Comment by Stuart, 02 Oct, 2008
Surely the police of New Zealand must be ashamed of Detective Levy and this programme!
Comment by BYG, 09 Oct, 2008
You spend far to much time with your hand, you need a good woman to talk to.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 Oct, 2008
Thank you BYG for your insightful analysis of our article. However, after giving your rebuttal due consideration we feel it is not the cogent argument it first appears.
Seriously though, we're surprised that after spending time reading our article — and surely you must have or else how else could you consider our view flawed — that you don't bother to mention even one of our many mistakes. We're continually dismayed at the level of debate offered by those who support psychics.
Comment by Jonathon, 24 Oct, 2008
Great work on that programme analysis. I think it is Vicky Hyde who uses the apt term exploitainment for these programmes.
I think you are now at the stage where you could identify and formally name all the many human biases at play that lead to the errors (you do mention one or two).
For example, I like the term "clever Hans effect" for consciously or unconsciously responding to cues given by people who know the correct answer. Those senders of information (e.g. the detective) may not be aware of the nodding head, smiles, etc.
The original clever Hans was a horse who could "do" arithmetic as long as he could see his master. Worth looking up the original report - I have only seen many references to it (mostly psych texts, but most recently in a "horrible science" book my daughter got out of the library).
I strongly recommend you read parts of "Social Psychology" edited by Baumeister and Bushman 2008. I am sure some of the biases and habitual human perceptual distortions describe and label some of the effects you describe. I consider this very readable, comprehensive, up to date and enlightening text book a "must read" You will find from this book that the human distortions and errors of judgement you describe are all too common, have precise names and have been proven scientifically to be widespread.
Having understood these problems, the hard part is to do something effective in helping others overcome them without inciting more bias. A serious problem is that people like the detective, the psychic stars and programme makers are likely to have very high self esteem.
The crucial study on self esteem is by Baumeister, Smart and Boden (Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self esteem Psychological Review 103 (1996) 5 - 33. This study tells you more than the social psych text on what to expect when you criticize those with high self esteem. There is more in Prof Sutherland's text on Irrationality, the enemy within 1992 Constable and Co Ltd (Penguin 1994).
So I suggest caution in confronting anyone who has the power to improve things but at a cost to ia's (his or hers) self esteem. Unless you can remove that person from the position of power (usually impossible), even having incontrovertible proof of ia's stupidity is not enough to be effective.
With that in mind, how about identifying some of these people and giving us their email addresses. Deb might be a waste of time because you may only achieve the result of her being a little more effective in her defending the indefensible.
Director of programmes TV2 isn't it? would be the most important and potentially most effective surely to talk to with a view to persuading ia (him/her - isn't English tedious? Do you speak Maori, Spanish, or Italian?) not to show another series?
I do know a previous TVNZ head and will have a chat to him about all this next time I see him. I doubt if he would have let this drivel run.
Cheers. Keep up the good work.
Comment by Sarah, 26 Jul, 2009
hi, as per the kay stewart case, you can access the doc compound from the main park, i do it all the time in summer. The track runs from roughly where kays car was.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 28 Jul, 2009
Hi Sarah, thanks for the information. I have a few questions if you wouldn't mind.
Unfortunately I have not been to the park, but the Sensing Murder program implied that there was no track to the DOC compound. None of the maps and photographs of track signposts that I've seen indicate the existence of a public track. And just to be perfectly clear, you are referring to the DOC compound on the main Coast Road and not the public Visitor Centre inside the park?
Is this track signposted, and where are the signs if it is, near where Kaye's car was? What is this track called? Would the signs have been there when Stewart went missing? Are the public expected to use this track, or are the signs merely for information purposes? Is the track similar to the well known tracks, same difficulty and well maintained? Would the public see it as just another public track?
Might I ask why you would use this track? The program suggested that the compound was a maintenance facility and not a place the public would, or should, go to.
Thanks for your help.
Comment by Anonymous, 30 Jul, 2009
Dude y so hateful these people are just trying to honestly help @ least they make they actually try to make an effort to do something and of course their gona get paid for it its there work man u waste alot of time and energy wining and moaning about something u obvisously have not experienced so then have no idea about. u just nick picked the whole series for nothing!!!!
Have u ever had any kind of esp or unknowen phenomenon happen to you?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Jul, 2009
To answer your questions, I have no time for psychics and mediums, or the leeches that make TV shows about them, because they are lying to us simply to make money. In the process they are misleading a worrying number of the public, filling their heads with fairytales, fantasies and delusions that were popular superstitions in medieval times. More often than not, the people that can least afford it are lining the pockets of these charlatans.
Even if these idiots have deluded themselves into believing they are talking to dead people, their sincerity and desire to help means nothing if, rather than produce results, they just make their clients poorer, both financially and in their knowledge of the real world. And let's remember that they have not solved one single murder worldwide. I don't know why people like yourself trust and defend those that fail time after time.
And no, I haven't experienced ESP or some phenomenon that I thought might be supernatural or psychic in origin. Twenty years ago my cassette tape of Bat Out of Hell disappeared from my car, which some may claim is an unsolved mystery, but I don't suspect gremlins or anything similar. I suspect a human thief.
I don't think anyone has experienced ESP or what you call 'unknown phenomena'. Throughout history people thought they were experiencing gods and fairies and demons and witches. They were mistaken, ignorant of how the world and their mind worked, giving magical explanations to natural events that they couldn't explain. We have explained away gods, fairies, demons and witches, and these psychics need to catch up with modern knowledge.
You imply that since dead people refuse to speak to me, and since I haven't experienced spooky things, I am thus unable to comment on the subject. In your words, I can have 'no idea about' them. But let me ask if you believe unicorns exist? I assume you have an opinion, but I also assume you have never seen one, and therefore by your own argument you can not comment on whether they exist or not. However I think you'll agree that you can know a great deal about things we have never experienced. I'm sure you have opinions on many things you have no personal experience of — murder, rape, life on other planets, child starvation in Africa, heart transplants, genetic engineering. But once again, if we accept your argument, your lack of personal experience means you can't voice a competent opinion on these topics. Simply seeing a murder or viewing African starvation on TV doesn't count, no more than me meeting a psychic or watching one on TV. You have to experience it personally.
However I suspect that you don't really believe any of this, except as it relates to my view it seems. I'm sorry, but your argument makes no sense. It is merely a na´ve attempt to silence a view you don't agree with.
If you want me to take psychics and mediums seriously, and obviously you do, then you need to produce reasons why I should. Why do you believers in spooky things always imply that you have evidence to support your claims, evidence that would shoot us down in flames, but you never produce it? Since you are criticising our articles I assume you've actually read them. So why don't you start by at least detailing the pieces we got wrong? Then why don't you explain why the psychics with the assistance of the dead people still couldn't produce one single piece of evidence that solved a murder? Explain why every cent spent on these psychics wasn't wasted and why we should turn to them rather than the police? If you can't, at least ask those that you worship to step up with the proof. We demand that our surgeons, engineers and pilots produce their qualifications and evidence of their skills before we trust them, so why are psychics unwilling to answer their critics, and why do believers support them in this secrecy?
Simply saying that psychics really talk to the dead is as worthless as me insisting that the moon is made of green cheese. They don't and it's not. If you have any real evidence to the contrary I'm willing to listen.
Comment by Tony, 01 Aug, 2009
Excellent response SB but I fear your seeds of wisdom may have been cast on completely barren ground.
Most of the feedback I get from http://www.smpi.co.nz/ (shameless plug) is positive and supportive (even from many believers) but it always puzzles and amuses me that the negative feedback I receive invariably accuses me of being angry and hateful. What is angry and hateful about inviting people to provide credible evidence of their incredible claims in an open and honest manner? I would have thought that this is merely a common sense request. The offer of $20,000 each just to undertake such testing (win or lose) and a further $20,000 each if they are successful is purely an incentive and not a condition of testing. If they don't want this money for themselves or a worthy charity of their choice then they aren't obligated to accept it.
If "these people are just trying to honestly help" why do they refuse to share their apparently incredible abilities in a way that could help to understand and improve them for the benefit of humanity? How does a ridiculous "The name begins with a J or a K" charades game for a name that is already known (or all the other party tricks) "honestly help" anything other than the fame and fortune of the self-proclaimed psychics and Sensing Murder producers? (there I go being angry and hateful again ;-)
Now a really mysterious and unexplained phenomenon is how Anonymous managed to spell anonymous and phenomenon correctly.
FYI - Everyone knows that the moon is made of YELLOW cheese.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 02 Aug, 2009
Hey Tony, yes, I also suspect that my reply will fall on deaf ears, but I can't let them think that they may have said something insightful. These silly replies are obviously why the psychics and mediums themselves never reply to critics like you and I. They've learnt, or more likely been told, that if you can't say anything that supports your claims and doesn't make you look intellectually challenged, then just keep your bloody mouth shut.
I understand that some people might disagree with me on various topics. However I have little time for those that think that they can influence my view simply by saying, 'You're wrong' or 'You don't understand', and not going on to offer some form of explanation as to why I'm wrong or that might help me understand. Geez, I'm not psychic!
Just as chocolate wouldn't exist without chocolate lovers and Mills and Boon books without romantics, psychics wouldn't survive without idiots. Idiots saying that they're talking to someone's dead granny, and idiots that believe them.
As for the spelling mystery, I introduced the word 'Anonymous' as the poster didn't reveal their name. Due to the spelling and grammar in the comment my guess is that the correct spelling of 'phenomenon' was just one of those freakish accidents we hear about. I would have spelt it with an 'F', but what do I know?
Comment by Damian, 13 Aug, 2009
Hi John, It's always a delight to read your site, and your thoughts on the subjects that you cover.
I apologise in advance for bringing up points that you've surely already covered.
One thing I've always wondered about the like of the Sensing Murder crew, is why they don't apply their purported abilities in a more constructive way, rather than on a 2-bit TV show that's only purpose is to make money by exploiting vulnerable people, and ignorant people.
If they are able to reveal new information, or indeed, any information at all about a crime, why waste their time on 20 year old murder cases? Why don't they apply themselves to a fresh murder case where this information may have a significant effect on the outcome of the investigation? If they can lead investigators to the location of a murder 20 years after it's happened, why don't they do this for a murder that happened recently?
Obviously, these are rhetorical questions to you and I, but they're questions that these "psychics" would do their utmost to avoid answering.
Imagine if a psychic was able to pinpoint the location of Irena Asher the day after she went missing. Or if they could have lead investigators to the scene of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope's murder shortly after it happened. (Wonder if Scot Watson [would] be in jail?)
It's been clearly documented over the last 4 or 5 decades why police forces don't entertain these people any more. It's not because of fear, or of a conspiracy, nor is it because they are closed minded. It's simply because these people have demonstrated time and time again, that they have never helped solve any crimes, ever. Often, they only hamper investigations with their incorrect predictions. This isn't my opinion, this is fact which has been documented by people far more intelligent and informed that I am.
When discussing these subjects, I like to bring up Derren Brown. He can perform tricks that are just astounding and almost impossible to believe. He could easily wipe the floor with the likes of Webber and Cruikshank, and could easily convince a fairly intelligent person that he possesses supernatural skills. But he doesn't possess any supernatural skills, and thankfully, he openly admits it.
I don't know whether it's progress, but it's interesting to note that you can purchase episodes of Sensing Murder on DVD, from the $5 bins at the Warehouse and there's a reason why it's been cancelled in every other country that it's been produced in. It's because it's a load of bullshit.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 15 Aug, 2009
Hi Damian, thanks very much for your comments. There's not much I can add to your observations. If only the typical Sensing Murder viewer could think this clearly the show would have been cancelled after the first season. The 'psychics' would be unemployed and getting much needed help from psychiatrists, and the gullible and ignorant would be financially better off having not paid for their services or to attend their travelling freak shows.
You're right about Derren Brown. He's far more impressive than these silly psychics, and he admits it's all a trick. Believers in psychics should be concerned that their favourite psychic, even with their special powers, can't appear anything but childish with their silly performances. Some morons no doubt will argue that Brown really is psychic and is in denial. It's amazing the stupid arguments people make to defend psychics.
Many believers that I've spoken to uncritically swallow the psychic crap because they have this simple but unexplored belief that souls exist, usually from a religious upbringing, and a na´ve belief that what we see on 'factual' TV programs, in books and on the internet can be believed. If a show like Sensing Murder matches a cherished belief like the existence of souls, then any skepticism is suppressed. It's not that these people can't be skeptical. If you tried to sell them a really cheap laptop at the pub they'd be as skeptical as hell, correctly assuming it was probably stolen. But if they believe in souls and psychics, then no thought goes into questioning the show. If you can get these people to try and support their underlying beliefs, then often you can get them to look at psychics in a new light. But only those that want to know the truth can enter into rational debate. Those with dogmatic beliefs can not lift the veils of ignorance. And in my view, religion is the underlying reason that people are accepting of psychics, mediums etc. If they had no concept of souls and a heaven full of dead people and angels on clouds, then psychics would seem as silly as bananas in pyjamas.
And yes, I had to have a little giggle when I noticed Sensing Murder DVDs in the bargain bins. Mind you I'd rather see them in the rubbish bins, but it's one step closer.
Comment by Sarah, 03 Nov, 2009
Hi John, I just wanted to send you a quick email and say, as a devout Atheist myself, your site is great! I discovered it quite by accident actually but I am very glad I did!
I am in the UK, Scotland to be precise and my Hubby and I watched a very interesting programme called "Sensing Murder" last night - a re-run obviously, on satellite TV. I spent most of the programme about the disappearance of Kaye Stewart screaming at the telly! Especially when they clearly tried to con viewers from the beginning. Do they think we are all stupid!? I thought it was hilarious how they made a big deal about bringing psychics in to work with police for the first time ever blah blah - when the psychics had previous knowledge of the case, they still tried to make it sound like this was all some amazing thing that was true psychic ability! The part I screamed at the TV the most was when they came to this locked gate and we were told that this was as far as they could go ... Errr ... HELLO! The guy was with the police!! If the police can't get access through a locked gate in connection with a possible murder enquiry then I don't know who would! You could have hopped over the gate for that matter - it was hardly Alcatraz for goodness' sake! Also, if the psychic was so sure this was where her body was taken why didn't they head up this path when the gate was open!? It was ridiculous. I know you have covered all these points so very much better than I could ever word it, but I just had to re-iterate how ridiculous I thought it all was!
Anyway, I was furious when the programme finished with absolutely no conclusion atall, I had been almost expecting them to say at the end Kaye's body had been found or this person they supposedly named had been arrested ... whatever, but it was just left a complete cliff hanger and I did suspect this was because no-one could possibly have taken any of this seriously but it still irked me, shall we say, that the programme just ended like that! Since I knew the programme had obviously been made a while ago (over a year ago I now understand) I decided to have a look on the internet today and see if anything had progressed or Kaye's body had been found .... only to discover no progress whatsoever has been made and that the place the psychic claimed her body was has been searched and no leads atall have come from the "information" given by the psychics! Oh and in fact the guy that was apparently named has been completely discounted from the case. Well, what a surprise! That poor family, put through all of this nonsense and pain for no reason except some sick programmes need to "entertain". What a farce. While having a look on the internet I came across your site and your article and really enjoyed it - I really couldn't have put it all better myself (obviously!).
I haven't quite got through it all it yet but wanted to email anyway, I have added it to my favourites and I look forward to browsing it later and agreeing with every word you say!
Keep up the good work!
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 03 Nov, 2009
Hi Sarah, thanks very much for your positive comments. Like you I have also done a lot of screaming at the telly when viewing 'Sensing Murder' (and many other similar programs). And like you I can't understand why many people can't see it for the worthless rubbish that it is. You were surprised that the episode reached no conclusion and that no culprit has since been found, yet every episode of every series ends this way, and yet still the morons who support the show claim that the psychics are really making a difference. The show's popularity is so great that again this year we in New Zealand are going to be subjected to a fourth series where yet again no murder will be solved. I know this to be a fact because the series was filmed some time ago and the police haven't arrested anyone for some unsolved murder that the show will cover. If the psychics had given the police information to solve a murder, there is no way the police would sit on this information for months until the show goes to air. On the contrary, the TV producers would want it known that they had finally helped solve a case, which would generate great publicity for their upcoming series. It's actually a little depressing to realise that NZ is one of the few countries, maybe the only one, where 'Sensing Murder' is still being produced and that it's due to gullible NZers.
So it's always pleasing to discover that there actually are other intelligent people on this planet, since much of what is on TV and much of what I hear from associates leads me to believe that skepticism in things such as the paranormal and religion is valued as much as a steam-powered cell phone. To that end it is also refreshing to hear you proudly admit that you're an atheist. I get a little annoyed with people that rubbish religion, claiming that they can easily see all the problems with it, then in the same breath say that there must still be 'something' out there though.
Like I'm sure you already do, and like us here, don't just scream at your telly, point out to your friends, family and associates just how silly these programs are.
Comment by Lyndsey, 06 Feb, 2010
Hi John, I've just found your website and I'm interested mainly in the "sensing murder" subjects. I have to admit that I am a 'kind of' believer. I'm not a religious person but i do believe in some sort of "after life" even though i've never experienced anything more than deja-vu. I think for many people, myself included, we like to think that there is more to death than once you're gone there is nothing more. I don't believe there is anything wrong with this kind of thinking and for many people it's healing. I think mediums/psychics can have their place, and if they help someone through a difficult time (like they did for my step mom when she lost her son) then let them do it.
I don't agree however with the amount of money they (the likes of Deb Webber, Kelvin et al) take or the way they exploit families, like those on sensing murder. It breaks my heart to think that Kayes family still have no further leads to her whereabouts.
Since reading a number of your discussions on 'sensing murder' I have more or less made up my mind that it is crap, but part of me still hopes that there maybe some truth and that they can at least help maybe one family. Which I know will never happen.
It's so true what you say about the programme blinding the audience, as without your explanations on how they have deceived I would have never noticed.
Since i've been reading your website an episode of 'sensing murder' (i think) came to my mind where they focused on just the psychics and the terrible childhoods they have all suffered, be it through abuse or bullying and their near death experiences. Now i'm doubting these stories, are they just another ploy to drag us further in to the lies and make us feel sorry for the psychics or to make them seem more believable?
When the new series airs next week, i'll be watching much more closely. I've also marked your website in my favourites and will read more with interest.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 07 Feb, 2010
Hi Lyndsey, I'm glad that you've 'more or less' decided that Sensing Murder is crap. As each new episode concludes and still no murderer is exposed or body found I hope you will become even more convinced. Completely ignore what strange revelations the mediums make on the program and keep asking yourself one single question: After claiming to be in direct and clear communication with the murder victim, have they solved the case? As I say, ignore what information they say they will pass on to police. By the time the show screens on TV the police will have had plenty of time to examine their new leads and check for bodies. Have you seen on the TV News that a murderer has been arrested or a body found through information provided from the Sensing Murder mediums? Spooky goings on and bleeped out names on the Sensing Murder program is just crap reality TV if no murder has been solved.
I'd like to comment on some other things you mentioned. You said, I am a 'kind of' believer. I'm not a religious person but i do believe in some sort of "after life". You say you're not a religious person, but unfortunately it is religion that created the concept of an 'afterlife'. Only religions push an idea of immaterial souls and an afterlife, a heaven, a hell or a place where the souls of the dead congregate. No scientific theory or naturalistic explanation of life and the universe supports the notion of an afterlife. Although you may no longer follow any religion, I suspect you are nevertheless unknowingly clinging to a religious idea, and most people when they try and describe this afterlife do so in religious terms. Most mediums and believers in mediums either specifically or vaguely make reference to God or gods or types of heaven and describe souls as immaterial entities outside the natural world, that is, the supernatural.
You go on to say that 'I like to think that there is more to death than once you're gone there is nothing more'.
Let me tell a fictitious story about chocolate. A man used to have the same thoughts regarding chocolate as some people have regarding life. He liked to think that there is more to chocolate than once you have finished the king sized block there is no more. However no matter how long he left the empty wrapper on the bench, it never refilled with chocolate. He eventually came to accept that his chocolate had gone forever, there is no more. Furthermore, no matter how much he enjoyed that chocolate, he now also accepts that his beloved chocolate is not living it up in some chocolate heaven. Of course he can still buy a new block of chocolate, just as new children are born, but the chocolate and children that he once experienced are no more.
In nearly every aspect of reality, people accept that once something is destroyed or eaten or consumed, then it is gone forever. They even accept that the majority of living things die without an afterlife. Once a goldfish or cow or whale dies, then that is the end, there is no whale heaven and we are not surrounded by invisible goldfish spirits. Yet when it comes to the death of humans, some people insist that different rules apply. However no one can ever explain why different rules should apply (unless they blindly refer to religion), nor can anyone produce any evidence that different rules do in fact apply. The simple and understandable desire to be immortal, to live forever, in no way offers support for life after death. We see examples of death everyday, from the death of animals in the wild and the death of pets to the death of strangers on the TV news and the death of friends and family members. But we never see examples of the continuation of life after death, of an afterlife, except for what can be called wishful thinking. Believing that psychic mediums provide proof of life after death is as na´ve as believing that magicians provide proof of magic.
The universe has existed for around 15 billion years, and I imagine that you'll agree that you haven't been around that long. On the scale of things humans only arose yesterday. Are you annoyed or depressed that you haven't existed for those 15 billion years? So why do you think that you will exist, not just for the next measly 15 billion years, but for all eternity? Why would some supernatural being insist that once humans are born they must exist forever, and yet he was perfectly happy and content to run the universe for 15 billion years without any humans at all? Another way of looking at it is that your conscious state after your death will be the same as your conscious state before your birth. Do you remember what your 'life' was like before your birth? No. So why do you think you will remember it after your death?
People, especially religious people, insist that life has to have a beginning, but that it won't have an end. The universe must have begun at some time in the past, and every living being must have been born at some time in the past. Neither could have existed forever they claim. But then they contradict themselves by insisting that once born they will then exist forever. However pretty much everything we experience in the natural world had a beginning and has had or will have an end. What evidence or reason indicates that the consciousness of humans had a beginning but won't have an end? Considering that chimps are genetically 98% identical to us and are obviously conscious, sentient, self-aware beings, do chimps also go on to a chimp 'afterlife'? If not, why not? If you mention the idea that only humans have souls, you have again attached yourself to a religious claim.
It's a fact that our body is controlled by our mind, which is generated by brain activity. There is no evidence of a soul or spirit or immortal essence controlling our thoughts and actions. If our brains are physically damaged then our thoughts and actions are affected, usually quite negatively. No 'soul' takes over and keeps us in optimum physical and mental condition. If the essence that makes us individuals, our personality and our memories, is immortal and completely intact somewhere in our bodies, then why doesn't it help us when we get hurt or grow old? Why does the mind suffer from dementia and forgets who our friends are while the soul sits in the background and says nothing? Why does the all-seeing soul of a blind person refuse to tell him what it sees, and lets him stumble around in the dark? If there is an immortal soul lurking somewhere inside you, it is not YOU, it is merely a spy or peeping tom that is observing your life, and when you die your personality and memories will die with you. The soul that was in your body may then flit off to spy on someone else, but this soul was never what you and your friends and family thought of as YOU.
Let's imagine you die as a crippled, incontinent, 95 year-old with dementia. Do you really want to go through eternity in this state? People reply that their soul wouldn't be old, crippled, incontinent or suffering from dementia. Then this soul isn't them, it's just a default, generic human 'mind' that has their name stamped on it. Who gets to decide what memories, emotions and experiences are erased from your 'soul' to make you 'fit and healthy' for your stint in eternity? Can you imagine the soul of a 20 year-old soldier killed in WW2 being reunited with the soul of his 90 year-old wife who died 70 years later? And what happens to the souls of her other two husbands? Whose wife is she? And if an idyllic afterlife exists, why are we so concerned when hundreds and thousands are killed in natural disasters? Haven't they gone to a far better place, a place that Christians especially can't wait to get to? Why rescue some wretched soul from an earthquake and place him back into a life of poverty and suffering when we could ignore his cries and send him off to paradise? If his family miss him, then stop humanitarian aid and they will soon follow him. The more one thinks about immortal souls, the more complications arise and the sillier it all becomes.
I certainly understand these desires regarding an afterlife. I'd love to be immortal, I'd love to be able to fly like Superman and for there to be pots of gold at the end of rainbows. But this is just wishful thinking. All the evidence suggests that all these things are just stories we tell children, and they have never been found in the real world, no matter how much we wish they were real and no matter how much we search for them.
I also understand that belief in an afterlife helps some get through the death of a loved one, and that mediums might assist this healing, but I maintain that this 'recovery' is achieved by lying to people. Adults often comfort young children by telling them that their pet dog wasn't actually killed in that horrible accident but has simply gone off to live on a farm, which is what all dogs dream of doing. This may save some impressionable young children from stresses and trauma that their young minds can't handle, but we all know that these stories are fiction, and that when they mature we know that we must eventually tell them the truth. For them to function as adults they must be told the truth, and we would condemn adults that tried to hide the realities of life from their mature children. Your dog is dead and not living happily on a farm, Granny has died and you won't be getting a call from her from some spa, Santa isn't real and the Tooth Fairy doesn't travel the world buying discarded teeth. As much as these stories comfort the young, they are false. The fact that children might wish them to be true does not make them true. Belief in an afterlife is just one final story that adults need to accept was just a story, invented long ago when man was ignorant and superstitious. Most adults are extremely annoyed when they discover other adults have lied to them, that their partner wasn't visiting a sick friend but having an affair, that their life savings aren't safe in the bank but have been embezzled by their accountant, that they are being made redundant not because there is no work but simply because their boss doesn't like them. Lies might keep them ignorant and happy, but most people want the truth. Learning to handle the truth is part of what being a mature adult means. Controlling adult behaviour with lies is no different from adults controlling the behaviour of children as Xmas approaches with threats of Santa not coming if they don't behave. Comforting adults by lying to them might be the easiest method, but I would rather be told the truth and be helped to deal with reality, than cocooned in a fantasy.
You also said that, 'I think mediums/psychics can have their place... [but] I don't agree however with the amount of money they take or the way they exploit families'.
The trouble with this for me is that once people accept that psychic mediums are genuine and/or offer a valuable service, then you can't expect them not to charge for this service, as even doctors and psychologists do. And the more skilled these individuals appear to be, then the more in demand they will be, and the more they will charge. As long as people believe psychic mediums are real, then they will charge high fees, it's simple supply and demand, and because they aren't genuine, people will continue to be exploited by them. Like you I am annoyed by the way the psychic mediums on Sensing Murder exploit grieving families, but let's remember that these psychic mediums are the best that Australasia has to offer. I always find it strange when people say that the countries best psychic mediums are fake but the little old lady they know is the real thing. If they are fake and simply conning people, then what chance is there that some old lady that just gives free readings to her friends is a 'real' medium? People that are truly good at something soon start charging for their services. If no one is prepared to pay then this means that they are not very good. If anyone is likely to be a real psychic medium then it is those on the likes of Sensing Murder. If they're fakes or deluded, then they all are. If we allow and support small time mediums in the community then some will eventually find their way onto TV and then start demanding higher fees.
And yes, I saw that episode that focused on the personal lives of the mediums. Most if not all were shown to be poorly educated, to have learning disabilities and to suffer from what professionals would describe as mild forms of mental illness. They also seemed to have suffered from sexual, mental and/or physical abuse. If these people had said that they talked to aliens or leprechauns then every professional and layperson would agree that their damaged mental states and harmful experiences growing up explain why they are having these delusions. In fact I suspect that most professionals would still insist that their claim of talking to ghosts is still a delusion best explained by their mental state, but some members of the public, because they also believe in ghosts and spirits, ignore the fragile mental states of these mediums and accept their delusions as real. Rather than help convince me that these mediums were really seeing dead people, the episode showed me that they really need psychiatric help.
I doubt if I will watch much of the up-coming Sensing Murder series, except to laugh at it. Just as once I had convinced myself that Santa wasn't real and I now don't have to re-examine my convictions anew every Xmas, it is a waste of time and brain cells to watch Sensing Murder fail, episode after episode, for another pathetic season. I do try to learn from my experiences.
Comment by Keri, 07 Feb, 2010
For me, the issue is — humans have a consiousness. Like every other being, senient & otherwise on this lovely planet we inhabit, we have a consiousness because we have a a brain.*
When we don't have a brain (e.g. when we are dead) we are NOT consious.
*The corollary is — if there is a brain, there is a consiousness. Which is why I am, by & large, a vegetarian.
Comment by Matt, 09 Feb, 2010
I often wonder if the only use for psychics is to use established facts to scare guilt ridden bad guys into giving themselves away. Unfortunately not even this much has occured and the episode you mention was by far one of the most frustrating and definitely the least convincing considering their established prior case knowledge. As for the afterlife, there is plenty of theories and whilst it might be nice to be reborn young vibrant and energetic, i suspect i might have to put up with being reborn as a blade of grass as my individual atoms and molecules are recycled, personally i'm going for cremation to get maximum coverage through photosynthesis.
Comment by Ken, 30 Mar, 2011
You "have no time for psychics and mediums, or the leeches that make TV shows about them, because they are lying to us simply to make money."
I have a question of you, do you have any religious beliefs?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Mar, 2011
Our belief is that religion is nonsense, and actually provides the foundation that allows these frauds to flourish. If it weren't for a silly belief in souls and heaven and angels on clouds then mediums wouldn't exist. Does your question somehow relate to the mediums' blatant failure to solve this murder, or in fact any murder?
Comment by Ken, 30 Mar, 2011
No, not much difference between these leeches and the ones peddling religion, except that the religious ones seem to be more accepted by the community and governments.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 31 Mar, 2011
Yes Ken, the religious leeches are more accepted by the community and governments, and we're working at changing that too!
Comment by Earthmother, 03 Oct, 2011
Hi all, just discovered your page. Obviously you are not very well informed about all the crimes that mediums, psychics, psychic investigators, and other intuitive people have solved throughout the world.
In my spare time I will endeavour to enlighten you. I will also provide the web links to the evidence that you so desperately require.
Many crimes are solved by mediums leads, its just not publicised, usually to protect the medium, psychic or investigator who has provided the leads.
I notice the comments stopped on this site at the end of March this year. Why was that?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 04 Oct, 2011
Most likely no one has commented on this article since March because no one that disagreed with it could think of a good reason to challenge it.
You're right, we are not aware of a single well-documented crime worldwide that has been solved by mediums, psychics or psychic investigators. We've noticed that many of these people claim — in their books, websites and in public — to have worked with the police and solved crimes, but again, not a single one has been able to provide reliable evidence that they have.
You then appear to explain that we won't be aware of crimes being solved by mediums because 'its just not publicised'. If the legal system is suppressing the involvement of mediums to protect them, then how do you know of them? Why are the police revealing evidence of their successes to you but not to anyone else? Or why are mediums telling you that they have solved crimes but they don't want their critics to know this? Is it skeptics that they believe they need protection from?
If mediums fear the public learning of their involvement in investigating crimes, how do you explain TV programs like 'Sensing Murder' which highlights their involvement (as well as their abject failures)?
And if mediums were solving many crimes, wouldn't it make sense to reveal this fact, even if the identities of the mediums were kept secret? Surely the knowledge that mediums are regularly exposing murderers, rapists and other criminals would see a huge drop in crime? What better incentive to lead a lawful lifestyle than the knowledge that ghosts are watching you and will rat you out to the cops if you commit a crime?
We certainly do hope you get some spare time to enlighten us on these matters.
Comment by Phill, 05 Oct, 2011
I would have thought that if there was anything in criminal psychic investigation police forces around the world would have set up psychic units decades ago. I mean why bother with all that tedious forensics and door to door routine if you could interview the murder victim or get a reading from a piece of evidence. The modern image of an investigation would not be people in white coveralls on hands and knees doing finger searches of a crime scene but a group of detectives standing in a circle holding hands.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 05 Oct, 2011
Perhaps what Earthmother is telling us Phill is that the police have set up psychic units, they're just not allowed to tell us about them? ;-)
Comment by Nick, 09 May, 2012
i think you may reconsider the message your website is giving to people, silly beliefs my ass!
it is now a proven fact that belief controls biology and life is controlled by the environment
M Theory is pretty much scientifically proven that says we are all connected and basicity anything your subconscious mind believes must happen.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 May, 2012
Sorry Nick, but you give us no sane reason to reconsider our message. Not only is it not 'a proven fact that belief controls biology', it is in our view complete nonsense. Likewise, assuming you're talking of superstrings, M Theory is not 'pretty much scientifically proven', nor does it say, let alone prove, that 'anything your subconscious mind believes must happen'.
We don't understand how people can seriously claim that our thoughts create reality. If what my mind thinks must happen, then you should now find yourself dressed in a chicken suit and riding a unicycle through your local supermarket. If you don't find this to be the case, then my thoughts are not controlling the world.
Just think for a moment what your claim means, that our thoughts create reality. In my reality there is a terrible war in Afghanistan and thousands are dying of Aids and famine in Africa. Do you seriously believe that I am creating this horror? You are also in my reality, apparently. Are you saying that you are merely a creation of my mind? Or is it the other way around? Am I a creation of your mind? And if I am, why have you imagined a website just so you could then criticise it? That seems a little silly.
If all individuals create their own reality, then we are all existing in separate universes. And in this particular universe, where this exchange is occurring, which one of us is real? Are you creating me, or am I creating you? Or has someone else created us both, simply to act out their thoughts?
If you're the ONE, if everything your mind thinks must happen, why are you making horrible things happen? Why have you created a world that has wars, plagues, famines and natural disasters, murderers and rapists, and a universe that is essentially hostile to life? And why did you imagine us and bring us into existence, are you looking for a nemesis to relieve your boredom? On reading these comments will you immediately zap us into oblivion?
You might reply that it's our subconscious mind that is creating reality, not our conscious thoughts and desires. But this has two main problems. Firstly, everyone has a subconscious mind, so this scenario suffers from the same problem as our conscious mind, every person would be (unknowingly) creating and living in their own universe, surrounded by fake people that they have created. Secondly, the thoughts of our subconscious mind are unknown, that's why they're called subconscious. If these unknown thoughts were creating our world, we would never be able to prove this. We would never know that the world that we see was the creation of our unconscious thoughts since we don't know (and by definition can never know) what our unconscious thoughts are. Thoughts that we are aware of must be conscious thoughts.
We believe you have it backwards. It is the environment and biology that creates beliefs, not the other way around. The universe eventually created minds, and it is minds that create beliefs, most of which have throughout history been bogus. Beliefs in no way control biology. People wishing that they were healthy or didn't need to wear glasses or weren't allergic to peanuts quickly discover that their beliefs and desires have no effect on their biology or the biology of those around them.
A friend of mine believes as you do, that our thoughts create the world. When his beloved wife died from cancer at the young age of 40, and he again raised this belief, I couldn't bring myself to ask him why he had created a personal world of suffering and loss. So perhaps you could explain why we create our own hell when we could create utopia?
Or should we continue with our silly beliefs message as usual? The ball is in your court Nick.
Comment by Laine, 30 Jan, 2013
You say that you do not have any time for mediums or psychics, that they are only trying to make a name for themselves or money, but then you must also put yourself into these categories as well. After all you started this web site with that very hope of becoming well known or perhaps even famous as a skeptic, and along with that perhaps reap the rewards.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Jan, 2013
I have a number of problems with your accusation. First, like most believers in this nonsense you hope to intimidate us with insults rather than confound us with evidence. I'm assuming you've read our criticisms of mediums and psychics, and yet seemingly you couldn't find a single flaw in our reasoning that you thought worth commenting on? Nothing at all that you thought we got wrong in our demonstration that psychics are frauds? Nothing?
Secondly, how do you reach the utterly false and insulting conclusion that we 'started this web site with that very hope of becoming well known or perhaps even famous as a skeptic, and along with that perhaps reap the rewards'. Please show your evidence for this accusation, or did some spirit whisper this to you as you slept? Perhaps you're only motivated to express opinions publicly on the hope that you'll become famous and wealthy, but not everyone is so driven by thoughts of celebrity and bling.
Thirdly, it's ridiculous to argue that opposing groups must have the same motivation to do what they do. It's as silly as saying the police are only trying to catch murderers and rapists to make a name for themselves or to make money.
The fact is we have no problem with people trying to make a name for themselves or money as long as they do it honestly. Thus we do have a big problem with these fraudulent mediums and psychics lying and cheating and ripping off a gullible public, filling their heads with superstitious nonsense and emptying their wallets.
Of course you could stop us in our tracks by providing evidence that we're wrong. We're waiting.
Comment by Rex, 29 Mar, 2015
Interesting views put forward on each programme to discredit the psychics. Your language is so emotive and self-serving as to be basically worthless except as a ploy to support your own quest for self-aggrandisement. I presume you work for a call centre.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 29 Mar, 2015
Rex, I wish that once, just once even, one of you believers in spooky things could move beyond childish insults and actually explain WHY all our criticisms of these silly psychics are 'basically worthless'. Especially when you begin with the implication that they're not worthless at all, that we've put forward 'interesting views' that apparently 'discredit the psychics'.
As I've said before, you believers would be so much more convincing if, rather just saying we're wrong, you had provided your reasons for thinking this, but... nothing... as usual. Do you lack the intellect or the confidence? What is it, why can't you explain how our accusations of lying and cheating by the psychics and film crew are mistaken? Why should we be tempted to change our view of psychics when you turkeys will never give us a reason to change? Doesn't it trouble you, even a little bit, that these charlatans haven't solved a single murder worldwide? Ever?
So do you have an argument in defence of the psychics, or were you just hoping that a quick rant would shame us into silence? Your friends may be psychic, but I'm not, so you need to cut the telepathy crap and put your thoughts into written words. Can you do that... or do you feel another insult coming on? Operators are standing by.
Comment by Sri, 08 Oct, 2015
Hi John, I read some of the comments on your silly beliefs website. To shed a little more light on psychics in general and then refer to the programme. I was a man of science having completed a degree in Maths and Physics from Auckland University. In 2008, I underwent a significant transformation after unblocking childhood trauma. This unblocking had me seeing and knowing things which made me think I had a brain tumour and was going crazy. Living in UK at the time, I was sent to a specialist consultant who evaluated my over a 2 week period eg. EEG, Brain scan, psychological assessments etc. At the end of it, the consultant told me I had become psychic again! He went on to say that Doctors can acknowledge it but couldn't explain it. I was shocked and dumbfounded; I started a journey to understand this ability and tested myself and it was certainly a journey! A few things I have learned along the way:
- We all have a psychic ability although in many situations it is suppressed — some many call it intuition at a lower level
- There is a London College of Psychic Studies where one can learn and develop the ability
- Most of the time, testing of the ability is based on the aspect of "control" and the ability does not work under these types of environment i.e. negative behaviour. Psychics cannot receive any messages if they are full of negative emotions.
- There are many well-known and highly acclaimed academics who have studied and written books on many of the elements associated with psychics e.g. Dr Brian Weiss who use to be the Chief of Psychiatry at Miami State University and wrote a number of books on Past lives etc.
- Our own ego (fear) stops us believing that there is a world beyond what our 5 senses can pick up
- Sometimes psychics do "get it wrong" and is only to be expected when we consider there is a human element.
- Everyone is entitled to their own belief system
Overall, my view of the programme has been it is entertaining and there are a number of instances where it has been helpful where normal tools have not worked. I have seen a number of Police organisations around the world including the US Government use psychic techniques like "remote viewing" to assist them with establishing missile sites etc. Have a look in the SRI International organisation which was funded by the US Government and managed by Harvard University and there is a team working and using one of the psychic based abilities.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 Oct, 2015
Hi Sri. Thanks for your comments, although based on our stance re psychics, I'm sure you won't be surprised that I find them a little outlandish. I felt your claim to be 'a man of science' conflicts somewhat with your paranormal sounding journey where you 'underwent a significant transformation after unblocking childhood trauma'. What 'man of science' goes down that path? And when you started 'seeing and knowing things', why did you think you were going crazy? If I suddenly started to know things about the world that I wouldn't normally know — factual things, things that can be verified — then I wouldn't suspect my sanity, I would accept that something had radically changed with me. And this is speaking as someone who presently thinks psychic powers aren't real, whereas you apparently were far more accepting of paranormal ideas when you gained your powers. And yet you went with 'crazy'?
On gaining your powers, you say you were 'sent to a specialist consultant who evaluated my over a 2 week period eg. EEG, Brain scan, psychological assessments etc. At the end of it, the consultant told me I had become psychic again!' What do mean you 'had become psychic again'? If you used to be psychic in the past, why would it surprise you to regain your powers, so much so that you sought professional help? And how did the consultant know you were once psychic, how would he determine that, or did you tell him? Also the consultant doesn't appear to have tested for psychic powers, merely for tumours and your sanity. Testing psychic powers would require you to reveal knowledge of events or remote locations etc that you shouldn't possess, and for these to be confirmed by the consultant, which you don't mention him doing.
On somehow diagnosing your psychic powers, you say the consultant 'went on to say that Doctors can acknowledge it but couldn't explain it. I was shocked and dumbfounded'. I'd like to think that you were 'shocked and dumbfounded' that a 'specialist consultant' could, with a straight face, tell you that you'd somehow contracted a case of psychic powers, but I gather that is not the reason you were shocked. Seriously, what real doctor would say that psychic powers are obviously real, all doctors know that, but unfortunately modern medicine still can't explain them?
As for the things you've learned, let's look at how credible they are.
'We all have a psychic ability although in many situations it is suppressed...'
There is no evidence for this whatsoever. It's as empty as someone saying that we all have the ability to become invisible, but for most of us it is a suppressed ability. Or we can all fly like Superman, but unfortunately most of us refuse to believe that could be true, we suppress the knowledge and so we have to walk everywhere. Perhaps we don't see psychic ability simply because it doesn't exist? Which is more likely, that magical powers aren't real or that they are but everyone is suppressing them?
'There is a London College of Psychic Studies...'
So what? There are colleges for witches, homeopathy and all manner of nonsense. In my locale, there used to be an expensive accredited college where people could learn to levitate and eventually fly like Superman. Seriously! The existence of an institution doesn't mean that the beliefs they teach are true. In big cities you can find Christian churches, Muslim mosques, Jewish synagogues and Hindu temples, all pushing conflicting beliefs. At most only one can be telling the truth, and I contend that none are.
'...the ability does not work under these types of environment i.e. negative behaviour. Psychics cannot receive any messages if they are full of negative emotions'.
This is nothing but a silly 'Get out of jail free' excuse, to explain why psychics have NEVER solved a single mystery. The reality is, as shown on the numerous 'Sensing Murder' episodes worldwide, that psychics claim to receive hours upon hours of messages from the dead. The dead love to talk and talk, it's just that they refuse to reveal any details that might help solve their murder. Why this reluctance to see justice done?
'There are many well-known and highly acclaimed academics who have studied and written books on... psychics...'.
Just as there are many well-known and highly acclaimed academics who have studied and written books on gods, witchcraft, crystal healing and alien abductions. No matter how ridiculous the topic, one can always find an academic that believes in it. But on the other side, one can always find far, far, far more well-known and highly acclaimed academics who have studied and written books that criticise belief in these silly things. For every academic that believes in psychics, there is an army of academics who don't, just as for every biologist that believes in Creationism, an army of biologists opt for evolution.
'Our own ego (fear) stops us believing that there is a world beyond what our 5 senses can pick up'
That simply isn't true. Science has revealed a universe replete with things that our 5 senses can't detect, from viruses and DNA to galaxies and black holes, and from microwaves and infrasound to dark matter and dark energy. These things are all invisible to our ordinary senses, and yet our ego or fear doesn't stop us from detecting them and believing in them. That's because there is real solid evidence to convince us that they really exist. We don't blindly dismiss a psychic world because of fear, we dismiss it for the same reason we dismiss leprechauns and evil trolls under bridges. If psychics insist that we should accept a world that our senses (and our instruments) can't detect, that is, a world for which there is no evidence, then leprechauns suddenly become real too. That is the psychic argument, if accepted it simply means that anything, no matter how ridiculous, must be accepted as plausible. The more we can't detect it, the more it might be real. It opens the door to pure nonsense and ignorance.
'Sometimes psychics do "get it wrong" and is only to be expected when we consider there is a human element.'
I'm sorry, but saying that 'Sometimes psychics do "get it wrong"' is as misleading as saying that sometimes the spells cast by witches don't work. The only time psychics get it right is when they cheat or when they issue banal statements that even the village idiot could have guessed, such as, 'I think the body is near water... perhaps. And by near I mean within 50 kms. And by water I mean the sea, a river, a pond, a swimming pool or perhaps even a toilet'.
There is no evidence of psychics getting their predictions proved correct on a regular basis (or irregular basis), and yet there are untold psychics worldwide making untold predictions about murders, disasters, assassinations and missing planes etc. Since there has not been one well-documented psychic success, not even one from what must be millions of predictions, then clearly psychics do nothing but 'get it wrong'. Day after day after day. Look at the TV news any night of the week and unexpected events will be reported, from unsolved murders to missing people. And not once are we later told that a psychic has solved one of these murders or located a missing person. Why is this?
'Everyone is entitled to their own belief system'
Of course they are, but this doesn't mean their belief is true. Kids are entitled to believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, radical Muslims are entitled to believe that Allah wants them to rule the world, Catholic priests are entitled to believe that their god is OK with them raping children, conspiracy theorists are entitled to believe that we didn't land on the Moon, and racists are entitled to believe that they're superior. It's not a question of being free to believe as we wish, which we are, it's about believing for the right reasons. Skeptics are not denying people the right to believe in psychics, we are simply saying there is no good reason to believe in them. Believers, no matter what they believe in, should be able to provide evidence for their belief. Having no evidence and falling back on a plea to simply be left alone and be allowed to believe as you wish is, to me, an admission of defeat.
You then say that regarding the 'Sensing Murder' series, 'it is entertaining and there are a number of instances where it has been helpful'. Of course being entertaining is irrelevant, the last 'Superman' movie I watched was entertaining, but hardly factual. But to your second point, let me remind you that all the murders that the show has examined continue to remain unsolved. The psychics provided no useful leads. None whatsoever. And perhaps I need to repeat that 'Sensing Murder' hasn't just failed in New Zealand and Australia. It also failed to solve murders in the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Romania, Sweden and Norway. All these countries had their own 'Sensing Murder' show and their psychics were just as pathetic as ours.
You continue by adding that you've 'seen a number of Police organisations around the world including the US Government use psychic techniques like "remote viewing" to assist them with establishing missile sites etc'. Again let me reiterate that there is not one well-documented case worldwide of a psychic providing useful information or solving any crime. Not just the crimes in 'Sensing Murder', but any crime. Ever. Worldwide. We know some psychics say they have helped the police solve crimes, but they are never able to prove this. Saying something doesn't make it true. If psychics really could solve crimes, there would be no unsolved crimes on police files.
It is true that many psychics offer their services to the police, and waste a huge amount of police time, and it is true that a few police officers believe in psychics. But it doesn't matter what the odd police officer believes in, what matters is solving crimes, and the reality is that crimes are solved by real investigative work, never tips from psychics. Go into any modern police station worldwide and you'll find detectives and evidence rooms, forensic labs and maybe even a cyber crimes division, but you'll never find a psychic department or even a single police department admitting that they have a psychic on the payroll. Why is that if psychics have proven their worth? Why have the police quickly adopted iPads, video cameras and tasers but not psychics? Because of course psychics haven't made a difference, they haven't help solve anything.
And yes, in the past the US government has used psychics and investigated the use of 'remote viewing' to spy on their enemies. At one time they foolishly used to stand around and watch nearby nuclear explosions too, and even put radioactive radium in their toothpaste. Their most famous waste of taxpayer money was a program called 'Stargate', but if you've researched these programs you'll know that they were complete and utter failures. These programs were closed down decades ago, and they're only mentioned these days by psychics trying to pretend that research is ongoing. There are academics at some universities researching the paranormal, but there is not a single experiment that has demonstrated its existence, and there certainly isn't any team using 'psychic based abilities' to achieve certain goals. The US government spent years and a fortune looking for Osama bin Laden, the FBI has a 'Ten Most Wanted' list, and look at the millions that are being spent trying to find missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and to determine what happened, why aren't the psychics interested in solving these cases? Of course when (hopefully) it is solved, psychics will come forward saying that they knew all along where the plane was — 'I said it was in or near water, but no one took me seriously!' It's only the psychics in their books that claim they're helping the police solve crimes. Strangely when a crime is solved and reported in the media the police always forget to thank the psychic for doing their job for them, and the psychic never complains that they were overlooked. Why is that?
If you and other psychics truly have a gift of 'seeing and knowing things' — important things — then why won't you use your gift for good and really help people? I don't mean helping granny find her car keys, we non-psychic folk can assist there, I mean solving and even preventing crime, as well as locating missing children and warning of disasters? You could make a massive difference and relieve a mountain of suffering. Why do you all insist that your psychic powers are real, but then you all refuse to use them? What's the point of having them? Surely not to just do a few silly tricks — 'umm... I'm sensing that you might be a teacher, or perhaps once thought of being teacher, or maybe you know a teacher?... Ok, so you know a teacher... How did I know that? I have the gift!' And yet without fail, all the people that claim to have powerful psychic abilities spend their time performing trivial tricks for money, it's always about touring the country with their act, appearing on TV shows, writing books and giving expensive private readings to someone who wants to communicate with their dead husband. No psychic is apparently interested in solving real, important mysteries. Which is strange, since besides actually solving a mystery, proving that you could actually locate missing people and planes would make you an unimaginable fortune, governments would be vying to acquire your services, not just the old lady down the road. Why don't the greedy professional psychics move into the big time and solve the big mysteries?
I contend that the greedy professional psychics stick with their small time acts because they know that they can't really talk to the dead, that they aren't actually receiving spooky messages, because every time they've tried to solve a real mystery they've failed miserably. Their secret failures force them to stick with gullible old ladies and to leave solving mysteries to the experts.
Comment by Tony, 09 Oct, 2015
"there are a number of instances where it has been helpful where normal tools have not worked."
I challenge you to provide credible evidence of a single such instance or admit you are wrong. I confidently predict you won't do either.
Comment by Mira, 10 Oct, 2015
Support Science Not Superstition
Hello John, I agree whole heartedly.
BUT: what about the bump in the night aspect of the universe ?
Oh so may years ago, sometime after WW2, my aunt & uncle went from Slovenia to Croatia to open a tavern, in those days & in many places, people were afraid of the electric light & believed it to be black magic from the devil = bump in the night. Now what a silly thing to believe, we all know that electricity is science & a naturally occurring facet of very simple science.
I have watched Sensing Murder & I also have issues with the psychic ability aspect, it is not that I don't believe it is possible to receive messages from the past, present or the future, it is where they are accessed from & how, that I take issue with.
I do not believe that the dead are hovering around us & waiting for us in the light, most likely it is that the psychic is privy to a data base / memory bank of some sort, an organic memory bank that is / & contains past, present or future information.
In Physics, it is held that the universe never forgets - everything has memory & therefore intellectual capacity - therefore nothing can become extinct, it is held in suspended animation until such time as it is required, to maintain & re-establish balance in the universe - instant is real, fast tracking is yet another aspect of time & space. If nothing is ever forgotten than everything that has been in the universe / all information is stored & therefore future is not only possible but reality - in the form of probabilities - which means that the future is not set in stone but fluid.
I think that the psychics of the world need to move into the future & embrace a more realistic approach to their abilities. I also believe that the memory data that is accessed could be a denial of the real event on the part of the person who's memory is being accessed & therefore not correct.
That's all for now.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 10 Oct, 2015
You started off well Mira, but then I'm afraid our paths diverged. I liked your aunt & uncle story, it demonstrated how people are often tempted to attribute superstitious explanations to events that surprise and/or shock them. Yet of all the mysterious things humans have encountered in the universe, not one has been found to have a supernatural or paranormal cause, everything has a natural explanation, albeit sometimes a complicated one. Of the things that still remain mysteries, experience suggests that there is no reason not to expect they will also have natural explanations when solved.
Regarding the information psychics reveal, you dismiss hovering spirits — so far so good — but then you suggest that the psychic is 'most likely... privy to a data base / memory bank of some sort, an organic memory bank that is'. You imply that psychics are receiving real psychic information since you 'believe it is possible to receive messages from the past, present or the future', you just don't think these message are coming from dead people. But this is where I feel you're now mirroring your aunt & uncle, opting for a complicated paranormal explanation over a simple, natural one. There is not a single snippet of evidence that suggests that some 'organic memory bank' exists that 'contains past, present or future information'. Furthermore there is no evidence that psychic abilities exist that could access this memory bank, nor are there any rational and scientific theories as to how these psychic abilities could work or how or why this memory bank might exist.
Saying that there exists an invisible and undetected 'memory bank of some sort' that is accessed by people that hear voices in their heads, who then relay garbled messages that are always worthless or outright wrong, frankly gets us nowhere as an explanation of what psychics are doing. It's no different to someone saying that every human sexual relationship is not actually random, who we meet and fall in love with is all dictated by pairings recorded in an unseen database that is maintained by an army of invisible cupids. These cupids, following the information in their database, determine who we hook up with. There's nothing natural about our love lives, who we meet is all predetermined. This cupid database makes as much sense and has as much evidence going for it as your psychic database, but seriously, what reasons do we have to even suspect, let alone believe, that either database exists? There are simple, well supported natural explanations of how love and psychics work without having to invent invisible databases.
To support your invisible database idea, you say that 'In Physics, it is held that the universe never forgets - everything has memory & therefore intellectual capacity'. I'm no physics expert, but wherever you got those views from, it certainly wasn't from physics. Almost nothing in the universe has memory and intellectual capacity. Physicist Michio Kaku has written that 'the visible matter we see around us (including the mountains, planets, stars, and galaxies) makes up a paltry 4 percent of the total matter and energy content of the universe. Of that 4 percent, most of it is in the form of hydrogen and helium... The familiar elements that make up our world constitute only 0.03 percent of the universe'. And I would add that of that 0.03 percent, an equally paltry amount is imbued with what we call life and has memory and intellectual capacity.
Memory, according to my dictionary, is the 'mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience'. Humans have memory because we have brains, organs that can retain and recall past experiences. Rocks, water, t-shirts, plants, clouds of gas, sandy beaches and the cereal I had for breakfast have no organs similar to brains and thus no means of even retaining memories of past experiences, let alone the ability to recall those memories. Of late humans have used the concept of memory and we now say that my digital camera and my USB flash drive both have a form of memory. They can in a sense retain and recall past experiences, but it is still humans that must force this retention and recall, and the 'memories' only make sense to humans. There is no 'intellectual capacity' within my digital camera, even though we say it contains a memory. People could argue that the wear on clothing or the weathering on rocks or wrinkles on our skin are a form of memory, that they reveal past experiences, but this is a world away from suggesting that 'the universe never forgets', that these memories will always exist. When the clothing, rocks and our bodies eventually disintegrate, whatever past experiences our appearance used to suggest will be utterly destroyed. No memory will be retained. And when our actual brains die, our memories die with them, no copy is uploaded to some 'organic memory bank'. Of course you can hope that our memories do make that journey, but that is no different to hoping that our spirit travels to Valhalla on our death where we get to feast with the Norse gods forever.
Because 'the universe never forgets', you go on to say that 'therefore nothing can become extinct, it is held in suspended animation until such time as it is required, to maintain & re-establish balance in the universe'. To me this implies that you believe there is some god-like entity running the show, or that the universe itself is self aware. But what evidence is there for this view? I see nothing that would suggest that the universe is watching me or constantly picking up after me. Also scientists believe that some 98% of all species that have ever existed have gone extinct, and there is no evidence that a single one has ever come back from extinction. Think of all the things from our past, such as woolly mammoths, Egyptian Pharaohs, Medieval London, Pompeii before Mount Vesuvius erupted and Abraham Lincoln, not a single object or person from the past has ever suddenly popped back into existence. Clearly if this 'organic memory bank' does exist then it certainly has never been used, so some time in the future might I be surprised by the sudden appearance of a saber-toothed tiger in my bathroom?
You talk of a requirement 'to maintain & re-establish balance in the universe', but if this were true then the universe should be relatively static, which it clearly isn't. The Universe started as an extremely small, hot, dense point and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Temperature and density is decreasing and entropy is increasing. Only in rare and localised cases can some form of balance be found, and that's only temporary. Stars exist because of a balance between gravity and radiation, but eventually that balance fails and they implode and/or explode. Everything in the universe is evolving and changing, everything from stars to people come into existence and then fade from existence, nothing maintains a balance for long. The continents on Earth have been moving around for millions of years, as have the life forms on them, no balance there. I can't think of any example where the universe has stepped in to restore some sort of balance. When the Nazis murdered all those Jews in the Holocaust, or the Black Death killed millions in the 14th century, or that comet wiped out all the dinosaurs, why weren't their memories recovered from 'suspended animation' so as to 'maintain & re-establish balance in the universe'? Does the universe not care about the Jews and the dinosaurs? When humans suffer various forms of dementia and lose their memories, why doesn't the universe recover them from its 'organic memory bank' and restore the balance, and give people back their dignity? Clearly this database isn't being used to bring back things from extinction or 'to maintain & re-establish balance in the universe', so what's it really for then? Are psychics like computer hackers, stealing information that they can't fully understand from systems that they shouldn't be accessing? Perhaps the universe needs to upgrade it firewall software? Or perhaps the universe is fully aware of the incursion and deliberately releases vague and disjointed snippets for a bit of a laugh at the expense of some gullible humans?
I'm a little confused as to what you mean when you say that 'If nothing is ever forgotten than everything that has been in the universe / all information is stored & therefore future is not only possible but reality - in the form of probabilities - which means that the future is not set in stone but fluid'. You appear to be arguing that for our future to be a reality, then the universe must remember everything that's happened in the past. With no memory of the past then the future can never happen. I see no reason for this to be true. I can be utterly ignorant of the past, but the universe will go on regardless. Certainly I can personally influence what sort of life I will live by having knowledge of the past, but again the future will exist regardless, my memories might only influence whether it will be an enjoyable or bleak future. I see no evidence that the universe, meaning the rocks I stand on and the air that I breathe, needs to have a memory of our existence together for me to have a future of some description. Plus I see no evidence that the universe is interfering in the world to bring about this future. Then we have the old free will, time travel and predestination problems, since if as you say, 'the future is not set in stone but fluid', how then can a 'data base / memory bank of some sort' exist that 'contains... future information', if the future hasn't yet happened?
You finish by saying that you 'think that the psychics... need to... embrace a more realistic approach to their abilities'. I agree completely, but alas, I fear it is for a different reason to you. We both agree that psychics aren't getting messages from dead people, but whereas I believe they're either delusional or devious and simply plucking the message from their imagination, you believe they're unknowingly accessing some invisible 'organic memory bank that... contains past, present or future information'. A realistic approach means to gain an understanding of things as they really are. So for psychics to gain a realistic awareness of their abilities would be for them to realise that they consistently fail to provide accurate information on past, present and future events that they personally have no connection to, and that the rational explanation for their failures is that they are simply guessing, and when they do unexpectedly get a correct answer, they cheated. The simplest explanation, backed by the evidence, is that no 'organic memory bank' exists and that psychics are deluding themselves and/or their followers.
I've had some further thoughts about how all this memory stuff might work, or not as the case might be. Human memories form because our sense organs — eyes, ears etc — send information via nerves to the brain where it's consciously analysed and it then may be stored long term as a memory or simply forgotten. And without doubt humans do forget. You believe that 'the universe never forgets' due to 'a data base / memory bank of some sort', so it must be explained how fleeting human memories are transferred to this memory bank. No doubt the answer is a psychic link of some sort. But scientists have examined the human brain and body in great detail and no psychic transmitter has been discovered and no psychic energy detected. They have discovered quasars billions of light years away and quarks at the centre of atoms and an origin to the universe billions of years in the past, but they've been unable to detect any transfer of information from the brain. Likewise they have been unable to detect any strange object that might serve as a universal memory bank, which is strange considering that it must be astronomically complex and huge to store the memories from everything in the universe, not just humans, but dolphins, bacteria, rocks and toasters. Considering just humans alone, this would see billions of memories being received every second by the database, and since the human brain stores a mere fraction of what a single human experiences in a life time, a database that could receive and store even the most fleeting memory from around a 100 billion humans must be trillions of times more complex and powerful than a human brain. How could something like this evolve, and why would it evolve, since as I've argued, beyond storing memories, it appears to have no purpose and no impact on how the universe unfolds? And where might something so huge and complex be located? Out in deep space somewhere, on the astral plane, Silicon Valley, in another dimension? Since everything from humans to sea slugs must transmit our memories to this memory bank, the further away it is means the more psychic energy that must be expended to transmit the data. Both humans and sea slugs should be literally glowing due to this continual output of data to some mystery database. And yet strangely we're not, there is no hint that we are unknowingly broadcasting our thoughts to Big Brother. Likewise the energy consumption of this database should be monumental, it too should be glowing like a beacon. Yet even though we've found mysterious dark matter and dark energy, we still have no inkling that the universe is recording us.
And what happens to these covert recordings? Human memories are only useful because our intellect can recall them, analyse them and use them to plan our actions. To argue that 'the universe never forgets' and that our memories are used to 'maintain & re-establish balance in the universe', all this implies an intellect at work, an incomprehensibly massive intellect. Most humans struggle to make sense of the few memories we possess and to make our way in the world, so an intellect that could consider every memory ever made by everything from dinosaurs to starfish to a black hole at the edge of the visible universe and then know exactly what must be done to maintain balance in the entire universe, not just on Earth and not just with humans, could only be described as god-like. And once we start positing that a god is running the universe, well, we might as well argue that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are keeping a database on us as well.
Comment by Valley Girl, 13 Jan, 2016
Hello John. Interesting read. 11 years after this terrible event... but after watching this series, and then reading your pull apart version. I realise where you have gone wrong in your conclusion.
Both psychics said she knew him, and that he lied, he had already been spoken to by police but he lied. That makes this case so blindingly obvious to me, but then I am from that community and even though I have not lived there for 20 years, am still able to visualise the whole area in my minds eye.
Have you checked recently if Kay's body has been located, and if anyone has been arrested? I'm sure you'll find the information provided by the psychics was correct. We all know police do things in silly ways, because of the silly law system, and due process, so that once these bad buggers get nicked, they can't get out again. Or perhaps the police have not push this because the main person of interest has departed also. Or perhaps an under resourced overworked police force have simply not had the time to pursue this. If the body is yet to be found maybe Kelvin Cruickshank will do a pro bono and lead police into the logged gully so that Kays family can get the closure they need. I am a skeptic with an open mind :)
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 13 Jan, 2016
I'm sorry, Valley Girl, but you're not really a skeptic if you believe Kelvin Cruickshank can talk to dead people. If you don't believe me, try attending a skeptics conference and see how many open-minded people there believe in psychics. A skeptic who believes in psychics would be like an atheist who believes in God.
To my knowledge, and yours too apparently, no body has been discovered and no one has been arrested for Stewart's disappearance. Since you've read our article then you'll know that both psychics were utterly wrong in their descriptions of Kaye Stewart's movements. So if much of what they said about her disappearance was clearly wrong, why should you, or the police, believe empty accusations that they made against some member of the public, accusations for which they provided no evidence whatsoever? Would you be happy if the police arrested you for some heinous crime, with no evidence, just because some deluded fool thought they saw someone like you in a dream?
The police were seen as failures by not solving the case, and Detective Ross Levy's participation on 'Sensing Murder' made them a laughing stock. They would now be highly motivated to make an arrest and close the case, so it's quite unbelievable that they are sitting on crucial information and simply can't be bothered to do anything with it. Furthermore, the police don't just lose interest when a suspect leaves the area, this is a murder investigation, not some overdue parking fines. Believe it or not, the police can and do follow and investigate suspects even when they go overseas.
But let's assume for the moment that the person the psychics accused is guilty, however the police can't proceed because without a body they don't have enough evidence to make an arrest. But if someone, say Cruickshank, were to actually find a buried body then the police would quickly take an interest. So why is it that neither Cruickshank nor Webber can be bothered to finally locate a body and solve a murder? What are they waiting for, some huge reward before they'll do the decent thing? They were more than happy to take money from Kaye Stewart's family to give psychic readings, and then get paid to perform their tricks on 'Sensing Murder', so why aren't they prepared, as you say, to give the family the closure they need?
Also I don't understand that if Cruickshank knows where the body is, then why would he 'lead police into the logged gully' now when he couldn't (or wouldn't) do it back when the show was made? Let us remind readers that even though psychics have attempted to solve thousands of murders worldwide using their spooky powers, not one has ever succeeded. Not one! And the likes of Cruickshank and Webber are in no hurry to turn that embarrassing record around. They both claim to know where Stewart's body is buried, but both apparently have more important things to do. They're either lying, or very despicable people. Or perhaps both.
Comment by Anonymous-2, 21 May, 2016
In the series, Unsolved Mysteries we get updates ... Why no updates for Sensing Murder .... It doesn't give viewers any confidence in the psychics does it, nothing is ever solved as far as we know.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 21 May, 2016
Well, there are no updates for Sensing Murder because not a single murder — worldwide — has ever been solved by any of the psychics. Regular updates detailing their progress in solving crimes — zero — would be terribly embarrassing for the psychics and even the most gullible believers would eventually realise that it was all bullshit, pure entertainment for dullards. Like 'Sabrina, the Teenage Witch' and 'The Smurfs'. it's just make-believe.
By cunningly never giving updates, this allows believers in this psychic medium nonsense to fool themselves into thinking that crimes are being solved behind the scenes by the police, thanks to the psychic input. But again, this has never happened. Never. Psychics can only maintain a loyal following by keeping very quiet about their innumerable failures. And of course independent TV producers would never consider making a Sensing Murder update episode since it would be the most boring television ever, and no broadcaster would buy it. Actress Rebecca Gibney would tell us that in Case #1 there has been no progress or resolution, in Case #2 there has been no progress or resolution, in Case #3 ... and on and on she would go until she had mentioned every case the psychics had ever promised to solve. The flip side is that if these psychics had actually solved those many murders, or even one or two of them, then they would be shouting it from the rooftops, and a new season of Sensing Murder would be screening on TV investigating new unsolved murders, and updates would regularly screen detailing the recently solved crimes.
It's unthinkable that psychics might have solved many murders, and no one in the media or police, let alone the publicity hungry psychics themselves, can be bothered to tell us. We haven't been given updates concerning the success of the psychics for the same reason we get no updates from those looking for fairies at the bottom of their gardens.
Comment by Sine, 16 Sep, 2016
The psychics in Sensing Murder are gifted professionals who are giving stunning information which had never been made public. You, on the other hand, are a closed minded fool to doubt such compelling and amazing evidence.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 17 Sep, 2016
Oh please, that's as stupid as saying that Santa Claus is making a real difference in the lives of poor children, although of course our government has never made his actual existence public.
Do you seriously believe that these morons have given the police 'stunning information' that could have solved hundreds of murder and missing person cases and yet the police have just sat on it, filed it away somewhere and not used it to solve a SINGLE case? What use are these psychics if the police won't act on the 'stunning information' they're given? And how do you somehow have knowledge of something that has 'never been made public'? Of course these fuckwits write in their books that they've given the police 'stunning information', but that's only their deluded opinion. If you ask the police, they consistently tell us that these people with invisible friends are nothing more than annoying, and waste their time and resources that would be better spent on following real leads.
You say that we're closed minded fools to doubt such compelling and amazing evidence. What compelling and amazing evidence can you be talking about? You've just assured us that the evidence, the 'stunning information', has 'never been made public'! How can we have a critical opinion on evidence that your friends are hiding from us? If they want us to change our minds then they, and you, need to make this compelling and amazing evidence public. Until then, the only evidence that we've seen clearly shows that these idiots have never solved a single crime, and that's worldwide.
Apparently you have special access to suppressed evidence, from both the police and the psychics, so if you would, could you please answer these questions:
Why are the police refusing to act on information that could obviously crack unsolved murders?
Unless you provide stunning, compelling and amazing answers to these questions, we will have no option but to stick with our initial view of those that claim to talk to dead people, and those that naively believe in them. And that is that they are deluded fools spouting bullshit. But go ahead, prove us wrong. You accuse us of being closed minded fools, so send in your evidence and show the world how we blindly refuse to accept clear facts that are right in front of us.
Why was the 'Sensing Murder' program cancelled years ago if it was so successful, and why are the psychics no longer assisting the police in their enquires?
Clearly you believe you've seen this evidence of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, so why were you let in on the secret, when by writing to us you've shown that you can't be trusted with secrets?
Comment by Bob, 20 Sep, 2016
I heard a comment from a police spokesman about not using psychics but in listening to them. The reason is when they are desperate to solve a case they never turn anybody away. They never know who just might have that vital bit of information. The supposed "psychic" might know something but not want to be involved. That is why they have confidential phone numbers. Most of the time these kooks are only wasting police time.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 21 Sep, 2016
Yes, you're quite right Bob. The police are in the unfortunate position of having to listen to everyone who says they have a lead before they can eliminate them. And the lead a psychic provides might just be real, not because their psychic powers are real, but maybe because the psychic just happened to witness something or knows those involved, and has deluded themselves into thinking their knowledge came from the psychic world.
Comment by Ron, 01 Oct, 2016
Hey John. Here I was thinking/hoping that Sensing Murder was gone from our screens for good but, alas, another episode is on its way, date unknown at this point. It will be centred on an unsolved murder of a Napier lady in 2008. A family member has set things in motion and Sue Nicholson and another psychic are into solving this tragic case. I can understand desperation and frustration are factors but I find it rather disappointing. I mean what track record does Sensing Murder have apart from just TV entertainment. I cannot find any real success track record at all. The psychics in this case apparently spent a whole day, yes, a whole day, trying to connect with the spirit of the lady. They came up with the well worn "she is at peace". Also this oddity, "sometimes you might see something in the corner of your eye, that will be her". The huge following that psychics have remains a mystery to me and many others. A well known American said "Psychics are not con-artists, they are criminals". I agree. Others have asked why they get away with what they do, why are they not charged for conning vulnerable people, taking money from them when they are at rock bottom without any qualms whatsoever. Some I could name are simply despicable sleaze balls. John, you have, at times, made the statement that worldwide not one murder has ever been solved by a psychic and most of us would agree. What do you make of this website I found that blatantly tells us otherwise. It steps through 10 cases, briefly, which makes me suspicious, boldly claiming each case was ultimately solved due to the police receiving supernatural help via psychics. I found it here: 10 Most Mysterious Crimes Solved By Psychics.
I normally don't comment on other commenters here but have to say the comment by Sine, 16 Sept, left me more incredulous when he described psychics as professionals. What the hell. Where does he/she get that amazing description from. Is there a college out there somewhere that I've never heard of that actually trains people to become psychics. What criteria do they have enabling one to receive their diploma and thus become a professional, recognized, fully successful speaker to the dead, etc. Does the training cost thousands over a year or two or maybe it's a half dayer at $30. That small investment could lead to your fortune. Wow.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 02 Oct, 2016
Hi Ron. We thought the 'Sensing Murder' episode you mentioned was just going to be an old repeat. I've noticed a few in the last few months and it's depressing to see them back. Clearly TVNZ think screening old programs is a cheap way to make money and increase ratings. The fact that these murders still haven't been solved and therefore these reruns reveal that the psychics were talking bullshit doesn't seem to sink in with the show's many deluded fans. But you're right, according to this article, 'Cold case murder to be probed in Sensing Murder episode', the morons are planning a new episode to make themselves some more money. We can assume that they didn't solve the case, since if they did then the police would have made an arrest and the psychics would be screaming about their success in the media. Are we to believe that the police have agreed to hold back arresting anyone and planning a prosecution until the 'Sensing Murder' producers have completed editing their program and got it on air? Is entertainment more important than justice? The episode will just be another example of stupid psychics and greedy producers failing publicly to do what they promised to do, solve a mystery.
As for that list: '10 Most Mysterious Crimes Solved By Psychics', well it's complete nonsense, and we stand by our claim that no murders, or missing people cases or anything, have ever been proved to have been solved by psychics. I'm guessing you probably hadn't even heard of any of the cases or psychics, and that's because they're not true. If psychics had really solved cases, they would be world famous.
If you look at the first case, that of Paula Brown, it clearly states that 'the body was discovered by a truck driver ... the body was found by chance', so the psychic played no part in solving the case. In the second case, Maria Scott, her 'body was found seven months after her disappearance', and not by the psychic. The psychic wasn't approached until four years later, and no one was ever charged for the murder. So she didn't solve anything. In the case of Penny Serra, the murderer was accidentally found 26 years later using DNA testing, the psychic did not lead them to him. In the case of the murder of the runaway girl in 1976, the body was found two years later by a group of teenagers, not from information provided by the psychic. In the case of Andre Daigle, police caught the killers when Andre's brother saw his brother's car being driven by the killers. So again, it was a member of the public that provided the information that solved the case, not a psychic. Out of the ten cases, five most definitely weren't solved by the psychics.
In some of the cases it is claimed that the psychic did locate a body, but you'll note that none of the ten cases provide a link to an official report from police or even a reputable newspaper article that supports their claim. And I'm familiar with some of the psychics, such as Noreen Renier and Gerard Croiset, and they have been exposed as outright frauds. Yes, these psychics claim they've helped police solve crimes, just as the likes of our very own Kelvin Cruickshank from 'Sensing Murder' has implied in his books, but the reality is that they are either deluded or lying.
Look at those 10 cases, they stretch back some 57 years, and as we've shown, five are clearly bogus. Consider the thousands and thousands of murders committed over that time around the world, and we're asked to believe that researchers can only find five cases where psychics might have played part? We decided to do a very rough back-of-the-envelope calculation. A quick search with Google reveals a 'global average intentional homicide rate', and averaging the figures for 2004 and 2012 we get 6.9 intentional homicides per 100,000 population. Let's say 7 murders per 100,000 on a planet with 7 billion people. That's 490,000 murders per year. We also read that around one third of all murders in the USA go unsolved, of course the clearance rates will be better for some countries, much worse for others, but let's assume one third of all murders in the world go unsolved. That drops 490,000 murders down to roughly 160,000 unsolved murders per year. Now we need to multiply that figure by 57 since our psychic researchers had to look back over the last 57 years to find 10 murders solved by psychics. Another list actually had to go back 115 years to find ten cases, but we'll stick with 57. So over this half century we now have some 9,120,000 unsolved murders. Let's say roughly nine million, but since the population has increased greatly over that time (although so too has investigation methods, eg DNA profiling), let's half the number of unsolved murders to four and a half million. Even if we were really, really generous and said there were only one million unsolved murders, how many of those million cases have our psychics solved? If we blindly accept their word, a measly 10 cases, and if we subtract those cases that clearly are lies, we are left with five cases where the psychics 'may' have helped. That's five cases out of a huge pool of unsolved cases that will be far closer to ten million than it is to a mere ten cases. And imagine how those millions of cases would go up if we added in missing persons, which we haven't factored in, although our psychic list did. Why haven't the psychics solved the disappearance of Amelia Earhart for example?
With millions of unsolved murders and missing people, for psychics to claim to have solved even ten of them is a bit of a joke. Statistically those odds are so pathetic that you'd expect psychics to solve more crimes by just guessing! And of course psychics are doing just that, guessing, and when you have millions of murders, and they take guesses at them all, then by sheer coincidence they'll appear to occasionally guess right. What we want to know is why isn't there a list of the '1,000,000 Most Mysterious Crimes that Psychics Have Failed to Solve'?
Also, in some of those cases where it's claimed (but not proved) that the psychic did find a body, often it can be better explained by common sense, not psychic abilities. When you're looking for a 78 year old man missing on a walk in the forest, and you can't find him near by, it shouldn't be a surprise to find the body a bit further out. Often psychics are called in when the case has been well publicised; suspects have been identified, maps of where they went missing shown, health problems and daily routines revealed, so it's not rocket science to make educated guesses as to where they might have ended up, and sometimes psychics will get it right before the police do.
While reading through that list, we did a little research and stumbled across many similar lists, and comparing them revealed the deception involved in the lie that psychics have solved crimes. When we look at the '10 Most Mysterious Crimes Solved By Psychics' (list A) and compare the same cases to the 'Top 10 Shocking Disappearances Solved by Psychic Detectives' (list B), we find clear evidence of skulduggery. For example, in the case of Paula Brown, the first list says that 'the body was discovered by a truck driver ... the body was found by chance', and yet in the second list they falsely claim that 'Through the psychic, the police were able to find the body', even though in the very next sentence they then admit that, no, the psychic did not lead the police to her body, 'Her body was found by a truck driver passing through ... the body was found by chance'. There are many discrepancies between the two lists, but the most glaring are in the case of Andre Daigle. In list A it's claimed that the facts of the case are that Andre Daigle 'had offered to drive a woman home', yet in list B 'he was approached by a young woman who asked him to give her a lift home'. In list A the psychic 'described one of the men who has been involved in the crime', in list B she didn't. In list A it's claimed that Andre's brother 'made a trip over to the area where his brother might be found. When he began his investigation, he witnessed his brother's car driving pass'. In list B however we're told that 'Andre's brother who lived near Andre was surprised to see his missing brother's truck ride by his house'. Note several inconsistencies in those two claims, one has the brother visiting the area, the has him living there, one says he saw his brother's car, the other say it was a truck, and one has him out driving, and the other has him at home when he saw the vehicle. In list B when the sister asks the psychic 'for the whereabouts of her brother', we're told that the psychic 'saw that Andre was sitting in his truck'. Clearly this is bogus as the police found the killers driving around in his truck. She also claimed that Andre's body was at 'the spot near Slidell', yet this is where the police arrested his killers. Neither list reveals where the body was found, or if it was even found. In list A the psychic claims that the men 'killed Andre by hitting him with a hammer', but in list B she knew nothing of this.
One case on list A but not list B involved psychic Dorothy Allison, and we found her 1999 obituary in the 'Los Angeles Times'. In list A we're told that the psychic said 'their daughter was in a swamp and marshland ... where the young girl's body lay, they would find an abandoned car, and a rock with the letters "MAR" written on it. The psychic also said that the number 222 was important and that the girl was in water but had not drowned. ... the body was found by a group of teenagers in an area that Allison had described and in an oil drum that had the number 222 on the side. In addition, Allison predicted that the young girl had been murdered by her boyfriend. This information allowed police to find and apprehend the murderer'.
Yet in her obituary we're told that 'In her voluntary detecting career, Allison worked on more than 5,000 cases for law enforcement agencies around the globe and was credited by many with helping to solve more than a dozen murders and find at least 50 missing children'. So why does she feature only once on list A and not at all on list B if she has solved so many cases? And of the case that list A thinks she's famous for, the article says only this: 'Allison saw the word "MAR" and oil in connection with a missing 14-year-old girl. In 1978, two boys found the girl's body in an oil drum on New York City's Staten Island near a rock with the word "MAR" scrawled on it'. Note that neither list A nor the obituary credits Allison with finding the body, that happened accidentally two years later, and while list A claims information from the psychic helped find the murderer, the obituary does not. Also note that the newspaper that had been following Allison for years had no knowledge of the extra claims that appeared in list A, such as the abandoned car or the number 222. Also list A says 'a group of teenagers' found the body, whereas the obituary says it was two boys, which is hardly a group. Also New York City's Staten Island is not what I'd call 'a swamp and marshland' as Allison described it. Also the obituary mentions her 'very public failures' which make interesting reading.
We could go on and on, but our point is that psychics and believers in psychics write completely bogus accounts of their exploits and embellish actual accounts to make them appear believable. When you look at the real accounts, read what was actually said and when, and discover what these silly psychics already knew from the media etc before they made their predictions, then they are almost always exposed as completely bogus. The one or two that seem spooky can be put down to flukes. When individual psychics makes hundreds if not thousands of guesses over decades, then of course we should expect one or two to roughly match the facts. But if they had real ability, then they should solve every case they attempt, not just one in thousands.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 15 Oct, 2016
'TVNZ should be ashamed of Sensing Murder'. That's the title of an excellent media opinion piece by Steve Kilgallon that comments on the depressingly reality that some greedy, venal, opportunistic executives at TVNZ in cohorts with some greedy, ignorant, deluded psychics are planning on foisting yet another series of 'Sensing Murder' onto the zombie communities around NZ. As Kilgallon says, 'The show is an insult to the police ... It's an insult to the families ... It's an insult to New Zealand television audiences that they be expected to swallow such patent rubbish'.
As Kilgallon points out, neither TVNZ nor the psychics are interested in accepting the $400,000 challenge from Stuart Landsborough or to have skeptics examine their investigation methods. Several years ago they did make a bogus episode featuring clinical psychologist Nigel Latta called 'Sensing Murder — Insight'. Of course Latta was well out of his depth and was fooled easier than a parent fools a three-year-old about Santa Claus. Initially Latta proudly defended the psychics and his part on their show, but like an embarrassing naked selfie, he has since tried to bury his participation and the fact that he was unwittingly employed as a dupe.
And as we've already said, since the psychics have already investigated at least one murder case for their new series, and yet the results won't be revealed until the series screens in 2017, then clearly no murderer has been found. If they had solved a murder, their first ever, they wouldn't be sitting on it, they would be all over the news. Just how stupid are the people that love 'Sensing Murder'? This will be the 5th series and the psychics have a perfect record of not solving a single case. How many times must these psychics fail before these ignoramuses that worship them like love struck teenagers wakeup, finally click that they're being conned? It scares us that people in our community can be so blindingly stupid. These are people that can vote and could be working in responsible positions, and yet are too feeble-minded to see through the lies of psychics and TVNZ.
Comment by Tony, 15 Oct, 2016
I wonder what production company will make the new Sensing Murder series given Ninox TV went into liquidation? More importantly, I wonder what person that was at the top of Ninox will also be at the top of that production company? David Baldock I suspect. The show absolutely relies on someone (only needs to be one person) giving the "psychics" all the known information of each case prior to the days of filming so they can learn their "lines". The "psychics" also need to be given the made-up (actually unknown) "where the body is" scenario so they can both recite the same story (as they always do pretty much verbatim). That simply couldn't happen if the cheating was merely cold reading. In previous episodes, this information was gathered by Ninox and ex-police detective Duncan Holland and his team of ex-police investigators. I suspect both Baldock and Holland will once again be actively involved with the new series. The show simply wouldn't "work" without the "psychics" being given the "script" prior to filming. It would be too much of a risk to admit and explain to anyone else that the show was an "orchestrated litany of lies" and how the cheating was exactly perpetrated. Might be able to be covered by a confidentiality agreement, but I don't think they're so stupid they would take the risk.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 16 Oct, 2016
Hi Tony. We don't know the extent to which the show's production company secretly helps the psychics or simply turns a blind eye to cheating, but you're quite right that there is clear complicity between the production company and the psychics. Without the production company's devious editing and dishonest work behind the scenes, the show would quickly show the psychics up as frauds. We guess those on the crew that could expose the fakery involved are thinking more of their continued employment than producing an honest look at how psychics work, and would probably defend themselves by saying it's just mindless entertainment. They'd say that surely everyone knows that so-called 'Reality TV' programs have nothing to do with reality, that it's all faked, scripted and heavily edited.
Comment by Ben, 16 Oct, 2016
I vote and hold a responsible position yet I cannot see through the lies of psychics and TVNZ since I have never watched the bloody programme. I cannot understand why anyone should want to watch and find it even more baffling that you should waste so much of your lives not only watching this drivel but spend so much time trying to convince those who do that it is drivel.
It is a bit like Ken Ring; as long as he keeps away from predicting earthquakes he is harmless. If people happen to believe In psychics and enjoy programmes like this what's it to you? Why do you feel you have this mission in life to disabuse others of their fantasies?
As long as they are not harming others I could not care less what others believe in. I would also suggest that just because one believes in psychics does not mean one is incapable of casting a rational vote. I suppose you would like those deluded enough to believe in God to be barred from voting or holding responsible positions.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 17 Oct, 2016
Hi Ben. You confuse us a little. Regarding the program 'Sensing Murder', you say you 'cannot see through the lies of psychics and TVNZ since I have never watched the bloody programme'. Yet you reveal that you have seen through their lies by labelling it that 'bloody programme' and by saying that you find it 'baffling' that we should waste so much of our lives watching such drivel, or trying to convince others that it is drivel. The fact is that none of us have watched 'Sensing Murder' for many years now, once you've realised something is fake you don't have to keep revisiting it. But to honestly critique something you do have to watch a few episodes rather than just blindly dismissing it on hearsay. And having then determined that a show promoted as factual is actually a scam, the question arises as to whether we have some ethical responsibility to reveal what we know, or should we just let people waste their lives watching and believing drivel? Should we care about others?
You ask, 'what's it to you? Why do you feel you have this mission in life to disabuse others of their fantasies?' I guess we just have this annoying trait of preferring that people live their lives truthfully, knowing what's real and what's not, of seeing the world as it really is, not as the child within us would like it to be. We want to understand reality, warts and all, and everyone we've ever met have said they want to know the truth too, not some comforting lie. No one has ever asked to be mislead and misinformed. People only hold fantasies because they believe they are in fact true, not because they enjoy a good fantasy, no one happily deludes themselves. And most people get understandably upset when they discover that some important truth has been hidden from them by people that knew better, that they trusted, and yet arrogantly and condescendingly decided to let them go though life believing their fantasy. Everyone likes to think that they understand the world, and if they're unknowingly making a fool of themselves by promoting some falsehood, that someone will hopefully set them straight. We trust people to be honest with us. We all insist on telling children the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, why shouldn't we be just as honest with adults and their fantasies?
You argue that we should let people believe whatever they wish as long as they're not harming others. But here we must consider what we mean by harm' and also what believing in fantasies might lead to.
You give Ken Ring as an example, and say that 'as long as he keeps away from predicting earthquakes he is harmless', which suggests that you see his weather predictions as harmless fun. And yet why did so many people come to believe that Ken Ring could predict earthquakes? Simply because he was well-known, respected and publicly accepted as someone that could predict the weather. The media used him to boost ratings, and scientists, meteorologists and skeptics generally ignored him, just harmless rants from an ex-clown. But it was these harmless rants that gave Ring the springboard into earthquake predictions and put him into a position to harm vulnerable, ignorant people with his scaremongering quake predictions. If Ring had been publicly exposed as a silly astrologer while still making weather predictions then he would never have been given TV time to air his harmful quake predictions.
Our experience is that people that believe in what others label some 'harmless' fantasy almost always use this fantasy, and a raft of others that they inevitably hold, to inform their daily lives. When those that believe their dead granny is watching them from a cloud want to know the answer to some important question, they think nothing of spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars consulting psychic mediums. The thing is that believers in 'Sensing Murder' don't just watch the program for free, they also waste money on attending the psychic shows, go to the psychic retreats, and buy the books written by psychics. Psychic Kelvin Cruickshank has written, with help, some six books that are quickly snapped up by his acolytes. Just as Ken Ring worried people with his quake predictions, psychics worry people when they tell them what their dead relatives are saying, or aren't saying. Of course you might argue that if believers want to waste their own money on psychic readings then that's their business, and we shouldn't try to suggest that they're being ripped off. But if it was your mother or friend wasting money they could ill afford, or worrying about psychic things that were nonsense, would you still say that you couldn't care less?
Let's change it slightly, and say that someone you know is about to be ripped off with some Internet scam, and the money is to go to Nigeria and not some psychic, would you still say that you couldn't care less? I suspect not, but in both cases the person is throwing money away on a scam, and perhaps both the Internet scam and the psychic scam are giving the person hope, so why do people try and advise their friends and family about Internet scams but not psychic scams?
Unlike you, we do care what others believe in, since it is the beliefs of a society, harmless or otherwise, that make that society worth living in. Our modern society is so much better now than it was when people believed it was right to own slaves, that the planets and stars could predict wars and plagues, that witches could cast evil spells, that demons could take over our bodies, that homosexuals should be persecuted, that Jews couldn't go to university, that the smallpox vaccine would turn us into cows, that sailing too far would see us falling off the edge of the Earth, that the dead could advise the living. The beliefs of a society can mean the difference between a progressive, safe, healthy society and a society that stagnates and where its citizens suffer all manner of ills. Only by caring about what its citizens believe, and caring that those beliefs are true beliefs, can a society prosper. Imagine where our society would be if our education system taught the likes of astrology, alchemy, witchcraft and exorcisms instead of science, maths and history? Yes, we do care what others believe, because it's widespread belief in science and ethics, not psychics and devils, that made our society.
And the reality is that even so-called harmless fantasies are often anything but harmless. On the news this week we heard of two examples of Hindus being killed in stampedes while on religious pilgrimages, and thousands of Muslim pilgrims have been killed in stampedes over the years at the Haj. These are all needless deaths of innocent people caused by a belief in a 'harmless' fantasy. As a Christian you'd no doubt argue that most Christians are not harming others, but look at all the children that have been sexually, physically and emotionally harmed by the Church. If parents didn't hold their 'harmless' belief in God then their children would never have been abused. If belief in God was truly 'harmless' then African Christians under risk of AIDS would be allowed to use condoms, homosexuals wouldn't be so persecuted, and poor (and rich) people would spend their money on their families and communities rather than supporting the Church. And no one will convince us that telling young children that they'll burn in Hell for all eternity if they commit some silly 'sin' is a 'harmless' activity. It's nothing but disgusting child abuse, since we all know that they can't help but commit many of those 'sins' and thus will go through their life terrified of what awaits them on their death.
And yes, we 'would like those deluded enough to believe in God to be barred from voting or holding responsible positions'. We don't want people making laws or running cities and countries and have them praying that some imaginary god will guide their decisions. We want them to use reason and evidence and not have them take us to war because of something they heard in a dream. How can we expect someone that believes in Satan to sit on a jury trial of someone accused of murdering their children because Satan told them to, and reach a rational verdict based on the evidence? How can a Christian that is convinced homosexuality is an abomination be expected to fairly consider a job applicant who is homosexual? There are people in responsible positions in the US government that refuse to take climate change seriously or be worried about starting a nuclear war since they believe the sooner the world comes to an end the sooner they get to go to Heaven. Try and convince us that that is a harmless belief by those that believe in God. Would we want creationists teaching science or history in our schools or running our hospitals, or have fire and brimstone Christians serving as judges? Of course not, most Christians don't even want that. We're of the opinion that if someone can't see that a surgeon or antibiotics saved their life and not Jesus, that DNA makes babies and not some invisible God, and that the fanciful stories in the Bible are just as ridiculous as those in 'Lord of the Rings', then they shouldn't be deciding over matters such as stem cell research, climate change or nude beaches. People are either rational or religious, they can't be both, and the issues facing the world today need to be resolved through reason, not religious dogma. Of course many people that do act rationally today also call themselves religious, but this is little more than a farce, since the world can't be both round and flat at the same time. Only by dismissing much of their 'harmless' belief can they function in the modern world. And Christianity can in some sense be made 'harmless' by ditching all of the harmful stuff, ie most of the Bible, but a religion without a god, his commandments and his silly explanations is so meaningless that while holding that belief may not be harming others, there's now no good reason to even hold such a harmless fantasy. But Christians do continue with the charade.
Since you brought up God, and if we assume that belief in god, like belief in psychics and Ken Ring, is 'harmless', then isn't this just another way of describing a worthless, useless belief that some na´ve people believe in and waste their time with? Or are you going to say that belief in God isn't drivel, only belief in psychics and astrology is? But that sounds like drivel is whatever you don't believe in. Why do you get to choose? You wonder why people should waste so much of their lives watching this psychic drivel, but we wonder why Christians should waste so much of their lives watching the Christian drivel, which swamps the psychic drivel. Christians, psychics and astrologers have made it their mission in life to disabuse us of what they see as our fantasies, ie our atheism and skepticism, with weekly talks, newspaper columns, three dedicated TV channels, personal visits, and travelling stage shows, so we don't feel in any way guilty or embarrassed or pushy by responding to their claims. Let's remember that it was the psychics that claimed to be talking to dead people, that it was Ken Ring that claimed astrology could predict earthquakes, and it was the Christians that claimed their god created the world and is watching me type this. We merely feel that it's the decent thing to do to keep reminding them that their claims are still lacking that thing called evidence. We should never fear telling the truth. And as long as they keep trotting the fantasies out, we feel we must keep responding. It would be impolite not to. We're working towards a time when everyone's worldview is informed by demonstrable facts, not harmless fantasies.
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