CFI Investigations Group Raises Paranormal Challenge Prize to $250,000

Paul Fidalgo

Can you read other people’s thoughts? Can you move objects with your mind? Can you predict the future? More to the point, can you prove it? If you can, the Center for Inquiry Investigations Group (CFIIG) will give you $250,000. 

For two decades, CFIIG has offered those who profess to have supernatural, paranormal, or occult abilities the opportunity to definitively prove their claims under mutually agreed upon testing conditions. For several years, the award for passing the CFIIG Challenge was $100,000, but no one has ever been able to claim the prize. 

That award has now been raised to $250,000.

“We’ve been waiting for twenty years now for someone to come along and blow our minds. While many have tried, no one has proven they can actually do what they say they can do,” said James Underdown, CFIIG founder and executive director of Center for Inquiry West in Los Angeles. “Maybe all the real superpowered folks were just waiting for us to raise the stakes. Hopefully, a quarter million bucks will do it.”

“And just to help get the word out, we’re also offering a $5,000 referral prize to the person who sends us a winning challenger,” added Underdown. “So you don’t even need to have magic powers to get some extra cash. You just have to know someone who does.”

CFIIG was originally founded as the Independent Investigations Group in 2000 and consists of diverse volunteers who bring myriad skills and knowledge to their task. The team recently became an official program of the Center for Inquiry (CFI). CFI is also the home of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the medical myth-busting website Quackwatch.

With its two main groups based in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, CFIIG is the largest paranormal investigation group in the world, with allied groups and field investigators in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, South Africa, and Germany. It has conducted dozens of investigations and tested numerous paranormal claimants for the CFIIG Challenge. Its newly redesigned website is at cfiig.org.

CFIIG recently offered a chance for “Hollywood Medium” Tyler Henry, who claims to communicate with the dead on his E! Television Network show, to demonstrate his powers and claim the prize money. Henry has so far been unresponsive. 

In 2018, CFIIG performed an experiment at California’s Salton Sea to demonstrate the curvature of the earth to a group of flat-earthers, which was covered by National Geographic Explorer (see Underdown’s report in SI, November/December 2018). The flat-earthers were, alas, unmoved.


Can you read other people’s thoughts? Can you move objects with your mind? Can you predict the future? More to the point, can you prove it? If you can, the Center for Inquiry Investigations Group (CFIIG) will give you $250,000.  For two decades, CFIIG has offered those who profess to have supernatural, paranormal, or occult …

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