My favourite non-psychic psychics & mind readers

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This was originally written for the Project Barnum website. I’m not talking about psychics and mind readers who aren’t gifted like they claim, but those who pretend in the name of entertainment and education and do a better job than those claiming super powers. I think there’s a lot to be gained from engaging with people in fun, entertaining manner, and I think more is probably taken away from performances by magicians and illusionists than from heavy lectures.


Ashley Pryce

I got to know Ash through various skeptical communities that we’re involved with, and I got to hang out with Ash and others over Halloween 2011 in Edinburgh. We investigated a frickin’ haunted castle! Anyway, Ash does a series of talks and shows named ‘How to be a Psychic Conman’, ‘How to predict the future’, and ‘How to talk to the dead’. I’ve seen ‘How to be a Psychic Conman’ for the Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub group and it was a superb, energetic, hilarious and hands on way of teaching people the tricks that psychic tricksters use time and time again. Everyone comes away having learnt something new. Naturally, it was Ash that I went to when I had the idea for Project Barnum (in fact, it was Ash that came up with the name!) Ashley Pryce is a great example of grassroots skepticism in action. Check out his website, and if you can, do see him perform. He does this thing with psychic surgery that makes everyone scream…

Doug Segal

Doug Segal

Doug is an award winning mind reader. The twist is that he tells you how he does it, and still leaves you speechless. I first “met” Doug when a mutual friend suggested he might be interested in helping Project Barnum educate the public about Psychic Trickery. He was mega supportive and helped us to produce a video teaching people about Barnum statements. In 2012 I had intended to see Doug perform during the run of his show ‘How to Read Minds & Influence People’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival but my plans fell through at the last minute. I watched happily though as he won awards, brilliant reviews, and as his shows sold out night after night. Doug even predicted the results of the 2012 London Olympics live on BBC Scotland, and comedian Al Murray threatened to burn him at the stake! He once performed live on television to an audience of 9.5 million people on a New Years Eve broadcast on BBC one. 9.5 million people! Visit Doug’s website and learn more about his stage shows and corporate entertainment, and if you get the chance, see him live. He knows what you’re thinking.


Ian D Montfort

I used to work in a tiny theatre in the Trowbridge, the county town of Wiltshire. During my time at the venue one of the performers was Tom Binns who performs as the character Ian D Montfort – a psychic. “He’s pretends to be psychic, but actually pretends“, as my boss eloquently put it. At the time I sort of knew how to cold read people, and impressed a few customers with my mad mind skills. I then came clean and taught them a bit about trickery and they bought tickets for the show, which was an added bonus. Ever since then I’ve heard Ian D Montfort mentioned again and again and again. With a whole bunch of five star reviews and a psychic act so blatantly false that it echoes certain stage psychics, Ian D Montfort is a psychic you’d be daft to not see. Check out Ian D Montfort’s website here.

Coming Soon – Be Reasonable!

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Next week sees the launch of a new monthly podcast from the Merseyside Skeptics Society, featuring Hayley Stevens (me!) and Michael Marshall: Be Reasonable.

Each month, we’ll be speaking to people who believe in ideas and theories that run contrary to the mainstream scientific and skeptical worldview, in order to examine how such beliefs are constructed and what evidence people feel supports their case.

Be Reasonable is about approaching subjects with respect and an open mind, engaging with people of differing viewpoints in an environment where debate is polite and good-natured, yet robust and intellectually rigorous.

Episode One features an interview with Anita Ikonen – a Swedish national who describes herself as a medical intuitive. Anita believes she can detect medical information about a person by simply looking at them. She runs a website called Vision From Feeling which documents her abilities, and her attempts to test them.

You can find Be Reasonable at the Merseyside Skeptics website, on iTunes, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and you can get in touch with the show by contacting

We look forward to exploring the other side of skeptical issues with the people who strongly believe them, and we hope you’ll join us.