over to The Puzzling World which according to Stuart the owner "is a world unique attraction specialising in puzzling eccentricity." And if you are some kind of fruit weirdo have problems with reality psychic or diviner, you can try your hand at Stu's amazing $100000 challenge. It sounds pretty funny actually - and a few nutjobs have had a swing at it too.

The Psychic Challenge has been going on for about 14 years now, and in that time Stuart has had 4 "serious" contenders. As per the rules of reality, all four have failed to come within cooee of scoring the loot, and Stu's money remains safe, much in the way that the $1 million dollar challenge from James Randi has remained safe all these years. And what it this mighty task you ask? What arduous chore is the mere psychic supposed to carry out? Is it steal the secret of fire from the gods? Or maybe predict who will win the Bledisloe this year? No - its actually reasonably simple (if you claim to have amazing psychic powers that is). Find the money. That's it - and he even tells you where it is, down to 100 square metres. Surely the amazing powers of the psychics should be able to predict something like that?
The unsurprising answer is no, they can't. What is surprising is some of the techniques people try and use to find it. I thought the best one was the nice lady who wanted him to grab her boobs :

One of the strangest challenges involved a lovely young lady who declared that she could find the Promissory Note. All Stuart had to do was to put his hands on her bare breasts and she would get the message (what message?!). Stuart, mindful of potential lawsuits, declined the challenge.

Bizarre to say the least. But unique!

But its not really surprising to hear that no-one has succeded, and that a majority of the bigger names in this enterprise have declined to try this test. Whenever a practitioner of the paranormal is asked to prove their claims, they always beg off with some excuse to try and avoid the sucking disappointment of their phony trade being proven wrong (again). And of course the irreparable harm it would do to their business if the word got out that they actually can't do the tricks they advertise. It does not pay in business to advertise the fact that you are selling ice blocks to Eskimo's, especially when they buy them in large numbers.

As Stu's site says, "As a matter of interest, worldwide, there is over $US 2.5 million offered as prizes to anyone who can prove psychic ability, as yet, none of these prizes have been claimed." Not surprising at all really.

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