Archive for category Psychics

Derren Brown Investigates… Joe Power

Sometimes, just sometimes, I could almost be convinced that there’s someone up there listening. Not all the time, of course, and only half-heartedly – I’m not about to go all Goddy on you guys – but who could blame me, when things like this happen:

Derren Brown – beardy mind-meddler and generally top fella – investigates those who claim to have psychic powers… starting with my old mate Joe Power. I’ll come to Joe in a moment (we’ve a bit of a history), but first I’d like to say well done to Derren. I remember after his ‘Messiah’ show, it looked like he was heading into a more publicly skeptical position. While that hasn’t happened quite as far as we’d have liked (the lottery show for example), this latest show, coupled with his role in ‘Science of Scams’ suggests that skepticism is something Derren’s focusing on a little more. If that’s the case, this is excellent news – where Randi has been a major figurehead for decades (possibly even centuries, he seems to always have existed), he needs somebody to help shoulder the weight and take up the slack. With his public persona, showmanship, reputation and expertise, I really think Derren can play that role, should he desire to.

One person who certainly can’t play that role, is Mr Joe Power. For those of you not aware, Joe and the Merseyside Skeptics Society (and myself in particular) have something of a past – in fact, long before the 10:23 Campaign, taking on Joe Power was one of the first pieces of skeptical activism I got involved in. Having criticised his appearance in a local paper, blindly promoting him as ‘The Man Who Sees Dead People’, I decided to meet Joe Power at his Liverpool book signing, and invited him to take the million dollar challenge. What I got wasn’t polite declination, but bizarre insults – with Joe genuinely comparing all skeptics to paedophilesYou can read the whole account here, and I recommend you do, to really get a feel for the kind of man Joe Power is. It was during this conversation that I heard Joe had been investigated for a prominent TV show, and at the time I put two and two together and predicted it was Derren Brown who he was referring to.

I can’t wait to see the show on May 10th.

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Another Psychic, Another Dead Celebrity: Deb Webber ‘Meets’ Steve Irwin

Steve Irwin, taken from 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.

In an article featured on the Sunshine Coast Daily site, and picked up by our very own – you guessed it – The Sun newspaper, the so-called psychic’s amazing insight was explained:

“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. Read the rest of this entry »

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I Wonder: Connecting With The Dead

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone when I say that psychics bug me. It’s the cold reading, the lying or fuzzy-thinking, the misguided and arrogant belief that they are helping people cope with death by making up stories about their dead loved ones – it’s all creepy and wildly disrespectful, I think.

I can, however, entirely see the appeal psychics have. We’ve all lost someone we love – it’s part of life, part of the human experience, and it utterly and completely sucks. The idea that there’s something beyond the world we see, that somehow a form of our consciousness survives it and is able to come back through the void to reassure the ones we love is immensely attractive. It’s also, thus far, demonstrably untrue.

When I was growing up, I’d spend every summer at my grandparents’ static caravan in a little wooded caravan site, every year between the ages of 1 and 14 (or so). When I was maybe round about 4 or so I made friends with a kid there, and every year we’d spend the whole summer at each others’ side – he was the first person I’d go call for when I woke up in the morning, and other than mealtimes I’d be with him until I went to sleep, for 6 weeks every year, for maybe 14 years. We were as close as brothers. His name, too, was Michael, and though I’d only see him a few weeks of the year, for those weeks we were like family.

Still, kids grow up, and the appeal of a tin-pot caravan in the middle of small wood in County Durham soon wears off for a teenager, and I stopped heading to the caravan site every year, and in doing so I lost touch with Michael.

When I was 20, I learned Michael had taken an overdose, and had died. Understandably, I was knocked sidewards when I found out. To this day it still hurts that my best friend isn’t around any more, and that I’ll never see him again. Read the rest of this entry »

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2010 – A Psychic Insight (part II)

Following on from yesterday’s look at the psychic predictions of thirteen ‘well-known’ psychics (including Joshua the Psychic – a psychic so well-known he has to use ‘psychic’ in his name), here’s more of the same, taken from

Taking a look at the Healthcare category, we get our first offering from the delightful Sylvia Browne:

“Browne predicts a “great rise in skin cancer in children in 2010.” She notes that people are aware of the dangers of UV rays and products to protect themselves. She hopes that more attention will be made to this serious issue so her prediction does not come true”

So she’s saying ‘kids will get ill and die, but if it doesn’t happen it’s because we all managed to stop it, not because I’m wrong or because I’m a liar who’s making it all up.’ Nicely played, Browne. Less nicely played is her bizarre prediction for the common cold:

“Browne predicts an end to the common cold and the solution may be heat. Just as a fever is the body’s natural response to fight a cold, she says doctors will put patients in a heated cubicle that also contains a special vapor. Patients will stay in it for five minutes to kill all rhinitis germs. These cubicles will also be used to treat patients with allergies, asthma and other breathing disorders”

This is just patently bonkers – cubicles of heat to cure the common cold? I’m just going to leave that one there, and wait for history to prove her an idiot. Read the rest of this entry »

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2010 – A Psychic Insight (part I)

As any talking calendar will tell you, it’s 2010. The New Year always bring with it the same traditional things – people complaining about how weird it looks to write the date now, and how they keep writing the old date; TV and Radio shows doing lazy ‘lets look back at the year that just passed’ affairs (exactly like I did last week on Righteous Indignation…); and psychic predictions. Guess which of those I’m most interested in?

Correct. I don’t know what it is about the transition from December 31st to January 1st that makes us all look, wide-eyed and wonder-filled, for insights into the upcoming 12 months – after all, when you’re predicting events in the next year, you’d be as well to start on any particular date you fancied. Especially when you’re just making stuff up. Perhaps it’s a little harsh to suggest readers of stars, tarot cards, auras, weird-spirit-guidey-ghosts and tea leaves are just making up their seery-wisdom… so let’s take a look at some of the offerings, and see what 2010 has in store… Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Psychic Detective’ Joe Power Rides Again (And He’s Still Not Psychic, And Still Not A Detective)

Last week I wrote about the Dyfed-Powys Police force and their investigation into the death of Carlos Assaf – an investigation which saw them spend £20k following up supposed tips from a so-called psychic. The affair, as well as causing outrage throughout the country, sparked something of a debate on the use of psychics within police investigations, which then played out across the various news outlets after the BBC’s Donal McIntyre investigated the claims of one particular medium – psychic detective (although not psychic and not a detective) Joe Power.

Regular readers, and regular listeners of me on various podcasts or just ranting tipsily in a pub in fact, will be familiar with Joe Power – he was the Liverpudlian supposed-psychic I met at a book signing way back in June. The meeting, as I’ve spoken about before, was somewhat surreal in it’s content – especially when Joe decided to go on a random and pretty vehement rant whereby he likened skeptics (and specifically my good self) to paedophiles. He’s wrong of course, which I guess shows in that particular case his psychic powers were proven to be bullshit. It was actually that very conversation that led to my becoming a host of a podcast, so I suppose I should thank Joe for that. Cheers, Joe. If anyone wants to read a full account of the encounter, they can check it out elsewhere on the blog – or simply Google Joe Power’s name followed by the word ‘skeptic’ or ‘paedophile’ (I’ll let you guys choose which, but I know which I’d prefer. There’s something satisfying about the idea of a load of people typing ‘Joe Power Paedophile’ into Google. A GoogleBomb, I think it’s called…)  Indeed typing ‘Joe Power’ into Google is a pretty popular way of finding this site – looking at the key words for accessing it, Joe-related phrases come in both 3rd and 5th. So again, cheers Joe.

So, with Joe proving himself to be a distasteful, angry and pretty disgusting man on a personal level (ask him anything about his powers and you’ll see what I mean), it’s a real surprise and a real shame the BBC and other news outlets took him fully at his word on his ability to solve crimes. Read the rest of this entry »

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