How can I become a member?
Email us (, or phone
+1(323) 666-9797, ext. 101for further details. Feel free to just show up at a meeting – walk-ins are always welcome!
How do I find a meeting?
The CFIIG-Los Angeles meets on the third Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. at the Center for Inquiry in Hollywood at 4773 Hollywood Boulevard. See the other affiliate pages for their schedules. Come join us if you can!
How much does it cost to join?
The first two visits are free, then we charge $5 per meeting thereafter. Membership costs $40 annually. Student memberships are $20 per year. All fees go towards supporting the costs of our various investigations.

The Challenge

Who holds the money? How can I know it actually exists?
A document certifying that the $250,000 exists can be verified with Barry Karr (, executive director of CSI in Amherst, New York. It is available upon request.
Why is the CFIIG offering this challenge?
The CFIIG holds to the principle that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof; the $250,000 challenge offers an incentive to those making extraordinary claims to produce that proof. We work closely with applicants to design fair and open tests, often streaming them live on the Internet. Each protocol is scientifically rigorous and meticulously tailored for each individual claim; we only proceed when the protocol has been agreed to by both parties. We eagerly await a claimant to pass the test, claim the prize, and be embraced by the scientific community for demonstrating groundbreaking abilities that change our understanding of the natural world forever.
I have a friend/family member or other person that I would like to recommend to take the challenge. Do you have a finder’s fee?
Yes. If you recommend someone who applies for the $250,000 and they win it, you will receive a $5,000 finder’s fee.
Has anyone ever won the $250,000?
Not yet.
What is a preliminary demonstration?
There are two stages in testing a paranormal ability. The first stage, called the preliminary demonstration, follows a protocol agreed to by both parties, and requires the applicant to beat 5,000 to 1 odds. The second stage, called the challenge test, follows a similar protocol, but has significantly longer odds, closer to one out of a million.
Has anyone ever passed the preliminary challenge with the lower odds for success?
Not yet.
How many people do you test?
Approximately six to ten per year. With the addition of our new affiliates, we expect that number to grow. We receive hundreds of emails every year, but the vast majority of applicants stop the process when they are required to clearly define their ability and its limits.
How long does it take?
This varies from a few weeks to months or years — most take a few months — and greatly depends on the willingness of the applicant to work with us in writing the protocol. Since both CFIIG members and the applicant must be available to conduct the test, there can be delays due to logistics and personal schedules.
Will the test end up in the media?
Possibly. Depending on the applicant and the type of test we may try to involve local media to attend the preliminary test. All tests are carefully documented with still photography and video. We usually stream the demonstrations live. All rights to the media created are retained by the CFIIG.
The applicant may not use the CFIIG in any way to advertise their claim if they fail the CFIIG $250,000 Challenge.
Can I remain anonymous?
Your identity must be revealed to the CFIIG when you apply. During protocol negotiations the CFIIG will agree to not publicize your name. However, the purpose of the prize and the testing is to provide information to the public.
Who pays for the travel, lodging and other expenses needed for the test?
The applicant assumes all costs. If the CFIIG needs to rent a room or special equipment, the applicant will be informed in advance. All expenses must be paid in advance by the applicant before the test will proceed. The CFIIG will make every effort to keep costs as low as possible and tests can often be done at very little cost to the applicant.
Do you make house calls? Or come to my location to test?
Possibly, depending on the claim. The CFIIG is not responsible for any travel expenses by its members. We will do all we can to keep the costs as low as possible, but the applicant must assume responsibility for any necessary expenses.
How is the protocol for the $250,000 decided?
Each test is different. The applicant must clearly explain what they can do and under what circumstances. Once this is determined, then we will mutually work with the applicant to customize a protocol for a preliminary test. The protocol must eliminate chance, bias, cheating and random chance.
What are the odds for a test?
Generally the odds for succeeding by chance are set to at least 5,000 to one in the preliminary demonstration. If the applicant passes that, the challenge test will have odds at least to a million to one.
For further information see our page on Investigations.


What kinds of things can you test?
We have tested many kinds of claims, including dowsing, clairaudience, mind reading, and even psychic animals.
What kinds of things can you not test?
We cannot test for abilities that are not under the applicant’s control. One must demonstrate an ability at a certain place during a specified time window.
We do not accept video, photographs, folklore or eyewitness testimony as proof of any claim.
Is my claim testable?
Any paranormal ability linked to a specific person should, in theory, be testable. If an applicant can make a declarative statement that begins with ‘I can’,” we can usually figure out a way to test the claim.
Do UFOs qualify for the $250,000 Challenge?
Not unless you can produce the ship itself. An Unidentified Flying Object does not qualify as a paranormal claim as it is not known what the object is. Photos and video do not count.
Can you test Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)?
Yes, if the entities causing the EVPs will cooperate by sending specific, predetermined messages.
What about ghosts?
If the ghost or spirit can manifest something tangible in the CFIIG’s presence, i.e., levitate an object, communicate a hitherto unknown fact, answer questions asked of it, etc., then that may qualify as a genuine paranormal event, provided it can be repeated when asked.

Join the CFIIG

Do I have to be a scientist to join?
Not at all! While the CFIIG conducts scientifically-based experiments, our membership is comprised primarily of laypeople. All that you need to do to be a skeptic is to demand evidence and insist that claims be proven. In fact, numerous charlatans have fooled professional scientists while laypeople possessed of honest skepticism have seen right through them. We do count some professional scientists among our members.

(link to video of IIG members)

Do you get paid? What do you get out of doing this?
We are a team who share a love of the paranormal and extraordinary claims. We feel passionate about this topic for various reasons, some of us are interested in people who believe they have extraordinary powers. Others want to expose fraud and work as consumer advocates. Still others believe that it will take a skeptic to find evidence of paranormal powers since believers already believe without the support of such evidence.
Can I just show up for the investigations?
Unfortunately, no. Part of our group’s purpose is to learn how to investigate these claims. Conducting an investigation requires training, preparation and procedural controls. Consequently, only members who have participated in the development of an investigative protocol can participate in the investigation.
Again, you are welcome to join our group and become an investigator, as long as you are willing to learn and work within our methods.
Do I have to be an atheist?
No. Skeptics have traditionally come from diverse backgrounds, and we do not discriminate in selection of our members.
Aren’t skeptics just cynics? Do you believe in anything?
Cynics automatically assume the worst. Skeptics simply don’t believe in anything that’s unproven.
We believe that a rational, scientific examination of difficult questions about our world lead to meaningful information. We believe that vague assertions, untested ideas, appeals to authority, anecdotal evidence, and weak arguments are not useful means to arrive at conclusions about our world.
We seek to understand–a very optimistic pursuit that’s far from cynical.
Link to WP scientific Skepticism article


We are an existing skeptic group. Could we apply to become an IIG affiliate?
Generally you should have a meeting with all your members and explain what the IIG is, and what it will mean to become part of our organization. Once you have determined that you have seven or so interested members, then contact Jim Underdown at


Usually after several conversations you will be asked to sign a Memo Of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to the terms of the IIG. We will also send a representative to speak to your group and train you in our investigation techniques.
Your group will need to meet on a regular basis, elect officers, assign dues and find volunteers to assist in committees with the rest of the affiliates. This may include people who will work with keeping your website up to date, someone to handle media, someone to assist on First Responders which is the group that handles all the incoming challenge applications, as well as someone to serve on the affiliate committee (who will be your representative when communicating with IIG LA and other affiliates).
There are no local skeptic groups near me, but I would like to be a part of the IIG. What should I do?
There are several possibilities. Most skeptic groups start with like-minded people finding each other and organizing an informal get-together like a skeptics in the pub event. You can “advertise” on skeptic forums like JREF, Reddit, CFI or social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Yahoo Groups and have been successful for some groups in finding new members.
You should also contact Jim Underdown at , as he may know of others in your area who have also contacted us hoping for more interest.
A final option is to become a member “at large.” We have several members who are unable to attend our meetings because of geographical restrictions but are still active through electronic means.
When do you meet? What does it cost? Do you offer student or family memberships?
Each CFIIG affiliate has its own schedule. Usually we meet on weekend days. Please contact your local IIG affiliate to see when they meet.
CFIIG Los Angeles costs $40 a year for membership. We do offer student discounts at 50% if you are currently enrolled in school.
At the current time, we do not offer family memberships.

Paranormal Activity

I’m not interested in the $250,000 Challenge but would like some questions about paranormal activity I’m experiencing.
We understand that this might be extremely upsetting, and we urge you to visit our section on possible explanations for your experiences which are not paranormal.
If these links are not satisfactory, please write to us at with as much detail as you can (attach photographs or video) and we will do our best to investigate. We do not charge for this service.
It is possible if you live near enough to one of our locations we may be able to visit and investigate further. If so we will give you a written analysis of our visit.