Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

A Challenge to All Psychics

Originally published in BASIS




September 1982

We are the Bay Area Skeptics (BAS), a group of people who support the testing of paranormal claims, but are unconvinced by any of the supposed proofs of psychic powers that have been presented so far. We are committed only to finding out the truth about so-called psychic powers, whatever that truth may be. Nothing would be more exciting than to discover the existence of a genuine psychic power, if such a thing exists. However, experience has sadly shown that the field of psychic research is so filled with self-delusion, evasion, and fraud, that we are frankly skeptical that any genuine paranormal powers exist at all.

We hereby issue the following challenge to any and all psychics and psychic researchers in the Bay Area: Show us just one psychic power, of any kind, that can be demonstrated to be real under controlled conditions. Claims of psychic powers are abundant — but we want to see somebody who can DEMONSTRATE a genuine ability at prediction, clairvoyance, telekinesis, paranormal healing, or any other alleged psychic power.

If you are a psychic, why is it to your advantage to accept this challenge? First, because of the monetary reward being offered, and second, because of the recognition and prestige you will achieve as the first person to successfully demonstrate such powers to a group of knowledgeable skeptics.

Robert A. Steiner, director of Bay Area Skeptics, is a professional magician of many years’ experience. He is personally offering a reward of $1,000.00 to any person who can demonstrate ANY psychic power under controlled conditions, provided that Steiner is unable to duplicate or explain it by normal means. Furthermore, James Randi of New Jersey, a famous stage magician known as “The Amazing Randi,” has for years offered $10,000.00 for proof of any psychic power performed under properly controlled conditions. Bay Area Skeptics will promptly report to Randi anyone whose powers seem worthy of testing. (In both cases, the conditions of the test will be arranged in advance with the would-be psychic, and the test will not begin until both parties are satisfied that the arrangement is fair.) Thus, anyone with genuine psychic powers can easily collect $11,000.00 from these two men.

The Bay Area Skeptics is a local chapter of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), a worldwide organization of scientists and researchers who are skeptical of paranormal claims. CSICOP is the largest and best-known group of its kind in the world. Anyone who appears to possess genuine psychic powers will be reported to CSICOP’s Executive Council, which will arrange further testing.

Think of the enormous recognition that would be given to the first person to convince the world’s most outspoken skeptics of the reality of psychic powers! Think also of the tremendous benefit to science and humanity if the existence of miraculous powers for healing and for obtaining knowledge could at long last be proven!

There is probably no other place in the United States where the number of alleged psychics, and the degree of belief in psychic powers, is as high as here in the Bay Area. Psychic readers, healers, etc., abound in San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, and throughout the Bay Area. Purportedly scientific investigations of psychic powers are frequently carried out at SRI in Menlo Park, as well as at many other organizations in the Bay Area. Many of the area’s colleges offer credit or extension courses in astrology, astral projection, aura reading, etc. We at BAS are proclaiming that “The Emperor Has No Clothes”, and we challenge anyone to prove us wrong.

We are not difficult to reach. We all live in the immediate area. If you believe you have genuine psychic powers, the advantages of accepting this challenge are considerable.

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