Psychic Sally Challenge – As expected, she ducked out and did not show up

I blogged a couple of days ago about the challenge presented to supposedly Psychic Sally Morgan, and suggested that she would be a no-show. Hey guess what … (now deploy your very best guess) … yep, she ducked out, apparently too busy.

Ian Sample has an update for us in the Guardian today, …

Morgan’s lawyers, Atkins Thomson, emailed the science writer Simon Singh, who organised the scientific test of her powers, to make clear that she would not take up the challenge.

The email, from Graham Atkins, requests that Singh does not contact Morgan or her office again, and states: “You well know that we all have far more important things to do than take part in this or any other ‘test’ at this point. She will not attend at Liverpool or at any other time.”

The email was marked “strictly private and confidential – not for publication”, but after seeking independent legal advice, Singh posted the correspondence with a response on his blog.

So there you have it then, apparently she has “far more important things to do” than establishing that she is a real psychic. To date there is zero objective scientific evidence for any psychic abilities, but apparently this world-shattering first is not worth bothering with, so this leads to only two conclusions:

  • She truly believes, and has simply deluded herself into believing that she really can do this
  • She is an outright fraud , and is diliberty conning vulnerable, grieving and desperate people who believe her claims and turn to her for help

Now, if I was inclined to think I had a real ability, I’d be rather keen to establish and verify that, but if I knew I was a fake, I’d duck any test least it disrupt a hansom flow of revenue. Yep, you can see what this all points to.

Oh yes, one other observation, if she did indeed pass this test, she wins $1 million because thats what is on the table here. The JREF have that as the prize for the first psychic to actually demonstrate any ability at all. Since the 1960’s, when it was first on offer, nobody has passed or demonstarted anything at all.

In the UK, where Sally Morgan operates, what is the law?

Mediums were once protected by the 1951 Fraudulent Mediums Act (which was a replacement for the the 1735 Witchcraft Act … [don’t ask, you just don’t want to know]). Under the 1951 act, prosecutors had to prove fraud and dishonest intent to secure a criminal conviction, which was difficult. I believe that there were fewer than 10 convictions in total (but I still need to verify that, so take that stat with a pinch of salt). But that 1951 protection is gone, and is now replaced with the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

To conform to the law today, any psychic show must contain a disclaimer stating ‘for entertainment purposes only or for scientific experiment’. If that is there, they are legal, but if not, then the psychic must prove in a court of law that they can contact the deceased, note that the burden of proof rests with the psychic. Yep, she conforms, but only just, her website is run by an “Entertainment” company.

Final thought; why am I banging on about Sally Morgan and her fake psychic act? Some might claim it does no harm, and that perhaps people gain some comfort from it, but turn that coin over and you quickly realise that vulnerable and bereaved people are being financially exploited, now that is simply not acceptable. We don’t accept fraudsters selling fake goods and services on the high-street, or rip-off merchants exploting consumers, so why should this be any different?

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