JREF $1 Million Challenge Delights and Amuses Psychic Carla Baron

August 29, 2011

ABC News recently carried a piece I wrote about the failure of psychic detectives, and the James Randi Educational Foundation's $1 Million Challenge. I'm especially proud of the article because it goes in some depth about psychic claims, and credits Randi for his expose of faith healing scoundrel Peter Popoff.

The piece began: A non-profit organization called The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) has announced that it is publicly offering $1 million to celebrity "psychic mediums" including James Van Praagh, Allison DuBois, Sylvia Browne, Carla Baron, John Edward, and others if they can prove their abilities in controlled experiments.

"James Van Praagh and Allison DuBois have turned the huckster art of 'cold reading' into a multi-million-dollar industry, preying on families' deepest fears and regrets," said James Randi, founder of the JREF and a renowned magician and skeptic. The JREF's Million Dollar Challenge Director, a mentalist performer named Banachek, said, "We're issuing a challenge: If one of you can demonstrate your 'psychic' abilities on randomly chosen strangers -- not celebrities -- under mutually-agreed conditions, without relying on known cold-reading techniques such as fishing around with vague questions, and without just using Google -- we will donate our million dollars to you or to the charity of your choice." The skeptics explained how psychics can give the appearance of getting accurate information about a person they've never met.

One might assume that psychics would ignore the skeptics, as they often do, but in this case Carla Baron herself, one of the psychics mentioned in the piece, commented on it! She wrote, "This "challenge" has provided an unending source of amusement for me personally. Keep it up, and never let us REAL psychics out of your sight! We could possibly get away with something utterly unfathomable. wink~ Carla Baron"

It's wonderful that Baron is perpetually amused by the JREF $1 million challenge; it's nice to be able to bring happiness and joy to others. Perhaps she'd be even more amused if she accepted the challenge, embarrassed Randi, and banked a cool million for proving what she claims she's done for years.