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IIG Regen Traynor Test

The Independent Investigations Group IIG is a skeptical organization located in Hollywood, California. They are one of the most active groups in investigating and testing claims of the paranormal. In February 2010 I was at their CFI headquarters as they conducted a test of claimed telepath Regen Traynor. Here is what I wrote about it two days after.

  Regen Traynor, shirtless. James Underdown to
  the left, mentalist Mark Edward keeping
  a watchful eye in the background

February 22 2010
I attended the Regen Traynor IIG Preliminary Demonstration of February 20th 2010 as a member of the audience. The test took place at the Center For Inquiry (CFI) of Hollywood, Los Angeles. In spite of the IIG having conducted only a small handful of paranormal demonstrations during their ten year history as a Skeptical organization, the Regen test was well set up and smoothly orchestrated. The group has the advantage of including members of a variety of skill sets, such as Steve who has background in film useful for documentation, and famous mentalist Mark Edward who can offer some special insight into attempts of the paranormal.

Regen made the claim of telepathic transfer, and had as requested also brought with him a person to act as the receiver for the telepathic transfer. The protocol had Regen in the room with the audience, seated by a table where James Underdown, director of the CFI Los Angeles, would turn the topmost card of a shuffled deck of large playing cards, toward the applicant. James would then turn the card down, and Regen, the applicant, would have up to a minute of time to write down the card on his sheet and to attempt his telepathic transfer to his receiver, who was in another room for the test. The receiver could be seen on a black-and-white monitor on the table. Once the receiver had recorded his answer on his answer sheet, an IIG member in that other room would call James to notify that it had been received and the next card would be turned over. This was then repeated 52 times.

"The pair was required to
achieve 7 correct answers"
"The score was 0 out of 52."
The pair was required to achieve 7 correct answers, both number and suite, out of the 52 in order to proceed to the official IIG Paranormal Challenge for the $50,000 prize. The score was 0 out of 52. Audience members were also asked to participate by filling in their answer sheets, many members scored 0 or 1, one audience member who in fact only made the first 1 through 26 guesses scored 3 out of 26, although he would not reveal his method (possibly glancing over to the computer screen showing the live stream of the test just next to him, unless relying on those few occasions when the applicant would vocalize his card before reminding himself that he is not supposed to talk).

"On one occasion the applicant
had to remind himself that he was
the sender and not the receiver"
The test ran smoothly and without major complications and was over in what seemed like less than an hour. There were a few occasions when, rightfully, the applicant questioned whether the screen with his receiver was showing a live video, but was reassured when IIG members had the receiver make a signal. On one occasion the applicant had to remind himself that he was the sender and not the receiver, and was also heard complaining of tiredness.

I could not discern whether the applicant was engaging in any deliberate mental exercise, and to be honest, Mark Edward's intense observational skills were far more interesting to watch.

In summary, more than a demonstration of the paranormal abilities of an applicant, this test was a demonstration of the skeptical abilities of the IIG and their skills in setting up and conducting a well-composed test of the paranormal well in accordance with the scientific method. The applicant was heard to say things that came across as the applicant perhaps seeing this challenge more as a chance at winning a huge money prize, and I do feel that in this particular case, were it not that it allowed for another actual experience of a test, and for its definite contributions to the skeptical library, this would have been a waste of IIG resources and time.

"The applicant was admittedly
under the influence of alcohol"
The applicant was admittedly under the influence of alcohol, which I find to be inappropriate as we intend to bring skepticism to the young audience, not to mention other possible scenarios that could result. Future protocols will undoubtedly address these and similar previously unexpected issues. I would also encourage more rigorous screening for applicants to ensure that they at least are genuine in their claims, as the IIG Challenge is not a gamble. The money prize is not the focus of this challenge; furthering and expanding on the rational, reliable, and mutual understanding of the world we share, which is built of and defended by Skepticism, is what in my opinion this challenge is all about.

At the end of the demonstration Regen came over to have a chat with me, during which (other than asking me out for a beer, to which I graciously declined) he admitted that he was a bit embarrassed to have failed the test, to which I replied that I had also had a test with the IIG in November of last year, and that also I had failed my test and that there was nothing in that to feel embarrassed about. Because nights like these are not failures. They are a triumph for our desire to understand and to evolve, and certainly without knowing it, the applicant had somehow contributed to this a little bit on his own. After the test, receiver Fernando said, "It was a good game.", and transmitter Regen said, "I had fun.", to which I can say, Skepticism is not a game, but it sure is fun.

My comments and thoughts presented here do not necessarily reflect those of the IIG nor of any of its members. I do not represent the IIG.

The Independent Investigations Group IIG www.iigwest.org
For a whole hour and a half of paranormal fun and skeptical history,
Watch the live video of the Regen Test (I am the blonde girl in the audience)

Skepticism protects the world from harmful pseudoscience and advances our scientific understanding of reality by emphasis on claims of the paranormal. The IIG runs on donations. Please consider making the IIG part of your charities. Donate

Don't miss! Perhaps the best review of the Regen Traynor test!
The Results Of Booze On Telepathic Ability by Mark Edward,
who dares to say what all of us were thinking

Skepticism triumphed

*Pictures taken by VFF