Tampa Bay Skeptics "$1,000 Challenge"

If this goes like all the others have, this "psychic" will flop miserably, and make all kinds of excuses for her failure. And as to media coverage, if she fails, they'll be little if any coverage. If she succeeds, page one.

Tampa Bay Skeptics "$1,000 Challenge" with Virginia Levy

Virginia Levy of Titusville, Florida ("Claimant") has come forward to the Tampa Bay Skeptics ("TBS") claiming to possess several different psychic abilities, based upon her past performances that have impressed and convinced many people of the genuineness of these abilities. Among her claimed psychic powers are "psychometry" (reading vibrations from objects, even at a distance, without needing to actually touch them) and the ability to give detailed and accurate readings on future events.

Levy is agreeable to having her "psychometry" ability tested, since the following test can be conducted scientifically, with the exact odds of success being known with mathematical certainty. The results, whether constituting success or failure, will be self-evident, without the need for a panel of judges or any subjective interpretation.

The TBS "$1,000 Challenge" shall take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 19, 1998, in the Auditorium of the Tampa Main Public Library (downtown), 900 N. Ashley Drive. [ Directions to site ]

Members of the press, TBS members (and guests), and guests of the Claimant are welcome to attend. Others are welcome as space permits.

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The Challenge (subject to fine tuning prior to the test)

1) The formal testing shall not begin until and unless two copies of this document have first been signed by both the Claimant and two official representatives of TBS, signifying their agreement to all conditions specified herein and that the actual test conditions on site appear to be mutually satisfactory such that the Challenge may proceed.

2) Prior to the commencement of the formal testing, TBS shall surrender its $1,000 check to an independent observer mutually agreed upon by TBS and Claimant.

3) TBS shall supply the small (2 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3/4") covered and numbered (from "1" to "10") opaque cardboard jewelry boxes to be used, as well as all of the items to be placed in them, except for Claimant's own items which will be clearly labeled as hers. All items supplied by Claimant must be certified as acceptable by TBS (e.g., TBS reserves the right to reject any item that appears to possibly have been contrived for use in this test, such as magnetized metal or electronic devices). Claimant need not certify the objects supplied by TBS, since her task is to merely "psychically" recognize her own objects, although TBS shall not employ any such contrived objects.

4) To begin the formal testing, a member of TBS shall place ten (10) of the cardboard boxes on a table, such that each box is at least six inches from any other. Some or all of the boxes shall contain an object placed therein beforehand by that same member of TBS. One of the 10 boxes shall contain an object supplied by Claimant and so labeled. At Claimant's request, the TBS member shall know which box contains Claimant's object, so that his/her thoughts/vibrations might assist the Claimant (the TBS member shall record the number of that box, to document that he/she was aware of the correct number).

5) Without touching, causing to shake, or in any way disturbing any of the boxes, Claimant shall declare which one of the 10 boxes contains her own object. That box, remaining closed, shall then be placed securely aside by the TBS member, to be opened only at the completion of the Challenge.

6) The preceeding steps shall constitute a "run," with the probability of a "successful" declaration being 1:10 in the absence of psychic power (i.e., by chance guesswork). The full Challenge shall consist of seven (7) such consecutive "runs," with the probability of seven consecutive "successful" declarations being 1:10,000,000 (1:10 to the 7th power). The seven boxes selected by Claimant shall be opened only after the completion of the final (7th) run.

7) At any time prior to the completion of the final run, should the Claimant or a designated TBS representative find that the test conditions have been violated or have otherwise become unsatisfactory, the Challenge shall be immediately suspended or voided. Upon completion of the final run, TBS shall declare the Challenge to have been concluded, and the results shall then be revealed by opening the seven boxes that had been selected by Claimant (as well as the rest of the boxes).

8) Claimant must achieve "success" in all seven runs in order to "win" the TBS "$1,000 Challenge." However, one must bear in mind that, should she succeed in winning the Challenge, the possibility of a fluke 1:10,000,000 "lucky day" cannot be excluded as a possible explanation. Further testing, with similarly "successful" results, would be necessary in order to conclusively "prove" to TBS, and to the scientific community at large, that the Claimant truly possesses psychic ability.

9) Should Claimant "win" the Challenge, TBS shall be obliged to:

o immediately have the $1,000 check presented to Claimant (should Claimant not win, the check shall be returned to TBS)

o promptly issue a Press Release and write an article for publication describing Claimant's successful performance

o promptly deliver a copy of the videotape(s) to Claimant, which she may use in any appropriate and lawful manner

o promptly engage James Randi to test Claimant for his $1,000,000 prize

10) Should Claimant fail to win the Challenge, TBS shall have the right to:

issue a Press Release announcing Claimant's unsuccessful performance and inability to demonstrate for TBS sufficient evidence of her "psychic" ability of "psychometry"

o write articles about the test for publication

o use the videotape(s) in any appropriate and lawful manner

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All signatories to this agreement declare that the above conditions have been mutually agreed upon, are fair, and appear to constitute a valid means of scientifically testing for the psychic ability known as "psychometry."

By entering into this agreement, Claimant surrenders any and all rights to legal action against Tampa Bay Skeptics, Inc., and its representatives, as far as this may be done by existing statutes. This clause applies to injury, accident, or any other damage of any kind, including physical, emotional, financial and/or professional.

Signed freely and without reservation on this ____ day of
_______________ , 1998.

Virginia Levy ("Claimant") ______________________________________
Terry A. Smiljanich (for TBS)
Gary P. Posner (for TBS)

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