Strange developments in the psychic world

8 May

Sally Morgan is, at least according to her web-site, ‘Britain’s best-loved psychic’, who provided psychic reading to the late princess Diana.

As ‘Britain’s best-loved psychic’, she has peaked the interested on the ‘skeptical’ community, and there are a number of recent articles about her work which are worth discussing with students. At a performance in Dublin in Sept 2011 some members of Sally’s audience reported hearing a voice apparently feeding inform to her whilst on stage. Subsequently she was accused of wearing a concealed earpiece to allow her staff to communication information about members of the audience during the performance. Subsequently the illusionist Paul Zenon wrote about this incident in a story in the Daily Mail. Morgan is now suing both the Mail and Zenon for libel.

Following this incident Simon Singh examined the reviews of Sally Morgan’s shows blogs and found a fall in her ratings after the Dublin incident. Singh took care to point out that he was not suggesting that this was as a result of no longer being able to use an earpiece.

The story gets even more convoluted in Feb 2012, when Drew McAdam attended Sally Morgan’s Edinburgh show. McAdam reports planting a story that Morgan subsequently repeated during her show. Sally Morgan has, obviously, vigorously challenged McAdam’s claims.

This whole story makes for a great ‘knock-around’ teaching session. Students seem to love anything about ‘psychic-powers’, and the McAdam portion of the tale is a nice illustration of how some psychics might work. It’s worth getting students to think about how they might objectively test claims of psychic powers. For students interested in such work, the work of Chris French at Goldsmiths is worth following

In addition, it’s interesting that the Daily Mail come out on the right side of this story !

At interesting postscript to this story is that very little seems to change in relation to psychic powers. Below is a video of James Randi investiagting Uri Geller in the early 1970’s. Much of what Randi reports seems to be replicated in the above story

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One Response to “Strange developments in the psychic world”

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  1. More on the UK’s ‘best-loved psychic’. « Teaching Rational Thinking - August 17, 2012

    […] written previously about Sally Morgan, the UK’s self-proclaimed ‘best-loved’ psychic. A couple of recent articles make this an even better teaching opportunity that it was […]

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