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Posts Tagged psychics

There Must be Board Games in Heaven Michael Edmonds Apr 14

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Advocates of the paranormal often complain that skeptics are close minded, so in the spirit of open mindedness I wondered what might be another explanation (other than chicanery or delusion) as to why mediums and psychics appear to communicate with the dearly departed through vague statements, and asking if anyone knows someone with the initials “J” or “M”.

The only explanation I could come up with is that there must be board games in heaven. Hence when communications come through from “our side” they are responded like a board game. Injuries are communicated through charades, for example, with the holding of abdomen or head. This, of course, makes diagnosis fairly vague, as there are quite a few things that can go wrong in the abdomen or head, but this may be enough to satisfy their grieving kin.

The identity of the dearly departed appears to be communicated through some sort of word game, perhaps using scrabble tiles? This of course could explain why mediums can’t always get things right, perhaps in their hurry to communicate the deceased accidentally holds the letters upside down leaving the poor medium looking for a Mary or Margaret instead of a Wendy?

Of course if the hereafter is filled with board games, for some it might be more like hell than heaven…

 

 

Psychic Predictions Bland and Uninspired Michael Edmonds Jan 28

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The Your Weekend insert in the Christchurch Press today contained an article listing the predictions for 2012 by several “mystics”. However, it appears that gone are the days of grand and outrageous claims (I guess these are too obvious when they prove to be wrong).

Don Murray, astrologer, tells us that there is a “difficult clash of Pluto and Uranus” (call me juvenile but that just made me snigger) and this will result in much “unemployment, negative energy in the world and many natural disasters.” Wow, unemployment in a worldwide recession, who would have thought? Also there will be more chaos in Christchurch! This is less a prediction and more a certainty with continuing aftershocks, fragile infrastructure and a bickering council! John Key will not have a smooth year, neither will Black Caps coach John Wright, but then what sports coach or political leader doesn’t have difficulties?

Barry Newman, clairvoyant medium tells us there will be major floods in Otago and sees a “dam going” whatever that means. There will be other quakes in the South Island (obvious to anyone who looks on Geonet regularly). John Key will continue with strong leadership and David Shearer will get stronger and stronger (politically very even handed). Overseas there will be problems for the USA, Germany, Frances and Korea (Given how often these countries have featured on the news of late, a rather uninspired prediction).

Still some of his predictions can be checked. According to Barry, Obama will do one term and there may be an attempt on his life (but maybe there won’t) and Tiger Woods will win the US Open.

Then there are the “predictions” of Maryanne Frank, parapsychologist and business and personal coach (what the hell does that mean anyway? Does she research psychic phenomena as well as being a coach? Or is this some new trendy gimmick in personal coaching similar to that of motivational astrologer, Gigi Sosnoski?) Maryanne tells us there is “an exciting shift in frequency, measurable by science” happening on the planet. I’d love to see a scientific reference to back that claim, Maryanne. Most of Maryanne’s “predictions” are little more than sensible advice – “create balance, be responsible for less stress, not adding to it” as well as being optimistic and creating ones own destiny.” Though to be fair she does make more stunning revelations that trade will be good for John Key and he may move house or build this year. Also the foundering of major banks overseas will affect New Zealand. Wow.

Lara, the psychic clairvoyant medium (isn’t that a somewhat redundant title), uses a mix of good advice sprinkled with angelic references and multiple references regarding the need to “access your higher self.” In June “your prayers will be answered – but wait for the right time – and it’s not yet!” But hang on you just said that they would be answered. If I pray that all psychics will come to their rational senses will this occur by midnight on the 31st of July? Nice idea, but I won’t hold my breath.

Uwe Tietz, tarot reader and astrologer, babbles on using numerology and tarot card “speak” before revealing that the world will not end in 2012 and that 2012 is a year of individual responsibility. Wow, I’ll have to note that down.

To provide some much needed balance to the article there is also a section from Peter Harrison of the New Zealand Rationalists and Humanists Association and a section by Vicki Hyde of the New Zealand Skeptics.

Peter, rightly points out that there are many things we don’t need a crystal ball to predict – the ongoing effects of climate change and political instability around the world. he also quite sagely points out that “Nobody can know the future, but only we have the ability to influence it.”

Vicki reminds us that the past predictions of psychics seldom live up to the hype surrounding them. In 1997 psychics predicted Princess Diana would marry again, get fat and have too more children, but missed the tragedy of her death. Surely if any event would have “rung across the etheric planes” it would have been Princess Diana’s death. Of course occasionally a psychic will claim to have predicted an event, however, when the prediction is only revealed after the event one does get a little suspicious. For example, Deb Webber’s claim to have predicted the February earthquake in Christchurch. Given this natural disaster resulted in over 180 deaths, why on earth didn’t she warn us. What use is a “prediction” that isn’t predictive?

Still, at least none of the mystics predicted the end of the world. I feel so relieved.

Psychic Exploitainment Michael Edmonds Apr 15

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The recent arrest of Scott Guy’s brother-in-law, Ewan MacDonald for his murder has shocked most New Zealanders. It is hard to comprehend the trauma the families of these two men must be going through.

This arrest comes less than two months after American “psychic” Lisa Williams is purported to have ”channelled” Scott Guy in a performance in Palmerston North, claiming that the killer’s names were Mark and Joey, and that they “came from over the sea and had since left the area.”

It is interesting and disturbing to read the newspaper report of Ms William’s performance .

 According to the report a cousin of Mr Guy’s was in the audience and understandable became quite upset by the performance. Historically, some of the more unscrupulous psychics have been known to invite such people to their performances and surreptitiously quiz them for details before the show. It does make me wonder.

Although the Scott Guy case is only in it’s early stages and it would be unwise to speculate of Mr MacDonald’s guilt or innocence this early on, it does look like this case could be a test of a Ms William’s abilities.

Indeed, the cynic in me can’t help but wonder if this prediction is a miscalculation on Ms William’s part. Psychic investigation programmes such as Sensing Murder seem to typically focus on cases that are unlikely to ever be solved, allowing the psychic some leeway in what they can say. This may not be the case in the Scott Guy murder trial.

And then came the psychic Michael Edmonds Mar 06

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Hot on the heels of the Ken Ring fiasco, Australian psychic Deb Webber has claimed that she predicted the Christchurch earthquake in an interview with the Herald on Sunday.  This claim has already been condemned as “scaremongering” by Christchurch mayor Bob Parker and other community leaders, as well as “unhelpful” by fellow psychic, Ken Cruickshank.

Given that this claim has the capacity to induce the same anger and name calling as occurred last week during the Ken Ring debate, there may be those who prefer to put this to one side and ignore it. However, I believe a better approach might be to rationally analyse the alleged prediction and propose an alternative explanation. After all, those who challenge science often ask why scientists will not accept their alternative theories. So, is it not fair that those who believe in Ms Webber’s abilities do not also consider an alternative explanation?

The decribed prediction occurred during a reading with Melbourne woman, Carolyn Ronsberg, on February 19th when Ms Webber is reported to have stated:

“I’m so worried about New Zealand. There’ll be a massive earthquake coming soon and it’ll split the country in two.”

The two women then appear to have calmly gone on with their their lives. As Ms Ronsberg has stated “she didn’t know anyone in New Zealand and found the comments irrelevant.” Ms Webber also appears to have stated that she had known about the earthquake for the year but was surprised at her accuracy.

Let me suggest an alternative hypothesis.

Ms Webber, I would suggest, makes many predictions in her career as a psychic. Some of these may include predictions of disasters around the world. Suggesting that New Zealand may have a massive earthquake, is not a bad option, particularly as no timeline was listed and given that New Zealand is prone to quakes of varying intensity. In fact, given that geologists suggested that after the September 4 quake last year there was a good possibility of a second quake of 1 magnitude less, Ms Webber’s alleged prediction is hardly surprising. What seems more surprising is her failure to warn anyone prior to the earthquake.

Although the suggestion that the quake would “split the country in two” suggests Wellington might be where the quake would occur (an geological hotspot for quakes) this phrase could be adapted to mean the Christchurch quake. Although if one considers the societal impact it could be argued that the February 22 quake has brought New Zealanders closer together.

It would be interesting to see Ms Ronsberg’s notes and the notes of other clients of Ms Webber to see how many predictions she makes about natural disasters and how many “hits” she has had with her predictions and how many “misses”  she has. It would also be interesting to look at the level of detail provided with her predictions.

Ms Webber claims that she has known about the earthquake for a year but did not post it on her website for fear of provoking hysteria. Given this level of consideration it seems strange to me that she chooses to reveal her prediction now, when many residents of Christchurch are still hurting, and then says she isn’t completely sure if “further devastation” isn’t on it’s way.

Ms Webber has also stated for the future that “I said to my friends in Christchurch, ‘if I really get anything and I’m really sure I’ll let you know – but when I say get out you’ve got to get out, okay’?”

One has to ask why they didn’t receive a warning about the February 22 quake?

So there you have my alternative explanation, without insults or rancor. Comments?

Pseudoscience Bingo Michael Edmonds Nov 13

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A while ago I was shown how to play psychic bingo. This is where you have a bingo card made up of the many different stock phrases used by psychics such as “a name beginning with M” or “sensing back problems” etc. An example of such a card can be found here. Then when one watches the performance of a psychic the first person to tick off a line (or even a whole card!) yells bingo.

I thought it would be amusing to create a card that covered the wider ranging stock phrases of pseudoscience that one occasionally encounters on here. That way during the flurry of exchanges that may occur between scibloggers and the more persistent peddlers of pseudoscience we may at least be able to be able to alleviate the frustration with the occasional call of “bingo”.

Pseudoscience Bingo

‘crystals”

Denial of germ theory ‘quantum’ Cherry picking data ‘conspiracy’
‘science doesn’t know everything’ ‘chemical free’ Denial of Evolution Misuse of the word ‘energy’ Molecules are ‘killed’ or ‘mutated’
‘toxic overload’ ‘pharmaceutical shills’ ‘You just have to believe/think positively’ Science used to ‘support’ religious beliefs ‘other ways of understanding’
‘ancient or lost knowledge’ Can’t be tested by science Aliens Age of Earth is 6000 years ‘vibrations’

Government or mind control

Personal attacks Mothers/parents instinctively know best

‘literature’ turns out to be alternative magazine articles

Alternative or complementary ‘medicine’

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