Since 1735 England has had protection against fraudulent mediums in the form of the Witchcraft Act of 1735 (nothing much to do with persecuting witches despite the title), then the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 and since 2008, consumer protection regulations.
So basically it has been recognised in law for the best part of 300 years that fortune tellers, mediums et al are charlatans, frauds, cheats, tricksters and thieves…
The Guardian has an article on charlatan, fraud, cheat, trickster and thief , err sorry I mean medium, Sally Morgan. Morgan, who is better known as Psychic Sally, describes herself as "Britain's best-loved psychic". She has written three books and is currently filming the third series of Psychic Sally on the Road for Sky LIVING.
A little while ago, however, an incident occurred which will hopefully cause at least some of her fans to realise that her act is probably nothing but a con.
On Monday 12 September, a caller named Sue phoned the Liveline show on Irish radio station RTÉ Radio 1. Sue said that she had attended Morgan's show the previous night at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin and had been impressed by the accuracy of the readings she made in the first half of the show.
But then something odd happened. Sue was sitting in the back row on the fourth level of the theatre and there was a small room behind her ("like a projection room") with a window open. Sue and her companions became aware of a man's voice and "everything that the man was saying, the psychic was saying it 10 seconds later."
Sue believes, not unreasonably, that the man was feeding information to Sally through an earpiece attached to her microphone. For example, the voice would say something like "David, pain in the back, passed quickly" and a few seconds later Sally would claim to have the spirit of a "David" on stage who – you'll never guess – suffered from back pain and passed quickly.
A member of staff realised that several people near the back of the theatre were aware of the mystery voice and the window was gently closed. The voice was not heard again.
Sue speculated, again not unreasonably given the history of psychic frauds, that the man was feeding Sally information that had been gathered by engaging members of the audience in conversation in the foyer before the show began. This is a technique widely used by psychic fraudsters, as audience members will naturally discuss with each other who they are hoping to hear from "on the other side", how their loved one died, and so on.
The theatre's general manager, Stephen Faloon, claimed that the voice heard by the audience was actually the voices of two members of staff working for the theatre, not someone supplying information to Sally. Sally Morgan Enterprises also denied that the medium was being fed information during the show.
I will grant that some mediums genuinely believe they have a power. The only thing such mediums have is the ability to use cold reading to get a reaction from their audience. This category of medium is as deluded as their audience.
Most mediums, however, are downright frauds. From what the caller Sue had to say it would seem that Psychic Sally falls into this
Sadly Psychic Sally could be busted a thousand times and yet there will be people who will line up to hand over their hard earned cash to this charlatan.