Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sensing Horseshit

Oh FSM, I feel a wave of nausea and disgust coming upon me - what could it possibly be? Did I eat a dodgy vindaloo? Have I been drinking that vile Green Chartreuse again? Did I just catch a glimpse of The Love Guru? No, its worse than that- the new series of Sensing Money Murder is coming back on the telly, and this time I fear, even more people will be sucked into its black hole of bullshit and milking relatives of dead people for money.

Where to start? Well, back in January of 2006 the first episode of Take 'Em for All They've Got Sensing Murder aired on NZ television, and they've managed to milk it out into a second and now third season of half baked ideas, bad acting and unsubstantiated claims. The show features three Asshats Psychics with supposed paranormal skills, who are taken to locations around New Zealand, shown old case files of unsolved murders or deaths, and then proceed to divine the causes behind the deaths. Like Columbo but without the dude in the trench coat. The producers of the show claim to have the full support of the families of each of the victims, but there is evidence that once they have completed the filming and sucked them dry they refuse to speak to them and don't really give a crap whether the case is solved or not. I'd probably beg to differ on the latter point in that if by sheer fluke they managed to get at least one of the predictions correct, their ratings would go through the roof, so I'd say it is pretty important to them.

The three faux psychics (currently) are Deb Webber, Sue Nicholson, and Kelvin Cruickshank. Deb Webber was amusingly "outed" by an Aussie Investigative News show a couple of years ago, and our man Jeremy Wells on Eating Media Lunch showed this on a segment in his show called Sensing Bullshit.

Its all the same crap that we see every time one of these so called psychics gets on our telly. They spout the same wishy washy crap, vague pronouncements of eeeevil, and generally ham it right up to the point that you think only Kevin Costner could do a worse job of acting.

Recently Tony Andrews posted a challenge to the Sensing Murder team, saying that if they completed a series of tests they could get themselves $10000. The standard fob off response came back from David Baldock, managing director of Ninox Television saying he's not interested in these tests, this "circus approach". He's already tested them. When the show was developed, he auditioned 75 psychics by giving them an obscure but solved murder case to work on. Yeah - right. It was probably things like "which famous australian criminal wore a tin helmet?" or "how many fingers did the famous Wellingtonian Madman Four Fingered Jack have?".

Oh well -I guess the only thing we can hope for here is that the voice of reason is heard, this show goes down the gurgler, or the psychics take up one of the many challenges around to prove they have the powers they claim. I wont hold my breath - thats not how this works in reality. The con artists are too smart to take up those tests when it would spell the end of that particular gravy train.

Check out the article on Stuff for some more background info, and the Aussie BadPsychics site for info on Australasian Scepticism, and their line on Deb Webber.


Mooghead said...

I KNEW you were going to write about psychics!

Spankermatic said...

I sense a disturbance in your aura young man - best you buy my lovely crystals for only $199 plus shipping.

KG said...

Oh I really gotta think of something intelligent to say to this one.. I LOVVVVVVVVVE that program...they're very clever people... I must say I'm a cynical beliver but spankermatic your WRONG

Spankermatic said...

Ah KG, I the dead who obviously speak to us all the time told me you would say that. And they also told me to tell you that if you dont leave it alone you'll go blind.

Spankermatic said...

Damned lost souls interferring with the keyboard again - ignore that random "I" in the first sentence.

alison said...

And why do we never hear anything from the tv channels about the success rate of these people? You'd think, if a cold case shown on the programme was actually solved by the result of a psychic's input, they'd be lauding the fact to the skies... oops, my cynicism is showing ;-)

Spankermatic said...

Absolutely - and if they have a lucky strike, which is statistically possible, they will crow like you've never seen about how good they are (despite all the other failed attempts). Its the standard human response - we forget the misses and remember the hits.

I emailed Tony to give him the big ups for having the balls to call these frauds out, and he said "I knew from day 1 that I have a better chance of winning Lotto than getting them to take the test."

They won't go near anything like that because they don't have to prove anything to their believers - they already believe! Why do anything to upset the gravy train?

alison said...

I meant to say, over on your later post - have you seen the Richard Dawkins doco, The enemies of reason? There's an excellent segment on psychics/mediums & other forms of pseudoscience:

Spankermatic said...

No I haven't - but cheers. I'll have a gawk.