I just found out about an open challenge to prove anything paranormal (their FAQ has a definition of what they consider paranormal) and receive one million dollars. The offer was originally made in 1964, but it was only for $1,000 and has since grown to $1,000,000. So far, no one has ever made it through the preliminary tests.
It brings into question anyone who claims they’re a psychic or has powers to do things like levitate, bend spoons and so on. I realize not everyone would necessarily want to be put through a battery of tests, but with all the people claiming to have psychic powers and abilities, you would think someone would have stepped up over the past 40 years to prove their abilities and make a million bucks.
While it doesn’t prove anything, learning about this challenge has pushed me even farther in the skeptical direction. I’ve always wondered if there was any truth to people having psychic abilities, or that people could have ESP, or any of the many other things we’re shown on TV and in movies. This news makes me less credulous of any of those things. After being awestruck by magicians, only to learn how basic and rudimentary the actual tricks were, I’m inclined to believe the same is true for someone who appears to have supernatural powers.
The site also has The Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural freely available. I’d suggest starting at the index to see all of the subjects it covers.