Testing a medium: Results

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photoWell, yesterday was quite a day. As many of you may know, the James Randi Educational Foundation has a standing offer of $1 million to anyone who can prove that they have psychic or mediumistic abilities.

A few months ago the JREF asked if Chris French (Goldsmith University) and I would carry out an initial test of a medium named Patricia Putt. We went back and forth about the protocol, and eventually settled on an experimental design. Basically, Patricia would carry out readings for 10 strangers, and then all of the participants would be presented with all 10 readings and have photo1to select the one that best described them. To cut down on possible sensory cues, the strangers were not allowed to interact with Patricia, and asked to wear a graduation gown and facial mask.

Chris and his wonderful team (Panka Juhasz, James Munroe, Fabio Tartarini and Suzanne Barbieri) put in a huge amount of time sorting out the logistics of the experiment and making sure that it all ran smoothly on the day. Chris and Panka in particular worked especially hard on the project and so deserve the credit for makng it happen.

Patricia was a joy to work with, and carried out the readings as promised. I sat in the room with Patricia as she wrote her readings and sent the occasional twitter update .

None of the participants were able to correctly identify their reading, and so the results do not support Patricia’s claim. However, to her credit, she took it on the chin and said that she felt that the test had been a fair examination of her abilities.

More info about it all on Randi’s site here.

Oh well. Any thoughts?

64 comments on “Testing a medium: Results

  1. Kevin says:

    So did she agree that she probably wasn’t psychic?

  2. Renaud says:

    Did you offer her a book on cold-reading when she left?
    It would be a nice touch.
    I’m sure a lot of these people, at least those who agree to go through testing, genuinely believe in their ‘abilities’.

    The result of test could be a good opportunity to show them that they may be good at ‘something’, just not the thing they thought they were good at.

  3. This is the sort of test I would have liked to have seen on a certain TV show. Nevertheless, you will get complaints about how it was not a real test etc. But well done. Was it videoed?

  4. Stephen wARD says:

    Being a professional Mentalist and bizarre magician, i am always interested in these claims. It is interesting that the test subject scored zero as i would have expected her to have got at least one or two using basic CR.

    I agree that you will get complaints that this was not a fair test, the fact that the subjects agreed to the test seems to indicate that maybe she believes she has abilities. On my travels i have come across several psychics and a number seem sincere.

  5. Mike G says:

    Fantastic that she took it well.

    I’ve heard of other examples that Randi has tested and which failed poorly and cannot help but wonder why these people to not test themselves before coming forward.

    I would be interested to know how you “rehabilitate” a psychic. I mean, what are their beliefs on leaving, and how do they feel a year later? Can any of these people be recruited by JREF to help the mission? It would be fantastic to have a pool of such people (and JREF has tested over 1000, right?) who would be prepared to talk about why they believed what they did and how the JREF testing changed that (if at all!).

  6. Alison says:

    Cold reading would be hard if the “psychic” wasn’t able to interact with the participants and she couldn’t see what they looked like.

    Looks like the experiment was filmed, from the camera in the second picture.

  7. Jason says:

    I am shocked! Shocked I tell you! Shocked and astounded that this woman failed. Shocked! No, I really am.

  8. KatM says:

    This has made my day! Marvellous.

  9. Michael Gray says:

    That she got zero out of ten must mean that she has anti-psychic powers!
    She can defy probability!

  10. uksceptic says:

    I predicted on Twitter that she would perform no better than chance. Does this mean that I am psychic?

    I have also predicted that Man U will win the Premiership and that Southend would finish outside the play offs in League One. The latter has already come true.

    If Man U win the prem am I eligible for testing?

  11. Other View says:

    Very few details as to what the “reading” was. Was it a health reading? A personality reading? Also consider few people see themselves as they actually are – that is what makes horoscopes so effective – they are so general people read into them the characteristics they want or think they have, when in reality others may see them quite differently then they see themselves. So actually I think this test reveals very little one way or the other.

  12. Ken says:

    If they all pick their reading essentially at random then each has a 90% probability of getting it wrong. For 10 of them to do that is 0.9 to the power 10 which is 0.35 or a 35% chance. So not beyond the realms of possiblity. If she came back for another go and still got 0/10 I’d start to get suspicious!

    How were the volunteers selected? Was any kind of cross-check run on their possible bias or their ability to pick out their true ‘reading’ if such a thing can exist?

  13. cam says:

    Another one bites the dust. Despite many claims of psychic ability not one has proved they can do as they claim.

  14. Jill Murphy says:

    I once did a experiment ‘Are you telepathic?’ with a class of 30 children. One unusually hyperactive child with a ADHD diagnosis, matched correctly 8 out of the 10 symbols with mine and was highly delighted with himself.
    As all good scientists do we repeated the experiment with the pupil outside the door of the classroom.
    The head teacher who had previously decreed no children to be send out of class, came along the corridor and asked the child what he was doing there. The child then said enthusiastically, “Miss thinks I could be psychopathic!”

  15. zutroi67 says:

    Doesn’t the Hawthorn(e) effect discount this negative finding? I mean, if the “artist” is getting skeptic-induced negative vibes, doesn’t that usually mean that the “spirits” won’t play ball, and by extension, make this experiment completely void? If this is true, as far as not allowing validation, how do we skeptics get around this?

  16. Emily says:

    to everyone saying the 0/10 score should be examined as a “negative” psychic ability… I think you are interpreting this wrong.

    Here’s how I interpreted it:

    Each participant had a 1 in 10 chance of picking the “correct” reading, so essentially the scores belong to each of the ten participants–not to the alleged psychic. The alleged psychic failed to “read” the participants in any kind of way recognizable by the participants, with no upper boundary to the amount of “not about the person in question” allowed.

    You claiming that she should have statistically gotten at least some person’s reading “correct” implies that she was taking a multiple choice test about each person. She was not… think of it more as an essay exam with no prompt. There is no denominator in an expression of her chances of being “right”.

    She had an undefined chance of being “right” about her subjects whereas the 10 participants had a 1 in 10 chance of picking the reading intended to be about them.

  17. Emily says:

    erk. Should have been… “with no upper boundary to the amount of “not about the person in question” *DEFINED*.

  18. Charles Tivendale says:

    As Challenge Coordinator for the Australian Skeptics (Victorian branch) my only comment on the test procedure is that there is no mention of perfume or masking of any smell the subjects may have had.

    Richard, thanks for publishing the book on testing psychics; I have now adopted your view that there may well be psychics out there (and we would love to find one), but the bad ones are giving the good ones a bad name.

    I figure that treating psychic claimants with compassion does more for helping their understanding of scientific method, statistics, and the psychology behind delusions than dismissing them as ignorant would do.

  19. [...] Testing a medium: Results Well, yesterday was quite a day. As many of you may know, the James Randi Educational Foundation has a standing offer [...] [...]

  20. [...] results? Well, read Professor French’s account of it at The Guardian. Or you could read Professor Wiseman’s account. Or you could JREF staff member (and MDC Research Assistant) Alison Smith’s account on the [...]

  21. I don’t see why this sky gown was needed – for me it was a obvious “unnatural” thing she would claim to be the cause of the misreadings.

    She claims in on of the articles to be able to read people throught the phone. So instead of putting all the black clothes, a more simple test would be putting the volunteers on a separate room with a telephone extension. Of course she would still claim something else – but it would be a less obvious reason and a more elegant test.

    But I regret this kind of experiments because they polarize natural evolved human habilities – to be able to read someones else feelings by picking subtle cues on voice and facial expressions – as either being pshychic/paranormal or a fraud/lie.

    A more useful tool would be to teach cold reading tricks to a general audience until it becomes a second nature, much in the same way we teach magic tricks. Both can be used for scams, but it’s way more effective (and fun) to turn them into entertainement than to try to “expose the fraud”.

  22. Matt says:

    Mike G:

    I would be interested to know how you “rehabilitate” a psychic. I mean, what are their beliefs on leaving, and how do they feel a year later? Can any of these people be recruited by JREF to help the mission? It would be fantastic to have a pool of such people (and JREF has tested over 1000, right?) who would be prepared to talk about why they believed what they did and how the JREF testing changed that (if at all!).

    Unfortunately I think most of these people go on believing in their abilities no matter how many times the fail tests. However, here’s an interesting old article from a former psychic who saw the light of skepticism:
    http://www.csicop.org/si/2004-05/new-age.html

  23. Matt says:

    how many times they fail tests, I mean

  24. Mike says:

    As an interested consumer of data, there is so much more I’d like to see from this test:

    1) there didn’t seem to be a “control” group or test. I wonder what the accuracy rate would be if the medium was able to meet with 10 random participants face to face (again, no non-prearranged communication from the medium to the participant) instead of having the participants shrouded. Another control possibility would be for a loved one of each of the 10 participants to write a blurb about them (restricted to phrases found in typical readings) and see if they can pick themselves out.

    2) I’m also curious what the distribution of picked readings was. Did a majority of the 10 participants pick the same reading?

    None of this has anything to do with proof of ESP, but it’s neat stuff!

  25. I have been invited “in the interests of honesty” to reply to the Randi challenge that I undertook on the 6 May 2009.

    My name is Patricia Putt and I have been working as a Medium for the past thirty-seven years. I was born with the Gift but never did anything about developing it till I was twenty-four and held my first big meeting at the age of twenty-eight.

    Over the years that I have done this work numerous people have visited me both men and women over the ages of eighteen and covering all nationalities and Faiths. Never once have I had the words con artist or liar levelled at me, if I made a mistake in a Reading I would make sure that such an error was never made again. With this kind of thinking I work very hard at making my Readings accurate. I should also like to point out that neither am I a winger or a whiner, so when I decided to take up the Randi Challenge I did so with both eyes open knowing that the protocols would be completely one sided in favour of JREF, and so it was.

    I willingly walked into the lion’s Den knowing it would be a long, difficult and very tiring day with apparently nothing to smile about at the finish. After my initial shock at the results when Professor French was showing them to me, on my journey home, I started to smile because a realisation began to dawn on me. Yes, the day had gone as the Randi Foundation had planned it with no girl i.e. no 8 picking on the message 8 but with hindsight I realised that every girl had accepted each and every message that I had written down not one had been discarded, not one thrown away each and every one of the ten girls had gone away with something to me this makes a total of 10 out of 10.

    I also got the meet Professor French a man I had seen on TV and have great respect for, I also renewed my meeting with Professor Wiseman. As he remembered on seeing me that we had met in May 2000 at Hampton Court and through him I was invited on the Gloria Hunniford Show a couple of weeks later.

    I am very well aware that scientists and Mediums are diametrically opposed but perhaps one day scientists will open up their field of vision a bit more and be prepared to work with people such as myself. Working together we could help society a great deal. I do understand it is difficult for intellectuals to view life as if it were a vast panoramic screen with surround sound instead a twenty inch monochrome screen with not even stereo sound. Those who are serious scholars must realise that since time immemorial as long as man has been on the earth people who do my work have had a place in society. If you look at the book of Judges 4:4.5 you will see there how a lady by the name of Deborah helped the Israelites – she was a Psychic with Girl Power many millenia ago.

    I am now throwing down a gauntlet for Professors Wiseman and French,
    let us try an experimental investigation. Take me somewhere I have never been to before, bring with you and Historian wire me up if you must and let us see what the outcome is. I feel that the honourable gentlemen might be surprised if they allow themselves to be.
    I am equally aware that with the programmes we have on TV at present to those who don’t know better we must come over as a third rate Victorian Musical act, these programmes make me equally angry as they denigrate everything I stand for and believe in.

    With my personality I don’t accept failure so I ahve informed Alison Smith of the JREF that I will be reapplying again next year, hopefully I will be accepted. In the meantime I wait to hear from Professors Wiseman and French.

    • Sage says:

      I keep hearing this statement “knowing that the protocols would be completely one sided in favour of JREF” or something similar like it from those that do not agree with his results. Can you explain why you feel that they are one-sided?

    • Richard Wiseman says:

      Hi Patricia
      Thanks for that. I am not quite sure what you mean re the results of the test, but obviously we asked the participants to choose the reading that best applied to them. Each participant chose the ‘wrong’ reading (ie one that was intended for another participant). It is difficult to understand how you can see this as counting as 10 out of 10. Re additional testing, the idea of taking you to a historical place etc is a very different claim. I have no idea whether the JREF allows people to re-apply with a different claim, but if they do then I would be happy to help design and run that test as well.
      best wishes
      richard

    • Mark D says:

      You stated and signed a document before the test that the test was fair; you were not coerced into signing and the test was arranged within your own claims of ability.

      It was agreed what would consitute a pass and what would constitute a fail well before the test; the fact that you decided after the end of the test that you had in fact passed, based on a suprious and post hoc rationalisation, means absolutely nothing – you still failed the test as originally set.

      If you think the test was unfair and one-sided, you should have brought this up before you signed the agreement.

      Oh, science and mediums are not necessarily diametrically opposed, but as long as mediums continue to offer no proper evidence for their alleged powers, then science cannot take your anecdotes as evidence, no matter how long you have been reading for people.

    • Peter says:

      Over the years that I have done this work numerous people have visited me both men and women over the ages of eighteen and covering all nationalities and Faiths. Never once have I had the words con artist or liar levelled at me

      I’m sure you’re not a con artist or liar; the words imply conscious deception, and I have little doubt that you honestly believe you have this “Gift”.

      The question I have is: what would it take to convince you that your belief is incorrect? And would you want to find out?

  26. Tracy King says:

    Patricia, are you familiar with the concept of Barnum Statements? You are claiming 10 out of 10 because all of the girls accepted ONE of the readings, even though it was the wrong one. There is a simple explanation for that, I recommend Google.

  27. Sorry Patricia, invoking a verse from the bible gets you no credit whatsoever!

    You said: “Take me somewhere I have never been to before…” And whose word do we take for that? Yours? Don’t you have even one ounce of understanding about personal bias? Understand that one concept (OK, that and the Barnum effect) and you will understand exactly why such great care is needed to do PROPER scientific experiments.

    You did a scientific trial – after agreeing to the exact protocol – and you completely lost. You didn’t even come close, so I don’t see why anyone should waste any more time.

  28. Brad says:

    It sounds like another case of special pleading. If she was predisposed to the notion that it was favoring the JREF, why did she bother.

  29. panka says:

    “…did so with both eyes open knowing that the protocols would be completely one sided in favour of JREF, and so it was”

    Patricia, can I just ask why you did not raise any concerns whatsoever about the protocol in the beggining if you thought it was biased against you?

    In fact you have signed this:

    “I, the undersigned, agree to all terms and conditions listed in this document outlining the protocol for my preliminary test in the James Randi Educational Foundation’s One Million Dollar Challenge. I agree that the protocol outline describes a fair test of my claimed ability.

    I do not believe the James Randi Educational Foundation, nor the individuals chosen by the James Randi Educational Foundation to conduct this test, will intentionally cause my failure through either intended or unintended means.

    In the event that I do not pass this test, I will hold neither the James Randi Educational Foundation nor the individuals testing my ability responsible, and understand that in the event of failure I am permitted to re-submit my claim and application one year from the date of the test.”

    And may I add that all 10 participants chose a reading because they were instructed to do so (this was in the protocol), therefore the fact that they all chose one out of ten that they could more or less apply to themselves, only demonstrates an example of the so-called Barnum effect.

    If they actually recognized themselves in the readings, at least some of them would have chosen the correct reading given by you.

  30. Chris French says:

    Hi Pat,

    Just for the record: Richard and Panka are absolutely right in pointing out that the protocol REQUIRED volunteers to choose the reading that they felt was most applicable to them. That does not mean they felt the reading they chose was an accurate description, it just means it was the least inaccurate. Informal discussion with the volunteers afterwards generally gave me the impression that they did not find any of the readings to be good descriptions of their lives and personalities but we did not collect ratings systematically. We could do so if you would like us to but I doubt that you would change your views about the test even if all volunteers stated that they were unimpressed. It’s your call though.

    As I’ve already told you, I’m willing to be involved in a retest of your claims if JREF are willing to approve such a retest and a suitable protocol can be worked out in cooperation with you.

    Best wishes,
    Chris

  31. Frank says:

    Careful when you cite the Bible in support of mediums…

    Leviticus 19:31
    Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

    1 Chronicles 10:13
    So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.

  32. [...] about it. However, that’s now changed. On his blog, Richard Wiseman described what happened, and Putt has responded. As with almost all applicants who fail, she is finding ways to rationalize her failure. However, [...]

  33. [...] of a recent paranormal challenge organised by the JREF, to turn up in the comments thread on Richard Wiseman’s blog, and revert to every tired, illogical, self-justifying cliché that we always hear from woo-mongers [...]

  34. [...] Chris French and the good folk from Goldsmith’s APRU to test medium Patricia Putt (details here).  We were carrying out an initial test for the James Randi 1 million dollar challenge, and [...]

  35. AndyD says:

    “I realised that every girl had accepted each and every message that I had written down not one had been discarded, not one thrown away each and every one of the ten girls had gone away with something to me this makes a total of 10 out of 10.”

    Hi Patricia,

    I know how you feel. I once failed a maths test and yet, when I compared my answers with those the teacher had, I could see that my answers contained all the same numbers, just in sightly different places.

    I gave myself 100% for that and every subsequent test but I was never able to convince the closed-minded teacher of my astounding mathematical abilities.

    They just refuse to see reality.

  36. Joey Joe Joe says:

    I posted this at Bad Astronomy but I’ll repost here since this is where I am most likely to get an informed reply.

    It’s not particulary clear from her response, but is she claiming that each of the 10 women chose a different reading from the other? If that is the case (which I am almost certain it isn’t), and each woman was given the full 10 to choose from, then I’ll admit it is an interesting result.

    My probability theory isn’t quite up to scratch but I put the probability of that happening through random chance at:

    10! / (10^10) = 0.00036288

    Corrections appreciated if I got that wrong.

  37. Michael Gray says:

    I predicted this very eventuality in the JREF blog.

    Vis: that Ms. Putt would morph from a cheerful, eloquent, intelligent and co-operative ‘good egg’, into a pleading and pathetic whinger**, and that her clear, abject and total failure MUST be blamed on anyone or anything but herself, or that she by malign fiat change the definition of success so that it accords with her profoundly wishful thinking.
    (And that said metamorphosis would be rapid, as is the case with every dowser, doodlebugger or water-witcher to date.)

    The mindset that ‘allows’ one to ignore the reality of one’s prior written contractual agreements in favour of a transparently juvenile but bizarrely creative re-interpretation of plain English, is the same mind-set that engenders the delusion that physical reality exclusively does not apply to one’s-self, and hence the ignorant ‘magical’ approach to life, and the semi-infantile special pleading that occurs as a post hoc excuse.

    Colour me ‘unsurprised’.

    ——————-
    ** This is being as charitable as I am able, given that I care passionately about truth and reality.

  38. Berber Anna says:

    Bashing intellectuals, how nice. Ever heard the saying ‘a mind is like a parachute — it only works when open’? It applies to both sides of the equation. If skeptics are to keep an open mind towards the possibility of supernatural forces existing (as proper skeptics can and must do), then equally, believers are to keep an open mind towards their claims being wrong.

    I understand it’s a matter of pride, and the longer you believe something, the harder it is to turn your back on it, as you’d be proving yourself wrong and admitting you’d acted on flawed beliefs for half your life. Yet the other route, laying the blame on anyone but yourself, does not inspire much respect, either.

    I would love it if anybody could show me conclusive proof of psychic phenomena, of genuine magic and the like. I’d be the first to cheer them on — IF they proved to be able to do what they claim they can do under test conditions. It’s easy to fool oneself. I once believed I had psionic powers, when in fact I was unknowingly cold-reading my ‘subjects’. Scientific testing excludes that possibility.
    Keep an open mind and look at the results… I don’t see how they could be biased, frankly.

    • Pat says:

      Equally Berber Anna, I have never witnessed a murder nor have I seen a rare bird, yet murders occur & are witnessed by others and rare birds are spotted by some bird watchers. The paranormal phenomenon truely exists and this includes the supernatural – as I have experienced/witnessed this phenomenon. Yet, I truely understand your reluctance and that of the skeptics to accept the existance of a parallel world of beings invisible to most of us natural living human beings. I keep an open mind on most subjects because I was branded a ‘doubting Thomas’ in my youth – at one time. Having said that, I have to say I find fortune telling and the activities of mediums quite unsavoury, yet this is an interesting and mysterious world, where there are so many possabilites which afford every individual to freely persue any activity from astronomy, astrology etc etc, this is part of lifes journey in this physical tangible world – so don’t knock the mediums and my advice to skeptics and scientists – in time you will end up with egg on your faces.

    • Pat says:

      By the way Berber Anna, I am NOT Patricia Putt, we only share the same christian name.

    • Berber Anna says:

      Yet if a person lies dead in the street and somebody screams murder, the law must never assume a murder has actually occurred. Physical evidence has to show that it actually was a murder and that the suspect actually committed said murder, lest an innocent person be convicted of a crime.
      If a birdwatcher claims to have discovered a new species, photographic evidence (at the very least) will be necessary to publish this discovery.
      Equally, if someone tells me they can read people’s minds, I will be glad to see them tested under circumstances that prevent hot/cold reading or confirmation bias (as well as other ways of cheating, conscious or unconscious), and if they still show evidence of this skill, I will be happy to hear about this amazing discovery — but only in the face of reliable evidence, not hearsay.

      Note that I never said I needed to see it for myself. I just need reliable evidence. I never saw Mars up close, but NASA has published photographs of its surface, so I can say I know what Mars looks like. On the other hand, I have never seen a Martian, AND I have never seen evidence of their existence, so for now, I act as though they do not exist. Should someone provide me with evidence that they do, I will gladly change my mind.

      I do in fact ‘knock’ professional mediums, but only because they profit from people in a fragile state of mind. Taking money from those in pain and providing them only with false hope is despicable. Astrologers, fortune tellers and so on — the ‘entertainment’ side of supernaturalists — can do as they please, but I’m not going to pretend to believe in what they do, just to be polite.

      Skeptics and scientists aren’t the close-minded ones. A true skeptic, a true scientist will have no bias, but will be happy to adjust their views based on evidence. It’s the people that should produce this evidence that keep dragging their feet…

  39. [...] she accepted defeat gracefully, but then she takes  Occam’s Razor and jams it in her own eye by rationalizing her failure. She claims she got 10 out of 10 right because each person picked a profile. It didn’t matter [...]

  40. [...] with Chris French and the good folk from Goldsmith’s APRU to test medium Patricia Putt (details here). We were carrying out an initial test for the James Randi 1 million dollar challenge, and Patricia [...]

  41. Bulldada says:

    Patricia Putt, thanks for taking the test but I’m afraid it shows that you are not psychic. Any accuracy you claim from doing readings under less controlled circumstances (where you can see the participants’ faces, expressions, clothes, body language etc and interact back and forth with the person) are due to your skills at observing the person, not some mystical Spirit moving around.

  42. Patricia,
    You had nothing to gain by selflessly submitting yourself to this test. Some people are scpetics and will never believe in the Gift. Imagine, in this flawed test, that the opposite result had happened – then everybody would be saying that you had gotten lucky and beaten the laws of probability.
    Well done you anyway, I support you in your efforts and I think we both know that Psychics have a power, even if ‘science’ thinks it’s impossible.

    • Berber Anna says:

      No, had the opposite result happened, she’d have gone on to the actual Million Dollar Challenge test (this being the preliminary test). Having two tests is a nice safeguard against people ‘getting lucky’.

  43. alanhenness says:

    Psychic Chatrooms: Can you tell us what the flaws were in the test?

  44. [...] post via Richard Wiseman Blog Share and [...]

  45. psychic test says:

    so what happened in the end?

  46. K.J. says:

    The million dollars is and will be forever safe. It’s set up to remain safe. Especially with the likes of the always obnoxious Penn watching over it — and changing the rules!!!

  47. Brundall Woodford says:

    Excuse my naivety but have you not confused physic ability with mediumship? I always thought they were two entirely diferent things. I thought a Physic was one who could get information from the etha or aura and a medium was one who could interpet messages from those who have passed from this world to the next.
    In have met some people with great psychic ability but very little mediumistic skills and some great mediums who fail miserably when it comes to psychic exercises. Gordon Smith has done some great experimental work with various universities. It may be worth checking the evidence before stating categorically that the earth is flat, man will never fly, Man will never set foot on the moon, etc. etc.
    And if I put up a million Dollars I didn’t have I too would make sure that no one could pass my test. Or am I just being synical?

  48. Katie Doucet says:

    That’s cool!!!! I would have pasted because I am a physic!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Timothy says:

    I can say that the test was completely one sided. this is the problem with the WAY the scientific community chooses to evaluate the claims of the supernatural. neither they nor most of you simply don’t understand HOW psychic or spiritual powers work. they are not concrete like physical reality and mostly, can not be tested as such. Intuition is not “reading” people like a mentalist. Nor when i do tarot cards or get a feeling about someone or something, or just “know” that i am supposed to go somewhere and do something at a specific time. I am personally continually shocked at how accurate my tarot readings are. Not perfect mind you. but when you pay attention to the details some things really grab you. Its the way in which the cards come up and how they interact with each other and the person getting the reading. The reason why these tests fail is this. Spiritual powers are about interactivity, community and helping one another. Not parlor tricks. God the spiritual powers that be and the Natural laws that govern all things are in the business of helping people learn about themselves and each other, and to learn to grow in love.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I have a better idea, the strangers don’t even have to be there. Simply do the reading place the readings in bottles. Allow the 10 strangers each to select one bottle by their free will and freedom of choice. Naturally out of the 10 bottles, they will naturally have already selected the one that they are destined to open.
    Proving that they have already made that choice, but they don’t fully understand it yet. How else out of 10 readings, would they specifically choose that bottle themselves?? How is it possible that bottle contains the reading including their name, what they’re wearing and a little bit of something about them?

  51. Elaine says:

    Around two weeks ago my sister and I went to see Patricia at her home. I am not a religious person, in fact I left the church around 31 years ago and recinded my faith in God. I dont believe in a creator and actually think that science and the pursuit of knowledge via the sudy of physics offers humankind the best route to understanding the universe and nature of reality. Interestingly since my experience which I will relate to you in a moment, I am discovering that physics namely quantum physics, may support the possibility that an after life exists in some form. Reality is something that is not neccessarily material or fixed. Our mum died this December 2012 and my sister who has experienced psychic ‘things’ (unlike me) and I were understandably in a lot of pain. On a spur of the moment thing I looked up meduims on the net and came up with Patricias name. I rang her and left a garbled message on her answerphone. Within half an hour she rang me. She told me off for telling her that my mum had ‘passed’ (her words not mine) and said one should never tell a meduim anything. She was very kind and invited me and my sister to go and see her. She said I cant promise you a reading but you and your sister can come and cry, I have a room full of tissues and you can ask me anything you like. She said there would be no charge. The first strange experience I want to share with you is this. My sister, dad and i had been to the cemetary to pick a plot for mum two days before and had picked a spot on the edge of the woods. Although it was right on the edge of the woods we thought in spring and summer it would be pretty. We were having doubts though – should we choose one by the path instead – the place by the path was more costly and our dad worries about money, but my sister and I thought it would be easier for Dad to go and tend Mums grave by the path as his legs are not very good, although on the other hand there was another road into the cemetary he could use etc etc. In the end we decided we would find the money and place mum by the path. I rang the cemetary to ask if we could go back and take another look -they said fine but you have to make a final choice pretty quickly. As soon as I rang the cemetary i rang Patricia to agree to go and see her at an agreed time -I said can we come tomorrow as today we have go to the cemetary to pick a plot for our mum.There was a silence, a hesitation, and then she said, ‘of course darling…..just make sure you put her by the trees.’ I was amazed by this. We kept Mum by the trees in the end. We went to see Patricia. My sister and I both agreed we would not say anything about Mum -we would see what Patricia would say. She let us in….she was very warm and invting and offered us a cup of tea, sat us down in her front room and just told us to ask her anything. I said I didnt beleive in an afterlife and yet believing that my Mum no longer exists was extremely painful. She said your mum lived and she lives – physically she is gone but she lives. She proceeded to tell us how she saw things. During our time together my grandad, mums dad ‘spoke’ to her. She accurately told us how mum died and described what it felt like to her. She accurately told us the day, the time and how many cars we had organised. More importantly though were the little things she spoke of which are too personal to write here…lots of details about our family history and family culture which she could not have known about, from the pudding we should serve at the gathering to the very special soul which took mum to the afterlife. We were with Patricia for an hour and forty minutes. She didnt charge us a penny. And she had told us we can ring her if we need to but that she would not do a reading for us until a year has passed. Her integrity, honesty and compasison was astounding. It was very moving. Since then I have found her words helpful to me and I have started meditating. I wont go back to religion and I will continue to be an advocate of the scientific tradition – and physics at a quantum and classical level in particular. But I am changed by my experience and now look at the world in a more open way, with a more open mind.There is still so much we dont understand and the journey towards understanding is never finished.

    • Paige says:

      Really liked what you wrote. I do believe in mediumship but know that there are phonies out here. My mother passed in November and my brother and father a few years before. I think that James Randi is a person who is as negative as phony psychics. Sounds like a lovely communication with your mother. Blessings!

    • elaine says:

      Thank you Paige. I still think about that day. It was quite extraordinary. Since then I have felt my mum around me and have smelt her cigarette smoke in my bedroom (niether me nor my husband smoke). Maybe its all in my brain (everything is at the end of the day) but love is very powerful. Who knows?

  52. [...] portion of the million dollar challenge hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation.  The test was administered at Goldsmiths University  by Professor Richard Wiseman (yes, that Richard Wiseman) and Professor [...]

    • Paige says:

      After my father passed away I bought a pack of his favorite cigars and put them in the top pocket of his suit. Five years later I was out in my van and parked my car and suddenly there was the smell of my father’s cigars. No one was near me and so I just said “Hi Dad”. I also had a dream of my brother who passed and lived in another city with my sister. I told my sister of the dream and she said now I know he is okay. The thing that I told her was that he said that he was fine, that he has his own apartment and that he even gets to barbecue. That he barbecued was the thing that convinced her he was okay because I didn’t know that he loved to barbecue. I guess from what I have experienced that heaven is what you loved in life. I do believe that there is communication with those who have passed despite Randi and charlatans. Peace!

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