Britain’s Best-Loved Psychic a Fraud? Radio Interview Included
Most who visit Ghosttheory on a regular basis know my views on psychic abilities and my theories regarding the subject.
That said, I do try to respect those who believe in the supernatural aspect of psychic ability. However, as we know, there are charlatans out there either looking for money or fame or both. I’m not going to start listing those who I see as defrauding the public, but this news item has to be brought to our attention as it involves arguably the biggest name in Britain’s psychic elite.
Yes, it would seem that “Britian’s best loved psychic”, Sally Morgan is being accused of fraud. If true, this revelation could throw the paranormal world into a bit of a spin.
Morgan, who has an enormous following is by all appearances, on top of the psychic world with her third book being published and her third video series currently filming.
However, all that glitters is not always gold as Morgan has been accused of being fed via an earpiece by a guide that sits in a booth at the back of live theater shows.
You can make up your own mind, however, if the truth is being told, it’s difficult to deny that something unscrupulous is going on here.
According to her website, Sally Morgan is “Britain’s best-loved psychic”. She is certainly a very successful psychic – she has just released her third book and is currently filming the third series of Psychic Sally on the Road for Sky LIVING. But an incident that took place a few days ago may cause a few of her fans to wonder whether Morgan is deserving of their adoration. Could it be that, like so many self-professed psychic superstars in the past, Morgan is nothing more than a self-serving con artist?
Let me describe what happened so that you can make up your own mind. On Monday 12 September, a caller named Sue phoned the Liveline show on RTÉ Radio 1, an Irish radio station. Sue said that she had attended Morgan’s show the previous night at the Grand Canal Theater in Dublin and had been impressed by the accuracy of the readings she made in the first half of the show.
But then something odd happened. Sue was sitting in the back row on the fourth level of the theater and there was a small room behind her (“like a projection room”) with a window open. Sue and her companions became aware of a man’s voice and “everything that the man was saying, the psychic was saying it 10 seconds later.”
Sue believes, not unreasonably, that the man was feeding information to Sally through an earpiece attached to her microphone. For example, the voice would say something like “David, pain in the back, passed quickly” and a few seconds later Sally would claim to have the spirit of a “David” on stage who – you’ll never guess – suffered from back pain and passed quickly.
A member of staff realized that several people near the back of the theater were aware of the mystery voice and the window was gently closed. The voice was not heard again.
Sue speculated, again not unreasonably given the history of psychic frauds, that the man was feeding Sally information that had been gathered by engaging members of the audience in conversation in the foyer before the show began. This is a technique widely used by psychic fraudsters, as audience members will naturally discuss with each other who they are hoping to hear from “on the other side”, how their loved one died, and so on.
Subsequent callers to the radio program supported Sue’s account.
The theater’s general manager, Stephen Faloon, claimed that the voice heard by the audience was actually the voices of two members of staff working for the theater, not someone supplying information to Sally. Sally Morgan Enterprises also denied that the medium was being fed information during the show.
This episode is reminiscent of the exposure of faith healer Peter Popoff by James Randi in 1986. Popoff would wow his audiences by giving specific and accurate details of their medical problems before claiming to cure them with his divine powers. This information was, according to Popoff, provided to him directly by God. It was certainly an effective technique, as at this time Popoff was raking in around $4m per month (tax-free) from his poor, sick and uneducated followers.
Randi, with the assistance of investigator Alexander Jason, convincingly demonstrated that Popoff was actually receiving the “divine” information from his wife via a hearing aid. Following his exposure on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Popoff declared bankruptcy in 1987.
In a more rational world, that would have been the end of Popoff’s career as a faith healer. Sadly, we do not live in a rational world. Popoff is back, earning more than ever by fleecing his flock using exactly the same techniques that Randi exposed, plus a few new ones, such as the sale of “Miracle Spring Water”. According to ABC News, Popoff’s ministry received more than $9.6m in 2003 and more than $23m in 2005. In that year, Popoff paid himself and his wife a combined total of almost a million dollars (not to mention two of his children receiving more than $180,000 each).
Since the heyday of mediumship during the Victorian era, exposure as frauds has typically done little to diminish the popularity of alleged psychics in the eyes of their followers.
It is important to realize that many self-professed psychics, possibly the majority, are sincere in their beliefs that they possess a “gift”. Such practitioners are probably unintentionally using some of the same techniques used by so-called cold readers to convince themselves and their sitters that they are tapping into some paranormal source of information. Because the cold reading technique is not being exploited deliberately and systematically, such readings are usually unimpressive to anyone except hardcore believers.
But con artists can use cold reading to convince complete strangers that they know all about them. It relies on the clever use of language, careful observation, intelligent guesswork, and the production of vague and ambiguous statements that the sitter interprets (and remembers) as being more specific than they actually were. In a skilled practitioner, cold reading can produce much more impressive results than the rather amateurish readings produced by most psychics.
Even cold reading has its limits though. If a psychic reading is full of very specific and accurate details, produced on the basis of very limited interaction with the sitter (as in Popoff’s case), it is more likely to be the result of “hot reading” – information collected prior to the start of the reading.
While the activities of performers like Popoff, who deliberately and knowingly exploit their vulnerable followers and are motivated by nothing more than personal greed, would be condemned as immoral by most reasonable people, the moral issues are not quite so cut-and-dried when it comes to deluded but sincere psychics who may not even charge for their services.
The fact is that many bereaved people are comforted to receive “evidence” that their loved ones are waiting for them “on the other side”. Some may feel that even if Morgan is deliberately conning her audience with fraudulent techniques, this is outweighed by the comfort that she brings. However, given that tickets for her sell-out Dublin show cost €40 each and there were reportedly brisk sales for her books and DVDs, this appears not to be her only motivation.
Phone-in caller Sue, who believed that Morgan had psychic powers before her experience at the theater, described herself as being “totally disappointed” and insisted that she would not be attending such shows again. Maybe some of her friends and others sitting near her that evening will follow suit. Sadly, however, history suggests that most of Sally’s followers will continue to adore her and pay the high prices demanded to see her in action.
Source: The Guardian
Based on Susan’s commentary above I’d venture to guess that the Sally Morgan productions might just include “plants”. These are people who’s job it is to mingle with those attending Sally’s live events. The “plants” mill through the crowds and lines before the show making small talk. All the while they are extracting as much information as possible from their “marks”. I think you can see where this is going.
Again, I will keep my opinions as close to the vest as possible. What I will say is there seems to be more and more bottom feeders out in the psychic world. They’re objective? To exploit those in a weakened state of mind and prey on their vulnerabilities. I’m talking about people suffering from grief, depression or a some other form of distress that causes distraction or a need to extinguish an emotional flame. Quite simply, they are not in the right frame of mind and this is what these flim flammers are counting on.
OK, I said I’d keep my mouth shut but to further emphasize what I’m getting at, I will use one example. That example is John Edwards who is arguably the most revered psychic in America and also (in my opinion) a grifter and a phony. In fact, Edwards is textbook in his technique and so brash that he seldom even tries to hide his divisive shtick. You may ask, why? Why would he risk being exposed? The sad truth is that Edwards has so much control over his audiences that he literally doesn’t fear detractors.
With all this chicanery happening around us, how can we know who to trust? Therefore, the last avenue we should be going down when making a life altering decision is the psychic one. Before, you jump the gun, you have to consider this: How would be able to discern to a 100% level of certainty that the psychic you consult is correct? No, I’m not talking about a novelty visit; I’m talking about those who are consulting psychics with major enigmatic situations or life and death issues. Before you balk, let me tell you, there are many out there who are doing just that as we speak.
I know there are those here at GT who profess to be psychic and I hope they can understand, this is not intended as indirect negativity toward them. In fact there are things I do believe along with my “senses” theory, things I won’t get into at this time. Suffice it to say, I do believe in certain abilities under certain conditions.
A final observation regarding the Sally Morgan dust up is no matter how true these accusations are, many people will continue to follow this woman. I would hope that even the slightest doubt would give you the wherewithal to break away from such situations, or at least to be more aware of what’s happening behind the words and theatrics.
NOTE: The opinions expressed are my own and in no way reflect the general attitudes or beliefs at Ghosttheory.com.
Latest posts by Scott McMan (see all)
- Weird Bubble Creatures? Hmmm…. - May 16, 2013
- Some Of the Most Hair Raising Photos You’ve Ever Seen - May 10, 2013
- “She’s Not Alive Honey”: Mother Of Amanda Berry Devastated By Sylvia Browne - May 8, 2013
- Anonymous Threatening Major Cyber Attacks On USA - May 7, 2013