Just over two weeks ago, Michael Marshall of the Merseyside Skeptics Society announced that a test had been set up to allow the UK’s top psychics to prove to the world that they can really do what they say they can do – that is, use their powers to tell strangers things about themselves even though all other possible sources of information have been eliminated.
The challenge was issued to Sally Morgan, Colin Fry, Gordon Smith, T J Higgs and Derek Acorah. None of these high-earning celebrity psychics took up our challenge, but I guess you didn’t need psychic powers to see that coming.
Two professional psychics did take up the challenge however Particia Putt and Kim Whitton and they were tested under supervision at Goldsmiths in London.
The test was simple. Our psychics each did a reading for each of the five sitters, all of whom were women between the ages of 18 and 30. The sitters sat concealed behind a screen while the psychics wrote down their readings. These could contain any information that the psychics felt would help our volunteers recognise themselves in the reading. Meanwhile the sitters were instructed to sit and think about the kind of issues that they might expect a psychic to tell them about.
Our psychics and sitters were not allowed to communicate with each other in any way (other than psychically, of course!). Once all of the readings had been completed, the psychics were thanked and left the premises. Our sitters were then invited back and asked to read through the full set of readings (in random order) produced by each psychic. They were asked to rate each reading on a scale from 1 to 10 according to how accurate they felt each reading was as a description of them, and to choose the one reading they felt best described them.
One sitter awarded their reading high marks but none of the others did.
The Skeptics have said this proves the psychics have no extrasensory abilities while the psychics maintain that the test, that they agreed to before hand, was designed to fit their preconceptions and have labelled the scientists close minded.