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.
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 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.