Posts Tagged Psychics

Sally Morgan evicted from Celebrity Big Brother

This week, the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother came to an end, with Coronation Street actor and person-I-just-Googled-to-find-out-what-he’s-famous-for Ryan Thomas emerging victorious at the end of the month-long run. While the comings and goings of a Channel 5 reality show might not normally be the kind of event that inspire a skeptic to take to WordPress and tap out a blog, this series did have one particular point of interest for the keen critical thinker.

Billed this year as having an “Eye of the storm” theme, the celebrities (or approximations thereof) entering the house had all been chosen for their controversial past and presence at the centre of a “media storm”. Those celebrities included Sally Morgan – the well-known stage performer who claims to be able to pass messages to audience members from their deceased loved ones – who made it to this year’s final. Show producers explained why they believed she fit the ‘eye of the storm’ criteria:

Sally experienced a media storm after a report suggested she had used a hidden earpiece at one of her performances.

two CCTV cameras

While not even morbid curiosity nor dedication to his craft could convince this skeptical investigator to become a regular viewer of the show, Sally’s involvement has not gone without interest, with tabloid articles regularly setting off various Google Alerts to keep me up to date with day-to-day happenings in the house.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Sally Morgan CAUGHT OUT after Rodrigo Alves truth task
– Express, 23rd August 2018

Celebrity Big Brother viewers in hysterics as psychic Sally Morgan fails another prediction
– Metro, 5th September 2018

It could be argued that Sally’s involvement in this year’s Celebrity Big Brother was curiously timed, coming as it does at the start of her regular Autumn tour schedule. Having seen Sally’s performances on a number of occasions, and having been in the vicinity of several others, I’ve seen first-hand the audiences she has been able to draw: on at least one occasion at Liverpool’s Empire theatre, Sally’s audience filled almost all of the seats in the lower stalls, and as many as half of the balcony seats. For a room which boasts a 2,348 capacity, that may have been as many as 2,000 tickets sold. This, I understand, was not atypical for Sally at the time – and given that her tours at one point included in as many as 200 dates per year, her audience reach would have been substantial.

It might therefore seem unusual for Sally to spend the opening of the Autumn period locked in a house with the barmaid from Cheers (no, not that one, the other one). Sally’s tour will still be going ahead, however, starting next week at The Met in Abertillery – which, as best as I could tell, is a venue Sally hasn’t appeared at before (although I could of course be wrong). Being unfamiliar with the venue, and indeed with Abertillery, I thought it worth find out what capacity was, to see how it compares with Sally’s regular venues. According to The Met’s website, the capacity of the biggest room in the facility, The Victorian Theatre, is just 216 seats.

empty theatre seats

As this seemed to be a surprisingly small venue for Sally to be playing, I wondered if this was a one-off, or whether this was typical of her current tour. Interestingly, her Liverpool show this year is not at the Empire Theatre as in previous years, but at the considerably-more-modest Epstein Theatre – boasting a capacity of, according to Wikipedia, just 380 seats.

Curious as to what the rest of her tour looked like, I spent 20 minutes or so on Google, looking up venues Sally will be playing at, and checking websites for their capacity. What I found is therefore based solely on what the venues declare their capacity to be, and where there were numerous rooms on offer or various configurations available I opted for the biggest capacity stated – reasoning that it would be very strange, though not impossible, that a venue understated its maximum capacity.

Taking into account Sally’s Autumn 2018 tour dates as they appeared this morning, her capacities are as follows:

Date Venue Town Capacity
19-Sep The Met Abertillery 216
20-Sep Huntingdon Hall Worcester 330
21-Sep Octagon Theatre Yeovil 622
24-Sep Regis Centre Bognor 357
25-Sep Epstein Theatre Liverpool 380
26-Sep City Hall Newcastle 2135
27-Sep Burnley Mechanics Burnley 493
28-Sep William Aston Hall Wrexham 1200
03-Oct The Radlett Centre Hertfordshire 300
05-Oct Margate Winter Gardens Margate 1400
08-Oct Guildhall Winchester Winchester 620
11-Oct Royal Hippodrome Theatre Eastbourne 500
12-Oct Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells 1020
17-Oct Palace Theatre Mansfield 534
18-Oct Phoenix Theatre Castleford 300
18-Oct Pavilion Theatre Rhyl 1031
22-Oct Cork Opera House Cork 1000
23-Oct Town Hall Theatre Galway 393
24-Oct Theatre Royal Waterford 432
25-Oct The Helix Theatre Dublin 1860
26-Oct Ulster Hall Belfast 1000
27-Oct Millennium Forum Londonderry 1000
30-Oct The Grand Pavilion Matlock Bath 550
31-Oct The Orchard Theatre Dartford 956
01-Nov Hazlitt Theatre Maidstone 382
02-Nov Palace Theatre Redditch 420
05-Nov Stockport Plaza Stockport 1314
06-Nov Grand Theatre Lancaster 457
07-Nov New Theatre Royal Lincoln 475
08-Nov Melton Theatre Melton Mowbray 340
14-Nov New Victoria Theatre Woking 1300
19-Nov The Brindley Theatre Runcorn 358
20-Nov The Festival Drayton Centre Drayton 200
21-Nov Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple 680
22-Nov Wycombe Swan High Wycombe 1076

While there are clearly some sizeable venues in there – Newcastle City Hall and The Helix in Dublin in particular – I was quite surprised by how many smaller venues are included in the list. Of the 35 Autumn Tour dates, the average capacity was 732, and the median was just 550 (suggesting the average had been skewed upwards by those Newcastle and Dublin venues).

Equally, I was a little surprised to see the only sold-out shows on the list as of this morning are the 330-seater Huntingdon Hall in Worcester, the 357-seater Regis Hall in Bognor, and the 300-seater Radlett Centre in Hertfordshire. In fact, as of this morning, a the box office informed me that there were still 29 tickets available for the first show of the tour, the 216-seater in Abertillery.

full theatre crowd

All of this may, of course, mean nothing at all – it may be that larger venues weren’t available on the dates Sally needed them, or that Sally wanted to go to smaller towns to reach fans who didn’t want to travel to bigger cities like Birmingham, Edinburgh or Glasgow (all notably absent from her schedule), or that Sally had decided to aim for more intimate venues. However, another plausible explanation is that fewer people are interested in seeing stage mediumship shows these days. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether Sally’s fifth-place Celebrity Big Brother finish changes that.

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‘Psychic’ Nurse Sacked For Data Misuse

With the issue of data security and information privacy very much in the news here in the UK with the ongoing public airing of a decade of dirty, dirty News International laundry, it’s almost too convenient that another case of information intrusion is currently being investigated over in America – and though it may be a lot less high-profile, there’s a neat little pseudoscience element too it.

Lori Neill is a former occupational nurse in Colorado Springs, who recently resigned from her job. She is also, she believes, psychic. And she believes those two facts are related, and I’m inclined to agree, though doubtlessly for very different reasons.

Lori’s story is that her psychic abilities made her supervisors uncomfortable, and that on the occasion she had told her supervisor he might be suffering from a life-threatening illness, and that he should seek medical help, he was so angered that he made up allegations about her, to force her out of work.

Officials at the hospital and city, however, tell a different story. They have accused Lori of accessing the medical records of around 2,500 patients. Given that Lori worked not for the hospital but for the city, they argue she had no medical need to look at those records. Especially given that most of the accessing happened outside of work hours. Their implication is that Lori is not actually psychic, or able to spiritually intuit the illnesses of people by tuning into the other side (where diagnosticians are ten a penny, I’d presume). They claim instead that the reason she was able to accurately tell people what ailments had befallen them, was that she’d read their medical records. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #035

Power Balance, retroactive memory and owning the Sun. Also uppity flamingos, partying mushrooms, crushed sprouts and Richard Saunders. With the ability to correctly  locate porn 53.1% of the time, it’s Skeptics with a K.

Tickets for QED are available from: http://qedcon.org/xawC
More information about the 10:23 Challenge: http://www.1023.org.uk/

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InKredulous: Episode #007

Episode 7 of our satirical comedy podcast. With questions on skeptical topics, and four guests answering them.

Your host is Andy Wilson (@InKredulosi) of the Merseyside Skeptics Society.

Appearing this month are:

  • You can contact the show at andy@inkredulous.org, and follow us on twitter @InKredulosi to get the early heads up on who will appear on the next show. As always, thanks for listening.
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Joe Power: A Career In Freefall

QED: Question. Explore. Discover.

Get your QED ticket now!

(I’d just like to point out that this story is sponsored by Schadenfreude – for all your laughing-at-people-who’ve-gotten-their-comeuppance needs)

This is actually a story that’s been covered in many other places, including by Steve Novella, and I wasn’t going to add to that… but then I saw a few people on Twitter actively saying they were looking forward to what I had to say about it, so how could I disappoint?

So, three guesses which lovable Liverpudlian fraud I’m going to talk about now? That’s right – Joe ‘just popping to your toilet‘ Power. And, to be clear, I can say fraud, as Joe’s served time in the past for fraud. Oh, and ABH, of course. Nice, friendly Joe Power. I’m not saying any of his act involves fraud at all. But then again, I don’t need to, given the fact that Joe Power’s career is going to pieces so fast that people are getting hit by the bullshit shrapnel. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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