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$50,000 Paranormal Challenge

IIG Public Update #23

October 2009

Sylvia BrowneDoing a little research on prominent psychics, we started to notice a bizarre trend of these would-be-seers putting, on their official home page, a terrible picture of themselves. How amazing that on Sylvia Browne’s official web page, she is wearing the same expression we have when someone mentions Sylvia Browne to us:

John EdwardJohn Edward evokes the image of someone physically fending off a horrible man – perhaps the sort of hideous parasite who would prey on the grieving:

James VanPraaghAnd James Van Praagh looks like he was offered a hundred dollars to appear with a smile on his face, but only received fifty:

Allison DuBois is the only one who actually has a good picture of herself, but it fades in over a long time, so you could miss it.

Alison DuBois

The cool thing about this is that you can hit the "refresh" button, and Allison disappears. If only it were that easy . . .

IIG members are finally getting the publicity we so richly deserve. Recently three members of the IIG appeared on prominent skeptical radio shows and podcasts.

Derek Bartholomaus appeared on the September 18th episode of Skeptically Speaking discussing his work fighting the anti-vaccination movement with the Jenny McCarthy Body Count and newly minted IIG member Mark Edward appeared on the September 28th episode of The Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe discussing his work as a mentalist and "professional" psychic. Also, CFI’s own "Point of Inquiry" podcast will feature IIG chair Jim Underdown in the next two episodes.

Speaking of CFI, their august publication "Skeptical Inquirer" will feature an article written by Owen Hammer and Jim Underdown which chronicles our investigation of the California Board of Registered Nursing. We have at last achieved "The Full Ginsberg".

Kiwi Christopher M. has applied for the IIG Paranormal Challenge claiming that he could determine whether a person was currently living or dead just by looking at a photograph of the person. He also claims that he can determine if a person is missing a limb, or digit, just by looking at a photograph of the person’s face. We have asked him if he could distinguish between the following:

  • Each finger on both hands (10)
  • Each toe on both feet (10)
  • Each whole hand (2)
  • Each whole foot (2)
  • Each whole arm (2)
  • Each whole leg (2)

IIG odds-makers calculate that this would give him a 1 in 28 chance of being correct by random chance. We are currently looking into the possibility of a "remote" demonstration via images mailed or e-mailed to Chris. Stay tuned.

Regen T. says that he can telepathically transmit the value of a playing card to a recipient. We are working on finalizing a Challenge Protocol with Regen and when it is approved by both parties, Regen will travel to Los Angeles and show us what he can do.

Last Spring, An appearance by Healing Touch "practitioner" Deborah Caswell at UCLA prompted the IIG to contact the UCLA skeptics organization BASS to explore ways to protest the presentation of pseudo-medicine to UCLA students and nurses.

Members of the IIG spoke on October 9th at the regular meeting of BASS -- The idea was to officially present the case and then hand off everything we had (video, audio, transcripts, research studies, background information) on Caswell, the content of her lecture and the UCLA official who was responsible for booking her – Anna Gawlinski (Director of Evidence-Based Medicine for UCLA Medical Center and adjunct professor at UCLA School of Nursing). A BRUIN student newspaper editor was in attendance and gave his opinion on the specific case at hand and how to deal with similar things in the future.

This incident has given us an opportunity to finally connect with our UCLA brethren and we have decided to grant BASS members free "student" membership in the IIG. Do you have a student skeptical group in Southern California? Contact us at info@iigwest.org, and let’s talk!

Several new reports on old investigations have made it out of the IIG vault, and onto the webpage. Enjoy the following:

Mark Z. — Lottery Master

Devon K. — Calgary Healer

Colonel X (Ben Woods)

Don’t forget, that Daylight Saving Time falls on Halloween! That means an extra hour of trick-or-treating. Of course, if you insist that your children go out when the sun is still up, it actually means that they get one less hour.


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