Apart from hundreds of "fun" guesses by customers of Puzzling World there have been five serious challengers. All of them failed. Immediately after Stuart created this challenge in 1994 there was a lot of media coverage throughout New Zealand including TV, Radio and Press.
The first challenger was a middle aged female psychic from Southland, New Zealand who travelled the country offering psychic readings. After her interview with Stuart she indicated that the location of the promissory note was in front of Puzzling World's four eccentric leaning towers. To prove the existence of the promissory note and its true location Stuart showed the note's location – in the middle of an incredibly visual geodesic glass-house, nowhere near the place she indicated. Imagine how easy it would have been for a psychic to visualise the location inside a glass-house?! She was a good loser.
The second challenger phoned from Auckland, one thousand kilometers away. As this could not be seen as anything more than a fun challenge there was no money involved. Via the phone, the challenger started to get a feeling. She could "see" the hedges of The Great Maze which is part of Puzzling World. She then indicated that she felt the promissory note was located under a big old spreading tree at the front entrance to the business - Wrong! The Great Maze at Puzzling World was the first "modern-style" WOODEN fenced maze. Not a hedge maze. And wrong again – at the front entrance to Puzzling World are young, slender Poplar trees – certainly not a big old spreading tree.
This same challenger visited Puzzling World a couple of years later and tried the challenge again. This time, after an interview she indicated another location. To prove she was wrong Stuart had to show her the real location. Stuart, the challenger and her friend walked up to Stuart's home some fifty metres from the business. They walked into the house where Stuart's wife was happily doing the housework. Stuart said to his wife that he was there to show the challenger the true location of the promissory note and it was inside the house. Stuart's wife became indignant - "In the last couple of years I have cleaned every square inch of this house and have not come across it" she said. "Obviously you haven't quite cleaned it all!" replied Stuart. Stuart led the group to the toilet and lifted the lid to the water tank. In the tank was a glass jam jar. Sealed inside was the $50,000 promissory note. For a couple of years, every time the toilet was flushed the jam jar floated up & down! What a distinctive, easy location to visualise! So much for house-keeping!
Another challenger was determined that he could find the Promissory Note by using a divining rod. He believed he could find just about anything with a rod. Well, his rod went up and down all over the place but nowhere near the correct location!
Yet another challenger declared that he would go back to his motel that evening and pray to God for the location. If God answered the challenger would return next morning. Needless to say he never returned!
In March 2009, an Israeli Psychic became the first to try for the inflated prize total and declared he wouldn't need to "search" for the hidden notes because he "knew" their location. With a book full of his written "thoughts from a higher spirit" he rifled through office shelves and under staff sofa's before admitting defeat. Downtrodden and questioning his newly found psychic 'talent' he may have better luck using his agricultural degree as a career option.
One of the strangest challenges involved a lovely young lady who declared that she could find the Promissory Note. All Stuart had to do was to put his hands on her bare breasts and she would get the message (what message?!). Stuart, mindful of potential lawsuits, declined the challenge!
It is surprisingly few challenges over a period of twelve years considering the challenge has been on TV news twice, in most major national newspapers, on many radio interviews and viewed by more than a million customers of Puzzling World.
In late 2006 Stuart decreased the radius of the location of the promissory notes and increased the prize to $100,000. Since then there have been no challengers even with plenty of media coverage including TV1 news that, as part of the item, approached a "leading" Christchurch psychic and asked her to take up the challenge on TV. The psychic declined saying she had appointments for the next 6 months and so was far too busy!
In February 2007 when Stuart was away from home Australia's self proclaimed leading psychic passed through Puzzling World on holiday. From what the staff said he was "too tired" to properly try the challenge but thought one of the notes was by a water well. Wrong! Apparently this guy is very helpful to police in Australia – so he says!
Where are all these competent psychics when you want them?
Stuart Landsborough is the only one that ever knows the location of the promissory notes. He has never told his family or friends. The logic of this is that should other people know the location and then someone succeeds with the challenge Stuart cannot be sure that somebody has not talked. It would not be a true challenge.
As a matter of interest, worldwide, there is over $US 2.5 million offered as prizes to anyone who can prove psychic ability, as yet, none of these prizes have been claimed.
• "I can't do it every time"
• "It usually works"
• "I'm too tired"
• "It won't work if money is involved"
• "I'm new at being a psychic - but I have a feeling!"
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