Meddling Mediums

July 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm (Woo) (, , , )

One of the concerns* I have about people who call themselves psychics or mediums is that, on occasion, I have heard about these ‘mediums’ offering advice to people that is apparently based on their reading of mystic tarot cards, or the word of a spirit guide and is actually taken seriously by the person who has gone to consult the medium.

I am disheartened by the fact that people are willing to take this advice seriously and unimpressed that the advice is imparted with apparent sincerity. Sometimes though, this advice (however well-intentioned) will adversely affect the person who takes it – and what is, in my opinion, worse is that this advice can also adversely affect those close to the person who has consulted a medium. If a friend or relative of mine (or yours) acted on bad advice given to them by somebody claiming to be communicating with the spirit world or reading tea leaves (or tarot cards, or whatever) then I (or you) might also suffer from the consequences even though I am (you are) not the one who sought the advice of someone purporting to be psychic.

That there are people ‘open-minded’ enough to believe in the psychic powers of women from Ilkley or Hebden Bridge** who call themselves Crystal, Angel, or Serendipity is one thing. That Crystal, Angel, or Serendipity might encourage them is another. That a medium might take it upon themselves to tell the ‘open-minded’ how to live their life is really something else.

There is probably no such thing as a genuine psychic or medium (however sincere they may be), there is no need to pay for special advice from these people, and there is no reason to think that a stranger who claims to see the future or talk to dead people will give you useful lifestyle advice.

More

*OK, maybe it’s a bugbear or an irritation rather than a concern.

**I have no knowledge of psychics from Ilkley or Hebden Bridge, but they are reputed to be “havens of woo” and I expect there are a few Crystals, Angels, and Serendipitys knocking around.

YouTube video of BBC3 on mediums.

Some people even believe that Derren Brown, who has debunked the idea that mediums are psychic, is himself psychic: here is a post from Sanders the Great (who thinks that Derren “must be turning in his camel hair coat”).

Edits

None yet, but I can foresee other people finding problems with this article. Inaccuracies great and small. I’m not psychic, I just know that I often make mistakes and I expect I’ve made some while writing this.

6 Comments

  1. Mojo said,

    “Some people even believe that Derren Brown, who has debunked the idea that mediums are psychic, is himself psychic: here is a post from Sanders the Great (who thinks that Derren “must be turning in his camel hair coat”).”

    I can’t find the post in question, but there was someone on the JREF forum a while back who thought that Shirley Ghostman was a genuine psychic.

  2. Warhelmet said,

    Doris Stokes, wasn’t she a lovely lady?

  3. AndyD said,

    Doris was, as I recall, the subject at the centre of the dummy spit when Don Lane told Randi what he thought of him on Australian TV.

    That segment is still replayed every year (at least once a year) on those “golden moments” type shows.

  4. eveningperson said,

    I got this in a feed of projects for freelancers:

    “Job Description:

    Need multiple writers to generate content for psychic site.

    If you are a psychic great, if not, then be able to write similar horoscopes as other websites are producing.

    If you can do any other services similar to this or understand tarot reading or numerology and others, then please PM me.”

    Apparently “being able to write horoscopes” doesn’t imply psychic knowledge.

  5. Mojo said,

    “Apparently “being able to write horoscopes” doesn’t imply psychic knowledge.”

    Isn’t it the job traditionally given to the most junior member of staff on provincial newspapers? All they need to do is to randomly pick phrases from previously published horoscopes and paste them in…

  6. Nash said,

    “Apparently “being able to write horoscopes” doesn’t imply psychic knowledge”

    I used to be into astrology. Psychic knowledge is not required. It’s all in the chart. Just calculate the angles and all is revealed. Astrologers tend not to claim phychic powers.
    Having said that, both are shit.

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