Trick Or Treat?

scottish festival

It’s just one week until Halloween and I have several things I would like to share with readers of my blog.

On Monday (Oct 27th) I will be in the BBC Radio Wiltshire studio for their Haunted Wiltshire week-long feature in the run up to Halloween. The lunchtime show starts to broadcast at 12:30pm and you can listen online here.

scottish festival

Then, on Thursday I leave Weird Wiltshire to travel to Stirling, Scotland ahead of The Scottish Paranormal Festival. I am speaking on Halloween (Fri Oct 31st) just after lunchtime and will be delivering my A Skeptics Guide to Ghost Hunting talk.

It isn’t every day that a major paranormal festival invites a skeptic along to talk and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity. Don’t be fooled into thinking that my talk will just be me claiming nothing paranormal exists. I’ll be providing some cool examples of the problems faced by people who research the paranormal, examples of when ghost hunting goes bad, and there will be experiments conducted upon with the audience. Mwahahahaha…

You can buy special passes that allow you entry into several talks and events for pretty reasonable prices. There is also a chance I will be participating in the Ghost Hunters Roundtable and Workshop events being run by The 3am Club on Saturday (Nov 1st). There are a whole range of other people presenting at the festival so you should check it out if you’re able to. They have some amazing films lined up for children and grown-ups alike and the comedy looks fab!

You can check out the full programme here. I hope to catch up with some of my blog readers there, and if not, then I hope whatever you do to celebrate Halloween it is fun and spooky!

Sally Morgan Tells Husband To Be “More Politically Correct” During TV Show

sally vid

I just caught part of Episode Six of Season Three of Psychic Sally On The Road on Pick TV and watched in bemusement at a scene in which Sally berates her husband John Morgan for not being politically correct, for not holding his tongue and getting in trouble because of it.

Sally Morgan: two days ago John reacted to a situation in a theatre and John over=reacted and kicked off basically. John wouldn’t hurt a fly – I know that… but there are people that don’t know that… and he can turn around, he can be really rude! It’s like, oh my god, shut up! You’re like an old terrier John, like an old Jack Russell-

John Morgan: -but you don’t see what goes on in the front, all that rubbish about that “I was going to be evicted from the theatre” was a load of old tosh.


Sally Morgan: …and even though he is my husband… it doesn’t give anyone the right to do… to be rude to anyone. I wont have it because I’m not rude to anyone, and I treat people how I want to be treated.

Daren Wiltshear: I agree BUT we kinda get talked down to by everyone – they don’t realise who John is.

John Morgan: Daren kinda proved my point…

Sally Morgan: BUT what I’m saying to you love is that you’ve gotta be more politically correct, you’ve got to hold your tongue. Daren’s here to take all the stress off of you, you don’t have to do anything. Let Daren get into trouble, I don’t want you getting into trouble.

John Morgan: I’m not in trouble

Sally Morgan: you were in trouble…

John Morgan: I’m not, it’s all over inflated…

John Morgan and Daren Wiltshear were both recently fired by Sally Morgan Enterprises after they were caught on film threatening and being verbally abusive to a member of the public outside a venue at which the self-proclaimed psychic was due to perform.

In a statement issued to the Sally Morgan website on October 10th the behaviour was described as ‘out of character’ after John Morgan and Daren Wiltshear became angry at Mark Tilbrook because of his presence at the venue.  This attempt to justify the behaviour in the footage didn’t wash with a lot of people and three days later on October 13th a second statement was issued that stated Sally Morgan Enterprises had fired both John Morgan and Daren Wiltshear and Sally herself is quoted

I am utterly ashamed and devastated at the behaviour of my husband John and Son in Law Daren and neither of them will have anything to do with my work, my business and right now I honestly have no idea what is going to happen to my marriage”.

Although it is unfair to hold Sally Morgan herself accountable for the behaviour of her husband and son-in-law who are two adults capable of independent thought, what I’ve just watched really does call into question whether the behaviour of John Morgan and Daren Wiltshear is as out of character as has been suggested. Hmm..

View a shorter version of this footage here.

Apply For A Free QEDcon Ticket

As of today you have donated enough cash to get at least 6 people a ticket to QEDcon happening in Manchester next April. More if you consider the student discount, and the amount keeps rising so who knows how many tickets we will eventually fund. If you want to help get people to QEDcon why not consider making a donation?

It’s earlier than planned, but I am opening applications for the free tickets today. I have a busy Halloween coming up and can’t guarentee I’ll be able to open applications when I had initially planned to do so.

So, here are the rules: 

1) the fundraising is designed to help those on a low income but anyone can apply for a free ticket
2) you do not have to prove your income BUT if you are a student you will need student ID to register at the conference
2) if you are selected at random you will receive 1 ticket to QEDcon in Manchester in April 2015, you will need to pay for travel, accommodation and other costs
3) you can only enter once

What happens? 

Step one: fill in the form below and include a working email address
Step two: I add you to my spreadsheet for applicants
Step three: I will draw as many people as I can until I run out of money on Sunday November 23rd at 10:23am
Step four: If you have won a ticket you will get an email with instructions

So, what are you waiting for? 

Psychic Sally Fans: Self Preservation At A Cost

sally morgan photo

I used to wholeheartedly believe that people could speak to the dead. These days I’m not so convinced, but even as a believer I wasn’t so blinded by my faith in psychics and mediums that I couldn’t spot when I was being purposefully deceived. In fact, it was Derek Acorah’s staged possession by a made up ghost called Kreed Kafer- an anagram of Derek Faker -on the TV show ‘Most Haunted’ that led me to the path of skepticism.

I worked with various psychics and mediums on paranormal investigations for years after the Kreed Kafer incident and although I often accepted their claims about hauntings at face value I was often doubtful of their abilities and they all did things that led me further down the path of skepticism until I eventually realised that enough was enough when it came to fooling myself. For example, on one investigation a psychic “healed” my “spiritually induced” headache and detected problems with my shoulders and teeth while doing so… but conveniently forgot to mention the potentially deadly and at-that-stage-undiscovered tumour growing in my skull that was causing the pain. Another psychic I worked with only ever communicated with ghosts from WW1 and WW2 or ghosts that were called Charlie or Eliza, and another once threw me across a room because I said a room didn’t feel sinister as she has insisted.

I believed in psychics and my belief in psychics and an afterlife was very important to me. Yet, despite the cognitive dissonance involved, I refused to allow myself to continue to be fooled by these people once they had showed that they probably didn’t have the abilities they claimed. I would not excuse their behaviour and I would not condone it for the sake of feeling comforted. This is why I find it very disheartening to watch fans of self-proclaimed psychic Sally Morgan continue to support her and her team after yet more controversy has come to light.

The recent release of footage that shows her husband and tour manager, John Morgan, threatening a man- Mark Tilbrook -leafleting outside of one of her shows, and making homophobic and racist remarks about high profile skeptics is just more damning material added to a list of occurrences that should make even the most faithful believer in psychics skeptical.

Watching the footage sickens me, yet fans of Sally Morgan have excused the behaviour by claiming John Morgan was protecting his wife and acting out of character. I personally find it difficult to accept these excuses considering that Mark Tilbrook is not the only person to have ever leafleted Sally Morgan shows, he didn’t impose a threat to Sally Morgan, he doesn’t focus purely on Sally Morgan, and it is alleged by other leaflet distributors that John Morgan and co. have behaved like this on numerous occasions before.

When people make excuses for this sort of behaviour what they’re actually doing is acting in their own best interests. They are convincing themselves that the person they have put their faith in- Sally Morgan -is not dodgy in any way and that the beliefs they have invested in are not tainted by any of this controversy. It is difficult to accept that a psychic you so strongly believe in has fooled you into thinking they are psychic and are a good, caring person… but at what point to do you accept that you’re wrong?

May 2007 – deletes claims re: working with the police  [Source]
Sep 2007 – claims re: working with Robert DeNiro and Bob Geldof are denied [Source]
Sep 2007
– falsely claims to have never met Brian Dowling prior to a “celebrity reading” [Source]
Sep 2011 – accused of cheating during a show at the Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin [Source]
Sep 2011 – denies using an earpiece in shows. Footage emerges that proves this is not entirely true.

Jan 2012 – takes action against the DailyMail for defamation [Source]
Feb 2012 – communicates with spirit that is a TV character [Source]
Mar 2012 – Fails to successfully cold-read Richard Bacon on BBC Radio 5 Live

Oct 2012 – Refuses to have abilities tested by Professor  by Chris French [Source]
Jun 2013 – Wins legal case but still refuses to provide evidence of her abilities [Source]
Mar 2014 – communicates with spirit of a woman who is actually still alive AND in the audience [Source]
Oct 2014 – Video of John Morgan intimidating critics leaked [Source]

If I was a Sally Morgan fan I would look at this list and ask myself at what point I would accept that perhaps not all is what it seems with this self-proclaimed psychic. Sure, she may get some “dazzle shots”-accurate hits that seem too good to be guesses -but when you put the good hits up against all of the fails it really doesn’t weigh up. This is especially true when you consider the fact that the above list contains only those fails that have been made public.

How many such fails have happened in her hundreds of shows that have never been made public? I’m willing to bet that it’s quite a few.

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that Sally Morgan is able to communicate with spirits and she continues to refuse to have her abilities tested. To continue to cherry-pick only the positives and ignore the overwhelming amount of negatives that stack up against Sally Morgan, and to continue to insist that she is psychic is extremely dishonest of her fans even if they do sincerely believe that humans can communicate with the dead…

…but to excuse homophobic slurs and intimidating threats is a new low. I guess that to some people the idea that they might be wrong is too scary to admit, but you don’t have to believe that Sally Morgan is legit to still believe that there is an afterlife. To do so is self preservation at the cost of your intellectual honesty.



I recently spoke with the president of the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU), David Bruton, and he was quick to point out that what people like Sally Morgan, Derek Acorah and co. claim to do is not actually psychic ability but, in fact, mediumship.

“I understand there is great interest from the general public but Spiritualism concentrates on mediumship and offering evidence of survival not psychic readings which are simply the reader feeding the sitter information gleaned from themselves.” He continued “within Spiritualist Churches you will see a service which includes a demonstration of mediumship which is dependent upon a link with the Spirit world, the majority of people that work in our Churches are properly trained to fully understand their gift of mediumship. Over the years the SNU has moved on many occasions to expose fraud within the movement, true mediumship needs no trickery… true mediumship does not require grand theatres, technology or slight of hand or mind techniques it is simply making a link between the two worlds and sharing the message in love.”

Following on from the controversy surrounding recently released footage that shows Sally Morgan’s husband and tour manager, John Morgan, being homophobic and threatening a skeptic outside a Psychic Sally show, lots of people have been tarring all psychics with the same brush. I’ve seen comments like ‘they’re all con artists‘, ‘they all prey on the vulnerable’ and similar.

I don’t believe this to be true and, in fact, I know that there are people who claim to be psychic who are not intentionally misleading people, who genuinely believe the have an ability and want to use that ability to help others. People who claim to be psychic and people who believe in psychic phenomena have been quick to criticise skeptics for the generalisation of all psychics as similar to Sally Morgan, one Twitter user that I follow wrote ‘While the actions of ‘Psychic’ Sally’s people is despicable, can’t help but note some serious generalising happening from top skeptics’ and it is a fair point.

Yet these despicable incidents are not just a symptom of famous psychics who feel the pressure to keep up the act. This is a problem that runs through the whole psychic industry, from the unknown psychic operating from offices at home to those who sell out theatre tours.

If it isn’t Sally Morgan communicating with the ghost of a fictional character, it’s Rosa Marks being imprisoned for fraud, it’s Nina Knowland offering to heal sick children with her hands, it’s Ian Lawman using dead kids to gain some publicity, it’s Sylvia Browne lying about missing children time and time and time again, it’s Goldy admitting to hot reading for a television show, it’s Vickie Monroe delivering messages from murder victims to their murderer, it’s Joe Power calling skeptics paedophiles, it’s Joe Power failing to realise that Karen Matthews (whom he posed with) had kidnapped her own daughter, it’s Adrian Pengelly claiming to cure cancer and being exposed on BBCs Watchdog, it’s Olivia Evans stealing $400,000 from clients, it’s Nancy Marks stealing $300,000 from customers, it’s Derek Acorah pretending to communicate with the fictional ghost Kreed Kafer who name is an anagram of Derek Faker, it’s Colin Fry being caught holding a “levitating trumpet”, it’s Michael Ireland being charged for sexually assaulting his customers, it’s Paul Eckersley doing the same, oh and Graham Dare too and it is the thousands of self-proclaimed psychics and mediums who demand that people take them at their word about their abilities and refuse to undergo testing in controlled conditions.

I think it is completely outrageous that people would criticise someone like Mark Tilbrook for trying to raise awareness when they do nothing themselves because “people have the right to believe what they want.” As true as that may be, people also have a right to not be intentionally misled and ripped off and if you do nothing to tackle a problem within the community or industry you are a part of – and you criticise others who do – then perhaps you are contributing to the problem and perhaps now is time to contribute to a solution instead…

cat putting bag on head gif