In recent weeks and months we’ve seen many celebrities contacted from beyond the grave – including Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, Kurt Cobain and Jade Goody. Or rather, we’ve seen psychics claiming to contact these people, as there’s never been anything to suggest for a moment that they were actually in contact with the dead.
Well we’ve a new name to add to the list – crocodile hunter and all-round Aussie legend Steve Irwin. Irwin died in 2007 after being struck by a stingray, and has been sorely missed since then, not least of course by his family. Which makes it all the more terrible that psychic Deb Webber is claiming to have made connection with the Steve whilst doing a reading for his father Bob.
“We talked about so many things, some too personal to talk about,” Mr Irwin said. “He told me everything is OK, not to be sad and to keep up the fight, to continue looking after the animals.”
Obviously Deb’s powers are pretty accurate there, because I remember Steve Irwin being on TV and he definitely seemed like the kind of person who’d advise you to look after animals, so her reading definitely sounds like him. Therefore it’s true. Yeah.
As for the things too personal to talk about, it’s hard to comment on these – obviously it’s heartbreaking for Bob Irwin to have lost his son, and in so tragic a way, and there’s nobody who doesn’t feel sad for him; but if indeed Deb Webber isn’t contacting Steve, and instead is just using basic cold reading mixed with platitudes taken not from her ability to speak to the dead, but her ability to make up stuff that Steve would have endorsed like ‘look after the animals’ just to get her some cheap publicity, surely that’s even more heartbreaking.
Still, the article does give one seemingly supposedly amazing insight she came up with:
Steve even wanted to know what his dad had done with all the old socks he’d taken.
This might seem incredibly insightful – maybe it actually is, it’s hard to tell. If we had a tape of the actual conversation, things would be a lot clearer. Personally, I think this sounds like a combination of a good chance guess and a misremembered reading. The good chance guess is something you see often with psychic readings, the textbook example involves seeing things like boxes of old photographs, pictures of animals on a hallway wall, forgotten loose change in a foreign currency – the type of things more of us have in our houses than you might expect. As for the misremembered reading, this hit might have simply sprung from something quite generic, like ‘Steve says you still have something of his, and he wants to know what you’ve done with them‘ (something quite loose and likely to hit), to which the sitter makes the connection to, in this case, socks. It’s easy to see how this ‘hit’ was generated, and it’s certainly garnered Debs a lot of publicity.
The article in the sun adds a little background, saying:
A friend recommended a session with an acclaimed psychic named Deb Webber. Bob, previously sceptical, described the whole experience as “powerful and moving”, and revealed how the woman clasped his hand in a “Steve handshake” during the session.
This demonstrates a couple of very common themes in these kind of readings – firstly the ‘friend’ who’s just trying to help the grieving, by inadvertently exposing them to charlatans. Secondly, the desperation of the bereaved to make some kind of connection to their lost loved ones – which is so often abused for money or publicity. Fortunately, the commenters on The Sun’s article picked up on this, with KeithTas summing it up beautifully:
It is all very sad when someone dies, but speaking from the grave, give me a break. This is typical psychic rubbish. If spirits were able to talk to the living does anyone really believe that with the wonderous things that believers want to know about the other side, all they want to talk about socks. These pyschic frauds should be locked up, if they are trully psychic then why don’t they contact James Randi, he has $1 million waiting for them. They can give this money to some needy cause like curing cancer or AIDs, surely this is much better than mucking around with socks.
Well said Keith.
Digging around for info on Deb Webber, I thought I’d take a quick look at her website… which was out of order. Well, all but the homepage was (ooh, she’s a metaphysical researcher! Sounds fancy…). Happily, in this day and age nothing is lost, and Google’s cache facility offered me this incoherent and semi-literate nonsense from her About page. I’ll quote part of it verbatim, to show you the level of character we’re dealing with, and the number of exit strategies she builds in to her own readings:
Knowing that there are a great number of energies around as you could imagine I may ask you to confirm if I have the right soul.
Most of the time I find that the energy you want to connect with is there and comes in, straight away.
At times the energy that we would like to arrive may not appear, maybe because we all evolve and their doing their thing what ever that is or maybe it is not time for you to have the experience or maybe I am not the one to do your reading or maybe you are a person that does not want to believe or ready to open up for change. It does happen (not often) for many reasons why I can’t get in. But thank you to the divine energies most times we will have the result we are looking for.
No matter what I will try my best for you to get their messages etc through.
I find that most of the time I will pick up who they are to you, but again some times not but you will know by the description given.
Please choose not to live with false hope, just in truth!
If I pick up things about future remember it is only a guidance and you can change things. We have no control, every thing that happens pretty much is God’s Will.
Yikes. It’s worth attempting to read through her site, via Google cache, for more of this semi-literate and transparent nonsense.
I also did another bit of digging on Deb Webber, this time not on her website, but on our friends at Bad Psychics website. I’ll quote Jon Donnis on this:
On August 13th, 2004 Australian Channel 7 broadcast a show called “Caught on Hidden Camera” but this wasn’t a Beadles About type show, instead it was an exposure of one of Australia’s best known Psychics. They set Deb Webber up, by letting her give readings to three people, psychologist Michelle Smith, Tahlia and Joshua.
Deb then continued to communicate with dead people, who simply never existed. First up is Psychologist Michelle Smith. Michelle is single, but creates a dead husband for Deb to speak to.
And Deb obliges, she even manages to speak to this imaginary dead husband on more than one occasion! Now that is an amazing skill, reminds me of a certain Derek Acorah!
Anyway Michelle later reveals.
“I never had a husband. She saw two large dogs, a large house and property, I have none of those things.”
Deb Webber’s response to this is:
“If they lie to me, well it’s like the spirits do it back to them,”
Good work Bad Psychics. It seems Deb used to present an Australian show called ‘Sensing Murder’, which attracted 1.5million viewers… until this very public TV exposure, at which point her show was promptly cancelled.
So, anyone still believe it was really Steve Irwin chatting about his socks?