Archive for category Psychics

All About Animals

Just the other week, I touched on the amazing story of Robin Alexis, the psychic who claims to be able to psychically shoehorn the spirit of Michael Jackson into the unborn foetus of a couple of strangers. You’d think that would be as ridiculous as psychics can get, right?

Well, you’d be entirely wrong. I present to you exhibit A – Lisa Greene, and exhibit B – Ellen Kohn. Both are perfect examples of their trade, and both featured in newspapers in the last couple of weeks. Let’s take Lisa first.

As Newsweek asked us:

What’s your Pooch Thinking?

Sorry, should have mentioned – Lisa is a pet psychic. Which doesn’t mean she’s a psychic you keep in a cage and feed dead mice to now and then, she’s a psychic who specialises in contacting pets. Which makes me wonder if Newsweek should have changed their title from ‘what’s your pooch thinking’ to ‘what’s our editor thinking?’

“Horses are the most gossipy,” says Lisa Greene, a pet psychic from Houston. “They’ll always tell me everything that’s going on in the barn. Snakes usually have a pretty bizarre sense of humor. And rodents like to spell for me.”

Recently on the schedule: a reading for a whale.

I’d call this whole thing batshit crazy, but Lisa would probably point out that bats are in no way crazy and they actually most love to test her with fiendish logical brainteasers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Best Psychic Story Ever. Really. Ever.

Regular readers will know, I like a good psychic. Or, rather, a bad psychic. Or, rather, I like the process of discussing and exposing someone who claims to be psychic. You get the idea. Often, discussions of psychics tend to look at false predictions they’ve made, outlandish murder-solving claims they put forward, or generally the grief-profiteering many engage in. And then there are the claims which are just jaw-droppingly, batshit insane. I’ll let you guess which of these categories we’re going to take a look at now, but to set the scene I’d like to take you to Port Angeles, America, where – as the Peninsula Daily News points out – poor Robin Alexis had recently moved, what with her burning desire for privacy. Just to reiterate, that’s as as the Peninsula Daily News points out. The Peninsular Daily News, is a newspaper. Privacy indeed.

Oh, I should have mentioned, Robin Alexis is described as ‘psychic Robin Alexis’. So, ‘psychic seeks privacy, says local paper’? Accompanied by a charming full photo of said privacy-seeking psychic? Ho hum, I’ll carry on…

“She’s found it a welcoming place, where she can develop a variety of ventures: her Mystic Radio program, her Web portal to psychic readings and her online Soul Spa, all at www.robinalexis.com.”

Again, to reiterate – seeking privacy here, the privacy to discreetly go about her radio program, web portal and soul spa. Ho hum ho hum.

Apparently, as the paper tells us:

“Alexis describes herself as more than a psychic; she’s also a spirit medium and “metaphysical mother” who is now in the midst of an extraordinary three-way conversation”

Quite what a metaphysical mother is, I’ve no idea. Surely it’s a mother who isn’t actually there, or is there but on another plane? Like a meta-mum?

Still, this privacy-seeking, self-professed meta-mum with a burgeoning-yet-discreet media empire to non-promote has a terrible burden – she, discreetly and in no way publicly, despite being in the paper about it, claims to have been communicating for ‘many moons now’ with… Michael Jackson.

Just to be clear, that’s deceased king of pop Michael Jackson, not the former Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool defender Michael Jackson, nor Canadian actor Michael Jackson, best known for his role as Trevor on Trailer Park Boys, nor even the soldier Michael Jackson from Massachusetts, wounded at Bunker Hill during the American Revolution (though admittedly one of those would still be impressive, not least because the Tranmere defender’s been notoriously reclusive since his retirement at the end of the season). No, she’s been talking – she non-publicity-seekingly claims – to the deceased former most famous man on the planet, Michael Jackson. Ho hum ho hum ho hum. Also, as a couple of footnotes – I’ve got to thank Wikipedia disambiguation for a few Michael Jacksons there, and I’ve also been listening to way too much Andy Saltzman on the Bugle podcast lately. Read the rest of this entry »

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Psychic Shoots! Psychic, Erm, Misses By A Mile…

Here at the Merseyside Skeptics Society, we’re not ones for gloating when a psychic does something stupid. It’s just not our style. We prefer to rise above it, stay classy, and make only a few gags about builders bums and nipping to the loo. See – classy.

Still, for a change, I’m going to write about an abject psychic failure that doesn’t involve Joe ‘the Power’ Power. You see, sometimes, in order to give the impression that they’re able to see the future, psychics will make predictions about things. And sometimes, they’ll make those predictions somewhere that ends up in the news cycle, and documented on the internet. And sometimes, just sometimes, they utterly fail to realise how much scope this gives for their duff predictions to come back and bite them on the behind. Case in point:

U.K Psychic: Ghana Will Win The World Cup

It’s not the prediction England fans in the county wanted – but Fabio Capello’s men will not be bringing home the World Cup this summer.

In fact – if Ipswich medium Sue Knock’s information from the psychic world proves true – an African side will lift the trophy for the first time.

She is predicting Ghana – the team of Essien, Muntari and Appiah – could take home the coveted cup.

For any non-football fans out there, Ghana will not be winning the World Cup, at least not in 2010, having lost to Uruguay in the Quarter Finals. Read the rest of this entry »

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Joe Power, non-Psychic non-Detective: A Clarification

From time to time in the world of skepticism, something happens which you really don’t see coming – something totally unexpected. Often, these are positive things – like the media interest in our 10:23 Campaign, or the random discovery that comedy-legend Ed Byrne knows who you are. From time to time, they’re somewhat negative things – like discovering childhood-hero Johnny Ball thinks farting spiders are responsible for the high CO2 levels in the world. And then there are the things that are just utterly unpredictable, out of the left-field, and hard to wrap your head around.

On Friday of last week, I got a phone call. From Ormskirk police. The polite and friendly officer assured me there was nothing to worry about, but that he was looking into alleged threats of violence coming from people on Facebook. Specifically, within the group page of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. And aimed at non-psychic non-detective Joe ‘I’ll just pop to your toilet‘ Power.

This was news to me. It was also utterly untrue.

As I explained to the officer, we at the Merseyside Skeptics Society have never made threats to anyone, ever, and nor would we; further, we’d NEVER condone physical or personal threats made by anyone else. Aside from a complete and utter aversion to violence – which for one thing has been shown by many people in history to be a truly terrible way to get a point across – making personal threats would go completely against the whole point of what the MSS is about: examining the evidence, and pointing out where the claim (and subsequently the claimant) is lacking. In fact, when I met Joe over a year ago, I went to great lengths to remain calm and even-tempered while he continually insulted me in increasingly bizarre and surreal ways. Paedophile? OK Joe, go for it. Homosexual? Sure, if you like. Atheist? Absolutely (well one out of three isn’t bad, for the Man Who Talks To Dead People. Or at least 1/3rd of dead people, presumably).

Fortunately, having spoken to me for a good five minutes, the officer was able to assure me that he was quite confident no wrong-doing nor anything malicious had taken place. After I’d explained Joe’s full history with the MSS, our polite insistence that Joe at some point, some time, in some way – any way at all – shows some evidence that he can indeed contact the dead, and the fact that when I met Joe a year ago I ended the conversation by wishing him well – after I’d explained all of this, the officer concluded that I’ve almost certainly not gone beyond practising freedom of speech, which is true.

He also asked whether I’d mind clarifying my lack of violent or threatening intent to Joe – which I’m more than happy to do: I’ve never, in anyway, suggested or advocated anything threatening in the direction of Joe or his family.

You can probably imagine my surprise – and, indeed, deep disappointment – to now hear from Joe via the police, with tales of his wife being ‘unable to sleep’ due to worrying about threats made against him. It’s a shame, but not really that much of a surprise, that Joe decided to go direct to the police with these unfounded allegations of threats, rather than email me – I am, after all, easily reachable and more than amiable. I’m sure it’s nothing more than a simple misunderstanding, which I’m happy to clear up. Because, were it that Joe was creating spurious reports of threats in order to use the police to silence entirely reasonable criticism of the magical claims he makes, that would represent a serious waste of police time, which is in itself not a laughing matter. Still, Joe’s not one for wasting police time, really, so I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Curious Tale Of The Missing Moggy, And The Missing ‘Found’ Moggy

Oliver the Missing Mog

Oliver the Missing Mog

Psychics, eh? Is there anything they can’t do? They can cure/heal/treat/help cancer, use their magic to confirm police reports and wear flat caps with their arses hanging out, and they can contact dead people who never actually existed. They’re a marvellous lot!

But that’s not the full extent of the psychic realm, it seems, as the BBC reported last week:

‘An Indian psychic is helping to search for cat which went missing from a Lincolnshire village. Oliver, a four-year-old tabby and white cat, went missing from Boothby Graffoe in October.

Owner Sue Machen, 56, has paid £1,000 for Hertfordshire-based company Animal Search UK to hunt for the animal.

It has employed psychic Sarita Gupta, who is based in Bangalore, to help in the search, a move which has been criticised by a sceptics’ society’. – Source: BBC

That’s right – we’re dealing psychic pet detectives! Which, to be clear, isn’t a detective who specialises in finding psychic pets (I can’t really see how one could make a full career out of that, really), but instead people who claim to use their psychic powers to detect and locate missing pets. Obviously.

So, what’s the story here? Well, it’s pretty simple – Oliver is a white and grey tabby cat. He has a white stomach and legs, and is tabby down his back and tail. He also has a distinctive black spot on the left side of his pink nose. And he’s missing. His owner Sue Machen, ‘distraught’ (according to the Fail) turned to Animal Search UK to locate him, and – as the newspapers report – they hired Indian mystic, magic woman and general all-round superhero Sarita Gupta to locate said missing moggy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Psychic Joe Power And The Two Man Mob – Revisited

Joe Power - psychic or not? You decide.

Joe Power - psychic or not? You decide

In the wake of Derren Brown’s stinging exposé on ‘Psychic’ Joe Power, I thought it worth sharing with the world a conversation I had with Joe back in June 2009, when the MSS was still young, and I was but a naive, innocent skeptic with a dream, and an application form for Randi’s $1million Challenge…

Cool drizzle fell onto the grey Saturday streets of Liverpool, a light breeze tumble-weeded a sweet wrapper down the road in a clichéd fashion, and I was becoming increasingly aware that this would be the strangest conversation of my life.  And I didn’t need psychic powers for that.  For I was in the company of ‘Psychic’ Joe Power, fresh from his latest in-store book-signing (signed copies of which, I add, are still on the shelves of Waterstones – supply quite exceeded demand it seems), and things were getting weird.

“The thing about you sceptics,” he said, standing on the step of a plus-size lingerie shop to raise himself to my eye-level, “is that you sit there, festering in front of your computers at 3am, thinking up ways to get at people.  What if I were to sit in front of your house and tell people you’re a paedophile?”

“Well,” I say, “that’s for you to decide to do if you want to but it’s not really the same thing – I’m raising questions over what you do and the service you claim to provide; insinuating I was a paedophile would be just a personal attack, and wildly baseless.  It’s not really the same thing.  At all.”

“Oh I think they’re very similar,” he answers, “because you’re there festering, at 3am, plotting to get at me, in the same way that paedophiles fester and plot to interfere with children – you both have to be sick in the head to do what you do.”

With Herculean effort to suspend my natural what-the-fuck? reaction, and with a curt politeness that in retrospect now seems other-worldly, I manage a swift retort:  ”Sorry, can I just clarify – are you comparing sceptics to paedophiles?  Could you explain that?  I mean, are you saying that paedophiles also ask questions of you, or what exactly?”

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Joe:  ”I think most sceptics probably are paedophiles. I mean you’re sat around at 3am, plotting, aren’t you?  Do you deny that?”

An-incredulous-Marsh: “Do I deny what?  That I ask questions?  That I’m sometimes awake at 3am?  Or that I am a paedophile?  Could you please be clear what you’re asking me, Joe?”

It’s not often that you’re 5 minutes into a conversation with someone you’ve never met before and they’ve already played the paedophile card.  I had a feeling it was going to be one of those days.

>> Read the full account

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