Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The new Derek Acorah

Sally Morgan seems to have assumed the position of the UK's best known psychic recently with shows on satellite television and the like. Here she is with a recent appearance on BBC Five Live's Richard Bacon show in which the host's mother joins on the phone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7l8Gd4G2FE

The desperate cold-reading attempts are revealing, as are the practices of talking over her subject whenever it's a negative response (often) in an attempt to redirect attention. When a 'hit', however minor, is made it's immediately seized upon and re-affirmed as proof of her efficacy.

If they make what seems to be a relatively precise statement which is met with a negative they'll put the failure onto the subject by saying 'have a think about it my love, it may make more sense to you after you've had a bit more of a think about it'.

An interesting point she makes in the interview is that sometimes there are so many voices that she has trouble singling out the right voice for the reading. Dara O'Briain referred to a psychic (I'm unsure if the two are directly connected or if this is a common 'defence') where the same excuse was offered. He sweetly re-phrased it: "I'm so psychic that I'm shit at being a psychic". It's this kind of manipulation and spin that some people - particularly vulnerable people - buy into so readily.

A really interesting hour long show was made by Derren Brown in 2010 and it reveals how a lot of this stuff works (the cold and warm readings, the linguistic tricks, etc) and some of the quite horrible, manipulative practices employed by these people: http://bit.ly/aExDYu (you must keep watching until the end).

Charlatans and fraudsters all, however well intentioned.


Incidentally, Derek Acorah is no longer the UK's best known psychic after it was revealed that he was deliberately fed misinformation then proceeded to make up an entire 'possession' by one 'Kreed Kafer' (an anagram of Derek faker).

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