The First Email  |  No Response, Let’s Spice It Up!  |  The Producers Reply  |  Let’s Just Clarify The Issue  |  'Sensing Murder’ Comes Back Once More
Hmmm, Maybe We’re Getting Somewhere!  |  Their Final Word  |  MY FINAL WORD... For Now  :: The Summary

Continually frustrated by the lack of balanced programming on the subject of "psychic power" I have joined other skeptics who have issued challenges to the popular program Sensing Murder and issued mine - with a potential prize of up to $400,000.
Below is the correspondence so far...


From: Stuart Landsborough
To: David Baldock, Kelvin Cruickshank, Sue Nicholson, Deb Webber
Sent: Sunday, August 3, 2008
Subject: Sensing Murder

Sensing Murder has become a very successful and popular program.

In New Zealand, thousands of viewers watch it; many believe the psychics are truly communicating with the dead however, there are quite a number who are cautious, concerned and critical of the abilities of the guest psychics.

I would like to invite the director of ‘Sensing Murder’ and their psychic guests to participate in independent, carefully monitored tests of the psychics’ abilities. These tests would be mutually agreed upon by the participants of ‘Sensing Murder’ and a small team of some of those who are skeptical about the methods used in the program.

These tests may be observed by associates of the ‘Sensing Murder’ program, other psychics, people of a skeptical nature, and the media.

I look forward to a fascinating experiment!

Thank you,
Stuart Landsborough



From: Stuart Landsborough
To: David Baldock, Kelvin Cruickshank, Sue Nicholson, Deb Webber
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008
Subject: Sensing Murder

As yet, I have had no reply to my e-mail of the 3rd August, 2008 suggesting you join me in conducting public experiments to determine the abilities of ‘Sensing Murder’s’ psychics. At this stage, I can now only assume that there will be no reply.

Let us make it more interesting: I am willing to offer a prize of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS to each of the psychics that participate and succeed with mutually agreed tests, plus a maximum of one hundred thousand dollars to the producer should one or more succeed, making a potential prize pool of $400,000 in total. Should the psychics NOT want to be involved because of the prize money then I suggest they participate and give the money to a charity of their choice.

I would like to invite the director of ‘Sensing Murder’ and their psychic guests to participate in independent, carefully monitored tests of the psychics’ abilities. These tests would be mutually agreed upon by the participants of ‘Sensing Murder’ and a small team of some of those who are skeptical about the methods used in the program.

My name is Stuart Landsborough. I live in Wanaka, a lovely lakeside resort in the South Island.

Since 1973, I have created and operated the very unusual tourist attraction called ‘Stuart ‘Landsborough’s Puzzling World’ This attraction has a theme of ‘puzzling eccentricity’:

In 1994, I created a $50,000 challenge for psychics to find a promissory note located within five kilometres of the centre of the attraction: Within a few months, I reduced the radius to a much smaller distance of just 200 metres. Over the years I had six challengers of different abilities: psychics, dowsers, mind readers etc. but none of them succeeded. The prize for success has now been increased to $100,000 and the location of the promissory notes (now split and hidden in two separate locations) has yet again been reduced, this time to just 100 metres from the challenge display in Puzzling World. So - not really a “needle in a paddock” as David Baldock has described it!

I do try my best to help the participating psychics by placing the promissory notes in prominent places, near distinct features that should make it easy for a psychic to recognise. As a skeptic, I am truly interested in this as an experiment.

I am aware that there have been other challengers to ‘Sensing Murder’ that have NOT been accepted for various reasons; including doubt that the prize money exists; I can assure you that I certainly do have the funds to cover this challenge.

Stuart Landsborough



----- Original Message -----
From: Geoff Husson
To: Stuart Landsborough
Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 10:51 AM
Subject: Sensing Murder

Dear Stuart,

I refer to the psychics used in the programme Sensing Murder - no others.

Thank you for laying down the challenge and for offering such a generous prize.

Unfortunately our psychics are not tricksters neither do they have the ability to communicate with inanimate or non living objects. So it’s pretty certain that your money will remain intact for a very long time.

What our psychics do do is to communicate with those who have passed over from one living form to perhaps another - but fundamentally whether tuning into a spirit or the imprint that a human being has left, there is a strong human element involved in the process. Not bits of paper or promissory notes. Your "test" therefore is ill conceived and will not result in any kind of positive result or measurement of psychic ability.

The processes and procedures used on Sensing Murder are constantly reviewed, updated and refined. They are as scientific as we can possibly make them. We would happily discuss our methods and results with opened minded people who seek the truth - what ever that may be - but it’s just a waste of every body's time to enter a discourse with those whose singled minded purpose is to seek discredit.

Kind Regards

Geoff Husson
Ninox Television



From: Stuart Landsborough
To: Geoff Husson
Subject: Re: Sensing Murder

Greetings, Geoff,

Thank you for replying to my e-mail; I must say I didn't expect one!

Your e-mail concentrates on my challenge of last year to Sensing Murder, and, I can understand your declaration that your psychics cannot tune into 'bits of paper'. However, I did state to you in my e-mail of 18th August 2008 that I would be happy to 'participate on mutually agreed tests'.

You also state that you would happily discuss your methods and results with ‘open minded people who seek the truth - but its just a waste of everybody's time to enter a discourse with those whose singled minded purpose is to seek discredit'. I must protest. Just because I may have a differing opinion on this subject does not mean that my mind is closed. I believe that my mind has a healthy curiosity.

I believe that by using standard scientific testing processes, it should be easy to prove or disprove psychics claimed abilities - one way or another.

It seems to me that your psychics could prove their abilities once and for all by participating in public tests. By not doing so, it appears that they have something to hide.

I would personally enjoy involvement in a testing process. I would have thought that your psychics would equally be able to participate and enjoy the occasion!

Anyhow, thanks for your reply!
Stuart Landsborough



----- Original Message -----
From: Geoff Husson
To: Stuart Landsborough
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2008 4:51 PM
Subject: Re: Sensing Murder

Hi Stu,

The point I think is that we (the Sensing Murder Team) have devised a scientific testing procedure We are both satisfied and mystified with our results. We are satisfied that we are not misleading the general public nor cheating nor informing psychics of information about cases - its what the press and skeptics simply don't get - there is something extraordinary - unexplainable - going on.

I don't know how to measure it, that's a scientists job I don't know what it is (I live quite happily not knowing what nuclear fission is!). I'm informed psychics are communicating with the spirit world. I don't know, but I won't dismiss it as a possibility. I have an open mind in the light of my experiences. What you see on the screen is what they have said. A great deal of what they have said is remarkable.

We at Ninox have spent thousands and thousands of dollars checking our security systems and investing in the most stringent protective (of information) procedures. We have nothing to hide but we really don't want to go through another four years (and the expense), trying to prove our findings to the rest of the world.

It is not our mission to enlighten the world or those who have curiosity (as healthy as that is) regarding the validity of our psychics. We are convinced: others must make their own journey. Our job is to have integrity as programme makers and to ensure to our audience, with hand on hearts, that we are being as honest and as objective as we can be.

We have many unanswered questions ourselves. We have a huge amount of knowledge, experience and research on the subject that we would willingly share or input to the right properly funded scientific investigation.

The simply fact that you have a 'different opinion' on this subject means to me that you don't have an open mind and are therefore probably not a suitable candidate to be midwife to such an investigation (but not to deny your inclusion).

Finally, the Sensing Murder psychics frequently appear in public, thus demonstrating nothing to hide. Scientists and skeptics are free to attend and most likely have. They come away with their conclusions and the general public with theirs. The fact that they may differ is perhaps what makes the world go round?

Kind Regards
Geoff Husson



From: Stuart Landsborough
To: Geoff Husson
Subject: Re: Sensing Murder

Greetings Geoff,

This should be my last communication to you, unless you do decide that we could find some neutral ground to produce valid tests. If not, then obviously it is pointless to try any more!

You claim that you have devised a scientific testing procedure and are satisfied with the results.

History has been filled with non-scientists (and scientists) creating tests that are riddled with weaknesses’ and faulty reasoning. This is particularly so when the tests are devised by testers (Sensing Murder) that cannot really claim to be un-biased. All testing procedure and results should also be open to public scrutiny. This cannot be claimed to have been done by your program. Is it no wonder that those who have concerns about the production feel they would like more evidence?

You claim I don't have 'an open mind', so would not be suitable to be the one to be 'a midwife' to such an investigation. How do you know that I don’t have 'an open mind?' You don't know me apart from knowledge of the challenge I have had running in Wanaka for 14 years and our recent correspondence?! It is obvious that only someone skeptical of the program is likely to wish to investigate your psychic’s abilities; and so no skeptics would qualify as being impartial from your point of view.

You mention that I 'have a different opinion, therefore can't have an open mind". I could easily reverse that and say that you don't have an open mind as your opinion is different from mine!

This, my last offer of us joining together for meaningful public scrutiny on your psychic’s abilities, is a little different again from what I have already proposed.

Let us do another of your programs, together. Let us agree on three names to a supervising committee. One would have a leaning towards the supernatural; one would lean towards skepticism, and another; neutral; although I would hate to work out how we could agree on that person!

The 'skeptical' person would provide the photo(s) and the history of the subject person(s) in an envelope to your presenter just before the start of the program. None of the other people in the room would have any knowledge of the subject matter.

Another two camera teams should be provided (I am quite happy to cover the costs). These cameras would be located at either end of the room and would be filming for 100 per cent of the time the psychic is working on the case. One hundred percent of the footage from these cameras must be available to anybody who justifiably requires it.

If I am correct, Sensing Murder is partially made using public money; in that case, the public should have the right to question the production of something that obviously creates considerable anguish for many people.

There would be no prize money as this experiment still does not use a recognised double-blind scientific procedure.

Are we any nearer to an agreement that would suit us both?

Best Wishes,
Stuart Landsborough



----- Original Message -----
From: Geoff Husson
To: Stuart Landsborough
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 10:44 AM
Subject: Re: Sensing Murder

Hi Stu,

We are actually not that far apart. The methodology that you describe is quite similar to what we employ. Two cameras shooting 100% of the time etc committees, choices of cases - our structure is quite congruent with what you suggest.

We've also had skeptics on a case (Nigel Latta) who was ridiculed and character assassinated by his own skeptical colleagues. He had open access to all we did. We've also had the police attend readings and recently (extremely skeptical) the head of CIB Lower Hutt conducted the readings - attended the journeys, read all the transcripts. The results are a very impressive. A great deal of information was produced that is of interest to police. That's all they will say - indeed that's all they can say, without jeopardizing the integrity of a case.

So we've had a number of pretty hard core critics and skeptics within the production circles.

I will certainly think more as to how we can tighten what we do. I don't think your suggestions (though positive) are quite "it" but maybe something along lines that we haven't tried would be fruitful. I'm mindful that putting anybody under "test" conditions is stressful and this could seriously affect a psychics ability to channel - although having said that I'd like you to watch a forth coming episode on the Kay Stewart Case in which Kelvin is put under huge stress (Transmitting 9th September 2008 8.30 TV2). This programme is an attempt to push the boundaries even further.

A discussion rather than further e-mails might be fruitful at this point.

Stu thank you for your interest and suggestions I will certainly keep an open mind as to how this phenomena might more readily be explained or less "preposterousized" (I know there's no such word but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say). Please keep in touch I'd be very interested in your comments following the Kay Stewart Case.

Kind Regards
Geoff Husson

Click here for my review of this episode (PDF, 3 pages, 76kb)
Please keep in touch - I'd be very interested in your comments following the Kay Stewart Case.



The danger of ‘Sensing Murder’

In 1994, I first offered NZ$50,000, then later $100,000 and now $400,000 as prize money for psychics to prove their ability. I am still waiting!

Over the years, I have become more and more concerned with the increase of beliefs in the paranormal; as beliefs in mainstream religions decline, so does anything else supernatural increase.

Since starting my psychic challenge at my business ‘Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World’ ( ) six ‘psychics’ have tried and all failed.

Over the years I gained confidence in my beliefs and the safety of my money! I have now retired from my business, but have kept an interested eye on the paranormal.

The TV program ‘Sensing Murder’ has become extremely popular in New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis watch the program and cannot help believe that it is anything but true.

Many people say that Sensing Murder is harmless fun; IT IS NOT. It is dealing with the distraught families of victims of crimes eager to hang onto any shred of “evidence” presented - it offers false hope and prolongs their anguish. See this website ( ) for stories of harm caused by psychics around the world.

I must admit, when I first saw it, skeptic that I am, I too was amazed. But then the rationalist side of me took over and I thought more about it; I read critiques on the internet and realised exactly how they manipulated the program to make it look real.

I am convinced the psychics on ‘Sensing Murder’ are frauds.

A marvelous web site ( ) analyses some of the programs; the way the program has been cleverly ‘cut and sewn’ to leave out all the wrong ‘guesses’ and organize the lucky guesses into some sort of partially intelligible order. I realised that this program is no different to some of the childhood games I used to play; the ones where you were given clues to find/guess something: ‘20 questions’, ‘animal, vegetable and mineral’ and ‘find the slipper’. A few responses such as ‘getting warmer’ and ‘yes and no’ make the quest a quick success.

I looked on the internet and saw two other challenges to ‘Sensing Murder’, each with considerable monetary prizes; one for two million dollars ( ), and one for twenty thousand dollars for each of the three participating psychics ( ).

You could also look at the following interesting web pages, some indicating many of the world’s psychic challenges:

I searched for Sensing Murder psychic Kelvin Cruickshank on the net ( ). Did you know that he is now so busy he has a waiting list of three years? (I would love to see the list). However, if you would urgently like to see him, there is an ‘exclusive waiting list’. He says that the cost for a private reading would be significantly more. He now does workshops and live shows.

Click here for my report on his Wanaka performance (PDF, 3 pages, 80kb)

Have a look at Sue Nicholson’s web page: ( ) - she states ‘her spirits’ have asked her to concentrate on workshops. Perhaps there is less danger of her being caught.

Members of my family have been to one of her shows, read their review here (PDF, 2 pages, 52KB)

Deb Webber has workshops too ( ). Interestingly, Deb was caught out on camera in Australia giving a hopelessly wrong reading to three skeptics ( see the youtube video ). Her excuse was that ‘bad spirits’ had taken over and spoiled it. One has to ask, do bad spirits take her over when she is working on Sensing Murder!?

She might also wish she'd never come forward about the recent tragic case of Aisling Syme. Read about it here (, 12/10/09)

ALL three of the above make thousands of dollars for a short-day’s work at these workshops. Taking a maximum of 30 people at a time, they can ‘cream’ more than seven thousand dollars a day.

You know who these people remind me of? They remind me of the charismatic religious leaders around the world that own big mansions and drive Rolls Royce’s - OK, so they’re not at that stage yet, but give them time!

I have recently made a number of challenges to the ‘Sensing Murder’ program: the first was ignored, the second had a pleasant reply to my offer of a $100,000 prize to each of the three psychics AND the program director for a successful test. Amongst other things, he stated that he would be happy to discuss their methods with ‘opened-minded people who seek the truth – but it would be a waste of everybody’s time to enter discourse with those whose single minded purpose is to seek discredit’. To me, this statement is quite amazing: I offered to work with the program on ‘mutually agreed tests’. I believe I am skeptical but 'opened-minded’. I am willing to do tests, they are not - who is seeking the truth?!

I have had further communication with the company. My last offer was for the company and my team (I could soon get one) to cooperate on producing another Sensing Murder program but with much stricter operational conditions. I must also be allowed to have two TV cameras of my own recording every second of the day’s action. I would also supply the day’s ‘dead’ person’s story and photo to the presenter at the start of the day’s recording. No other person in the room would have knowledge of the case. As this in no way can be regarded as a proper scientific ‘double-blind’ testing method, there would be NO financial prize. However, it would be a start.

The producer says we are getting closer, I think we are still miles apart. That is as far as we have got.

I was amazed to hear that a good part of the finance for these series of programs is provided by ‘New Zealand on Air’. Surely this government funding is for serious programs that, because of the nature of their content, have no ability to pay their own way? This is a top viewing program. I wonder - how much of this money is being paid to the psychics?

It now looks like they want their money back! Read about it here (NZ Herald, 15/10/09)

It is time that the psychic industry is regulated in the same way as the gambling industry; they are both extremely harmful to vulnerable people.
The psychic reading industry is particularly harmful to those who are suffering the loss of loved ones - whether by death or break-up of relationships. The problem is not just the ‘Sensing Murder’ program; look at what is on the TV every night and see how many programs are to do with psychics/mediums, whether fictional thrillers or supposed psychic meetings.

It is time that psychics/mediums prove their abilities by participating in strict testing; they cannot keep hiding behind their fuzzy logic that psychics shouldn’t/can’t be tested.