There is an episode of South Park in which Stan attempts to prove TV psychic John Edwards a fraud by trying out “cold reading” techniques on passers-by, unfortunately this only results in Stan being proclaimed as a star child psychic and he gets his own TV show resulting in a psychic showdown with John Edwards in which aliens arrive and declare Edwards “The Biggest Douche In The Universe”.
A tad far-fetched possibly ?
I mean, it was all going so well until the aliens arrived.
I’ve always been intrigued by the question of TV psychics and the methods that they use to extract snippets of information from willing victims, John Edwards, Psychic Sally, Colin Fry, Sylvia Browne, they seem to convince their audiences and must be good at convincing TV commissioning editors too for there is no shortage of their shows on various satellite tv channels.
Just this weekend this was an actual conversation carried out on the Colin Fry show in the usual tv audience setting…
“Darling, did your mother lose her leg ?”
“Or part of her leg ?”
“I’m getting something to do with her leg, or she’s with someone who had lost a leg”
“Did she have a stiff leg ?”
You can be sure that that particular reading came to a very quick conclusion, something like “Its not for you darling, its somewhere in this area in front of you” indicating with a huge sweep of his arm around forty people in the audience, “Does anyone here have a dead person who lost a leg, or part of a leg, or just a stiff leg ?”
In the village that we used to live in, in the north east, they had a spiritualist church, which to me was a bit of a contradiction in terms, what are you doing when you go to a spiritualist church, are you worshipping your god or speaking to your dead relatives, or are you going to church with your dead relatives, is speaking to dead people part of religion and do only spiritualist church going people have the gift from their god to do this thing, and why ?
Why for instance would I want to speak to my dead father, I know exactly what he would say to me, “How much was that then ?”” would be the first thing he’d say to me whilst pointing at any random thing I was carrying and when I told him he’d say “Ooh thats dear”.
How far back can you go, why do tv psychics only mention parents and occasionally grandparents, it couldn’t possibly be because they are feeding off unconscious validation of random but well-known and well-practised psychological interrogation techniques could it, for if it was then its obvious that the subject could only feedback information on relatives that were known to them.
Through some family history research I know quite a lot of detail about my great-grandfather, I know where he lived, what his job was, I know how large his family was and what each of them did, I even know that one of them was suspected of being gay and I know what happened to him through his life too – would a psychic manage to “speak” to my great-grandfather, probably not as in the template of psychic subjects I am too old to know such detail about a great-grandparent, am highly unlikely to have been even a child while my great-grandfather was alive and so the subject will not arise – if I was younger, say in my twenties, then a great-grandparent may then speak to the psychic as its considered that parents and grandparents are both much younger and living longer these days, hence the need to go back a little further.
Its not easy of course being a person who can speak to the dead, for dead people make it very difficult for you to pass on messages, oh sure they can speak to you very loudly and very clearly but its as if they’ve gone to heaven and been instructed to only speak in very cryptic terms, never come straight to the point or say exactly what you mean, its like all dead people forget how to express themselves.
“I’m seeing an older male, that means a generation above you darling”
“Has your father passed ?”
“No, well not up until he dropped me off here tonight at least”
“Well its an older male, an uncle, or a grandparent, his name starts with an M, I think, or a W”
“Is he speaking to you now “?
“Yes darling he is”
“Well why the fuck doesn’t he just tell you who he is ?”
Can you imagine carrying on in that way while you are still alive, you go to a wedding or a family gathering with your daughter or grand-daughter and someone who doesn’t know you starts speaking to your daughter/grand-daughter, and then they look at you, smile and say “Oh you must be her father” and you stare straight back at them and say nothing so that they have to then start guessing, “Erm, you must be her uncle then, or grandfather ?” and then when they introduce themselves to you, you just say “M” and they look puzzled so you say “or W”.
Of course the further back they go the worse it gets, if we are to believe Derek Acorah and Yvette Fielding, the lovely Yvette Fielding who was so nice when she was on Blue Peter, for when you start investigating really old ghosts they can’t speak to you at all in words that normal people understand, in fact they can only talk to Derek and then in garbled sentences of nonsense which he then has to explain to the viewers after he’s done some research to find out how old the building is and what sort of a story he can concoct this week about who used to live there.
Poor old Yvette, the lovely Yvette who was so nice on Blue Peter, only gets to speak to dead people by means of tapping on wood, or moving tables slightly, or squeaking very faintly so that only the sound recordist can hear, its like its just too much effort for them to speak to the lovely Yvette even though its her thats asking all the questions, “If you can, then tap on the table, was that you tapping on the table, if it was then tap on the table again, was that you again, if it was then tap on the table again, twice”, it makes for stunning viewing I have to say.